Council maintains two pit bulls “dangerous dogs”
By Stephanie Johns
Madison Mayor Bruce Gilbert and members of the city council heard an appeal to a dangerous dog declaration. Two pit bull dogs bit Cybil Bradbury on Nov. 2 when she was out walking.
Leanne Wesley, the owner of the two dogs, already has signed papers to allow the city to euthanize the female dog. She was present to appeal the ‘dangerous dog’ declaration placed on her male dog and issued by City Manager David Nunn following the incident.
“I have had the male, Rambo, since he was five weeks old,” she said. “I don’t think he would’ve done this on his own.”
She urged councilmen not to base their decision on the breed.
“I just feel Rambo is not dangerous,” she said, adding that she planned to move as soon as possible.
Bradbury said when the dogs jumped toward her and bit her, “I could do nothing but holler.”
The female dog bit her on the leg – that injury required stitches. The male dog bit her on her upper arm.
“If it had been a child or a woman with a stroller, I don’t know what would’ve happened,” she said. “I would like the dogs out of our neighborhood.”
City attorney Joe Reitman asked Madison Animal Control officer Cindy Wiemann for her opinion. Wiemann said both sides have valid arguments.
She said that when she came on the scene the female dog charged her while the male dog ran behind the house.
“I was not Mrs. Bradbury,” she said. “I don’t know what they did as a team.”
Reitman asked Wiemann how long Animal Control could keep the male. Wiemann said there would be a daily fee for keeping the animal but indicated it would be possible to keep the male until Wesley or an intermediary who met the requirements for keeping a dangerous dog could claim it.
Gilbert shared his concern with Reitman that having the dog move out of the neighborhood would not work.
Reitman replied that the dangerous designation would carry forward with the dog wherever it went, per state law.
Councilman Michael Naples asked about repercussions for labeling the male dangerous. Wiemann said Wesley would have to label the property with ‘Beware of Dog’ signs because it already has a microchip and has been sterilized.
Councilman Joe DiLetto asked who present would want the male dog living next to them. Wiemann said state law does not allow that to be a consideration so long as the owner meets the requirements.
Bill Bradbury, the son of the woman bit, said Wesley’s property lies within 200 yards of a church. Per the ordinance, a dangerous dog cannot be kept within 200 yards of a church, convenience store, daycare center or other gathering place.
“If two people attacked my mother, both would be in jail,” he said. “I don’t think that dog needs to be in that neighborhood.”
Wiemann said she would have to measure the distance from the house to the church.
Councilman Fred Perriman said he felt it necessary to protect those who need protecting and made a motion to uphold the dangerous dog declaration. Council agreed unanimously.
Printed in the November 15, 2012 edition