Newton Falls man convicted of dogs running at large

Owner must secure $100K of insurance on animals

By Ed Runyan


David Hanson, whose dogs are accused of biting a woman outside of Venture Plastics on Warren-Ravenna Road near Hanson’s home Jan. 22, pleaded no contest Thursday to a misdemeanor charge of dogs running at large.

Judge Philip Vigorito of Newton Falls Municipal Court found him guilty Thursday and ordered Hanson to pay a $375 fine and court costs and continue to treat Hanson’s three German Shepherds as vicious dogs until further order of the court.

One additional measure required as a result of the conviction is that Hanson must secure $100,000 worth of insurance on the dogs.

But the more significant civil issue of whether the dogs will be declared vicious will continue through another pretrial hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. May 16 before Judge Vigorito.

At that time, one of the issues will be whether Hanson’s dogs were actually responsible for the attack on the woman, said Harry DePietro, Hanson’s attorney.

“My client’s dogs were loose. It doesn’t mean they were involved in the biting incident,” DiPetro said after the hearing.

“At least six dogs were running loose at the time of the incident. We have no proof of what dogs were involved with the biting. For all we know, it could have been another dog,” DePietro said.

Joseph Fritz, Newton Falls prosecutor, said the victim of the attack has had multiple surgeries to repair severe damage to the calves of her legs.

Fritz said it is unclear how many dogs were involved in the attack.

It is the second time Hanson, 59, has been charged with dogs running at large, the first time being last August when the dogs killed some ducks, Fritz said.

Hanson was treated the same way as other people charged with the offense – the charge was dismissed after he made restitution to the owner. His penalty in this case is typical for someone charged with a second offense of dogs running at large. The maximum fine Hanson could have received was $1,000, Fritz said.

Hanson was ordered to keep the dogs under tight restrictions when they came back home with him in January, such as being in a pen with a roof or a fenced-in yard, being muzzled when off Hanson’s premises and on a chain leash not longer than 6 feet when off Hanson’s property.

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