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Death row dog wins reprieve, ordered to get out of town

February 11, 1997

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) _ Prince, a little boy’s four-legged friend who was condemned to death after he killed a rooster, won a reprieve Tuesday _ and was ordered to get out of town.

``Thank you, everyone,″ 5-year-old Jeffrey Kristiansen said following the city’s decision to lift his dog’s death sentence.

Jeffrey’s mother, Margaret Kristiansen, was ordered to find a new home for the 3 1/2-year-old black Labrador mix, somewhere outside this city of about 25,000. No deadline was set.

Prince, whom Ms. Kristiansen nicknamed ``Houdini″ for his ability to escape from cages and leashes, was labeled a vicious dog under a city ordinance after killing a rooster in May.

Vicious dogs are supposed to kept leashed or locked up, but Prince got away twice, once by breaking out of a cage and another time by bolting when Jeffrey opened a door. That earned the dog a death sentence under the ``three-strikes-and-out″ ordinance and he’s been in a kennel ever since.

Jeffrey said Prince got a bad rap. ``He’s not the one responsible _ the rooster’s responsible,″ he said last week.

``A dog can’t be a dog anymore,″ resident Tim Record said Tuesday.

Ms. Kristiansen said she’ll interview prospective new owners for Prince and work out a visitation agreement.

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