2 Oak Creek dogs euthanized

Pit bulls reportedly killed Labrador retriever Saturday

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— Two pit bulls were euthanized Monday after they reportedly attacked and killed a black Labrador retriever as its owner walked it in downtown Oak Creek on Saturday morning.

The pit bulls, a male and a female about two years old, reportedly escaped a house near the corner of Nancy Crawford Boulevard and Sharp Avenue and attacked the 12-year-old Lab. The Lab was reportedly on a leash at the time.

Oak Creek resident Shane Antyr said he was in his apartment that overlooks the intersection at the time of the attack.

“All hell broke loose,” he said.

He went down to the street and tried to push the pit bulls away but said he “knew there wasn’t much we could do.”

Antyr said another neighbor passed him a hockey stick, and he hit the dogs in an attempt to drive them away. All three dogs ran away, and the lab’s owner followed it to a house where they used to live.

“When the dog’s owner came back here, he was very distraught,” Antyr said.

He called 911 and helped the lab’s owner call a friend, who took the owner and dog to a vet. The Lab later was put down because of its injuries.

Oak Creek Police Department officer Eileen Rossi said she received a report of a dog attack in town but did not know the extent of it. She and another officer responded early Saturday afternoon. Rossi said she talked to Ryan Hunter, the owner of the pit bulls, and he voluntarily gave up the dogs. She issued him a ticket for a dog at large and a summons for the equivalent of having a vicious dog.

“They were cooperative,” Rossi said about the pit bulls’ owners. “With the drama of the situation, they didn’t want to keep the dogs either.”

Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter manager Molly Waters said the pit bulls were the fifth and sixth dogs this year to be euthanized because of their temperament. The other dogs included a pit bull, a heeler, an Australian shepherd and a boxer. The other four dogs were at the shelter awaiting adoption when shelter workers decided they were a public risk. Four dogs were euthanized because of temperament in 2009.

Waters said it was hard to euthanize the dogs because they were otherwise healthy. She said she finds pit bulls are no more likely to be aggressive than other breeds.

“I would say that it just depends on how they’re raised, and we don’t see pit bulls being more aggressive or dangerous than other breeds,” she said. “The pits, they just want to please their owner. That’s why they make good fighting dogs, so if you raise them right, they’re just wonderful pets.”

There are no breed-specific ordinances directed at pit bulls or other breeds in Routt County, Waters said.

Rossi said the two pit bulls reportedly caused minor injuries to another dog earlier this year, but the other dog’s owner declined to press charges. She said there were no other legal complaints against the dogs or their owners.

Oak Creek resident Joni Rutledge said she walked her dogs in the morning and evening Saturday at the same corner but didn’t hear about the attack until later.

“If I would have been walking my two — I have a little corgi and a blue heeler — if I had been walking on that corner it could have been me,” she said.

Rutledge said she had seen and heard the pit bulls before, but they were usually kept in the house.

A phone number for Hunter could not be located Tuesday.

— To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

charliecigar 4 years, 5 months ago

Marines ban certain dog breeds as on-base pets

By Jeanette Steele and Christina Macone-Greene

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

“Devil dogs” of certain breeds are being outlawed in Marine Corps housing, including homes at Camp Pendleton and Miramar Marine Corps Air Station.

An order issued by Marine headquarters bans pit bulls, Rottweilers and wolf-hybrid breeds and mixes. Officials at Camp Pendleton, the largest Marine installation in San Diego County, on Wednesday said they might apply for an exemption from the policy.

Families living with the targeted dogs in on-base housing must get their pets certified as “good canine citizens” by qualified evaluators. The certification would expire in October 2012, when the Corps expects to stop honoring waivers.

Marines pride themselves on the “devil dog” nickname, which dates back to a particularly bloody World War I battle.

But the official Marine Corps pooch is a bulldog. The Marine boot camp in San Diego near Lindbergh Field keeps a white bulldog, Molly, on staff and walks her out during graduation ceremonies.

Officials at Marine headquarters in Quantico, Va., said the canine order is meant to “ensure the continued health and safety” of on-base residents.

The Corps reviewed the history of dog attacks at its properties and analyzed national statistics before making its decision, said Capt. Brian Block, a spokesman at the headquarters.

“The rise in ownership of large dog breeds with a predisposition toward aggressive or dangerous behavior, coupled with the increased risk of tragic incidents involving these dogs, necessitates a uniform policy,” according to the order, which was handed down in August.

At Camp Pendleton, home to roughly 1,500 pet dogs, there were three dog-bite incidents reported in June. In two of the cases, a Labrador and a Jack Russell terrier nipped their owners' family members and caused minor injuries. The third incident involved a stray pit bull that severely wounded a teen who approached it, Camp Pendleton officials said.

They stressed that the Marine Corps' systemwide policy change wasn't prompted by dog attacks at installations in San Diego County.

The ban is another knock against pit bulls, a controversial breed that crowds many animal shelters and is often prohibited by landlords and insurance companies.

But any kind of dog has the potential to be aggressive, said Candice Eley, spokeswoman for the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA.

“It's dependent on the dog's previous living arrangement and training,” she said. “It's not just the breed itself.”

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 5 months ago

Any dog, regardless of breed, can be good or bad. The critical difference between breeds is the consequences of a bad dog. A bad poodle can cause annoying injuries but is unlikely to be a serious danger to life or limb. A bad dog of a larger breeds, especially those with powerful jaws or a disposition to bite and hold, are a serious threat to life and limb.

I can see how the Marine Corps, especially with their history of toughness, can be concerned that their bases have an awful lot of potentially dangerous dogs. Thus, their base housing could be turning into scary places for families. And the Marine Corps have the added complication of dealing with aggressive dogs of soldiers that have been stationed overseas.

I think it is obvious that some owners of these dogs chose that breed because they wanted something tough and mean. And thus some of these owners are not inclined to raise their dogs to be caring and kind, but like that aggressive attitude so when the dog gets loose then it can be a real menace.

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kathy foos 4 years, 5 months ago

The Denver law against pit bull has placed a larger amount of these dogs in the other areas of Colorado.I even ended up with one,because of my child wanting to get it from someone who adopted it and couldnt handle it.It is a hard dog to own,insurance companys wont have them on property.landlords dont want ot rent ot them,its kind of a stupid dog,I dont trust the dog around other dogs,it likes to charge out and act tuff.Nothing has happened ,nor will it,because I dont let that dog loose.No one taught the dog to be agressive to another dog(just some)it must be a natural instinct,that must be controled for life,which is a big responsibility that I never asked for.Wonder where the banned dogs will go now,up here?just like Denver chased them out?Please stop breeding these dogs people,there are so many that need homes,with extra restricted care because of these type of incidents,they ARE unpredictable.I own a mix breed(unwanted and was needing a home)pitbull. we watch every move of the dog so this type of thing doesnt happen,They arent trained to be mean by owners,its a natural instinct and this breed needs to decrease,mine is neutered and will never breed,People cant handle these dogs,the dogs that got put down , just had 13 puppies now living in the area,will they have that instinct to kill?Probably,the owners of pitbulls need to stop breeding them and then leaving the rest of the world to deal with the unwanted leftovers,the average dog owner doesnt have a clue how to handle these dogs .Im just saying that people dont necessarily make them this way,it is a natural instinct.You may own one now and say,"I would never make them mean or allow it to become mean,there may not be alot to stop the instinct and dont trust the dog if you have a doubt.

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Cooke 4 years, 5 months ago

I do not believe all this "it's how they are raised" BS about pitbulls. Do a google search. Not a lot of golden retrievers and labs out killing other leased dogs, maiming joggers, etc. While these dogs may not have been treated as well as they should have, I agree with Sun -- it seems like you are really playing steep odds if you own one of these dogs. What a sad story for the lab owner...what a waste.

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oldskoolstmbt 4 years, 5 months ago

65% of fatal dog attacks in 2008 were from pit bulls.... 39% of fatal dog attacks are 'pack' related (more than one dog attacking).... maybe there should be an ownership limit at the very least!

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