By Kristina Pritchett
After an incident where three dogs attacked another dog, and injured a man, some residents have voiced concerns regarding safety of their pets.
According to the investigation report, obtained by Coastal Animal Services Authority, the incident occurred on 7:25 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 28 at Sea Canyon Park.
Three unrestrained Pitbull mixes “engaged in an unprovoked attack on a properly restrained 11-year-old, altered male Wheaton Terrier mix,” the report said.
The report said the attack resulted in multiple deep lacerations and punctures with soft tissue trauma to Benny’s, the Terrier, hind limb area, as well as moderate punctures and bite wound trauma to the Terrier’s left side of his head and face. The Terrier’s owner, James, had two lacerations and an avulsion to his left hand and had various “nicks.” His right hand had injuries and swelled.
According to the report, James told officials the dogs escaped the house through the gate and ran for him and Benny. He said he was the only one in the park at the time and fought the dogs off for several minutes until the owner came out and retrieved the dogs.
The owner, Sue, told officials she was asleep at the time and that the gardeners opened the gates at the house which allowed the dogs to escape.
Kimberly Cholodenko, general manager at Coastal Animal Services Authority (CASA), said three dogs, all female Pitbull mixes, came into the center that same day and were quarantined while an investigation took place. The investigation was scheduled to conclude on Friday, Aug. 11.
Cholodenko said every situation is different, but during the investigation, information, including past history, will be gathered. Officials will speak with the owners of the dogs, any victims, as well as witnesses.
“Depending on the incident, if there are injuries, there could possibly be a declaration,” Cholodenko said.
The declaration, in the city of Dana Point could occur if an animal has either engaged in an unprovoked attack on a person conducting a lawful activity or a restrained animal, or if a person believes he, she or their animal under proper restraint was in imminent danger of great bodily harm.
The city’s ordinances also describe what a “vicious” animal is, conditions of harboring a vicarious animal as well as the restraint ordinances.
According to the ordinances, if an animal is deemed vicious, a series of conditions could include keeping the dog confined to a house or an area enclosed by four walls, tattooing the animal with an identifying mark and more.
Sgt. Richard Himmel with the Dana Point Police Services said the dogs were “inadvertently let loose by some landscapers, who left a gate open at the owner’s residence.”
Cholodenko said this incident is not common for their coverage area in San Clemente and Dana Point.
“There are more people and animals out in the summer months, but this is not a common occurrence,” Cholodenko said. “I think we see more of a minimal [incident] in a sense of severity of dog encounter. We do not typically see three dogs involved.”
Cholodenko said the investigation is occurring to ensure the safety of the city’s residents.
The owner of the animal that has been deemed vicious may request a hearing to contest the determination of viciousness or the condition imposed upon harboring the animal. At the hearing, the owner may introduce evidence to the show the animal is not vicious or that the imposed conditions are inappropriate.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department could not provide a case number for a police report, but stated the call log number. The call log number could be found on the Blotter website, but OCSD no longer provides details to the calls.
This is a developing story, updates will be posted as made available.