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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Mauled dog owner asks for quick action to ban vicious dogs

Pleasanton resident Tim Staton, left, describes to the city council an attack on one of his dogs. Injuries to the dog were so severe that it had to be euthanized. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

PLEASANTON – Pleasanton resident Tim Staton apologized in advance of his presentation to the Pleasanton City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 26. He warned that the images his words would evoke would be disturbing.

And as he began describing the attack of a neighbor’s dog on his family’s 3-year-old dachshund-mix, Taki, the image he painted underscored the viciousness of the attack. According to Staton, a neighbor’s dog slipped his leash and attacked Taki next to the Staton’s house last week on Dec. 20 as the family was preparing for an early Christmas gathering.

“I don’t mean to be grotesque, but I’m going to give you some details because I think it’s important,” he said.

With his daughters sitting in the audience with tear-filled eyes, Staton said the larger dog’s unprovoked attack detached the smaller dog’s lower jaw and sent blood splatters 5 feet high on the wall of the house.

Because he was doing some remodeling work inside the home, Staton said he was able to grab a claw hammer and begin beating the attacking dog on the head, but it seemed to no avail as it continued the attack unfazed. He went into the house to get a firearm because he believed the hammer was ineffective, but when he came out, the attacking dog was gone.

He said he warned his wife and son, who were indoors in separate buildings, against coming out for fear they would be attacked if the dog returned.

But he was wrong, the attacking dog returned home and died from Staton’s actions. And Taki, too badly hurt, had to be euthanized.

Staton commended the response to the incident by the Pleasanton Police Department, saying that the officers were prompt in their response and thorough in their investigation. A citation was issued to the owner for having a dangerous dog loose.

Staton later found out, after viewing an outdoor security camera recording, that the dog’s owner was standing about 30 to 40 feet away from the attack and did nothing to stop it.

Although Staton did not specify the breed of the dog that attacked his dog, he indicated that it was a pit bull terrier. Noting that many cities across the country have been reversing decisions to ban dogs by breed, Staton asked that the city implement an ordinance that would be more aggressive against owners who were known to have dangerous dogs.

After his wife posted about the attack on social media, he said a person notified them that they had heard the dog’s owner tell children to stay away from the dogs’ cages because they could be vicious.

Staton also pointed out that his home was close to a park and a school bus zone, and he feared that another one of the dogs would slip out of its collar and attack a child.

“The thing that kept on going through my mind that night after the dust had settled was what if, instead of one of our dogs it had been one of our children?” he asked.

He said as many as seven dogs have been under the care of an irresponsible owner. He also indicated that the owner was breeding the dogs to sell.

Mayor Mike Frisbie said he was aware of how the ordinances against specific breeds had been overturned. And he questioned what the city could do.

City Attorney Burton Harding told Staton that the year-old vicious dog city ordinance allowed the city to confiscate the dangerous animal, but since the dog was dead there was no other recourse.

He indicated that the council could consider an ordinance that would address the person who kept dangerous dogs in the city limits.

According to Staton, the dog that attacked his had also killed a pet cat recently.

Harding suggested the most immediate action Staton could take was to file a civil lawsuit against the dog’s owner for criminal damage to property.

Staton said he planned to do that but he was looking for more immediate action by the city.

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