Bandit is an indoor pet living in the area marked with a single blue arrow at the top of the map (see map below). The 8 year old child who claims a dog bit him while riding his bike, lives in a home in the lower area of the map marked with an “A” and blue arrow. As you can see, there are literally approximately six blocks (1/2 a mile) between Bandit’s home and where the child lived. In between both points, there are many homes where many dogs live, both indoor and outdoor, many who look like the type of dog Bandit is.
The AC&R (Animal Care & Regulation) of the County of Sacramento took the word of a neighbor, who said a relative who used to live with him but no longer does is the one who pointed out the Bandit household as perhaps the dog who possibly could have bitten the child, but never witness any of what he is suggesting. There were no witness accounts to the child incident, no proof it even happened on Bandit’s street, no doctors report, no official animal bite and quarantine report issued by the AC&R that typically follows a bite incident, no administrative dog hearing, no ruling, nothing. In fact, a note was apparently placed in Bandit’s file unbeknownst to her owner and it is the only thing linking Bandit to this alleged incident, again based on unsubstantiated claims by someone who knows someone who was not a witness to the alleged incident. Bandit’s owner was never informed of any possible ramifications that could result as a result of her dog being named and accused as the dog who could have been responsible for the child bite incident. As far as the owner knew, the accusation was never addressed further and nothing more became of the accusation. She never heard from the AC&R after that.
It was not until the administrative dog hearing following the April 2010 incident for the alleged bite incident with the letter carrier that the AC&R introduced what they refer to as the ‘first bite’ arising from the June 2009 unsubstantiated incident with the child.
Bandit is an indoor pet with access only to her back yard when she’s not indoors. The only instances when Bandit is is allowed in the front yard is while on leash. On June 26, 2009, Bandit had been indoors the entire day — without access even to the back yard — because her owner was away taking care of a dying relative. Bandit’s owner believes that Bandit has been mistaken by the child for another dog and this ‘first bite’ should never have been attributed to Bandit in the first place. Instead, an informal note termed a ‘bite report’ that was never shared with the owner and never signed by the owner is now being used in conjunction with the alleged nip to the letter carrier to term Bandit ‘vicious and dangerous’. In the AC&R’s eyes, Bandit is a dog that has bitten and inflicted severe injury twice – and worthy of euthanasia.
It would appear that anyone can accuse your dog of biting someone, without a witness to attest, and then the AC&R in your town apparently could make their own version of a ‘bite report’ that sits in a file with your dog’s name on it. It would appear that the accusation does not need to be proven, witnessed, or substantiated and it could become a strike against your dog’s character.
The owner has repeatedly asked the AC&R to provide proof that it was Bandit who bit the child. They have yet to present any official documentation supporting the allegation. The administrative dog hearing officer characterized the allegation as hearsay during the hearing and yet used this very allegation to keep Bandit in confinement and ordered her euthanasia.
Apparently, it takes only one person who saw nothing to make a claim that your dog bit someone, it takes an unofficial note in your dog’s file at the AC&R that states your dog has bitten, it takes only one person at the administrative dog hearing to decide the fate of your dog. That’s the system in a nut shell in the capital of California.
What do you think about how the AC&R has handled of these allegations, the lack of a witness or doctors report, and a hearsay remark made by a neighbor who heard it from a family member, and the hearing and decision making process by one single person who gets to decide the fate of your pet?
Share your thoughts please.