Rolling a wheelchair to the defendant’s table in the jailhouse courtroom on Tuesday, 73-year-old Robert Darakjy asked a judge to reduce the bail amount so he could be released to take care of his dog.
Ranger, Darakjy’s German shorthaired pointer, was deemed “vicious” by Kootenai County commissioners. They ordered the dog to be euthanized if it could not find a new home.
It was at that hearing a day earlier that Darakjy was arrested — not for threatening commissioners, but for failing to appear three times in court after allegedly threatening a police officer and resisting arrest last summer.
Darakjy, who told the court Tuesday he was a disabled Vietnam veteran who planned to breed one of his pointers to provide pups for other disabled veterans, was arrested after the Monday commission meeting.
He had told commissioners that if they did not return his dog, he would “go hunting.”
“Are you threatening us?” Commissioner Chris Fillios asked.
“Take it however you want,” Darakjy replied.
Darakjy lives southeast of Cherry Hill, where his hunting dog, Ranger, has been accused of killing neighborhood pets. In one case, the dog, which often gets loose, chased a neighbor’s cat into a residence in an effort, neighbors said, to kill it. In the process, he also bit the cat’s owner in the hand.
Commissioners gave the dog a brief reprieve Monday, but ordered it be put down within two weeks if it failed to find a new home.
Darakjy’s outbursts raised the eyebrows of commissioners, but it was the 73-year-old’s reported threats against a police officer during a June traffic stop for which he was initially cited.
Police stopped Darakjy’s Dodge pickup near 13th Street and Sherman Avenue in Coeur d’Alene after attempting to pull the vehicle over — with lights and a siren — for five blocks.
When he stopped, Darakjy abruptly exited the vehicle, leaving it to block traffic in the middle of the street, and confronted the officer.
“Darakjy began yelling something (like), ‘What the hell do you want, and why are you stopping me?’” according to a police report.
Darakjy ignored the commands of police, walked back to his pickup truck and leaned inside.
He acknowledged that he was armed. When officers told him not to go for a gun, Darakjy allegedly said, “I won’t, but if I have to I will,” according to a police report.
Fearing Darakjy was reaching for a firearm, the officer pinned the Darakjy’s arms behind him and handcuffed his wrists. Police said Darakjy kept a rifle on the passenger side of the truck’s cab.
Darakjy told Magistrate Judge Robert Caldwell on Tuesday that he has a wife, 10 children, 62 grandchildren and two great-grandkids. He’s a veteran who had been on active duty for 22 months. He has titanium hips and a disabled arm. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but he was unable to get his medications in jail. He said he feared for his life behind bars.
“I do not want to go back to depression, because it is hell on earth,” he said.
Ranger, he said, is his emotional-support dog.
Darakjy said he missed his previous court appointments because he was out of town.
Caldwell lowered Darakjy’s bond from $10,000 to $5,000 and said he would set a series of hearings for Darakjy that the defendant must attend.
Resisting an officer, the formal charge Darakjy faces, carries up to six months jail time, $1,000 fine and two years probation.
The incidents of the past couple of days, and the prospect of losing his dog, Darakjy told the judge, “has put me in extreme emotional distress.”