Posted to my showdogs list:
Subject: State of TX v. A Very Good Am. Pit Bull Owner
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 15:29:22 -0400
The State of Texas v. A Very Good American Pit Bull Terrier Owner
August 19, 2009
Today I was set for trial in a case that is the worst nightmare for any owner of an American Pit Bull Terrier or other large dog. Here’s how this tale transpired:
On February 11, 2009, David was walking his American Pit Bull Terrier on a six foot leash as he dutifully does three times per day. Yes, three. Pica is nine years old and had been rescued as a puppy and taken in by David and his wife. She is spayed and lives in their house in an upscale neighborho od as a beloved family member. David has a managerial position in a petro-chemical company and has been employed in this sort of work for twenty-five years. His wife manages a boarding kennel.
While David was walking their family pet by his side, a loose dog came out of nowhere from behind them without warning and promptly bit Pica in the face. It happened fast. Pica responded and grabbed the dog’s ear. She did not shake the dog or bite elsewhere but hung on briefly. David recognized the dog, a Shih Tzu that frequently ran loose, and called for the owner to come get her dog. She lived a couple of doors down from where the incident occurred. Another neighbor comes out with a gun and points it at David admonishing him that if Pica did not let go of the other dog he was going to shoot Pica and then her owner.
Pica relinquished the other dog and it had a puncture to the ear but fortunately the ear was okay as was the dog. David was upset, not because the little dog was running loose again, but because he just had a loaded gun pointed at him and his20dog. So, he called the police.
David’s wife took Pica to the vet because the extra eyelid on the dog was shutting and it appeared she had been scratched in the eye. An eye stain was done and antibiotics prescribed for her eye.
Guess what happened? If you guessed that nothing happened to the owner of the Shih Tzu that was running loose, you would be right. If you guessed that nothing happened to the neighbor that came out with a loaded gun, you would be right. And if you guessed that Pica and David got blamed for this, you would also be right. David was charged with failure to control/restrain his dog. The owner of the Shih Tzu lied and said her dog was not loose and regardless that it was David who called the police, he was the one who got charged with the Class C Misdemeanor.
So today the trial was set and I had the honor of representing20Pica and her owner. Fortunately, the case was dismissed because the state failed to produce its witness, the owner of the Shih Tzu, but we were prepared to go to trial. A wonderful neighbor who happens to be a groomer came to court to testify that she had seen the little dog out numerous times, at least ten, and had even taken the dog back to its owner shortly before this happened. I had a trial notebook, there were motions, there was investigation, pictures of Pica, and even a subpoena for the 9-1-1 call. We even had Pica’s leash and collar, worn from use, in the courtroom. This was the lengths we were prepared to go to vindicate David and Pica, but it went much further than that.
We felt like we had to stand up for the breed and every owner of these fine dogs who get falsely blamed for all sorts of things. Would it have been easier and cheaper to pay the $160 fine? Sure, but one more owner and his dog would have paid a price for something that they did not do. Three people (David, his wife and their neighbor) took off work to come to court today and set the record straight. Three people stood up and fought back so that the reputation of the American Pit Bull Terrier and other similar dogs would not be furt her tarnished today. Today was a good day for the dogs. So many aren’t, but today there was justice.
Finally, as owners of these dogs and other big dogs, we have to be vigilant to always make sure our dogs are properly contained, leashed and socialized. There is zero tolerance for our dogs, and sometimes, even when we do everything right, we still can be falsely accused. And if that happens, we have to be willing to stand up and fight for our rights as dog owners and for the good pitties that so many of know and love. Tonight I will hug mine extra close before we fall to sleep.
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