Single mom could face over $70K in fines for pet dog

WEST ORANGE, NJ — “I’m shocked they’d take it this far,” said Leslie Cobar, a mom of four kids and a dog with a troubled past. Cobar’s brother named her pit bull mix, Stoner, 5.

Stoner’s original owners found him on the street and kept him in a cage for most of his early life, she said.

In the first year after she adopted him, she says he bit the neighbor and the neighbor’s dog.

Last year, he killed a stray cat. But she’s tried to train him and love him through it.

"He’s part of our family,” she said.

The town of West Orange also claims that Stoner bit a 12-year-old boy in 2014. Cobar denies that.

Cobar said the town got involved and took Stoner away twice.

Cobar was ordered to keep a muzzle on him whenever he’s in public or when visitors enter the home. She must also leash him, train him and put up signs warning ‘beware of dog’.

She must also have a six-foot fence in the yard.

Cobar said she did all of those things.

Then, in February she began renting a new house. She said she asked the landlord to get a fence installed. It went up by the first week of April.

Cobar said she paid a contractor to install the fence. But the town said there is no record of any construction permit.

The lapse in fencing landed her back in court for Stoner yesterday. The town could issue her up to $71,000 in fines for not complying with the court order for her dog.

“If you want to give me a fine, okay,” she said. "But a $71,000 fine? It’s a lot.”

Cobar said she is the only breadwinner in the home. Stoner provided her with some much-needed comfort during her recent painful divorce.

"I just want to live in peace in this new home,” she said.

Her case has been adjourned for two weeks. Cobar said the judge recommended that she come back with an attorney.