Pet owners sanctioned for dog attacks |

Pet owners sanctioned for dog attacks

by Sheila Gardner

Two pet owners faced criminal sanctions in East Fork Justice Court on Wednesday in separate incidents in which their dogs were responsible for killing sheep and cats in their Gardnerville Ranchos neighborhoods.

In both cases, the dogs have been euthanized or will be.

For Animal Care & Services Director Janet Duzan, the problem is heartbreaking.

“It’s terrible,” she said in an interview. “When owners can’t keep them contained, they get in trouble and that’s the only resolution. Our responsibility is to protect the public and their pets.”

In one case, two pitbull-mix dogs escaped twice from their owner and attacked nine sheep.

“They were our dogs and they did get out,” owner Kerry Miller said in court Wednesday. “They were rescue dogs. We were trying to do the right thing by taking them in. They were big, uncontrollable dogs. We had an electric fence, we chained them up. You name it, we tried it and they still jumped over the fence.”

The incident occurred during the summer, and Miller said the dogs had been euthanized.

She reimbursed the victim $472.35 for the veterinary bills and compensation for meat that could not be harvested.

East Fork Judge Pro Tem Paul Gilbert suspended a $192 fine for one year, during which time Miller is not allowed to have dogs.

She agreed to the terms, and shook hands with the victim on the way out of court.

On Wednesday afternoon, Aaron Masters agreed to have two pitbulls euthanized after they killed cats in his neighborhood.

“Mr. Masters is very sad about this,” said his lawyer, Tod Young. “Although this pains him, things got out of control, and he is doing the right thing.”

According to court documents, Masters said he looked for a pitbull rescue facility, but none was available.

Once he pays to have the animals euthanized, charges will be dismissed against Masters.

Duzan said cases like these continue to give pitbulls a bad name.

“It’s not that uncommon that pitbulls have issues with smaller animals. You have to know what you’re getting when you have a pitbull,” she said.

Properly containing any dog, and raising it with good training and in a loving environment are basic steps for pet owners, Duzan said.

“Any kind of breed can get in trouble if they roam around,” she said. “We don’t want to harp on pitbulls. It’s a reflection of the pet owners, plain and simple.”

Any pet owner is invited to contact animal services for tips on how to prevent such incidents that were handled Wednesday in court.

“It’s sad for everybody, including our staff which deals with it at our end. In the end, the animals pay the price,” Duzan said.


For information about pet containment, contact Animal Care & Services, 782-9061.