Friday, August 14, 2015

Pit bull roundup, Greater Cleveland area edition. Pit bull hell.

I'm going to begin this post with an editorial by longtime Cleveland newsman Dominic Mancuso of WOIO News.  Wise words.  Please note an important statistic included, between July 2014 and July 2015 fully 143 pit bull incidents were reported in Cleveland alone.  

"Their quiet summer day was pierced by a woman’s scream. When several Shaker Heights residents rushed out of their homes to see what was happening, what they saw will be hard to forget: a woman being mauled by a pit bull. Seventy-one-year-old Annie Williams died from her wounds. She was the grandmother of the pit bull's owner.
Our hearts go out to a family mourning their loss. But this tragedy ignites a debate that rises with the heat of summer, when incidents between dogs and humans spike. According to the city's division of animal control and safety, a minimum of 143 incidents with pit bulls were reported between July 2014 and 2015.
Pit bulls have their defenders, but out of all the dog breeds, pit bulls and pit mixes are responsible for over a quarter of all human fatalities from dog attacks, that’s according to a 20-year study by the Centers for Disease Control.
The debate over what to do with pit bulls will never be a walk in the park. But for a breed of dog long-known for aggressive and unpredictable behavior, we should proceed with caution and common sense.
I'm Dominic Mancuso and that's how we see it."   

Click on the link for video.  

Out of an apparent abundance of caution and  "fairness" to pit bull advocates Mr. Mancuso cites very old CDC statistics.  The CDC stopped including breed in their stats in 2000.  In 2014 pit bulls were responsible for 64% of all dog bite related fatalities in the United states.  In 2013 pit bulls were responsible for 78% of all dog bite related fatalities in the United States.   In fact, since the CDC quit including breed in dog attack stats in 2000 fully 264 Americans have been killed by pit bulls.  Again, please note Mancuso's stats from Cleveland Animal Control and safety.  These are current, 143 "incidents" involving pit bulls between July 2014 and July 2015.  

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Shaker Heights Ohio
Cuyahoga County

Still no identification on exactly who owns the pit bull that killed Annie Williams in Shaker Heights in July.  The family is talking to a well known attorney specializing in dog attacks.  A wise choice. 
pit bull kills woman in shaker heights

  Shaker Heights is taking a look at their regulations to see if more can be done to protect residents.                                                                                               

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Chardon Ohio
Geauga County

The very next day after the horrific mauling death of Annie Williams in Shaker Heights Ohio a seven month old baby girl was severely injured by two pit bulls fighting in the family home. The baby was transferred to University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center and then life-flighted to Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland for treatment, listed in serious condition. This attack occurred the VERY NEXT DAY after the pit bull mauling death of Annie Williams in Shaker Heights Ohio.  Pit bull advocacy has no response to this... crickets.

Here is an interesting note on the Chardon attack.  A neighbor had TWICE reported an aggressive dog at location of the attack.  This complaint was made to Geauga County dog warden Matt Granito.  Dog Warden Granito was president of the Ohio County Dog Wardens Association at the time HB 14 was passed to deregulate pit bulls in Ohio.  Granito campaigned hard for the bill, well aware that it was written by an out-of-state animal welfare organization, Best Friends Animal Society of Kanab Utah.  This bill was sold to the Ohio Legislature as a way to "finally give dog wardens the tools to deal with dangerous dogs" but Granito fell back on Mark Kumpf's protocol of sending a severely worded "warning letter" to the dog owners.

Dog Warden Granito identified both dogs as pit bulls.  He makes some clear thinking comments on the dangers of pit bulls, along with complaints that current law does not permit him to act.  He should have thought of this before he got involved with the bold efforts of Best Friends Animal Society to change Ohio law. Per
"Animal wardens are aware of dogs that should be classified and treated as dangerous. But they say that, under recent changes to Ohio law, they can't do a thing until the animal attacks, and then they can only hope the injuries are not serious.  "It's unfortunate the law is like that because now we've got to wait for the next victim before we can classify that dog as dangerous or vicious," said Matt Granito, the Geauga County Dog Warden."
You are responsible for these changes Matt!!  You should also know that Ohio law allows the use of affidavits for the purpose of filing complaints.  A two day educational seminar held in Dayton last fall dealt with this very issue and a staff member of the Montgomery County prosecutors office introduced an affidavit form for this purpose and she stated that dog wardens were being encouraged to become notaries so the paperwork could be filed quickly.  Please contact the Montgomery County prosecutor's office for details in case you missed the two day seminar for animal control professionals and law enforcement.

 For video of Granito's sudden change of attitude please click here.  We can only hope that Granito, and Mark Kumpf, Montgomery County Dog Warden, after their whole hearted support for HB 14 will do the right thing and fully support and publicly back Senator Bill Beagle's SB 151 WITH the originally proposed statewide register of dangerous dogs listed with location, owner, description, AND BREED.  Best Friends has demanded that breed be left out of the official records.  This is outrageous.

Final word on this attack, the family wants both the dogs back.  What part of "your child was so badly injured that she required life flight transportation to a trauma center and spent nearly a week in the hospital" do these people fail to understand?

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Avon Lake Ohio
Lorain County    

We talked about this attack in the last Pit bull Roundup but we are looking at current events in Cleveland.  We will review.  
  Avon Lake residents are demanding justice, and laws to protect the public after Cyrus,  a pit bull owned by Earle Hall and being walked by Kimberly Larson Killed a Beagle/Corgi mix owned by the Lyman family, on the property of the Lyman family on June 19th.   Daisy, the Beagle/Corgi mix suffered two punctured lungs and crushed ribs and had to be euthanized.  Per the Morning Journal "In a police report, responding officers wrote that Hall said Cyrus was rescued from the Animal Protective League and is “dog aggressive” and was used as a bait dog."  

Translation - Hall bought a secondhand pit bull from the Cleveland Animal Protective league, the pit bull has scars from dog fighting, the dog is stone aggressive as one would expect from a game bred, pit tested, fighting dog and he felt it was appropriate to bring this animal into a peaceful community and allow a woman to walk this animal without a gun or other weapon to protect the public.

The city's court did not declare Cyrus dangerous.  Per the Morning Journal "Avon Lake Municipal Court didn’t give Cyrus the “dangerous dog” designation, having only interacted with Larson, and, according to her, Daisy was the aggressor, not Cyrus."      

Holy cow! Cyrus was not quarantined or removed from the community and the Lymans were not given the hearing date so they could tell their story in court. 

Residents unhappy/outraged  with this spoke to city council and the article quotes two city council members, Safety  Commission chairman David Kos "hopes"  that in future dogs like Cyrus could be removed from the neighborhood until legal remedies are resolved.  Jennifer Fenderbosch remarked that Cyrus was on a retractable leash at the time of the attack and that the animal warden advised her that these leashes are not appropriate for walking dogs.  

Here is a flashback. Kos and Fenderbosch are responsible for repealing the Avon Lake pit bull ban in 2012.  Kos worked at this for 3 1/2 YEARS.  Per the Avon Lake Patch ""There was a couple of us, myself and Councilwoman Jennifer Fenderbosch, who strongly advocated removing pit bull from the definition of vicious," Kos said."

Avon Lake City Council Repeals Vicious Dog Ordinance
Councilman David Kos, hold him responsible Avon Lake voters. 

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Avon Lake Ohio
Lorain County

Another little dog killed by pit bulls in Avon Lake.  On 8/9/2015 Avon Lake police were called for a "dog fight" but this was not a dogfight it was the brutal fatal mauling of a Shih Tzu being walked by its owner. The owner told police that the pit bulls ran up to his little dog and attacked without provocation.  The Shih Tzu died at the scene, his owner was treated by paramedics for injuries received as he tried to protect his pet.  

The pit bull owner, David Golas of Avon Lake, was cited for two counts of animal at large.  The Avon Lake Prosecutor is " pursuing provisions under Section 955.11 of the Ohio Revised Code to designate the two dogs as dangerous dogs."

The pit bull owner stated that his dogs "got loose from his backyard because a gate was unsecured." Classic excuse, with the previous breed ban,  removed by Councilman David Kos, these dogs would not reside in the community.
Look at the police presence here.  Tell me again how breed neutral law saves taxpayer dollars.

Bella the shih tzu died after being attacked on a walk with her owner. (Source: WOIO)
Bella the Shih Tzu, her owner told reporters "she was a lovable, loving dog.  The poor thing didn't stand a chance." Indeed.

Police say the pit bulls escaped through an unsecured gate. (Source: WOIO)
The home of the pit bull owner showing the gate that was not secured..  One can expect that there will be insurance here.

It appears that Avon Lake city officials got the message after the death of Daisy.   Per TV3 the prosecutor is doing the right thing.  It is not the first time these pit bulls have been at large, watch the video.

Poor Bella and her owner.
Neighbors, and their dogs gathered at the home of Bella's owners in a show of support.  
Per Newsnet 5 "Perry Pascarella, 81, was grateful to see the community support as dogs large and small stopped outside his home on Tuesday.
Pascarella said his neighbors wanted to come by to “thank little Bella for her life.”
These are good people.

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Cleveland Ohio
Cuyahoga County Ohio

Speaking of ShihTzus, there is a very lucky ShihTzu in Cleveland.  Tiny little Fire was attacked TWICE by the same pit bull and survived.  A neighborhood pit bull owner reportedly walks his mauler without benefit of a leash, past Johnie Neal's home. Mrs. Neal and her granddaughter own Fire.  Per 19Actionnews " There were actually two attacks. The first was in the front yard; the second was after the family got Fire up on the porch.  The pit bull mix tossed Fire off the porch" "It had her in her mouth and dropped her, Fire was out like she was dead."

Keep in mind that both of the attacks occurred in Mrs. Neal's yard.  The pit bull owner explained the situation this way "the dog was trained to keep furry critters out of the yard, like squirrels, rabbits, and skunks, and may have mistaken Fire for one."  How can pit bull owners say this stuff?  Do they even think before they speak?

The pit bull lives blocks away from the Neal's home.  Fire was on the property of his owner.

So far the pit bull owner is refusing to pay any of Fire's vet bills.
"Fire" hurt in dog attack (Source: Family photo)
Fire's x-ray.

"Fire" injured in dog attack (Source: Family photo)

For video click here.

Lorain Ohio
Lorain County Ohio

We talked about this attack in the last Pit Bull Roundup but I include it to give context for the outrageous number of pit bull attacks in the Greater Cleveland so far this summer.

The owner of two pit bulls that attacked and killed a Pomeranian was cited for two counts of failure to confine and one count of failure to license.  This was the second attack for the pit bulls belonging to "responsible pit bull owner" Alton Goshen Jr, age 24.  Think he has insurance?  I don't.

Just to keep everyone on the same page I will repeat what I wrote for the last roundup. Here it is.
Lorain Ohio
Lorain County

Alton Goshen Jr., "responsible pit bull owner" owns two pit bulls that have attacked TWICE in a month and BOTH of these attacks have killed someone else's dog.  Why did Goshen's pit bulls get a second kill?  Glad you asked but I have no answer for this. Police officer Richard Broz stated, after the second kill, per the Morning News Journal "Broz reported he has dealt with the dogs on several occasions and never observed any aggression toward people, but they had aggression toward other animals."

Per Ohio Revised Code
 (a) "Dangerous dog" means a dog that, without provocation, and subject to division (A)(1)(b) of this section, has done any of the following:
(i) Caused injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person;
(ii) Killed another dog;
(iii) Been the subject of a third or subsequent violation of division (C) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code.

Per the Ohio Revised Code 955.11  Click here for the requirements for harboring a dangerous dog in Ohio.

On March 31, 2015 Goshen's pit bulls attacked and killed another dog that was leashed and in the yard of the owner. Ohio law says the pits are dangerous dogs after the first kill.  Why wasn't the message given to Goshen?

 An April 24th Goshen's pit bulls attacked, killed, and attempted to dismember a Pomeranian, leashed and in the yard of it's owner.  The Pomeranian's owner "told police she tried to chase the dogs off, but one of them started growling at her, so fearing she would be bit, she backed off and waited for help."

On April 27th one of Goshen's pits was reported at large and police were called.  Officer Broz responded and confronted the pit bull.  The pit then ran back into Goshen's yard through an open gate.  Please review AGAIN the requirements for keeping dangerous dogs in Ohio per the Ohio Revised Code.

Per the Morning Journal "Goshen secured the gate at the time but as of April 27 did not make any improvements suggested so the dogs would not escape again, the report stated." 

 Improvements SUGGESTED?

Police cited Goshen for two counts of failure to confine dogs and one count of failure to have a dog license. Police recommended the maximum penalty allowed by law for the offenses due to the repeat incidents, the emotional trauma of the owners of the dead dogs and the quality of life of the other neighbors in the area. 

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Lorain Ohio
Lorain County Ohio

A dog described as a pit mix or a Boxer mix jumped a fence and killed a Yorkie on the property of the Yorkie owner.  The little dog's owner tried to distract the attacking dog with a rake until the owner of the pit mix/Boxer mix could climb the fence and retrieve his mauler.  The Yorkie's owner has not decided if she will file charges.

Why not?

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The family of Annie Williams is lobbying for regulation of pit bulls.  "We're all going to be very proactive in making sure that what happened to our grandmother does not continue to happen to other people,” said Tequila Williams. “What does it take for legislation, for representatives, for the law to see that this is an animal that no matter how kind you are to it, it cannot be controlled."

They have set up a foundation in Mrs. Williams memory, Any Salvation.  Mrs. Williams possessions will be given to those in need. 

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Cleveland Heights Ohio is studying dog bite legislation after a pit bull attack on June 11, 2015.  I'm going to let tell the story of that attack.
The attack occurred at about 4 p.m. The victim was gardening outside her house when the pit bull approached her sport utility vehicle, which was parked in the street. Her dog was in the SUV, and the vehicle's rear hatch was open.
The woman walked to her SUV to secure her dog. The pit bull bit the woman's leg, then jumped on top of her, biting both her legs. After a few seconds, the dog let the woman go and chased a cat. 
The woman drove herself to Cleveland Clinic, where she received several stitches and a tetanus shot. She said she and her neighbors have seen the pit bull running loose in the past and have called police, believing the dog is dangerous.
Meanwhile, police spotted the pit bull walking through yards on Elbon. Officers tried but failed to capture the dog. After about 15, a boy arrived and said the pit bull belonged to his mother. He walked the dog back to his house on Elbon and locked the dog inside.
The pit bull's owner, 37, then arrived home. She apologized and said her son must not have locked the home's front door, allowing the animal to escape.
The pit bull was quarantined in a kennel for 10 days. The owner was cited for animals not under control, vicious dog biting a person and having a vicious animal. "

No word on the condition of the cat or on reimbursement of medical expenses for the victim.

Cleveland Heights City Council.

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Avon Lake residents are demanding tougher laws.  "It turns out there's quite an undercurrent here in Avon Lake," Pascarella (owner of the Shih Tzu) said. "People are frightened of the dogs that are around."

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Orange Village
Cuyahoga County  Ohio

Orange Village is looking at increasing penalties for aggressive, or vicious dogs.  Per 
"A dog owner can currently face a minor misdemeanor, which carries a $250 fine, should his animal bite, or act like it wants to bite, someone.
Legislation will be presented in September to increase the charge to a fourth-degree misdemeanor. The owner of a vicious animal could face fines and up to 60 days in jail if their animal injures a person or another animal.
According to Orange Law Director Stephen Byron, the village's new law will be more aggressive than current state laws.
In Ohio, a dog is not considered vicious until it bites someone. The "one bite law"makes a dog's owner liable if injury is inflicted by a dog or if the dog previously bit a person or acted like it wanted to."

Orange Village is about to open a new dog park and officials want to keep it peaceful.