Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Of Evil Dogs and Their Owners

Many have written me to ask about Steven's dog bite. Well, he got the tetanus shot and it healed up pretty well, a small scar only. No other ill effects.

He still has a visible bruise on his calf where the dog clamped down, so the dog really meant business when he bit him.

We called animal control and they placed the dog in quarantine for 10 days. They allowed the dog's owners to keep the dog at their house, with the understanding that the dog couldn't be outside for a walk or any other reason, and they agreed.

The weekend we were camping with the Indian Guides, the dog was out again. A neighbor spotted him and called animal control, who came and picked the dog up to finish out his quarantine at the shelter.

We spoke with the dog's owners, who tried to avoid any personal responsibility, blaming the dog's being out on a neighbor's 5-year old child. They did, however, assure us that they wouldn't be picking up their dog from the shelter.

On the last day of the dog's quarantine, despite what they told us, the neighbors picked up the dog from the shelter and let him run free while they packed their car. They were in the process of being evicted from their house after 3 months nonpayment of rent.

Doug and I had talked over what to do about the biting incident and had decided not to pursue any lawsuit against them, but we decided that we wanted them to give up the dog. They have four children under the age of 5, and their children, like all kids of that age, leave the door open and the dog gets out.

We don't feel that there is any situation in which they would be able to keep their dog from getting out and biting another child. California has basically a two strikes law about dogs, a dog gets one "free" biting or agression incident, only after the second incident will animal control take the dog away.

If we or the other neighbors had called animal control every time this dog had threatened us, they would have taken him away as soon as he bit Steven, but we didn't.

So, the people have moved. After they left, we realized that they are in hiding and are trying to keep anyone from figuring out where they live.

They owe their previous landlord $12,000, the day after they moved out they wrote a bad check for $7,000, possibly to their new landlords, they rented a car in May in Los Angeles for a week and haven't returned it yet and are avoiding all efforts of the rental car agency to contact them, their phone number is listed under a false name, and nobody can track down where they live now.

They called us after they left and promised us they would get rid of the dog, but they have failed to do so and aren't returning our calls any more. They call us only from their mobile phone so we can't trace their calls, we believe they are on the run from the law. They are living somewhere in Encinitas and I believe it is only a matter of time until someone else gets bitten, hopefully not another child.

So, that's the story with the dog. If we do ever find out where they are living now, we are going to contact their landlords and advise them about the dog bite incident, as the landlords would be liable if another such incident were to occur.

Steven is fine and is in no more danger from that dog, that's the most important thing.

-- Kathleen

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