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Follow-up, Violent Pit Bulls Attack on Juanita Sharp

By   /   August 18, 2011  /   14 Comments

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Following are the responses from Yucca Valley to 14 questions Cactus Thorns sent to Yucca Valley pursuant to a statutory Request for Records.  Note, this story was updated from its original at 9:40 AM, today.

Inexplicably, the city and local authorities are withholding the name of the owner of those pit bulls. Why? What the hell are local authorities doing about this incident? Why the blackout on public information?

From the testimony of the victim’s husband, James Sharp (when he contacted Cactus Thorns), the female owner of the vicious animals just let it happen and the owner was screaming at  the victim while she was being mauled, accusing the victim of riling the pit bulls. Perhaps the owner should be charged with attempted murder or manslaughter for doing nothing while Ms. Sharp was fighting for her very life.

The Hearing date on the destiny of the pit bulls Monday, August 22, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. in the Yucca Valley Community Center, Mesquite Room.

Five of the questions concerning the initial report were not answered: The City maintains that the matter is still under investigation. Be advised that my request asked nothing about the investigation alleged to be taking place… rather, it simply sought out information that dealt with the report.

Three of the questions the Animal Shelter reports they keep no records or information.

Cactus Thorns is researching California Codes regarding the requirement for record keeping on public animal shelters. When completed, that information will be posted for the benefit of Cactus Thorns readers.

There appears to be a cover-up of sorts relative to public information here. Either that or Y.V. is derelict in its responsibility in maintaining better records-keeping on animals (and thus failing to protecting the public) . It’s the view of many in Yucca Valley that it’s now TIME for the town to incorporate the County’s spade and neuter ordnance to regulate pit bulls, thus better insuring the safety of everyone.

As we will recall, the Hi-Desert Star on Tuesday, August 9, 2011, published the story of another incident where dogs bit two children in separate incidents. The victims were flown to Loma Linda University Medical Center.

“In a more humane world we would put owners of vicious dogs in a kennel for ten days and send the dog to rehab.” — Tom Loret, Hi-Desert Star. In a current Hi-Desert Star Poll, the question was asked: Are pit bulls more likely than other dog breeds to attack people? 80 percent said yes they are more aggressive….

Melanie Crider, Yucca Valley Animal Care and Control Manager, said: “In Yucca Valley we have zero tolerance for dogs that display overly aggressive behavior” (Ibid)

Note that California has one of the strictest and most animal-friendly shelter laws in the country. It is designated as SB 1785 Statutes of 1998, otherwise known as “The Hayden Law”.  Cool but where is the accountable of better record-keeping of the Yucca Valley’s shelter? And why has the request for records been fulfilled in large part by stating it’s under investigation?

Here are the responses to the Request for public information. I thank the very professional and cordial Town Clerk, Jamie Anderson, for her timely response to the request. Melanie Crider provided the following info. I thank her for her response.

Janet M. “Jamie” Anderson, MMC
Town Clerk
Town of Yucca Valley

Mr. Holstrom:  I have attached the answers to your questions from Animal Control.

1.       Regarding the pit bull Mauling of Jaqueline (Juanita ) Sharp, near Balboa on July 25, 2011, what are the names of the two dogs involved in the incident? – Not available at this time.  This case is still under investigation.

2.       Regarding same, the names and address of the owners? – Not available at this time.  This case is still under investigation.

3.       The names and addresses of the neighbors or individuals whom responded to the dog attacks and thus restrained the animals? – Not available at this time.  This case is still under investigation.

4.       Regarding same, have these two dogs ever had any other complaints against them? – Not available at this time.  This case is still under investigation.

5.       Regarding question #4, the names and addresses of the individuals making complaints and a copy of the complaints. – Not available at this time.  This case is still under investigation.

6.       Regarding same, have these two dog ever been cited, impounded or quarantine before? – The Town of Yucca Valley has no records or information showing that either of these two dogs have ever been cited, impounded, or quarantined prior to this incident.

7.       Regarding same, were the two dogs licensed by the city or the county? – Unknown. The Town has no records showing the dogs are licensed here.

8.       How many incidents of dog attacks or aggressive dogs within the jurisdiction of Yucca Valley have been made in the last 24 months?  We do not have the data/statistics for this request.  However, while there have been many “reports” of dog attacks or aggressive dogs, most of the reports prove to be unfounded.  It is quite common for people to report they were attacked when in actuality, they were never touched by a dog but perhaps frightened by it because of its breed, size, etc. Many people will report that a dog is loose and aggressive as opposed to just loose in order to make sure we respond quickly.

9.       How many dogs have been placed in quarantine for aggressive behavior, dog attacks or dog bites in the last 24 months? According to State law, if a dog bites a human and breaks the skin (unless it is your own family dog), it must be quarantined for a 10 day health check.  From January 2010 to July 2011 there have been 36 dogs quarantined for bites. Most of the bite reports are minor bites, i.e., a small break of skin on the finger.  Bites can occur when someone reaches over a neighboring fence to touch a dog, someone picks up a stray dog and gets nipped, children are too rough with the neighborhood puppy, etc.  Someone who trips over a sleeping dog may get nipped but it is typically a minor bite. A caregiver might get nipped by her patient’s Chihuahua.  There have been relatively few actual dog attacks and/or mauling on humans in Yucca Valley.  One of the worse incidents we have on record is the recent dog mauling in Paradise Valley.

10.   How many dogs have been euphonized for aggressive behavior or for attacks on people or other dogs in the last 24 months? – I believe the question here is how many dogs have been “euthanized” for aggressive behavior or for attacks on people or other dogs in the past 24 months.  We do not have the statistical information (completed and available) for this question.

11.   How many loose dogs have been picked up in be last 24 months in violation of the town’s lease law in the months?  We do not keep separate records for “why” dogs are picked up by animal control.  Some are picked up for abandonment, some for loose dog violations, some are willingly turned in by their owners, some are owned, some are strays.  But we do not have a tracking system that sorts everything out.

12.   How many citation have been issued to dog owners for dog attacks, for aggressive behavior, or for violations of the lease law in the last 24 months? – We do not separate citations into violation categories. Most citations are issued for non-licensed dogs; second most is for loose dogs.  If a dog has known aggressive behavior, we will investigate the situation and if we find there is supporting evidence, we will take the case to an administrative hearing.  Since most dog owners involved in this type of case do not want to go through the process, they will sign the dog(s) over to the Town.  After the legal holding period, the dogs are then euthanized.

13.   Does Yucca Valley have an ordinance or is it contemplating one similar to the County of San Bernardino whereas pit bulls are required to be neuter or spade, or are there any town studies, documents, reports, or recommendation for such an ordinance, or not? – There are no spay/neuter requirements for pit bulls or any other breed in the Town.  Currently, there are no Town studies, documents or recommendation for an ordinance related to this matter.

14.   Have their been any requests from citizens for an ordinance pit bulls be neuter or spade? If so, I hereby request a copy on any documentation thereto. – No requests have been made to my knowledge.

Janet M. “Jamie” Anderson, MMC
Town Clerk
Town of Yucca Valley

 

 

 

 


 

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About the author

Branson Hunter

(This story was posted by Cactus Thorn contributor Branson Hunter)

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.

14 Comments

  1. Crazynoodle says:

    While sick and disturbing as this is, nothing will ever be done about it.

    Last year I had to hold a 4 year olds cheek on while waiting for medics to respond after her family pit bull attacked her on her fricking birthday. HER CHEEK…. ON!! I could see all the way into her mouth through the hole this dog created. I have in my possestion 4 police reports that I made requesting someone come and investigate the dog because it was attempting to jump the 6 foot high cement wall into my back yard every time we went outside. I would not allow my children outside unless I was out there with my gun. Fun way to live right..

    But because the dog was currently in their back yard.. nothing could be done. Per the laws the only way a dog could be considered vicious is if they cause more than 24 stiches or bite more than 2 times in an 18 month period of time. 24 stiches on a child could be devistating and fatal.

    But as I said… nothing can be nor will be ever done about it. The thugs will keep breading them, idiots will keep buying them to suport the thugs drug happits and people will continue to be mauled and killed.

    Per the animal control agent that came to the house after our neighbor girl was attacked her response was this ” well now I guess we can put it down, and I know of at least 4 more just like it that I am just waiting for the call that they attacked.” I don’t blame her.. her hands are tied due to stupid laws.

  2. Crazynoodle says:

    Case in point…

    ANOTHER PIT BULL ATTACK, THIS TIME IN TWENTYNINE PALMS
    Another case of pit bulls attacking and biting people, this time in Twentynine Palms. Sheriff’s report that about 1:30 Sunday morning, two pit bulls, one wearing a plastic cone around its head, came into a yard in the 5800 block of Bagley Avenue. When residents tried to chase the dogs away, they were attacked. One man was bitten on the arm and another man was bitten on the leg. The dogs then ran eastbound on Bagley

    Twentynine Palms Girl, 9, Airlifted After Pit Bull Attack
    Repeat Biter
    UPDATE 05/13/09: The mother of a a 9-year old girl attacked by a neighbor’s pit bull last week reported the girl is much improved. After being flown to Loma Linda University Medical Center, Kaitlyn Thackerson underwent surgery and was released from the hospital two days later. City Animal Control Officer Rick Boyd said that the pit bull had been involved in a previous bite case on April 12 and was released from the shelter after a 10-day quarantine.

    Due to arcane dog laws, the pit bull was returned to its owner with the presumption that it would not bite again or that the once irresponsible owner would not be a twice irresponsible owner. Both presumptions were wrong. Just two weeks after the dog’s release, it attacked again, inflicting severe facial injuries to Kaitlyn Thackerson. The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office will decide whether to file charges against the dog’s owners.

    Feb 25, 2008
    3 INJURED IN 29 PALMS PIT BULL ATTACK
    THREE PEOPLE WERE HURT IN A PIT BULL ATTACK IN 29 PALMS WEDNESDAY. SHERIFF’S SPOKESWOMAN ANITA BAKER SAID A MAN AND TWO JUVENILES HAD JUST ENTERED THEIR SIDE OF A DUPLEX IN THE 6800 BLOCK OF EL RAY AVENUE IN 29 PALMS, WHEN AN UNATTENDED PIT BULL ENTERED THE DUPLEX AND ATTACKED THE 3. IN AN ATTEMPT TO FEND OFF THE VICIOUS BITES THE MAN, WHO HAS NOT BEEN IDENTIFIED, BEGAN HITTING THE PIT BULL WITH A BASEBALL BAT. FINALLY, THE THREE WERE ABLE TO ESCAPE THE HOME AND CALL FOR HELP. ALL THREE WERE TREATED AT THE SCENE FOR BITE PUNCTURE WOUNDS. 29 PALMS ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER RICK BOYD SAID WHEN HE ARRIVED, THE PIT BULL WAS STILL INSIDE THE LOCATION QUOTE – “RUNNING AMOK”. BOYD SAID THE ANIMAL WAS CAPTURED AND PLACED UNDER CONTROL. THE OWNER OF THE ANIMAL HAS NOT BEEN IDENTIFIED, AND THE CASE REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

    April 2006: Fifteen-year-old James Chambers Jr. was attacked by a pack of four pit bull mixes near his home in Twentynine Palms. He underwent two reconstructive surgeries and received 207 stitches.

    THOSE ARE JUST THE ONES THAT THE NEWS CATCHES!!

    This news article is priceless…..

    New rule could require owners to alter pit bulls
    By Courtney Vaughn
    Hi-Desert Star
    Published: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 2:47 AM CDT
    SAN BERNARDINO — After four human deaths in the past five years caused by pit bull attacks in San Bernardino County, and two child deaths this year alone, county officials are trying to step up animal control enforcement.

    On June 22, Supervisors Brad Mitzelfelt and Neil Derry, whose jurisdictions include the Morongo Basin, will ask their colleagues to vote for an ordinance that would require pit bull owners in unincorporated areas of the county to spay or neuter their pets.

    The ordinance comes in response to the high numbers of pit bulls and pit-bull mixes in shelters, as well as public concern following six reported attacks this year, according the county’s Animal Care and Control division.

    “The public is clearly concerned about the overpopulation of pit-bull-type dogs in our county. This ordinance will control the pit bull population and keep the county from having to house and eventually destroy so many of these dogs,” Mitzelfelt, supervisor of the 1st District, stated in a release from his office.

    Animal Care and Control reports pit bulls are the type of dog most often put to death at county shelters.

    County shelters impounded 1,717 pit-bull-type dogs during the last fiscal year. Of that group, 77 percent were euthanized.

    Throughout the county, this type of breed is difficult to adopt. Locally though, tough restrictions at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, which bans the breed altogether, make it harder for shelters like the no-kill one in Joshua Tree.

    “It’s a little bit harder to place them because of the base ordinances. We get a lot of military families who want to adopt out here,” the shelter’s manager, Michelle Willey, said.

    *************************************************************************
    If the ordinance passes, pit bull owners in unincorporated areas — not Yucca Valley or Twentynine Palms — will be given 30 days to sterilize their dogs, if they are not already altered. A $100 fine will be imposed for those who do not comply.
    *************************************************************************

    Vouchers worth $50 to be used toward the cost of the surgery will be available to dog owners who qualify.

    Brian Cronin, division chief of Animal Care and Control for the county, says some exceptions have been made for licensed breeding kennels.

    “We’ve provided what we feel are reasonable exemptions for people who are responsible breeders,” he said over the phone Monday.

  3. Branson Hunter Branson Hunter says:

    I respectfully want to add to this story, the name of the owner of the two pits is no longer a concern. Should that information become known to me (Branson Hunter, the handle I go by), I won’t published it in here. This is the reasonable thing to do. Thank you.

    • Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

      ? How is this the reasonable thing to do? Branson you wrote this “Inexplicably, the city and local authorities are withholding the name of the owner of those pit bulls. Why? What the hell are local authorities doing about this incident? Why the blackout on public information?”
      Now inexplicably you bow out. What changed? You can send me an email if you don’t want to post that info here.

      • Branson Hunter Branson Hunter says:

        Paparrazi, The City ought have provided the information. The police report ought have been made available to the public if request (and it was). Nonetheless, I simply changed my mind without talking to anyone. Like James Sharp as wrote yesterday, “let them finish there investigation”. Now that the grave facts are public (thanks James), given the gravity of all of this — I believe the town, its staff and authorities will proactively seek justice. Justice would be better served if down the road the owner were to pay restitution to Juanita Sharp.

        The question is will the City Council take this matter on and seriously consider incorporating the county ordinance Supervisor Derry was squarely behind — the ordinance that requires pit bulls be neuter or spade.

        I hope I’ve satisfactorily answered your question, Paparrazi.

        Isaac, you need to chimed in here and give readers some direction and leadership. You are a councilman and parked in the seat of leadership. Will you work toward this end?

        • Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

          Thanks :) , but I’m still confused as to why you would assist in concealing the name of the accused? How does this serve the publics right to know? Is it that you don’t know the name or are you unwilling to present it to us?

          • Branson Hunter says:

            Paparazzi, I’m not assisting anything. I would not post the name if I knew it (and I don’t). You are welcome to do it yourself.

            • Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

              Now I’m still at a loss as to why you wouldn’t post the name if you knew it? If Mr Sharps story is faithful then the owner of this beast was more than negligent, they were acting with malice toward public safety. Criminal charges should be brought against the owner. I’m nor sure why you would post this story about a black out on public information then do the same thing by not posting the name of the owner? Were’s MBO on this one? Seems with all his ramblings of dog bites, pit bulls etc he would be in the hunt.

            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              If there is any consolation… If I know or knew the name I would and will make a front page story about the woman.

            • Branson Hunter Branson Hunter says:

              The name will be posted when it becomes available. Your questions have been asked and answered. I can’t post information if I do not have it.

              You, too, are a blogger in here. Why don’t you do a little digging and post it yourself. The sheriff, the city and the animal shelter are on this. You need to start hounding them for her name.

              Perhaps Monday there will be more information at the hearing on the pit bulls. YOU need to attend that hearing and seek out the owner’s name. Otherwise, you, yourself, are shielding the public from the owner’s name.

            • Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

              Branson Hunter on August 20, 2011 at 8:23 am
              “I can’t post information if I do not have it.”
              Branson, The reason I asked is because you said “YOU WON”T POST IT.” Now you’re saying that you can’t because you don’t have it.
              Don’t try to turn this into something it’s not. I tried to set the tone with a happy face just so you would understand that I was not HOUNDING you :)

              Branson wrote “You, too, are a blogger in here. Why don’t you do a little digging and post it yourself. ”
              Well if posted the story in the context that there was a cover up I certainly would follow up myself. It’s your story. Not mine.

            • Branson Hunter says:

              Paparazzi, I’ll post it when it becomes available.

              —-
              Branson Hunter on August 20, 2011 at 8:23 am. Cactus Thorns Comment:

              The name will be posted when it becomes available. Your questions have been asked and answered. I can’t post information if I do not have it.

              You, too, are a blogger in here. Why don’t you do a little digging and post it yourself. The sheriff, the city and the animal shelter are on this. You need to start hounding them for her name.

              Perhaps Monday there will be more information at the hearing on the pit bulls. YOU need to attend that hearing and seek out the owner’s name. Otherwise, you, yourself, are shielding the public from the owner’s name.

  4. Branson Hunter Branson Hunter says:

    The irony is that if Yucca Valley were to incorporate the county’s ordinance requiring pit bulls be neutered or spade, that in the long run would prevent more pit bulls from being euthanized in public shelters, and there would be an added savings.

    Perhaps the town manage, Mark Nauimi, could give some direction to the Yucca Valley readers. Could he undertaking some independent studies looking at of the costs, savings and benefits to public safety. If he’s not behind this, why not?

    PS: (7:32 AM) Given the gravity of Juanita Sharp’s injuries, public safety is just as important as raising taxes.

    Mark?

  5. Branson Hunter says:

    James Sharp has provided more information concerning the pit bulls attack.

    These dogs have a history of roaming. Animal control has been at the location a number of times concerning the pit bull(s).

    The dogs would stray into James Sharp yard when his grandson was playing. One of the dogs became aggressive by growling and its hair was up on its back. James had to run it out of his yard with a shovel. The owner personally attack James when he confronted with the situation.

    The owners two dogs history shows they have a propensity for violence. What did the town do?

    James reports his wife wants him at her bedside before she falls asleep. And Juanita has has PTSD trauma and restless nights. She vicariously relives the horrible experiences of those attacks. She is not out of the woods yet, the healing process of wounds will keep her in the hospital much longer.

    James has been with Juanita for 25 years, his teen sweetheart since he was 19. Interestingly, James knew something was wrong with his wife while he was working on base, he just had a feeling inside him. He too is suffering great mental pain and suffering.

    We all should pray or meditate for both James and Juanita. They are going through so much.

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