Covering Louisiana

Feb 11, 2012 7:39 PM by Sharlee Barriere

Woman Says Guidance, Not Jail Time Needed

 A 23-year-old man whose pit bull killed her miniature schnauzer needs help and guidance, a 92-year-old woman told a judge.

Prosecutors said Michael Kopynec should enter a year-long pretrial diversion program shortly after Naomi Montrue Smith's statement on Friday.

According the Advocate (http://bit.ly/wfaBnP ) Smith told the judge that she would like to do something to help Kopynec rather than see him go to prison,

Smith noted that the attacks on her dog, Geaux Sport, came 11 days apart. Smith was injured on both occasions.

The judge assured Smith that steps will be taken to "make Mr. Kopynec a more responsible pet owner."

Kopynec's attorney, James Rothkamm, told the judge that Kopynec voluntarily paid Smith's veterinary bills. Rothkamm called pretrial diversion a "fair resolution" to the case.

Smith agreed after court, saying of Kopynec, "I don't want him crucified."

Kopynec's dog was declared dangerous and euthanized in late 2010.

Pretrial diversion calls for Kopynec to, among other things, perform community service related to animal welfare; write a letter of apology to all those adversely affected, including the victim and neighbors; and obtain a substance abuse evaluation, according to East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III.

Smith said she had Geaux Sport for eight years.

"Yes, I miss him," she said outside Jackson's courtroom.

Smith has since adopted a cocker spaniel and named the dog Beaux.

"He loves me to death," she said.

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