6.29.17 Vicious Animal Encounter
In the afternoon of 6.29.17, a Visalia citizen and their dog were part of a vicious animal encounter at Pinkham Park. While walking their dog, the citizen was attacked by two unrestrained, unaltered and unlicensed dogs, one male and one female, with no apparent owners. Unable to call the dogs off, or stop them with physical force, the citizen drew a folding pocket knife and used it on the offending dogs.
The Visalia Police Department and Visalia Animal Control officers were notified of a medical aid call and reported to the scene, where they found both the victim and their dog with injuries. By that time the unrestrained dogs, which both sustained knife injuries during the attack, had retreated into the Park and one of them died at that location as a result of their injuries. The owner and victim dog were treated for injuries and it was during this time that an individual arrived, presenting themselves as the owner of the unrestrained dogs.
The surviving, offending dog was impounded after the encounter and transported by a Visalia Animal Control officer to a Visalia veterinary clinic; specifically to the clinic requested by its owner. After receiving care, and being cleared for release, the dog was picked up by Visalia Animal Control and transported to the Animal Care Center where it remains in quarantine and under the custody of Visalia Animal Services, pursuant to the City’s vicious dog ordinance.
As always, the safety of the citizens of Visalia is our primary concern, which is why the City has both a requirement that pet owners restrain their animals and a vicious dog ordinance. For the purpose of the ordinance, vicious is defined as “any animal, wild or domesticated, that attacks or bites any person or animal.” Unrestrained dog attacks are occurring far too often and pose a real threat to citizens. From July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, Visalia Animal Services had 7,103 total calls for service. Of those calls, 505 were for vicious animals.
It is imperative that dog owners understand the severity and extreme consequence that can come with vicious attacks. In an effort to avoid vicious animal encounters, either provoked or unprovoked and pursuant to Chapter 6.08.020 of the Visalia Municipal Code, it is the responsibility of dog owners to restrain their dogs at all times.
Unfortunately, many citizens are under the misconception that it is lawful to allow a dog to be unrestrained if it’s on the owner’s property. That is not the case. For the purpose of the ordinance, restraint is defined as “a leash not in excess of eight feet, a tethered lead, or a fenced enclosure which keeps the animal under the control of a responsible person or within the real property limits of its owner.”
Visalia Animal Services has a strict adherence to our restraint and vicious ordinances. Accordingly, we ask all citizens, any time you see an unrestrained animal, please call and report the matter to Visalia Animal Control at 713-4957.