Photo by PoPville flickr user Mike Maguire
Ed. Note: In July we posted a Dear PoPville – Dangerous dog in Cap Hill attacked toddler and my dog but Animal Control not doing anything.
“I’m finally getting to testify about my dog bite case at an upcoming hearing, but because the DC Department of Health (DOH) never followed up with any of previous attacks, my upcoming hearing is just to determine if the sheepdog is “Potentially Dangerous” rather than “Dangerous”. A Potentially Dangerous dog just has to be on a 4 ft leash, registered with the city, neutered, things like that. Which is better than nothing. But the problem is, even if my hearing succeeds and this dog is determined to be “Potentially Dangerous”, then he has one more opportunity to attack someone before any real restrictions will be placed on the owner (like having to muzzle her dog and notifying the authorities if he attacks someone again).
So, because the city failed to do anything in all of the previous bite cases, we have to treat my case as if it were the first time this dog has ever bitten anyone, even though the city provided me with a document via FOIA that shows this sheepdog has bitten 2 people (!) and 2 dogs (including my case on 12/15/2013) in 4 separate attacks in the past. Furthermore, the owner’s other dog, a brown standard poodle, also attacked a dog in 2010. So in the last 5 years, this woman has allowed her dogs to attack others 5 separate times (there was a 6th incident in which her sheepdog was apparently the victim according to the document, so I’m not counting that one). I redacted private info, labeled myself as Ms. A and the owner of the aggressive dogs as Ms. B in the descriptions, and put red arrows at the relevant parts of the document.
My favorite line from this document is where, after listing some of the previous attacks by this woman’s dogs, DOH writes, “Recommendation: I recommend closing out the case and informing Ms. [A] there’s no probable cause to start a potentially dangerous dog investigation on Arbor [the sheepdog]. Arbor has not bitten a person or dog this year and no menacing reports has not been reported to DCACC as of date.”