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Animal Services now has 30 days to complete a dangerous-dog investigation, Animal Services Chief Kris Weiskopf says.
East County Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 9 years ago

County removes aggressive pit bull

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by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — A pit bull mix that has been terrorizing residents of the Greenbrook Dale neighborhood for more than a year has been taken into custody.

Manatee County Animal Services picked up the dog without incident Nov. 22. Neighbors said the 1-year-old dog, which belongs to an unauthorized tenant of a foreclosure-stricken home in the neighborhood, has shown regular aggression. And although its removal is welcome news, some are worried that, ultimately, nothing will change.

“It’s a relief that they have it for now, but I don’t see that these (owners) will stay on top of it,” neighbor Carol Vogel said. “There’s still some fear there. This has been going on for over a year.”

Vogel said she has been chased or followed by the dog on several occasions and even has attempted to scare the dog away, without success.

“(That dog) chased us inside the house,” Vogel said of a recent trip to the mailbox. “He tore off after us like he was going to attack us. It would not leave. I banged on the door to try to scare it off.

“(Things like this have) happened repeatedly,” she said.

The dog’s removal came one day after homeowner Brian Blanco sent a letter to the director of Manatee County Public Safety about the animal.

“Knowing that the dog has been taken into custody while Animal Services conducts their investigation has been a welcome, albeit possibly temporary, reprieve from worrying about the kids in this neighborhood,” Blanco said. “The notion that the county could possibly give this dangerous dog back to a clearly irresponsible dog owner would be laughable if it wasn’t, first, so dangerous.”

Animal Services now has 30 days to complete a dangerous-dog investigation, Animal Services Chief Kris Weiskopf said.

“The good news is the dog didn’t bite (anyone),” Weiskopf said. “We definitely wouldn’t want that happening. That’s why we have the dog.”

If the dog is deemed dangerous, it will be returned to its owner with conditions, such as requirements to keep the animal muzzled and supervised while outside, even in the backyard, and to pay an annual dangerous dog registration fee of $500.

Blanco said on Nov. 20, he was heading out for a walk, pushing his 15-month-old son in a small stroller, when he saw the dog chase Vogel into her home.

“I have personally witnessed the dog aggressively chasing neighbors — and/or myself — on three separate occasions over the last few months,” Blanco said in his letter. “On one occasion, a jogger had to run behind my home and leap into my fenced-in backyard to escape the animal.”

Weiskopf said his department has responded to animal calls in the Greenbrook Dale neighborhood seven times over the last year — six times for a dog running loose and once for an aggressive animal.
Weiskopf said individuals responsible for the dog taken into custody have been cited twice over the last year because the dog was roaming the neighborhood freely.

The first citation — a $200 fine issued in January — has been paid. The second citation — a $350 fine issued Oct. 25 — has not yet been paid.

To ensure concerns about loose or aggressive animals are being addressed, Weiskopf said homeowners should leave their contact information.

Animal Services is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily, and employees are on call 24 hours a day. The department can be reached at 742-5933.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

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