Friday, September 14, 2012

Still more pittery from Ohio, September 14, 2012

On July 23, 2012 Sarah Ziebro, age 30, was attacked by her pit bull.  Ziebro was living in Florida but formerly lived in Parma Ohio.  Her brothers live in the Cleveland area and are attempting to raise money for their sister's medical bills because she was uninsured.  The family business, Relentless Recovery repossesses between 20 and 35 cars per day and the brothers are hoping that Cleveland area residents will sponsor any amount per car.  This is an unusual idea but a pit bull mauling generates huge medical bills. 

Ms. Ziebro has suffered for seizures for nearly 10 years.  On the day of the attack she seized and the dog attacked her.  Ziebro's brother John stated "Whether this dog was startled, or something else, we'll never know.  But as Sarah seized helpless on the ground, the dog attacked her.  Until this assault, the dog had never displayed any form of aggression towards Sarah, and was normally quite and docile."

Ziebro's carotid artery was torn, she was transported to the Blake Medical Center in Bradenton for surgery.  Per John Ziebro, the plastic surgeon who worked on Sarah, Dr. Melinda Lacerna, told him that the facial injuries were among the worst she had ever seen from a dog bite.  The surgery required 600 sutures and four hours of surgery to repair Ms. Ziebro's face.

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I am including this one because it illustrates the sorry legal state of affairs regarding vicious dogs.  An article dated September 11, 2012 deals with a 20 minute mauling of a Springfield Ohio man by 3 Cane Corso dogs.  The victim was life flighted to Miami Valley hospital in Dayton Ohio for treatment of his injuries. 

The victim and his girlfriend rode bicycles to the home of a friend, Karlon Avery, the owner of the Cane Corsos.  The victim was attacked after he crossed an invisible fence and attempted to pet one of the dogs.  Police were called, they shot one of the dogs. The other two dogs are in quarantine.  Avery has mixed feelings about the mauling of his friend stating that he has warned the victim about the dogs in the past. 

Here is where the story gets interesting.  A spokesman for the local Humane Society stated there have been two other "incidents" involving Avery's dogs.  In both cases children have crossed the invisible fence and were bitten by the Cane Corsos.  The dogs were not designated as vicious because the law considers these bites provoked because they were on property.  Springfield Police Chief Stephen Moody said no charges are being considered because the most  recent victim was on Avery's property as well.

Obviously Avery does not have these dogs under control if this same event has occurred THREE times.  His invisible fence does nothing to protect the public from dogs who have bitten children twice and mauled an adult.  If Avery had a swimming pool on his property he would have to build an actual fence to prevent accidental drownings.  There have been THREE bites from his dogs, one of them a severe mauling. Avery needs adequate confinement for dogs known to be aggressive.  Like it or not, sometimes non family members will cross onto private property, a mailman, meter reader, zoning inspector, child chasing a ball.  These people should not be exposed to a well known risk.  Avery and his dogs have three strikes, this is enough.

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From the Toledo Blade, dated 7/14/2012.  Even after changing state law to suit local sensibilities, Toledo is still an unhappy place.  City Councilman D. Michael Collins is insulted that the new and very pit bull friendly Lucas County Dog Warden did not appear at a Public Safety, Law, and Criminal Justice committee meeting to discuss enforcement of vicious dog laws.  Given the no-show of dog warden Julie Lyle, Collins cancelled the meeting and sent requests for a great deal of information on the Lucas County Dog Warden's office.

Collins was later told that Joe Walter, Emergency Management Agency director would appear at the meeting in place of Lyle but Collins said "He's a nice guy but her doesn't have anything to do with this."

Collins has requested information on procedures put in place in Lucas County as it relates to Toledo's vicious dog laws and how many cases have been investigated or prosecuted with the Toledo Police Department or the Lucas County Dog Warden's office under the new law.  He also wants the number of dog bite complaints for 2011 and 2012 to date and the number of dogs that have been classified under each category of the dog law.  Collins will also request information from the Toledo Police Department and the Lucas County Board of Health, which also tracks dog bites.

Collins has said "Even though we have three separate institutions involved, there should be coordination of efforts so these records and the proper levels of prosecution are going on."  Collins does not feel that the County is doing enough to ensure vicious dogs are kept under control and was disappointed that Dog Warden Lyle was not available to discuss the issue. 

It is gratifying to see an elected official recognizes that the new law has not made Toledo safer and is actually following up on the new state law and looking for enforcement.  I suspect he will find that there has been little enforcement and even less prosecution of owners of vicious dogs.