Pit bull owner may not face charges - Morgan Hill Times: Crime Fire Courts

Pit bull owner may not face charges

Dog to be euthanized; City may take ‘second look’ at dangerous dog laws

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Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012 6:30 pm

The Gilroy Police Department may not arrest the man who fled the scene after his pit bull attacked a dachshund in the First Street Starbucks parking lot on Thursday morning, causing the small dog to be euthanized, and causing severe non-life threatening injuries to its owner.

“Right now, we are examining whether or not any crimes were committed,” said Police Sgt. Chad Gallacinao. “It might be more of a civil issue between the victim and the pit bull's owner, or an issue of an animal control violation.”

But as far as state law goes, Gallacinao said that it's not clear if the pit bull's owner did anything to warrant an arrest.

According to the California Penal Code, if a dog bites a person causing substantial physical injury, and its owner reasonably knew about the vicious nature of the dog, that owner is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.   

Whether his owner is arrested or not, because the dog is considered to be a “level three” dangerous dog, the most vicious type of dog outlined in Gilroy's municipal code, police plan to euthanize the pit bull by the end of next week, Gallacinao said.

Once the owner is contacted, he will be held responsible for the cost of the euthanasia as well as the lodging and administrative costs of keeping the animal in custody for the mandatory 10-day holding period before police are allowed to euthanize the animal, according to city code.

The cost of lodging is $100 per day, Gallacinao said, so the pit bull’s owner will face $1,000 in fees, plus the cost of the euthanasia, which costs about $80 for large breed dogs, as well as any other administrative fees incurred while the dog is impounded.

Multiple police cars and medics arrived on the scene at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, and rushed the female owner to a local hospital, according to Police Sgt. Chad Gallacinao. The woman, devastated by seeing her dog attacked, reached out to stop the pit bull, only to have her arm attacked.

Because of the severity of the dachshund’s injuries, the dog’s owner made the choice to put it down later Thursday morning, Gallacinao said.

When police arrived on the scene, the pit bull was not on a leash and the owner was nowhere to be found. It is not clear if the pit bull was on a leash when it attacked the dachshund.

The scene of the bloody attack at the Starbucks parking lot ignited an incensed debate among the readers about whether pit bulls should be regulated in Gilroy.

People came out strongly on both sides, some in vehement support of a pit bull ban while some came to the breed’s defense, accusing people of blaming an entire breed for problems that reflect more on the owner’s irresponsibility than the aggressiveness of the breed.

But most agreed on one thing: This particular pit bull’s owner should be caught and held responsible for his actions.

Police have identified a potential owner, but have not located him or made contact because they are waiting to see what, if any, criminal charges the owner is guilty of.

The pit bull was current on all of its shots, including rabies, and was micro-chipped, which led to an easy whereabouts of its previous owner on Thursday.

Maria Cabatingan, animal control officer who is investigating the incident, did not return phone calls on Monday.

The pit bull remains at the outdoor kennel at the GPD, where it has not displayed signs of aggression, Gallacinao said.

In light of these “horrible attacks,” Mayor Al Pinheiro said he is open to re-evaluating the current city ordinance regarding dangerous dogs. In 2010, City Council came up with an ordinance that defined three levels of dangerous dogs and corresponding regulations for each in response to several aggressive dog attacks.

For example, a level one dangerous dog is a dog who displays aggressive behavior, and is subject to restrictions such as only being allowed outside its owner’s property when wearing a muzzle. A level two dog is a dog that bites a person or animal, and is subject to more regulations than a level one dog, such as not being allowed unattended in a vehicle. A level three dog is a dog who bites a person or animal causing serious injury or death, and that type of dog is to be euthanized under any circumstances.

“At that time we did what we thought was the right thing to do, but maybe it’s time for us to have another look,” Pinheiro said.

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  • Farmerette posted at 11:28 pm on Tue, Jul 24, 2012.

    Farmerette Posts: 31

    The owner should be charged with leaving the scene of an aggravated assault on a human by his "pet". This animal didn't display aggression at the GPD, with a human or another small animal within reach ? I believe it's the owner, of whatever breed, that is responsible for it's behavior. Don't socialize your pet at the expense of others.

  • ct3 posted at 10:43 pm on Tue, Jul 24, 2012.

    ct3 Posts: 12

    hypocrisyhater, kick somebodies, dog, any dog, unless that dog was already attacking you, if the dog doesnt start attacking hte owner just very well might. or call the cops in the case of a super friendly dog, like many pits i've encountered are (tip, tail moving a million miles an hour, and tongue hanging out are usally welcome/friendly actions).
    and if you really are one of those who believe only gangsters and other criminal types own pits, are you sure they arent carrying a gun, which they've already taken a life with when you try to kick that pit bull???

    school mom, "If you're foolish enough to own a Pit Bull, you should be responsible for ALL the damage your darling pet created."
    why only pits? if the guy down the streets ankle biter rips your expensive high fashion pants and sinks the sometimes dagger like teeth (look at a terrier's teeth someday) into your calf causing you to visit the hospitial without insurance, they shouldnt pay for ALL the damages?
    or the other neighboors german sheperd gets loose and kills your weighs half of what it does child???

    or while i'm asking that question, how about you live out in the boonies and your neighboors bull gets loose decides your car is challenging it?
    i've seen the end results of a bull and a car it doesnt like, bending up every panel and smahsing all the gas to the point your car is cosmetically TOTALLED is not hard to do when you weigh a literal ton, or more.

    pit bulls are dogs, dogs are animals, apples to apples......
    and you claim to be an educator. sad part is i believe you are, at a public school that is failing its students.

  • ct3 posted at 10:20 pm on Tue, Jul 24, 2012.

    ct3 Posts: 12

    "the cost of the euthanasia, which costs about $80 for large breed dogs,"

    while this articel doesnt say what size of breed pits are, it also doesnt say what size they are and is printed by an anti pit bull baised media industry.
    small breed: around 20 lbs full grown, aka ankle biters.
    mid sized breed: around 50 lbs, pit bulls are normally about 50 lbs full grown.
    large breed dogs: around 100 lbs, police dogs, such as german sheperds, also used on the fields of combat by our armed forces (and aremed with titanium teeth). these are the type of dogs that don't attack humans, they KILL humans.

    two FACTS about pitbulls, and two more about dogs in general:
    1. pit bulls are a spieces hihgly prone to attacking smaller animals, such as daschunds. the only simple solution i'm aware of raiding them from pups with an animal such as a cat, something they can intact with, and the early days of relationship they are the same size and the cat is armed with claws and a far higher level of coorditiion.
    2. pit bulls are usually very much not prone to attacking humans without being provoked, like by being interupted when eating one of those smaller animals.

    3. any dog is only as good as its master trains it to be, and only as controlled or restrained as the master and his/her proper use of leashs and secure fenc es.
    4. dont provoke or threaten them and this goes double and then some for ones already showing aggresive/defensive behavior. getting between them and their food, invading their or their masters space without welcome.

    btw, jmo, if your child isnt old enough to understand concepts like pet, dont hit, or pull tails, dont have either a dog or a cat at all. scratches and bites will happen if a child is treating an animal in a fashion that makes the animal feel likes its being attacked.

  • School Mom posted at 10:02 am on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    School Mom Posts: 57

    To the supporters of this breed: How many more maulings and killings caused by Pit Bulls need to occur before you realize this breed of dog is dangerous? It is unfortunate that these dogs are considered "domesticated". They are not. Many insurance companies will not carry a homeowner's policy if they own Pit Bulls.
    You can't let your fighting bulls roam randomly in the street, large cats are not permitted, we have laws protecting people from the ignorant behavior of others regarding animals, and yet, we continue to allow this insanity to continue.
    If you're foolish enough to own a Pit Bull, you should be responsible for ALL the damage your darling pet created.

  • Tony_R posted at 4:28 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    Tony_R Posts: 79

    Pit bull fanciers need to start commenting here on how "loving and gentle" the breed is, never mind what actually happened in Gilroy last week.

  • fu posted at 12:50 pm on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    fu Posts: 5



  • hypocrisyhater posted at 9:46 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    hypocrisyhater Posts: 234

    "the pit bull was not on a leash..."


    If any of you gangbangers get too close to me with your pit bull, I am going to kick your dog square in the face