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Thread: Dog at large

  1. #1
    Pitbullmama is offline Junior Member
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    Question Dog at large

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Michigan
    A few months ago my husband was arrested due to a neighbor suspected that our dog killed their cat. This has actually happened to us twice and charges were dropped previously however, we are going to trial soon. Anyway, the majority of our neighbors dislike us because we own 3 pure bred American Pit Bull Terriers. I have a 6ft privacy fence enclosing my entire yard. The neighbor who is taking us to trial has stated in the police report that they saw a dog killing their cat(this is a lady who allows her 10 cats to roam the neighborhood freely). There are a good amount of loose dogs in our neighborhood regularly. I've also noticed this lady posting numerous FB messages stating that cats continue to die in the neighborhood so they are being killed by animals or she mentioned they are getting poisoned. My major concern is I'm wondering how we can be in this situation without any proof?? The bottom line is that there is no proof of anything. We are innocent. We were planning on taking this all the way through trial to prove a point so everyone would stop accusing our dogs just because they are pit bulls. I'm wondering if I should take this to trial??? I was told at the status conference that if we go to trial and lose then we would be responsible for all jury expenses as well as the neighbor could then take us to civil court...is this accurate? I was told if I pled guilty now there would be no fines, no jail time etc, but I would still be out the $400 in bail. I would like to see this through to the end but if the small chance occurs I am found guilty then I could be out thousandths not to mention all the hassle and time. Should I plead no contest and be done or take it to trial?
  2. #2
    sandyclaus is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pitbullmama View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Michigan
    A few months ago my husband was arrested due to a neighbor suspected that our dog killed their cat. This has actually happened to us twice and charges were dropped previously however, we are going to trial soon. Anyway, the majority of our neighbors dislike us because we own 3 pure bred American Pit Bull Terriers. I have a 6ft privacy fence enclosing my entire yard. The neighbor who is taking us to trial has stated in the police report that they saw a dog killing their cat(this is a lady who allows her 10 cats to roam the neighborhood freely). There are a good amount of loose dogs in our neighborhood regularly. I've also noticed this lady posting numerous FB messages stating that cats continue to die in the neighborhood so they are being killed by animals or she mentioned they are getting poisoned. My major concern is I'm wondering how we can be in this situation without any proof?? The bottom line is that there is no proof of anything. We are innocent. We were planning on taking this all the way through trial to prove a point so everyone would stop accusing our dogs just because they are pit bulls. I'm wondering if I should take this to trial??? I was told at the status conference that if we go to trial and lose then we would be responsible for all jury expenses as well as the neighbor could then take us to civil court...is this accurate? I was told if I pled guilty now there would be no fines, no jail time etc, but I would still be out the $400 in bail. I would like to see this through to the end but if the small chance occurs I am found guilty then I could be out thousandths not to mention all the hassle and time. Should I plead no contest and be done or take it to trial?
    This isn't a small claims case, this is a criminal issue.

    Also, why would your husband have been arrested for something your dog allegedly did? What exactly are the charges? Unless your husband intentionally sicced the dog on someone, if it were just about the killing of a cat, that would normally be a civil issue, not criminal.

    As for the proof needed to convict, it depends on the actual charge to determine what kind of evidence or proof might be needed against him. There may have been a witness, which could be sufficient to convict. Also, if you have a 6ft privacy fence surrounding your property, are your dogs properly confined within the fenced area? And if so, then how does the neighbor allege that your dogs gained access to the cat to attack them?

    And yes, if it can be proven that the dog you own attacked the neighbor's cat, then you/your husband can be held civilly liable for the damages.
  3. #3
    Pitbullmama is offline Junior Member
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    It's funny you say that because we have thought the same thing. This is actually the second time this has happened. I believe that we are being targeted due to the type of dogs we own. The actual charge is dog at large. The first time this happened; all charges were dropped. This time a neighbor seems to think that it must be my dogs killing random neighborhood cats since I own pit bulls. I have never heard of someone going to jail for a dog killing a cat...after all; it's considered an "act of god". I could understand a ticket that we could fight but actually being taken to jail is just crazy. To be clear, according to the police report no one physically seen the dog killing any cats. We have contacted don't bullymybreed.com who help people who do get into legal issues and are discriminated against for owning a particular breed of dog but since our dogs haven't been taken by animal control they can't help us. I'm guessing the reason this is a criminal issue is because this neighbor is the one who is sueing. We were planning on taking this all the way to trial, but are now having second thoughts due to all the hassle we would go through. I truly believe we would win at trial but I'm not sure we should take the risk of losing thousandths of dollars if we lose. At that point this neighbor could then take us
    to civil court. This was NOT my dogs! Our yard and fence was even inspected by the police and was told it was completely secure. I even spent the extra $$ to cement 2 feet below the ground for extra security. There is a witness who said he did see my dog get out before(I have a written letter from this witness which will take away any/all credibility).I'm nervous if we don't stick with it and go to trial that this is going to keep happening to us... At the same time
    there's never any guarantees and there us a chance I could lose...do you feel
    I have a strong case and should go for trial? Or should we just be done with it? Need to decide by 230pm tomorrow....
  4. #4
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    You own a type of dog that while fair and accurate or not, has somewhat of well-known reputation for such activities. You may want to consider that before it happens "a third time".

    Your original post mentions you have a 6 foot fence around your whole yard. But it seems to me from reading the post that you didn't account that you could assert for certain that none of your dogs were outside of this fence for any amount of time.

    As far as the woman mentioning on her FB that dogs or poison may be killing the cats. Well.. A dog mauling for obvious reasons looks a lot different than the affects of a poisoning.

    If you truly believe you are innocent, then pleading no contest or guilty would be a silly idea. While there may be "no fines", You are admitting guilt and opening yourself up to civil litigation which you will most certainly lose with a guilty ruling in a criminal trial. "I pleaded guilty even though I'm not" will get you nowhere if you are sued. I would say in your situation, best to take your chances at trial, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove your dog was responsible for this act.

    And you are wrong about people not going to jail as a result of their dog's actions. You are absolutely liable for injury and death your pets cause (if it was indeed your pets), both criminally and civilly. Dogs are capable of killing not only other animals, but humans as well. There indeed are penalties imposed on owners who fail to prevent their pets from doing this.
  5. #5
    HomeGuru is offline Senior Member
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    Something does not make sense in the OP post. I am sure that there is a lot more to this story.
  6. #6
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    I assumed details were missing Home Guru, I'm unclear how the jump was made from a civil and a criminal trial by the OP. I am also firmly of the held belief that the breed Pit Bull has both genetics and statistics of violence against not only 3rd parties, and other animals, but also their owners that cannot be ignored.

    Simply put, these are well-documented, dangerous dogs to own, and owning them is merely asking for trouble (even if such statistics and research is falsely exaggerated)

    There are plenty of other breeds of dogs to choose from. German Shepards for example are far wiser choice, if you're looking for an intelligent dog, that is good with kids (they're a sheep-dog for Pete's sake), and protective of their owners. A better choice closer in size if a German Shepard is too large for your taste with similar loyalties to their owner would be a Belgian malinois.
    Last edited by ridiculouschin; 01-24-2012 at 12:42 PM.
  7. #7
    Hot Topic is offline Senior Member
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    A dog killing a cat is NOT an "act of God." Wherever did you get that idea? It could explain some of the problems you've had.

    If you want to bet that Pit Bulls have been maligned, scores of newpaper articles about dogs and children being killed by them will smother your argument.
  8. #8
    kellyr127 is offline Junior Member
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    Good luck in your case. There is so much discrimination and ignorance out there. Sad. They are such awesome dogs

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