APD wins custody of pitbulls

Captain says charges expected to be filed soon
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn Police Department officials will maintain custody of four pitbulls that attacked a teen for the foreseeable future. The department received a judgment back from an administrative court-hearing officer allowing them to keep custody of the dogs, according to Auburn Police Capt. John Ruffcorn. Last week a hearing was held on whether the four dogs were lawfully seized from their owner, Daniel Coverston, 27, of Auburn. The four pitbulls allegedly attacked 17-year-old Weimar resident Joseph “JoJo” Kerschner Sept. 16 when he was walking from his car to a restaurant in Downtown Auburn. Kerschner was attacked in a parking lot on 894 Lincoln Way. He received more than 30 stitches and had more than 20 puncture wounds in his body after the attack. Ruffcorn said police expect to file charges in the next few days. Ruffcorn said investigators want to make sure they follow the correct procedures as they review the incident. In an earlier interview, Ruffcorn said the owner of the pitbulls could possibly be charged with violating penal code 399. The code states, in part, that any owner of a “mischievous animal” who knows of its demeanor and allows it go “at large” and it then causes “serious bodily injury” to a person could be found guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony. Several Auburn residents have expressed opinions that the dogs should be euthanized. Auburn resident Barbara Lacy said in a letter to the editor that she lives near the home and walks by the area where the dogs were fenced when she goes to the store. “I do hope the city of Auburn will take away this threat to other citizens and make them safe,” Lacy wrote. “I am now fearful of walking around town.” After an administrative hearing last week, Coverston told the Journal that his four dogs were “very kind.” Coverston, who was out of town at the time of the incident, said he was surprised to hear of the attack. “I wish I was around otherwise this probably wouldn’t have happened,” Coverston said in an earlier Journal report. “My dogs are my life and I just want them back in my possession.” Jenifer Gee can be reached at