Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wrongful death lawsuit naming Montgomery County officials including Dog Warden Mark Kumpf, not shocking.

Deadly dog attack: Klonda Richey's body was found torn to shreds on the snow-covered sidewalk outside her Ohio home on Friday

No one was surprised at the news from Dayton Ohio on Friday.  A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the estate of Klonda Richey against Montgomery County, the Montgomery County Commissioners, Montgomery County Dog Warden Mark Kumpf, and the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center.

Neighbors and friends of Klonda Richey gathered in front of her former home in Dayton on Friday night, Feb. 6, 2015, for a vigil to remember her. (Jim Witmer/Staff)

On the anniversary of Klonda Richey's death neighbors and friends gathered for a candlelight vigil, this vigil was unlike those held by pit bull advocates to publicize the fate of pit bulls humanely euthanized in Ohio shelters.  The February 6th vigil memorialized a woman well thought of in her community and loved by her friends and neighbors.  The vigil memorialized a woman brutally mauled to death by her neighbor's dogs, dogs that she complained of dozens of times to both the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center and to the Police.  Dogs that left Klonda Richey's body naked and bleeding in the snow in front of her own home.  The vigil memorialized a frightened woman who took her fears to the Montgomery County courts asking for a protection order but was refused that protection, a woman failed by the system in Dayton.

The death of Klonda Richey brought international attention to Dayton Ohio, and to the sad state of animal control in Montgomery County Ohio.   The story unfolded to reveal dozens of calls by the victim to Dayton police and to Montgomery County Animal Control, led by Mark Kumpf who is also the current president of the Ohio County Dog Wardens Association.  Kumpf's protocol called for nothing more than sternly worded post it notes affixed to the front door on Richey's next door neighbors and owners of the dogs that killed her.
Image result for images of Klonda Richey

For more information on the fatal attack on Klonda Richey please click here and here.

For information on what the Ohio Revised Code would have allowed Mr. Kumpf to do to protect Klonda Richey please click here.    Please note the discussion of affidavits as allowed by current Ohio Revised Code but never offered to Klonda Richey.

This material was covered in a Pit bull Roundup in November but it fits here as well.  Note the new attitude toward affidavits.  Wow, who would have thought?
Dayton Ohio 

Montgomery County is in damage control overdrive.  A two day seminar was held in Dayton for law enforcement and animal control officers from all over Ohio.  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."

I find it strange that there was no mention in the news story on the seminar of the mauling death of seven month old Jonathon Quarles Jr. mauled to death by his step grandmother's pit bull, inside her home in Dayton on July 20, 2014. The dog had a history of menacing a postal service employee and attacking a leashed dog being walked down the street. Montgomery county did not have ONE fatal attack in 2014, it had TWO fatal attacks.  The dogs in the first attack had dozens of complaints against them with no real action taken by animal control.  The dog in the second fatality had been cited by Montgomery County animal control twice. Damage control is needed here. 

A hot tipper tells me that part of the presentation by one Montgomery County official discussed the use of affidavits from the public regarding dangerous dogs in the community.  An affidavit form has been provided to dog wardens.  The Ohio Revised Code has always allowed the use of affidavits, as we discussed back in February.  Please click here for a refresher. Why did it take two deaths to get to this point?  Will Ohio lawmakers act on the requests for change in the ORC in order to better protect the safety of the public.  Quick review, Ohio has had nine fatal dog attacks since the passage of HB 14, the bill that would "finally give dog wardens the tools to deal with dangerous dogs." 
Jonathon Quarles, Jr.
Jonathan Quarles Jr, age 7 months.

For information on the owner of the dogs that killed Klonda Richey please click here.

For the thoughts of another blogger on the state of animal control laws please click here.

For Klonda Richey's actual complaints on the dogs that killed her please click here.

For information on the lawsuit against the dog owners please click here.

For a bit of information on the grand jury please click here.  Spoiler alert there were no charges.

For a discussion of Dayton politics and investigations as they impacted the mauling death of Klonda Richey and Jonathan Quarles Jr please click here.  

For a bit of background information on Mark Kumpf's participation in the Best Friends Animal Society funded effort to pass a Best Friends Animal Society written bill to deregulate pit bulls in the state of Ohio please click here.

For those of you who might have just finished reading the review of Mark Kumpf's involvement in the passage of HB 14, I have a final bit of trivia. Below is a comment posted by the Lucas County Pit Crew, note the date.  The Senate Hearing on HB 14 was December 6, 2011. Jean Keating is president of the Lucas County Pit Crew and she turns up in the blog frequently, she is Ohio's breed specific advocate.  She breathlessly reports that she, Ledy Vankavage, legal representative of the out of state PAC that wrote HB 14 and a registered lobbyist for that organization, Matt Granito who was president of the Ohio County Dog Wardens Association, Mark Kumpf who was treasurer of the Ohio County Dog Wardens Association and is now president of that organization went out for an apparent high five celebratory dinner accompanied by the faux "service pit bull in training" Wendy.  How wildly inappropriate given the status of the bill at that time.  Links to background material on Wendy are below.

Wendy rocked the Statehouse and made tons of new friends. She especially enjoyed dinner with Ledy VanKavage and dog wardens Matt Granito and Mark Kumpf. You've come a long way Wendy:)


Wendy makes an appearance at the Statehouse in June of 2011, identified by Jean Keating as a "service dog in training" 

Wendy returns to the Statehouse in December of 2011.  She turns up late in this post.  You are free to read the whole post but this is the part that deals with Wendy the "service pit bull in training."
"I will close this post with the story of Wendy the "Service Pit Bull in Training." Wendy made a personal appearance at the December 6, 2011 Senate hearing on HB 14.  She was brought into the hearing room by Jean Keating. There was nothing subtle about Wendy's entrance, it was "enthusiastic" for lack of a better word. The white pit bull made a bee line for the row of seated pit bull advocates. She was welcomed by each one of them, it appeared that each one of them had food for the dog. Keating began to speak, Wendy paid no attention to her whatsoever.

"I have brought Wendy with me today. Wendy is being trained as a service animal for a young child with post-traumatic stress disorder, sensory integration dysfunction, low muscle tone, and panic attacks. Wendy was chosen because she has the temperament and physical characteristics to perform the work needed to assist this child in leading a more normal life. Those same physical characteristics currently identify Wendy as a vicious dog under Ohio law. The American Staffordshire Terrier, which is a breed commonly referred to as a pit bull type is a popular choice for a service animal because of some unique qualities. They are hardy, athletic, and very socially connected dogs. They are also very easy to train as they are eager to please."

During Keating's testimony Wendy stood at the end of her leash and looked about the room, wandering a bit and returning to her line of friends, and their handsful of food. Wendy proved to be such a distraction that Keating was unable to remain in the hearing room after her testimony. She took Wendy out into the hall, where Wendy killed time by barking.

Interestingly, this was not Wendy's first appearance at a Statehouse hearing. Wendy accompanied Keating to a hearing in the Ohio House in June of 2011.  Actual service dogs in training are taught to remain quiet, lay down upon command, not seek attention or food from strangers, and focus attention on their handler. Wendy had none of these skills in December, what kind of "training" did she receive in the previous six months? This dog was chosen because she was "easy to train and eager to please?" 
                                                        * * *

For Wendy's actual identity please click here.  Read the identifying information under the photo of Jean Keating and her three pit bulls.  Wendy appears in the is photograph and is clearly identified as just one of Keating's personal pets.  

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Well, this post has covered a lot of ground.  Many Ohio residents are looking forward to new bills promised by Senator Bill Beagle to fix the HB 14 mess.  Representative Winburn's HB 541 had a great deal to recommend it and it is hoped that it will reappear under the sponsorship of Minority Leader Fred Strahorn.  

Klonda Richey deserves to be remembered, honoring her memory by passing laws that will protect the public seems appropriate.