Misplaced blame in dog attack

A claim that Carson City's dogcatchers are to blame for a wolf-dog's attack on a 3-year-old girl strikes us as the latest in the "deep pockets" philosophy of responsibility.

According to that philosophy, whoever has the most money is the most responsible.

The attack in June 1998 became the talk of Carson City for several reasons - the serious injuries to the little girl, Taylor Soetje; controversy over the keeping of wolf-dog hybrids; and the fact that it belonged to her grandfather, well-known Carson resident George Soetje.

At the time, Soetje was adamant that the dog was not ordinarily dangerous and that Carson City Animal Control officers - and the newspaper, and the public - were making a big deal over something that was essentially a family affair.

Now, it seems that the family - or at least George's son, Ed - believes that Animal Control simply didn't do enough to prevent the little girl from being bitten.

They are asking the city to pay $770,000 in damages as compensation for Taylor's injuries.

"It is clear that Carson City Animal Services was negligent in their failure to destroy this dog after numerous times it was put on notice regarding the dog's temperament and the multiple problems that the neighbors and even Mr. Soetje's own wife, suffered because of the dogs," the family's letter to the city read.

Should this claim go to court, it's going to be difficult to rebut George Soetje's own words not long after the bite: "Without going into detail, this bite was the result of human error rather than viciousness on the part of the dog," he wrote to the Appeal.

Perhaps George's judgment was clouded by his affection for his dogs. We'd have to say his son's judgment now seems to be clouded by his affection for his father.


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