Attorneys Ask for Injunction to Save Albemarle Co. Pit Bull

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Niko the pit bull Niko the pit bull
Elliot Harding, Niko's family's attorney Elliot Harding, Niko's family's attorney

Attorneys are hoping a last minute motion could help save the life of a dog. Niko the pit bull is set to be euthanized over the weekend, but his owners aren't giving up hope that his life can be saved.

The dog is accused of killing a cat in December 2014. His owner lost legal battles in Albemarle County General District Court, Albemarle County Circuit Court, the Virginia State Court of Appeals and the Virginia Supreme Court.

After the most recent ruling, Albemarle County judge Cheryl Higgins ordered the pit bull euthanized, in a court order dated Dec. 8.

Attorneys say Niko is set to be put to sleep on Sunday.

Kristy Hoover is leading the charge on social media to save Niko’s life.

"He has no idea that we're out here trying to fight for him and he can't fight for himself so that's what we're doing," said Hoover.

She created a group on Facebook called "Prayers for Niko/Niko Strong" that now has over 6,000 members.

“It could be my dog, it could be your dog," said Hoover.

For about two years, Niko has been held at the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA, which also serves as the area's pound.

In a statement to NBC29, the shelter said, in part, “We are doing everything under the circumstances to care for Niko while observing all legal requirements."

Late Friday afternoon attorneys tried a last ditch effort, asking the court for an injunction to stop the euthanization they say is set for Sunday.

"Unfortunately the lives of animals aren't considered the same as the lives of humans in the court system, so they treat it like any other piece of property,” said Elliot Harding, Niko’s family’s attorney.

The motion filed by Harding Friday argues only one of Niko's owners has had her day in court. He's asking the court to listen to Niko's owner's partner, to hear what she'd like to see become of the animal.

“This is a case where the facts were a little shady anyway," Harding said, "In the criminal case, as far as I understand, a cat was killed, no one saw the cat die, a dog was on the property and ultimately he fell victim."

Meanwhile, "Against All Oddz," a shelter in upstate New York, is offering to take the dog in and never send him back to Virginia.

Matt Albert, an attorney who runs the shelter, says Niko would fit in perfectly. He is outraged at the news of the dog's court-ordered euthanization.

“It’s just bizarre that they can do such a thing and I’m hoping, at some point, their conscience kicks in and they do the right thing and allow us to take the dog,” Albert said.

“He's not vicious and he's not a danger,” Hoover adds.

Niko's supporters from near and far are hoping something can save his life.

“I really wish if they were going to do this, that they wouldn't do it at Christmastime,” said Hoover.

It’s not clear when a judge's ruling could come down on the injunction request.

In the meantime, supporters of Niko are planning a peaceful protest for Sunday at the SPCA.

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