Triana—Jerry the Dangerous Dog

Marion County v. Triana

Jerry—The "Dangerous" Dog

"Dangerous" dog Jerry

Jerry was picked up by Marion Animal Control based on a complaint made by neighbor that he was playing too roughly with her dog.  When Animal Control arrived and examined the dog that had been roughly played with, there was no evidence of any bite marks, blood or broken skin. Jerry had been run off by the neighbor by throwing things at him. Animal control had been told that he had attacked several neighbors, despite the fact that such persons were never named, identified or found. The complainant was unable to give the name of the neighbor who was allegedly attacked. Upon arrival, the Animal Control Officer stated to the complaintant: "Maybe she [Mrs. Triana] can catch her dog and we wouldn't have to dart the dog."

The dog was eventually darted.  The Animal Control officer described to the Code Enforcement Board that Jerry, about one year old and a little over a foot tall, pictured above:

(H)it the side of my truck, extremely aggressive, started jumping up into the window, and I rolled the window almost all the way to the top."  He described the dog as a Rottweiler.

The full transcript of the Code Enforcement Board Hearing, for those interested, can be viewed here.  There are no rules of evidence, hearsay is allowed, and documents are introduced without authentication. The setting is quite hostile and intimidating.

I was not at the hearing. Mrs. Triana represented herself (and did an admirable job in a very hostile situation). But the take away from reading the transcript of the hearing, is that you have got to see the actual dog before you go in front of the fact finder.  From reading the transcript, Jerry was "Cujo."  The animal control officer was very persuasive and credible. When Jerry was finally released after appeal and I visited him at home I was shocked.  The dog is less than a foot tall and doesn't look anything like a Rottweiler. But the animal control officer had persuaded the Board he was dangerous.

One of Board members stated that all that was needed was for Jerry to scare someone to be found dangerous:

"If in her mind...your dog is acting aggressively toward her, then that meets the criteria of the ordinance."

Jerry was declared dangerous by the Board and we appealed. 

The ruling was reversed, but more on that later.

The question is, should a dog be declared dangerous for scaring someone?

Dangerous Dog Law

Helping to defend our best friends. Dangerous Dog Law (DDL) focuses on the legal defense of allegedly dangerous dogs. DDL is a member of the Pit Bulletin Legal News Network.