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Published May 09, 2013, 09:02 AM

NDSU sheep-killing dogs' owner fined $1,000

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The owner of two dogs that attacked a herd of research sheep in a North Dakota State University barn has been fined $1,000 after pleading guilty in Fargo municipal court to having dogs at large.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The owner of two dogs that attacked a herd of research sheep in a North Dakota State University barn has been fined $1,000 after pleading guilty in Fargo municipal court to having dogs at large.

The two huskies escaped from the home of Doug and Crystal Petersen on Tuesday and somehow got into the NDSU barn, which was fenced, authorities said. The dogs killed seven of the sheep and injured nearly a dozen more, five of which had to be euthanized.

Doug Petersen on Wednesday was fined $500 for each dog. He and his wife also are likely to face restitution. That part of the case will be handled in civil court, City Attorney Jodi Bass said. Greg Lardy, head of the university's Animal Sciences Department, has said the loss likely will be in the thousands of dollars. Damage caused by dogs might be covered under a homeowner's insurance policy, Fargo insurance agent Cory Theuninck told WDAY-TV.

The Petersens said they were working in their backyard on Tuesday when a neighbor's 4-year-old son let the dogs out of their house.

Crystal Petersen said the dogs live with other animals and with children and have never exhibited aggression, according to The Forum newspaper.

"I'm shocked about it," she said. "I may be biased, but I can't see them doing it."

Doug Petersen admitted in court that the sheep barn incident was not the first time his dogs had run loose. He and his wife paid $100 to get Balder and Morgana out of the city pound on April 26, and Bass said the Petersens' neighbors reported seeing the dogs running loose previously.

"Huskies are runners — that's a breed characteristic," Doug Petersen said.

He told the judge that he and his wife were saving money to have a wireless fence installed at their home to keep the dogs penned in.

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