Sunday, May 24, 2020

Pit bull roundup 5/24/2020 Repeat offenders, pit attacks upon shelter workers and volunteers, police shoot attacking pits, children and political candidates attacked by pit bulls, police bitten by pit bulls they were trying to help

Lorain Ohio
Lorain County
A girl was bitten in the face by a pit bull mix reportedly "let out accidentally" by the pit bull owner's son.  The pit owner, responsibly, put the dog in the house and called 911 while providing first aid until first responders arrived. 

The dog owner reported that her dog has bitten other dogs in the past but never a human.  The child was transported to Mercy Health for treatment.

How does this happen?  Why are known biters allowed to remain in communities?  Nobody could see this coming?

Per the Morning Journal "Police issued a summons to the owner and that the dog would need to be on a 10-day quarantine in her home.
It is unknown what provoked the attack in this incident, as the dog has not been reported to have displayed any previous aggression, the report said."

But... but... but... this is the THIRD incident involving the dog in the last two years, "the dog has not been reported to have displayed any previous aggression"?  What?  

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Cleveland Ohio
Cuyahoga County

A dog was euthanized after attacking a shelter worker AND a volunteer.  No breed was mentioned but as of 12/12/2019 the Cleveland Kennel offered 86 dogs for adoption and 83 of them are pit bulls so we can make a guess that the offending dog was a pit bull.

The volunteer suffered minor injuries, the shelter worker lost a finger which was recovered. did not indicate that the finger was reattached. Both the shelter worker and the volunteer were transported to Metrohealth for treatment.  The kennel was closed for the remainder of the day on Thursday while authorities investigated the attack.
Cleveland Kennel on Detroit Avenue
The Cleveland Kennel

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Heath Ohio
Licking County

A 9-year-old child and two adults were critically injured after being attacked by 2 pit bulls inside a Heath Ohio residence.  Police received a call on a "dog bite" and found one of the two pit bulls still attached to a victim.  Lethal force was used. 

All three critically injured victims were hospitalized.  Six puppies and the two dead pit bulls were taken by local animal control.  Two uninjured children found in the home were taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

"In a 911 call recording, a woman who identified herself as Cathy Singledecker, told a dispatcher her two pitbulls had attacked "everybody in the house." The woman asked the dispatcher to send someone to come put the dogs down."  
Heath Police Chief Dave Haren said officials found 'unlivable' conditions inside the home.
"The animals were not let outside, maybe at all. But definitely not regularly," Haren said. "The conditions in all areas of the house were unacceptable related to health and sanitary issues."
Heath police reports three children, including a 9-year-old with critical injuries, were barricaded inside the home to prevent further attacks. Police said lethal force was used against both dogs."

How does this even happen?  This is not normal.

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Lorain Ohio
Lorain County

If you have some extra money here is a great place to send it.  A Lorain Ohio child was with both her sisters and her mother.  They were walking to their car when the 8-year-old was mauled by the neighbor's pit bull.  I will not include a photo out of respect for the child's privacy but send some cash, please.  Click here for the gofundme page.

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New Marshfield
Athens County

This is not a first in our state.  A judicial candidate hs been attacked by pit bulls while canvassing door-to-door.  Several years ago Virginia Conlan Whitman was similarly attacked while posting signs for her husband's re-election.  Mrs. Whitman was seriously injured, required hospitalization, surgery and rehabilitation. 

Candidate Rusty Rittenhouse was attacked by two pit bulls that escaped from a secluded home through a doggie door.  Mr. Rittenhouse required stitches in his leg and in his hand. 


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Willoughby Ohio
Lake County

Two Willoughby police officers were bitten by a male pit bull mix they were trying to help.  The pit bull was running at large in very cold weather.  Officers were attempting to get the animal into the back seat of the police cruiser.  Both officers were treated for minor hand injuries at Lake West Medical Center.
Never approach a pit bull even if you think he might be cold.  No good will come of it. 
2 Willoughby Police officers treated for hand injuries after getting bit by pit bull that was on the loose

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Rocky River Ohio
Cuyahoga County

A resident of the peaceful community of Rocky River reported that she was out walking her dog and it was attacked by a neighbor's pit bull.  Her dog required surgery and Rocky River Animal Control is following up. In other news, no resident or pet was injured by an attacking Irish Setter or Pug.

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Galion Ohio
Crawford County 

Per Crawford County  Moral of the story, take them off the streets when they bite someone the first time.

1:52 p.m.-A report of two pit bulls running loose in the 100 block of First Avenue. The dogs were picked up by the Crawford County Dog Warden as they bit someone last week.

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Mayfield Heights Ohio
Cuyahoga County

Per, Animals: West Miner Road

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Ohio Pit Bull Rescue Network
Location shown as simply "Ohio"

The Ohio Pit Bull Rescue Network has posted a request from a Florence Kentucky pit bull owner.
"I'm looking for any help/suggestions please! This is my male Pitt Rambo. I rescued him about 6 months ago. He turned a year in March. He was my snuggie buddy, he was very protective of me and loved me.. until last Friday evening. We were playing fetch in my backyard. After about the 3rd throw. He just stopped I seen something come over him.
The next thing I know. I'm in the fight of my life. He attacked me and seriously could have killed me. But I know how he was before this happened. He's at the shelter for 10 days. 5 days in already to see if rabies develop. Then they will put him down.
I'm so torn with emotions all I do is cry. And I know he can't come home. But as crazy as it sounds. I don't want him to die. I'm not sure if a professional trainer can help him. I'm a mess! Sorry for the long post and typos."
Image may contain: dog and indoor
While we may be sympathetic to the plight of this pit bull owner, it is not difficult to see where this went wrong.  The woman did what she thought would be a good deed and "rescued" a 6-month old-pit bull.  Why did a 6-month-old pit bull require rescue?  The most obvious guess would be aggression. This dog has turned on at just over a year of age, not unusual.  The owner was attacked without provocation and acknowledges the danger here.  The dog can't come home.

A professional trainer cannot train away DNA.  Shamefully, shelters and rescues promote dogs with known aggression or an unknown history as pets to those who will suffer when DNA kicks in. 

Stop promoting dangerous dogs.  Do the right thing for public safety as painful as that might be.

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Mayfield Heights Ohio
Cuyahoga County

Two loose pit bulls chased after several people in the area near Oakville Road.  The pit bulls bit a woman who required transport to a medical facility for treatment. A man was bitten but uninjured.  The pit bulls also chased police officers, one officer was forced to fire his gun at them, striking the pit bull twice.  The pit bull ran to its home (should make writing the citations easier).  The other pit bull ran off.  Those who live in the area should be VERY careful.

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Westlake Ohio
Cuyahoga County

How long do we think Lester will remain in the "sanctuary" before he is placed with someone who has no knowledge of the dog's history?  Reported in the West Life News.

Owners fined; agree to move dog from Westlake neighborhood

The pitbull mix’s owners, Edward and Amy Salim of Westlake, were fined $250 and placed on one year of probation as part of the agreement with Magistrate Marisa A. Marniella on Nov. 12.
The Salims entered into a plea agreement for having a dog at large and not keeping Lester under reasonable control. They are required to notify the local animal warden of Lester’s location and comply with the state’s dangerous-dog laws.
The Salims were in court because Lester had bitten Chelsea, a golden retriever, while she was walking with one of her owners near her home in the Riviera Lane neighborhood Sept. 11 and because of other biting incidents dating to the spring, police said.
Todd Rambasek, one of Chelsea’s owners, said he is satisfied with the decision.
“I’m happy that he is out of the neighborhood,” Rambasek said. “I’m happy that the dog wasn’t put down and I’m happy that the dog’s owners can go visit their dog if they choose.”
Rambasek said he knows most people care about their pets and that people in the neighborhood are happy with the outcome.
“Now people will have the chance to heal from all of this,” Rambasek said.
Chelsea is recovering from her wounds as well, he said.
Edward Salim said Thursday he understands the rationale behind the decision.
“People want their homes and families safe, including their pets,” he said.
Salim said he doesn’t think he’ll visit Lester in Lorain County.
“He’ll have a new home and family around him there,” Salim said. “It should be good for all the people involved.”
Salim said he was going to find a new home for Lester even before the court decision because of the tension the biting problems had caused.
Westlake Law Director Michael Maloney said the decision allows people to move on.
“I am glad we were able to reach some closure,” Maloney said in a statement. “It was a dangerous situation. The case created tension in the neighborhood, which no one wants or needs, but the matter had to be addressed. The city was not going to wait for something even worse to happen. There are young children on the defendant’s street. I do not have to explain what can happen with an aggressive dog this size running on the loose.”

This was not Lester's first offense and he was not alone.  Lester's owners had two pit bulls and they were both involved in the attack upon Chelsea.   Here is the photo featured with this article.

This was not "discrimination" it was stone cold experience.  Here is a link to a response by the owner of the Golden.  She is much more tolerant than I would be but she makes a strong point for enforcement of dangerous dog laws.  

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Settlement reached in Dayton dog mauling death of Klonda Richey.

Six years after the mauling death of Klonda Richey, a settlement has been reached between the family of Ms. Richey and Montgomery County Commissioners.  Montgomery County will pay Richey's sister and brother 3.5 million dollars.  Montgomery County commissioners are expected to approve the settlement on March 31st.  The settlement will allow Montgomery to avoid a messy trial in the wrongful death case.  Per the Dayton Daily News " “This lovely lady passed away. You never get over that,” said Montgomery County Commission President Judy Dodge. “But it has been dragging on for a while … Nobody wants to go through a trial.”  

No, Ms. Dodge, this lovely lady did not peacefully "pass away" she was brutally mauled to death by her neighbor's dogs and her death was predictable, she predicted it herself.   Per the attorney representing the Richey estate  “The evidence is clear that Ms. Richey experienced prolonged conscious pain and suffering prior to her death.”
Deadly dog attack: Klonda Richey's body was found torn to shreds on the snow-covered sidewalk outside her Ohio home on Friday
Photo by WKEF News of the snow in front of Klonda Richey's home saturated with her blood.

Ms. Richey's thirteen complaints to the then County Dog Warden Mark Kumpf, made from 2012 until the time of her death in 2014, received no response other than sternly worded post-it notes left on the door of neighbors and dog owners Andrew Nason and Julie Custer. There was absolutely no follow-up to these post-it notes because Kumpf was "unaware" that follow-up was required.  Here is a quote from Kumpf, the link is no longer live.  " Per WDTN  Numerous warnings were left for the dog owners at 35 East Bruce Avenue, but no action was taken. Kumpf says a warning is simply a notice that an officer responded to a complaint. There’s really no follow-up after that unless the owner calls the Animal Resource Center to find out more.This is the problem, zero follow- up. No Dangerous Dog designation was ever produced, no fines, no containment orders, no orders to obtain insurance.  This was the typical response to complaints made to dog warden Kumpf, a dog warden with multiple human fatalities in his county during his watch due to his refusal to enforce the law.  Please read the 2016 ruling from the Court of Appeals of Ohio Second Appellate District Montgomery County for an eye-opening explanation of Kumpf's business model.  That model included, in addition to the refusal to enforce the law, refusal to answer phone calls, destruction of records, instructions to his staff to write fewer citations and zero follow-up to post-it note citations.

Unlike most high-dollar settlements, this one will result in actual payment.  This payment may set a precedent for other victim-led lawsuits against other city Animal Control departments where priority currently favors inaction (sloth) protecting the owners of violent dogs over the safety of the public.   Will it change how laws are enforced?  Less sloth and more actual protection for peaceful people in their own communities?  What a refreshing change this would be.

Montgomery County went into damage control overdrive after the Dayton deaths of Richey and 7-month-old Jonathan Quarles Jr, killed by a relative's pit bull that was known to the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center as a dangerous dog but was allowed to remain in the community. In an effort to salvage their reputation Montgomery County Commissioners sponsored a two-day seminar for law enforcement and animal control officers from all over Ohio, links are no longer live.  Per WDTN News " Officers, along with animal shelter employees, and municipal and county prosecutors met inside Sinclair Community College for a seminar to discuss ways to improve the response and investigation of dog mauling cases. The group also took time to discuss changing and adding legislation and asking legislators to strengthen dog laws."  The seminar was held prior to the Dayton pit bull mauling death of Maurice Brown.  Dog Warden Kumpf failed to attend?  Was asleep in the back row? 

Bills strengthening Ohio dog laws still languish in committees in the Ohio State House to the shame of all Ohio lawmakers. 

But, I digress.  Allowing Kumpf to remain in his position for years after his failures became public knowledge and holding a seminar for Animal Control professionals did little to protect the interests of the Montgomery County Commissioners or soften the blow to local taxpayers. This is a big lawsuit and it should have a big impact.  

Mark Kumpf at the time of his firing by Montgomery County commissioners.  Kumpf is now serving as head of Animal Control in Detroit, another city where death by dog mauling is a sad reality. Of all the possibilities, Detroit decided that Kumpf was the best choice to head their mess of an animal control department? 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Dayton infant killed inside the family home after being attacked by the family pit bull. Has breed neutral law made Ohio safer?

Dayton Ohio
Montgomery County

Four-month-old McKenzie Terwill died after being attacked by the family pit bull inside the family home.  The pit bull has been quarantined and the attack is under investigation.  McKenzie is the eighteenth Ohio resident killed by dogs since the Ohio Legislature allowed Best Friends Animal Society to re-write state law.  Best Friends promised that their new breed-neutral law would make Ohio communities safer.  Is anyone shocked that the promise has proven false? 

Nope.  In the decade prior to the change in state law Ohio had 5 dog bite-related fatalities.  In the less-than-eight-years since the passage of HB 14 Ohio has seen eighteen fatal dog attacks. Stunning.

Our thanks to former Representative Barbara Sears and Ledy Vankavage's legal department at Best  Friends Animal Society for bringing this disaster to Ohio.

9-13 Police lights_255658

Update - A neighbor reported that dogs at the home where the infant died were "mean, vicious, barkers, chasers" and caused people to avoid the location.  The investigation is being handled by the Special Victims Unit.

Update - Per the Dayton Daily News, "The Dayton Daily News today obtained an affidavit written by Dayton Police Detective Karina Sulek seeking permission to search and collect evidence in the case.  Sulek wrote when officers arrived at the home on the 100 block of Vermont Avenue on Jan. 9, the baby’s father, Parker Terwell, was on the front porch with the baby’s remains.

“Mr. Terwell said he just arrived home, and his girlfriend and mother of the child, Mary Shoup, was asleep on the living room sofa,” the affidavit in the search warrant requests says. “Mr. Terwell informed officers that Ms. Shoup is on prescription medication.”

Photo of house where McKenzie Terwell was killed by dog next to photo of Beware of Dog sign in its window

In another update, this from WDTN News "The search warrant states that the prescriptions that were found have side effects such as drowsiness, cognitive dysfunction, and insomnia. The father also told officers that he threw out a bong before they arrived."  

Monday, September 23, 2019

Pit bull roundup 9/23/2019. Detroit makes the worst possible choice, pit bulls attack veterinarians, law enforcement officers, and peaceful neighborhood residents. Pit bulls are neglected by their owners.

This post marks a milestone.  The Scorched Earth blog has well over a quarter of a million page views.  Thanks for reading!  There is no shortage of pit bull news in Ohio and elsewhere so we will begin, again, with an astonishing story out of Detroit that appears to mark the outer limits of insanity.

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Detroit Michigan

In an unbelievably illogical and irresponsible move, the city of Detroit has hired failed Montgomery County Dog Warden Mark Kumpf to take over Detroit Animal Control in response to the uproar caused by fatal and very serious pit bull maulings in the city. This choice of Kumpf to head Detroit Animal Control indicates that those responsible for this hiring failed to examine Mr. Kumpf's background and job performance in Montgomery County. One would expect this story to come from The Onion but it is for real.  Wow...

For more information on Kumpf's job performance in Montgomery County just enter his name in the search box at the top left of this page.  You will be here all day.

Here is the Cliff's Notes version of the most recent and most serious charges.
Mr. Kumpf served as Montgomery County Dog Warden from 2006 to 2018 when he was fired.  Montgomery County suffered four fatal dog attacks on Kumpf's watch.  That has to be a record.  During Kumpf's tenure as head of Montgomery County Animal Resource Center, the organization did not focus on enforcing the law and publically so.  Kumpf favored an educational model for his department over enforcing the law.  This was an excuse for absolute sloth.  When tasked with enforcement of law related to vicious dogs the ARC staff put sternly worded post-it notes on the front doors of irresponsible dog owners rather than citations.  Mr. Kumpf claimed that he was under the impression that his staff must actually see the violation prior to enforcing the law.  Anyone who had ever actually read the Ohio Revised Code section on dogs knew this to be false. 

PLEASE read the Court of Appeals ruling In Schneider v. Kumpf allowing the family of dog mauling victim Klonda Richey to sue Kumpf directly.  This document is amazing for its clarity. 

This photo of the family of the most recent pit bull victim in Detroit, nine-year-old Emma Hernandez tears at the heart.  These good people deserve more than what Detroit residents were given.  We are SO sorry!
    Francisco Hernandez, uncle of nine-year-old dog-mauling victim Emma Hernandez grieves the tragic loss of his niece as he stands with Tira Nowden, 9, of Detroit beside a makeshift memorial in front of Emma's house.

There is already a petition to have Kumpf removed from his new position in Detroit.  
A public protest is also scheduled.
The Dayton Daily News has picked up the story as well.

You can't make this stuff up.

10/1/2019 Update.
It does not look like things are going well for Mark Kumpf in Detroit.  Protesters are marching.
More than 28 animal-rights advocates protest the appointment of Mark Kumpf, director of Detroit's Animal Care and Control (DACC) division, in front of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, Tuesday morning.

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University Heights Ohio
Cuyahoga County

A veterinarian was bitten on the forearm by a pit bull during an exam at the Green Road Animal Hospital.  The bite was described as causing severe trauma and the veterinarian was transported to a local hospital for treatment.  A 10-day confinement was ordered for the pit bull.  One may assume that confinement will not be at the Green Road Animal Hospital.  Will the injury limit ability of the veterinarian to routine exams and surgeries? 

Only one veterinarian is listed at the Green Road Animal Hospital, Kelly Rehmer, she is the owner of the business.  How will the clinic operate during her recovery?  Will Dr. Rehmer be able to find another vet to fill in for her?   The financial impact on staff?

This may be a disaster for the Green Road Animal Hospital.

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Washington Twp
Clermont County

A Clermont County Deputy Sherrif was delivering a court summons when he was attacked by a pit bull   Per WLWT5 "When the deputy walked onto the porch, a large dog charged him, bit him and held onto his leg, the Sheriff's Office said. The deputy steadied himself on the porch railing to maintain his balance as the dog continued to try to drag him by his leg.
The dog died of a gunshot wound. Clermont County Animal Control personnel arrived at the home and took the dog to a local animal hospital. The dog was later identified as an American pit bull.

The deputy was transported to a local hospital for treatment.  Please note - the dog released the deputy's leg only when it was dead.

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Willoughby Ohio
Lake County

A Willoughby couple abandoned their sick and injured pit bull mix, Lucy in near-freezing temperatures.  Lucy was found on December 4th running at large in a wooded area.  Alvaro Torres pleaded guilty to cruelty to companion animals and was sentenced to jail time served plus one-year probation.  Pica Torres pleaded guilty to attempted cruelty to companion animals and was sentenced to one-year probation. In addition, they were ordered to pay a $150 fine, plus $1,390 in restitution to the Lake County Dog Shelter for the care of the dog.  It was also ordered that they are prohibited from owning a companion animal. 

Pit bull advocates claim that pit bulls suffer abuse and they are correct.  However, that abuse comes at the hands of their owners, not the peaceful public.  Advocates burning to educate should focus their educational efforts on pit bull owners.  Teach humane treatment of animals.  Teach the benefits of neuter and spay.  Teach responsible confinement in order to protect the safety of the peaceful public.  Teach the responsible practice of carrying insurance to cover the medical bills of victims.  If these concerns were addressed then there would be no need for, and no interest in BSL.   

Clean up your own mess.

The condition of this animal is a disgrace and the peaceful public is not responsible for it.

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Brookpark Ohio
Cuyahoga County

A pit bull ran out of a house to attack a dog being walked by a woman.  She was just walking her dog minding her own business.  The owner of the pit bull ran out of the house and stopped the attack.  The woman took her dog to a local vet for treatment and in a nearly unheard-of development, the pit bull owner paid the vet bill.  Wow.

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We have hundreds more pit attacks to cover but no more time today.


Friday, April 26, 2019

Pit bull roundup, short form 4/26/2019 Pit bulls on the roof, repeat offender pit bulls back with owners who can't contain them, pit attacks with multiple victims by pits with a multiple bite history, dog fighters harboring pitbulls (surprise) and interesting out of state rulings.

It has been far too long since the last Pit Bull Roundup, this is not due to lack of material but rather to the futility of reporting what does not change.  We are so far behind in reporting Ohio pit bull attacks that we will never catch up. Today we share a few recent attacks with many more to follow.

We will begin.

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Lorain Ohio
Lorain County

Cleveland Ohio
Cuyahoga County

The Lorain County Dog Warden was called to remove a pit bull from a roof.  This is not unusual with pit bulls but unheard of with Irish Setters or Beagles.

Cleveland Police were called for a similar scenario.  A dog had been tied up on a second story porch, jumped the railing and was found dangling off the front of the house.  Police were able to rescue the dog, a pit bull.  Video is available by clicking here.  The pit bull was uninjured and ran off after his rescue.  Bet the neighbors were thrilled.

Have police ever been called for a Pug on the roof?

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Greenville Ohio
Darke County

A couple was joyfully reunited with a pit bull that they had lost two different times.  The couple, Jason Hunt and Hillary Frech, live outside New Madison. Their 6-year-old red-nose pitbull terrier, Kiara, had run off once before, prompting a man who worked nearby to threaten to kill the animal if it strayed back onto his property. When Kiara vanished again in September of last year, they feared that was just what had happened.

The threat was not enough to convince the pit bull owners to improve containment and supervision of their pit bull.  Kiara vanished again, gone for months until they saw a posting from the Darke County Shelter.  There she was, held in a shelter that does not adopt pit bulls directly to the public.  In order to reclaim the pit bull that the owners clearly can't contain or control, Hunt and Frech had to rely on a rescue as an intermediary 501c3 rescue to avoid liability for the County shelter.

Now that they have their repeat runaway pit bull back will containment improve?  Not likely.  It's a revolving door for pit bulls.

Bark Animal Rescue in Greenville helped reunite a Darke County couple with their lost pitbull.

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Akron Ohio
Summit County

This story is hard to follow.  Please hang in there.  Three people were hospitalized and a mail carrier was injured in multiple dog attacks by the same dogs on the same day.

A woman, peacefully walking in her own community was attacked by three "dogs".  Three men driving by noted the attack in progress and stopped to help the woman.  These courageous men were unable to pull the dogs off their victim so they changed tactics and beat them off.  The victim was transported to a local hospital with extensive injuries.

Prior to the attack upon the woman reported above, three other people reported attacks by three "dogs."  A second woman reported being attacked as she attempted to get out of her own van.  Hearing the victim's screams, a man came to help her.  The man was attacked as well.  Both of these two victims were transported to a local hospital with extensive injuries.

The "dogs" ran away and attacked a mail carrier.  The mail carrier sprayed the "dogs" with mace but was bitten on the thigh. The "dogs" were picked up by animal control.

Photos of the three dogs are found on this link.  They are all pit bulls but we already knew that.

Update 4/9/2019

The pit bull owner, Diane Yanke, had a pre-trial hearing in Akron, she has been charged with 21 misdemeanors, including five counts of having vicious dogs, t hr ee counts of physical harm, not having insurance and not having her pit bulls confined.  Per ABC News 5, Cleveland "  Criminal charges, related to controlling pit bulls, have been filed against Yanke three others times since September. In one case, a 62-year-old man was bitten, suffering a puncture wound on his right arm.

Akron pit bull owner in court after attacks

Update 4/26/2019
Pretrial is scheduled for 4/26/2019.  Pit bull owner Diane Yanke still harbors pit bulls and the first victim in the March 4th Akron attack, Social Worker Sarah Friddle refuses to back down.  This will play out in court.

Yanke's dogs were put down but she still has another dog.  Bet her neighbors are thrilled.

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These are not Ohio stories but one out of Iowa has a lot to do with the Reynoldsburg ruling so we are throwing it out there for your consideration.  The other is a change in law in Citrus County Florida that indicates a long overdue change in direction with the treatment of vicious dogs.  We begin with Citrus County.  Citrus County has had far too many violent dog attacks and has changed shelter procedures in an effort to better protect public safety. Per the Citrus County Chronicle " commissioners gave unanimous approval Tuesday to a set of procedures designed to provide closer care of dogs and cats, preparing them for adoption.
The five-day hold was eliminated, but also the county will no longer provide dogs to rescue groups that it would not allow for adoption."   

If a dog is too vicious to adopt out directly to the public it is inappropriate for handing over to a rescue that will adopt it out into a peaceful community.  Logic is a beautiful thing.  

On to Iowa.  The Iowa Supreme Court backed the rights of a community to declare a dog dangerous.  Pinky (a pit bull) attacked a cat and was declared a dangerous dog.
0416 Pinky 02.JPG
After the attack, Des Moines animal control declared Pinky a vicious dog/high risk based on her breed, and a dangerous dog based upon her conduct.  Local law required insurance and proof of vaccination from her original owner, Charles Brickell.  Brickell did not challenge the high-risk designation of his dog at the time he obtained Pinky but let insurance and vaccination lapse for six years until Pinky's attack upon Rebel the neighbor's cat.  When Pinky was seized by animal control, Brickell sold Pinky to Diana Helmers, the owner of an animal rescue located outside the city of Des Moines. This began a three-year slog through the courts.  The end result was an evenly divided Supreme Court ruling.  The evenly divided ruling deferred to the lower court ruling that declared the Des Moines high-risk dog law constitutional.  Here is a link to the final brief from the City of Des Moines.  Bottom line, the constitutionality of Des Moines proactive law was upheld.

Can it be hoped that these rulings might indicate a change for the better in protecting the peaceful public from violent dogs?

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Columbus Ohio
Franklin County

Twenty dogs were "rescued" from the property of German Sanchez, in addition, a dead dog was found.  Sanchez was charged with one count of dog fighting and one count of possession of crack cocaine.  Sanchez was found during an investigation into drug trafficking and his connection to dog fighting became clear.
Thirteen of the dogs were mature pit bulls, one was a Yorkie, six puppies of an unspecified breed were "rescued" per Mark Gofstein, a spokesman for the Franklin County sheriff's office.  The dogs are in the custody of the Columbus Humane Society.   “To be able to get all of these dogs away from a horrible situation is a good days work,” Gofstein said."
At least 13 of these dogs are game bred, pit tested fighting dogs. Their situation was horrible but the peaceful public is not responsible for this and should not be put at risk by any foolish, reckless attempt to turn at least 13 pit tested fighting dogs into pets.   The Yorkie should be a safe placement.    20 dogs rescued from suspected dog-fighting ringGerman Sanchez, booking photo.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Luke Westerman is back in Ohio. Things are not going well for him. An update.

Luke Westerman returned to Franklin County, was booked into the Franklin County jail and has posted bond.  It is unclear if the conditions of his bond require him to stay in Ohio but he has no reason to return to Texas.  The El Paso Humane Society has terminated him.

While Westerman stated in a recent televised interview that no one had ever questioned his ethics, that does not appear to be quite correct.  The Franklin County Grand Jury indicted him on 19 counts.  Those serving on the Franklin County Grand Jury appear to question Westerman's ethics. A months-long investigation was done by KFOX14 News.  KFOX 14 makes some interesting points when they state "it is clear he is not who he appears to be."

Ohio court records show a judge ordered him to pay his former employer, Ameriprise, almost $200,000. Money he hasn't paid."

Reporters for TV News Stations seldom initiate a months-long investigation into the lives and backgrounds of city residents if there is no reason to question the ethics of that individual.

I have read the indictments, they certainly point to ethics violations. You can read them yourself.  Click on this news story. Charges are included in the text.

Three members of the Board of Directors of the El Paso Humane Society resigned due to their concerns about Westerman's background. Questioned his ethics?  Apparently so.

Greg Leach, a former Solomon Global Holdings (Westerman's company) employee in Columbus stated that those working for Solomon Global Holdings received excuses but no actual paychecks.  Mr. Leach considered this an ethical violation for sure. Leach told KFOX 28 reporters in Columbus  "Whoever he touched was affected by some sort of unethical behavior. "Everybody's out to get what's theirs. Luke did a great job of teaching me that."

Leach noted that as Solomon Global Holdings began to fizzle Westerman turned to animal activism. KFOX 28 in Columbus Ohio noted  "Westerman later resurfaced as an animal rights activist in Columbus, primarily advocating for pitbulls. He parlayed that into the Texas job."

Per KFOX14 " It also appears Westerman claimed to have run the Westerman Family Foundation, but no records exist to indicate the foundation is registered with the IRS or Ohio Secretary of State."  This appears to be an ethical problem.  There is an actual Westerman Family Foundation but it is a completely different Westerman Family.

KFOX 14 also states that Westerman is not in fact, a college graduate.  He does not have a Bachelor's Degree despite frequently claiming one.  Westerman prepared a biographical handout to be given to lawmakers when he testified.  The handout states "Mr. Westerman is a graduate of Mount Vernon Nazarene University where he earned a BS in Finance and Marketing." You can read it for your self.
Westerman makes the same claim here, on his 2015 website, One does not ethically claim academic qualifications one has not earned.  If KFOX 14 has made this accusation in error this should be very easy to clear up.  Produce a diploma or even a cap-and-gown photo.  Every graduate gets a cap-and-gown photo and every parent of a college graduate frames and proudly displays their son or daughter's photo. Westerman's parents live in the Columbus area and should be able to supply the picture if Westerman has lost his.

Per KFOX 14 "A search of county records in Ohio shows numerous pending judgments against Westerman including tax liens from the state, garnishment orders and a judgment against Solomon Global Holdings, his venture capital firm, for breach of contract."  

These pending judgments point to ethical lapses.

The Ohio charges against Westerman are already impacting donations to the El Paso Humane Society.  This is sad.
Jeffery Luke Westerman
Booking photo of Luke Westerman.

Mr. Westerman made a statement on Facebook.  “To the thousands of you who have texted, called and direct messaged your words of love, support and encouragement (you know who you are), my family and I are eternally grateful for your kind heart, thoughtfulness and discernment,”  “This too shall pass and good will prevail, as it always does in the end. That fact gives me endless strength and confidence. And in the interim, I will continue to use all of my energy to make the world a better place for animals and people. God bless you, my friends."  

In his Facebook remarks, Westerman does not directly address his arrest, his firing or the 19 fraud charges he was indicted on in Ohio.

When asked for a statement by an NBC4 reporter Westerman sent the reporter, Tom Sussi a message via Facebook
 “I would never do anything unethical,” “It is completely against every single fiber of my being and everything I stand for."

Westerman pleaded not guilty to all 19 charges.  Mr. Westerman is innocent until proven guilty.  This will be an unattractive trial.

As a final thought and a final link, Please click here.  Westerman gave his thoughts on ethical living on his website, currently found only in Internet archives.  The quotes are set into tasteful colored blocks in a pleasant font. You sort of expect these quotes came from the Bible or that they were the words of Gandhi.

"The world is hectic and most people are focused on themselves.
I prefer a simpler life focused on helping others."
Luke Westerman

"Genuine concern for the welfare of others to the point
of action is the hallmark of altruism."
Luke Westerman

There is a whole lot going on here. A lot of that may be ethical violations.  It is up to the justice system in Ohio to sort this out.

Friday, January 4, 2019

An Ohio pit bull advocate indicted on 19 counts of theft and securities violations, updates included. Women attacked by pit bulls, attacks by newly adopted pit bulls, pit bulls invade a home to kill two small resident dogs, I Have a Dream learned nothing from past placement failures. .

Luke Westerman, formerly of Columbus Ohio, a relentless virtue signaling pit bull advocate now lives in El Paso Texas.  Westerman, a self-reported venture capitalist and humanitarian left Ohio about a year ago for a position as the Executive Director of the Humane Society of El Paso. How could this position possibly pay enough to maintain Westerman's lifestyle?

Westerman indicated at the time that the move was based upon a desire for service to animals.  A news report out of El Paso hints at other possible motives.  Westerman has been indicted for 19 counts of theft and securities violations by an Ohio Grand Jury.  Two of these charges have mandatory prison sentences of 3 to 11 years if he is found guilty. There are also charges that Westerman forged signatures.  An arrest warrant has been issued.  Local TV station KFOX14 Investigative Reporter Genevieve Curtis has been investigating for months.  She did an interview with Westerman in December that appeared January 3, 2018.  The interview is well worth watching.
He said he left a lucrative job working on Wall Street and heading a venture capital firm to rescue animals."

Turns out, that statement has some holes in it.  Westerman did not leave Wall Street for humanitarian opportunities, he lost his Securities License in 2010.  Westerman refused, on camera, to discuss his past. He stated that any discussion of his financial and legal problems "does not help animals."  He went on to state that "political enemies" are responsible for the current charges and these political enemies have financial interests in harming animals.  Pretty much the standard tactics of those charged with financial crimes.  Westerman claimed that members of the board of directors of the Humane Society of El Paso were aware of the charges and that they fully supported him.  Turns out that was not quite accurate either.  Three members of the board quit, refusing to serve with him.  The board has issued a statement that they will take appropriate action.

Take a few minutes to watch the interview.  Pretty interesting body language here.  Westerman leans forward while defending himself but removes his microphone while speaking and sets it on a chair.  The reporter leans back, away from Westerman during the entire discussion.  She is clearly not buying any of Westerman's excuses.  

At this point, the legal system in Ohio will take over. The charges brought are very serious ones.  It sort of looks like the move to El Paso was less about saving animals and more about fleeing Ohio in an effort to avoid prosecution.  Didn't work.       

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Westerman during the interview.  He sure looks uncomfortable.  Fashion tip, a comb-over is never a good look.   
Luke Westerman (2).jpg

Westerman in happier times.
Luke Westerman

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9/20/2018  Westerman in Ohio prior to his move to Texas. 

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Westerman and his associate Steffen Baldwin. Baldwin also left Ohio under "stressful circumstances."  Baldwin now resides in California.   The shirts are kind of ironic.  These two had lots of business failures, some individual, some together.  Baldwin's ACTOhio failed, Save Them Dog Training never lost the taint of the death of the pit bull, Remy, while in Baldwin's custody.  Baldwin and Westerman partnered on Columbus Pets Alive, that one never got off the ground.   They partnered on Ohioans Against Breed Discrimination, a pit bull PAC.  The goal of OABD was an amendment to the Ohio state constitution to prohibit BSL.  The proud announcement was made by these two that they would raise 5 million dollars to put the issue on the ballot.  Their gofundme page raised roughly $650 in six or seven months and was quietly taken down.  OABD died quietly.

Update, and this is interesting.  From KFOX 14 News.
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Update - Westerman has been charged with swindling 10 Ohio residents out of a total of $700,000 over the last 10 years.  Per KFOX 14 "On Friday, Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien explained the charges by saying between December 2010 and the present, Westerman allegedly “solicited over $700,000 from 10 Ohio citizens for investment purposes, later misrepresented the status of the purported investments in false account statements and used some funds for personal purposes rather than the expressed investment purpose. The cash withdrawals and use for personal expenses from investment funds exceeded $300,000.”
Most of Westerman's charges were for securities fraud but two charges deal with accusations that he used money from an IRA for personal use.  Per KFOX 14 "He also previously settled claims against him in which his clients accused him of forging their signatures on mutual funds.
In the December interview with KFOX14 Investigates, Westerman denied the settlement, even though it was listed in a public record."

You can't make this stuff up.

1/5/2019 Update.  It gets worse.  Per the El Paso Times, "An Ohio man said he alerted the Humane Society of El Paso to fraud allegations against the nonprofit's executive director Jeffery Luke Westerman. 
“I’m the one that blew the whistle on him in El Paso,” said Greg Leach, who worked for a company that was a subsidiary of Westerman’s company, Solomon Global Holdings in Ohio. “I notified the board of directors that they really needed to look into his background and do due diligence into his background because of the situation with him being the main man to go out and raise money for the humane society."
Leach also stated “I was working for a private investigation startup company which was one of his (Westerman) many ventures here in Columbus,” Leach said. “Red flags started to wave when employees weren’t getting paid and the way he was acting. Nobody was getting paid and the various excuses that were given (by Westerman) when it was time (for employees) to collect (their) paychecks…False promises and stories that were too good to be true.”
“After that, the Luke Westerman that wanted to save the animal world came out,” Leach said. “He was very unsuccessful in that area up here in Ohio because I was a humane executive for the Delaware County (Ohio) up here. I started working to not allow him into any of the animal societies here in Ohio, so what better thing for him to do than move to Texas.”

During Westerman's interview, he stated clearly that his integrity had never been questioned.  Looks like that is not quite true.  Mr. Leach sure did.  The Grand Jury in Columbus indicted Westerman on 19 counts.  Does that qualify as "questioning his integrety". I think it might.

You can't make this stuff up. 
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Brookpark Ohio  
Cuyahoga County
A 74-year-old woman was bitten by a loose pit bull.  Per the Brookpark Police blotter, police did not know how the pit bull escaped its yard but the owner was cited.  Here is a clue, it's a pit bull. The victim drove herself to the hospital for treatment. 

Brookpark bans pit bulls.  Laws need to be enforced. 

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Fairview Park Oio
Cuyahoga County

  Dog at large per The west Life's Western Cuyahoga Police Blotter. 
Fairview Park regulates pit bulls.

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Berea Ohio
Cuyahoga County

A newly adopted pit bull slipped his collar to attack a woman walking two leashed dogs.  Per " A Fair Street woman was bitten by a pit bull at about 1 p.m. Oct. 28 while walking her two dogs on West Street.
The pit bull belonged to a North Olmsted man who was walking the dog, along with a second pit bull, past the woman and her dogs. The pit bull that attacked slipped out of its collar and darted toward the woman and her dogs.
The woman picked up her dogs to protect them. The pit bull jumped toward the dogs and bit the woman's hand. She screamed for help.
Witnesses ran toward the woman to assist her. A driver opened his car door and allowed the woman and her dogs to enter his vehicle. The driver called 911. The pit bull's owner gained control of the pit bull.
Paramedics arrived to assess the woman's injury. She refused transport to a local hospital. The dog's owner said he had just adopted the pit bull from the Cleveland Animal Protective League. He said he would return the dog to the APL because of the incident."  
 Hope the shelter will not send this particular pit bull back out into the community.  Unfortunately, shelters maintain a revolving door for pit bulls.  

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Boardman Ohio
Mahoning County

This one is from Jason Cooke's neighborhood.  A pit bull, newly adopted from the Mahoning County Shelter, attacked a child inside a home. This child is a family member of the new owner. The child was treated at Akron Children's Hospital then transferred to the main hospital.  Reportedly, the pit bull was shot by a family member but survived to be picked up by the county dog warden.  While the article does not name the breed WKBN News includes a photo of the dog at the "Yes Fest" at the local high school.  The photo shows a pit bull surrounded by students.  What could go wrong?  Exactly what did go wrong.   Click to view the photo of the dog.

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Gahanna Ohio
Franklin County

Pets are not safe from pit bull attack within the home of their owner.  Thank about that for a minute.  The pit bulls had a history of breaking down the fence and got inside the home through a rear door with a lever handle. Police and officials from the Franklin County shelter work on getting the pit bulls declared dangerous so the pit owners would be required to put a lock on the gate and post Dangerous Dogs" signs.  Apparently, these pit bulls will be allowed to remain in the neighborhood.  If that's not outrageous I don't know what is.  THAT is the best they can do?  
Here is a photo of the victims  This breaks my heart. 
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This story turned up in the comments on the Gahanna Police Facebook page..
Our beagle was viciously attacked by a pit being fostered thru the I HAVE A DREAM rescue organization. My husband was walking her in our neighborhood on a leash and was across the street from the yard of the foster. The foster was a 60+ yr old man who walks with a cane - the pit is an 80+ lb 8 year old female with an unknown history. The rescue group pulled her from Franklin cty dog shelter. She got out of the yard because the guy left his garage door open. She charged across the street and latched onto Molly's neck (our pup). It took 4 ppl to get her off. All 4 were bit by the pit. Molly sustained multiple stitches in her neck/ throat and by her female parts, multiple deep puncture wounds, both eyes were injured and her front paws/legs were very sore. She came home from the vet with 1 antibiotic and 2 pain medications. It took her about a month to heal. My husband had to go to the ER. He got stitches in his fingers, a tetanus shot, rabies shot and rabies IG as recommended by the ER dr and our vet. The rescue group and its supporters could care less that this dog attacked. They didn't pay any of our medical or vet bills. We have had to get attorneys. And the pit is back up on their website and for adoption or fostering. The petfinder ad contains NO mention of the attack and the ad on their social media downplays it and implies my husband is to blame for being bit - apparently he didn't follow some unknown protocol to get this beast off our 25lb pup. The group and its supporters have accused us of having an agenda because we have taken legal action and they have not considered ANYTHING that we
The I Have A Dream Rescue has a poor public safety record.  Here is a link to material on a 2014 attack on a foster by a pit from I have A Dream.  The thing had a history of attacking fosters but the group did not tell new fosters.  The group also had no insurance to cover the medical bills for the second attack.  Here is a link. It is the last story in the post. Some thing never change, I Have A Dream is one of them.  Ohio has laws regulating rescues, how is this one still in business?