Hamburg family reunited with their dog just in time for Christmas


HAMBURG N.Y. (WIVB) – A Hamburg family got their Christmas wish, and was reunited with their dog after months of it being in a kennel. the Maltese mix was close to being put down after biting a neighbor, but the courts ruled in favor of the family.

“Amazing, it’s been 6 months that we haven’t been actually been able to see him, so honestly it’s the best Christmas gift that we could have ever received. Any of us,” said Lydia Pulka, the dog’s owner.

The pulka family was reunited with their 18 month old multis mix, Ragus, or Gus for short.
For months the dog was held at a kennel in the town of Hamburg, and was close to being euthanized.

A complaint was filed against the dog this summer indicating that the dog bit the family’s neighbor on his leg while he was in the Pulka’s backyard. Court documents state the neighbor bandaged his leg and the bite “wasn’t worthy of an emergency room visit.”

However, Hamburg Town court, after hearing the testimony, ordered that Gus be euthanized, but the family fought to appeal the ruling.

Matthew Albert, who represented the Pulka family and their dog argues that the dog did not cause a serious physical injury on anyone, and therefore euthanizing the dog was unnecessary.

“He is a little yipper yapper and was nipping around the neighborhood a little bit. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, I’m not saying it should just go on as is, I understand it’s problematic but in this case, this dog did not cause anything remotely bordering or close to a serious physical injury,” Albert said.

Earlier this week, Erie County Court ordered the original ruling be reversed and for Ragus to be released.

“At one point the court did say, it’s pretty clear. This was open and shut and it’s a shame that when the lower court judge made his decision, he didn’t look at law and shot from the hip and those are how mistakes happen,” Albert said.

Erie county court ruled that Ragus receive training and be leashed and muzzled when on public property, and the family is more than happy to follow the court’s order if it means keeping their pet.

“He just needs a little bit of training but he’s really a sweet, good hearted dog,” Lydia said.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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