Vicious and dangerous dog ordinances in different Oklahoma communities have been challenged in municipal courts recently. In March, a mixed breed dog from Shawnee was tranquilized and taken into custody by an animal welfare agent there. The dog was labeled vicious and would have been euthanized had its owner not gone to court. Dawn Ramsey, a dog trainer who testified the dog was not vicious and should not be euthanized, said the dog has some behavioral problems, but is not dangerous. She said the ordeal started on March 25 when the dog, Max, barked and ran at a postal worker who then called animal control. The dog acted similarly toward the animal control worker who tranquilized the dog. Ramsey said the dog’s owner, Bill Warmker, spent two days in municipal court calling witnesses to testify on behalf of his dog. "There are probably people who can’t afford to do what Bill did,” she said. "He spent a lot of time in court, paid vet’s bills and his dog has suffered, too.” Municipal Court Judge Robert Jones cleared Warmker of charges on April 28. On April 11, an Enid woman and her young daughter were charged and attacked by their neighbor’s pit bulls. Rhonda Morgan said two dogs came after her 2-year-old daughter Madison. "It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever been through,” Morgan told The Oklahoman nearly a week after the attacks. Morgan said she received more than 30 stitches on her legs and suffered a fractured ankle. Madison was bitten once on the leg. Enid Police Capt. Dean Grassino said that three dogs were taken into custody by animal control. Mark Buchanan, owner of the two dogs that initiated the attack, turned his pit bulls over. The dogs were euthanized last week. The owner of a third dog is set to go before a judge on June 1 to argue her dog is not vicious.
DOG BITES BY THE NUMBERS
In Oklahoma City: →$177: Minimum fine for dangerous animal violation. →$272: Average fine assessed in 2008. →119: Citations issued in one-year period ending March 31, 2009. In the U.S.: →4.5 million: Number of people bitten each year. →885,000: Annual bites that require medical attention. →12: Number of people who die each year from dog attacks. →$356.2 million: Amount paid in insurance liability payments for bites in 2007. →14,351: Bite claims in 2007.
Breeds most often involved in dog-bite related human fatalities from 1979-1998: →Pitt bull terrier →Rottweiler →German shepherd →Wolf-dog hybrid →Husky →Malamute →Doberman pinscher SOURCES: Oklahoma City Municipal Court, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Southwestern Insurance Information Service and Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association