Saturday, February 8, 2014

Update on the fatal mauling of Dayton woman Klonda Richey.

Klonda Richey, age 57, was mauled to death by her next door neighbors dogs just outside her Dayton Ohio home yesterday.  Her next door neighbors.  Andrew Nason, age 28, and Julie Custer, age 25, were arrested and charged with reckless homicide.  For video of the arrest please click here.  Nason has previously been booked on suspicion of child endangerment. 

Ms. Richey was an employee of Montgomery County for 25 years.  She worked for the Montgomery County Job and Family Services Administrative Services Division working at the Haines Children's Services Center.  The County Communications Director made this statement about Ms. Richey "“She looked after the supply needs of our workers at The Haines Children’s Center. Those who knew her within JFS remember her fondly. Our sympathy goes out to her family, friends and co-workers.”

Dayton police described the dogs as pit bulls.   County Montgomery County Dog Warden Mark Kumpf initially described the dogs as Bull Mastiffs and stated that they were registered as such.  Not so fast. WDTN News searched the County Auditors website and found that the dogs were actually recorded as "mixed breeds" not  Bull Mastiffs as Kumpf claimed.  Kumpf's breed identification has continued to evolve, currently they are "mixed Mastiffs" but he now believes that are "part Cane Corso" for no apparent reason.  

I find a section of the 1991 Ohio Supreme Court ruling Ohio v. Anderson  relevant here.  I include the whole passage lest I be accused of pulling a quote out of context.  " In addition to arguing that the statute does not provide fair notice to potential offenders, appellee contends that the statute poses an unfair danger of arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement. Appellee's contention is based on the confusion which he believes has arisen as to whether the statute covers only purebred pit bulls or mixed breeds as well. We perceive this as a problem of semantics alone. If a dog possesses the physical and behavioral traits discussed in this opinion, then its owner must comply with the statute or risk arrest and prosecution for noncompliance. The formal breed name which has been assigned to the dog is not relevant.

Before executing an arrest, an officer need not ask for the dog's papers and determine how it would be classified by the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club. Given the urgent circumstances under which pit bull-related arrests are generally executed, it would be counterproductive to compel officers to do extensive research into the background of a particular dog prior to arrest. Allowing the officer to execute the arrest based on observations of the dog's appearance and behavior leads to a rational administration of the statute. As the court recognized in American Dog Owners Assn. v. Dade Cty., supra, at 1537, "[p]resently, there exists no better method of identifying a pit bull dog than by its appearance. * * * Even if a scientific method is developed to identify breeds of dogs, an enforcement scheme will still depend on initial visual identification. * * *"

The passage of HB 14 does not modify the Supreme Court ruling.  Ohio v. Anderson still stands.  The police had the right to call it like they saw it.  "The formal breed name which has been assigned to the dog is not relevant" "an enforcement scheme will still depend on initial visual inspection."   

For a photo of one of the dogs involved please click here.  This hot mess of a canine, complete with dog fighter ear trim and testicles is one of the killers.  The photo is from Julie Custer's Facebook page.  This is not a Poodle or a Pug, this dog is what Ohio v. Anderson would call "commonly known as a pit bull dog."  

Records indicate that nine complaints had been made about the two dogs, plus six 911 calls, at least 5 of these calls appear to have been made by Richey because she was afraid of the dogs .  Dayton police told reporters that 911 calls to police may not result in a police report but are sent to the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center run by county Dog Warden Kumpf.  Kumpf acknowledged receipt of those complaints but gave this weak response "“We are aware of additional complaints, unfortunately, the owners have never responded to any of our calls to the best of our knowledge. We are looking into this matter,” Kumpf said.   “We have had previous complaints on the animals but we’ve never located them or seen them.”

The owners did not respond so the complaints were ignored?  Nine times?  Mr. Kumpf, it is your job to investigate, and enforce law.  Kumpf additionally stated "Any large breed dog has the potential to seriously injure or kill a person.  Anybody who encounters a dog that they're not familiar with should try and back away from the situation.  If they are not able to do so, one of the things that we recommend is that they make themselves a smaller target as possible."    This unbelievably insensitive comment to make after a fatal mauling was made by none other that Mark Kumpf,  new president of the Ohio County Dog Warden's Association and past president of the National Animal Control Association.  Who screens candidates for these organizations?
Here is Kumpf's announcement from his Facebook page
So after leaving Virginia and the Virginia Animal Control Association President's position, I've found myself in Ohio for 7 years. I stepped up and took on the position of Treasurer for the Ohio County Dog Wardens Association for the last several years. Today I presided over the first of many meetings as the new President of the Ohio County Dog Wardens Association. I've got a great board comprised of both new faces and experienced folks supporting the association and our members as we move into 2014. It is my privilege to work with such an awesome group of animal control professionals representing Ohio's 88 counties. I intend to insure that we live up to our motto "Striving to be Man's and Dog's Best Friend" as I take the helm of the oldest continually meeting state animal control association.

Mark's post of 2/7/2014
Been in animal control since August 1989. Today counts as the hardest day I have ever had and the worst case I have responded to in my career. Can't say enough good things about the professionals at the ARC - ACCO's Torbin Peterson, Brian Baker &Kandi Angi Broadus & Dr Kelly Meyer and all the folks who helped work our case today.
The same can be said of Klonda Richey, her hardest day ever too, and her last.  "Striving to be Man's and Dog's best friend"?  Ms. Richey was obviously very familiar with these dogs and she was afraid of them. Her concerns and her requests for help were ignored and she died.  Now the County Dog Warden who failed to do his job nine times is head of the Ohio County Dog Warden's Association as well as past President of the National Animal Control Association (2007 to 2009).   This is obscene.

The passage of HB 14, written by lawyers employed by Best Friends Animal Society and strongly promoted by failed County Dog Warden Kumpf was to have protected Ohio residents from ALL dangerous dogs.  The claim was that the law "finally gave Dog Wardens the tools to deal with dangerous dogs."  With the previously unrecognized death of Elizabeth Hirt of Miami County Ohio, not Montgomery County as has been incorrectly stated in several news articles, this brings the total number of Ohio residents killed by dogs to seven in the two years since the passage of the breed neutral law.  Does this look like a success to anyone?