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Dog DNA leads to owner's conviction

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A dog's DNA was among the evidence considered by a judge who found the animal's owners guilty Thursday in a case tied to the mauling of a 74-year-old woman.

Chris Ohman and Vanessa Alexandria Borja face sentencing July 7 after being found guilty by Municipal Court Judge Burk Bishop of
harboring a vicious animal and allowing a dog to run at large.

Bishop considered DNA taken from Trek -- a pit bulldog -- and eyewitness statements, said prosecutor Patrick Boulden.

Prosecutors alleged the dog attacked Wanda Cox as she finished a morning walk through her neighborhood in October 1998. All but 21/2
inches of Ms. Cox's lower left foot was bitten off and doctors reattached one of her ears.
The defense had countered that the case was one of mistaken identity.

A judge in December 1998 found Trek to be vicious and ordered the animal destroyed. The dog has been held on "death row" at the city animal shelter since the attack, pending the outcome of an appeal of the ruling by the dog's owners to the state Supreme Court, Boulden said.

Ohman and Borja face maximum fines of $500 on each charge as well as 90 days in jail, he said.

Boulden said it cost $4,344 for the city to test the dog's DNA and fly in an expert witness to testify.

He said the dog has torn up two chain link cages while being held at the animal shelter and is sedated every night.

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