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Dogs deemed ‘dangerous’ after attacks

November 27, 2018

MICHIGAN CITY — A Michigan City resident has been warned to keep her dogs locked up after they got out of her yard and attacked three people last week on the city’s north side, according to police.

Michigan City Animal Control was called about 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 14 to the 600 block of Washington Park Boulevard after a caller complained of two dogs running loose and biting several people, according to a police report.

Police and animal control officers arrived and saw a black pit bull dog with white marking “go charging across the yard” toward a woman, the report said.

Animal Control Officer Julie Holbrook said in the report, “The dog was definitely headed to attack. I jumped out of my truck and yelled at the dog and it scared him away” from the woman.

She then saw the black dog and another white dog, a golden retriever mix, run to the back yard of a house, but a knock on the door brought no response. The officers began searching the area for the dogs but could not find them.

A 47-year-old woman told police she was getting out of her car down the block when the black dog “met her at the door and began to bite her on the behind and back side of her leg. She ran into the house,” Holbrook said in the report.

The second victim, a 57-year-old woman, said she was also was getting out of her vehicle and walking to a house when “the black dog began to attack her. She said she tried to fight him off, but the black dog was accompanied by the white and they were backing her up against the car.”

The black dog then bit her. The white dog was also aggressive but didn’t bite either victim, the report said. One of the victims said her daughter “was nipped at by both dogs,” though she didn’t suffer any wounds.

Neither dog was recovered but a note was left on the homeowner’s door.

The owner of the dog, a 63-year-old woman, later called Animal Control and was told her dogs were out running the streets and the black dog had bitten people that day.

The woman said the dogs were inside the home when she returned and her son had been home at the time, the report said. She also said she has a doggy door in her back yard and the dogs can come in and out as they please.

The back yard is fenced, but there was a big gap under the gate, the report said. The woman promised to go through the yard and secure the fence.

Holbrook said she was “deeming the two dogs dangerous” and a certified letter was sent to the owner explaining the steps she must take to avoid having the dogs taken away.

Holbrook said Wednesday that the letter explains the rules set forth by city ordinance for a keeping an animal that is deemed dangerous.

One part of the ordinance sates that the dog must be kept inside or in a “securely enclosed pen, structure or fence” to prevent escape and keep children out. It must be at least 6 feet high, and provide shelter from the elements for the animal.

The owner must also post on their property a large sign reading: “WARNING – DANGEROUS ANIMAL – KEEP AWAY.” It must be conspicuously displayed and be visible at least 50 feet from the animal’s enclosure.

Both dogs were current on their rabies vaccines, Holbrook said. “That is the very first thing that gets checked with any bite.

“I will follow up with the dog’s owner within 10 days to be sure all requirements are met. If they do not comply, a warrant to take ownership of the dogs will be sought.”

—From staff reports

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