County officials mandated to look out for the well-being of animals were canvassing a Valencia neighborhood to find someone who could identity the owner of a pit bull that attacked an elderly man and his tiny dog last month.
“The person has not been identified, yet,” Don Barre, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, told The Signal.
Department officers responded to an attack that happened Dec. 10 on the paseo near Valencia Meadows Park, west of Orchard Village Road.
In that attack, Barry Beggs, 78, was knocked over and bitten by a dog he described as a big, black pit bull. The dog also attacked Beggs’ dog, Ruby, inflicting injuries on the Chihuahua/Jack Russell mixed breed that necessitated it being put down.
“The dog walker was bitten, not mauled,” Barre said, in updating The Signal about the attack.
“The Department is patrolling the area and canvassing the neighborhood to hopefully obtain the pit bull owner’s identity,” she said.
Several people responding to reports of the attack in Thursday’s edition of The Signal reported seeing the pit bull owner regularly on the Valencia paseos and in its parks.
An investigation by county officials is underway, Barre said Wednesday.
An investigation into a “potentially dangerous dog” is undertaken whenever an attack falls under the definition of County’s Title 10 Ordinance Code 10.37.020, which reads:
A potentially dangerous dog means any dog which, when unprovoked:
- on two separate occasions within the prior 36-month period, engages in any behavior that requires a defensive action by any person to prevent bodily injury when the person and the dog are off the property of the owner or custodian of the dog.
- bites a person or otherwise engages in aggressive behavior, causing a less severe injury.
- has killed, seriously bitten, inflicted injury, or otherwise caused injury to a domestic animal off the property of the owner or custodian of the dog.
The pit bull that attacked him and Ruby as he walked her on a leash fits the definition of a dangerous dog as defined by county officials, according to Beggs, who was still recovering from injuries suffered in the attack.
The county has similar wording to define a vicious dog as spelled out in ordinance 10.37.030.
“If a possible violation of 10.37.020 or 10.37.030 has occurred the dog owner can be issued citations, required to attend an administrative hearing to declare the dog potentially dangerous or vicious.
“If a dog is designated at the conclusion of the hearing, the owner of the dog must comply with conditions of continued ownership. Noncompliance can result in criminal charges, fines or removal of the dog from the property,” Barre said.
There is another option, Barre explained.
“If it is determined by the (county) that the dog can be safely quarantined on the owner’s property, the dog will remain on the property,” she said. “Other times, the dog is removed from the property and impounded for the length of quarantine at the local Animal Care Center.”
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