VENTURA – A Ventura woman’s pit bull mastiff has now attacked three times this year, in violation of the county’s “dangerous dog ordinance”, but the dog avoided execution after a hearing today in front of the county board of health.
The Cerro Gordo county health department has been dealing with Stephanie Thiel of Ventura for several months this year. A health department spokesman tells NIT that her 80-90 lb. mixed-breed pit bull mastiff “Henry” bit a woman last may, on two different occasions, 5 days apart. The first “bite” caused a bruise to the victim, the second “bite” broke the victim’s skin. No report was made until the second incident. Her dog was then deemed “potentially dangerous” in June under the county’s dangerous dog ordinance after the sheriff’s department and the health department met with her. She was given stipulations which she was ordered to follow after these incidents, including show proof of vaccinations (which she has done), the dog must be microchipped, and the dog must be indoors or in a secure enclosure if outside.
The sheriff’s department delivered a third attack incident report to the health department after another alleged attack by Henry on October 30. The dog got loose from a chain in her unsecured yard (no fence) and came after a man; it was not supposed to be on a chain per orders given after the attacks in May.
Due to this incident, the health department deemed Henry a dangerous dog, and ordered euthanasia.
Thiel appealed the order, and her case was heard this afternoon by the health department. The board heard her appeal, and although the dog went after the man, its undescribed attack on him didn’t break his skin. The board ruled out euthanasia at this time.
However, in addition to earlier stipulations Thiel must follow in order to keep the dog in the county, the dog cannot go outside of her home in Ventura without a fenced in, enclosed area. She currently has no fence at her home, NIT was told. The dog must attend a dog obedience school approved by the board of health. If she takes the dog for a walk or elsewhere, the dog must be a on a 6-foot substantial leash while the leash is held by an adult capable of restraining the dog. At no time may the dog be left unattended even if muzzled, leashed or tied up off the premises. Also, Thiel must notifiy the U.S. Postal Service and utility companies that the dog is potentially dangerous, and must notify the female victim from last May that the dog is coming back to her home.
The health department spokesman says that if these stipulations are not “met to a T”, Thiel will likely find herself back in front of the board.
The county’s dangerous dog ordinance is not breed-specific. It only pertains to any dog that bites. Some changes to the ordinance are being considered at this time, NIT is told, and the county board of supervisors would have to approve those changes if they are brought forth.