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Dog warden criticized by angry pet owner



Published: Thu, September 7, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The owner of a dog that killed a neighbor's dog faced charges.

By WILLIAM K. ALCORN

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

STRUTHERS -- Rick Naples blames the Mahoning County dog warden's lack of response to numerous complaints during the past month for the death of his miniature poodle, Shaggie, who was attacked and mauled by a neighbor's large dog Wednesday.

In an e-mail to Mahoning County commissioners, Naples, of 112 Perry St., said he contacted the Struthers Police Department many times during the last month about the neighbor's dog attacking other dogs on leashes, and even a child in the neighborhood, and was assured by the police that the dog warden was contacted.

However, he said the dog warden never showed up and now Shaggie, whom he described as "a part of the family," is dead.

Naples said the neighbor's dog, which he estimates weighs 100 pounds and looks like a mix between a German Shepherd and a wolf, broke its leash, ran across the street and attacked his poodle, which was leashed in the front yard, about 7 p.m.

He said the attacking dog, which Deputy Dog Warden David Nelson said is an Akita, grabbed Shaggie in its mouth and ripped him so hard that it pulled out a 3-inch eyebolt that anchored Shaggie's leash to the porch.

Naples, Struthers city income tax commissioner, said his dog would not have been attacked if someone from the dog warden's department would have investigated even one of the repeated calls he made over the last month.

Response

Mahoning County Dog Warden Mike Fox said he will investigate the situation, noting that all complaints are logged by date and answered according to importance. He said high priority calls include injured strays, vicious dogs or dogs running loose.

Fox said one of his deputy dog wardens told him he was aware of only one call about this dog before Wednesday. But, Fox said he would check with others on his staff to find out if they have responded to calls there.

"We respond to dog calls every day. If we aren't responding, I want to know about it," Fox said.

The Akita's owner, Catherine J. Majetic, of 111 Perry St., was to appear in Struthers Municipal Court at 9:30 a.m. today on several charges stemming from Wednesday's attack.

John Sveda, Struthers safety-service director, said the city charged her under its new vicious-dog ordinance, passed in June, with failing to confine her dog. Sveda said Majetic also was charged by the dog warden with allowing her dog to run loose and for having two other unlicensed dogs and not having required shots for them.

In addition, Majetic was scheduled to appear in municipal court today to face similar charges stemming from an Aug. 16 attack, Sveda said.

In police report

According to the police report, a patrolman saw a group of people Wednesday in the road on Perry Street screaming and yelling. The patrolman then saw a large white dog in the yard of 111 Perry with a small white dog in its mouth swinging it around. The officer approached the large dog, and it dropped the poodle and stared at the policeman.

At that time, Majetic arrived home and gained control of her dog and put it inside the house, police said.

Sveda said a representative of the dog warden's office and city police went to the Majetic home this afternoon. Sveda did not know today who has custody of the Akita but said it is up to the municipal court judge to decide what happens to it.

In his e-mail, Naples asked commissioners to look into the problem and help the citizens of the county feel safe again.

"We've been afraid the whole month to bring the dogs out," Naples said.

"But for the grace of God, that could have easily been a young child that got killed yesterday instead of my Shaggie," Naples said.

alcorn@vindy.com




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