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going to court about Bruno

This is a forum to discuss legislation and legal matters pertaining to the rights and welfare of dogs. Please remember to counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice and responses.

  
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Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 12:22pm PST 
Okay, if you read my "POTP for Maggie" thread in the Health forum, you would see that yesterday Bruno and Maggie got out and chased some sheep. The farmer shot Maggie in the head, we thought she would need major surgery to remove bone fragments and fix her jaw, but it turns out she'll probably be okay with just immobilizing it. (Whew! Can't say she "dodged a bullet" frown but it's a better outcome than it could have been.)

I got a call from AC this morning and it turns out the sheep guy is taking me to court. At the scene, I told him I would pay for the damages, but he wants it official, I guess.

I'm still totally willing to pay his bill, and a fine if I have to (but not happy about it) but the scary thing is that the judge could order Bruno to be destroyed. I DON'T want that to happen, obviously.

Do any of you know how this works? Is that a likely outcome? I'm willing to follow any conditions they set on me to keep him (leashed and muzzled when off my property? Never take him into Yamhill County again? Okey dokey.)

What's the best way to prepare for my court date and represent my case? There were no witnesses except me and the sheep guy. I fear that he's going to blame past attacks by OTHER loose dogs on Bruno, can he do that, or is it hearsay? Bruno has no "criminal record"; officially there has never been a complaint against him (or me), but if I'm being totally honest there have been minor "incidents" that went unreported in the past (not with this guy though). Are those likely to come up?

Also, I am enrolled with him in a training class right now, hopefully he will earn his CGC at the end of it. Do you think I should try to get the CGC done before my court date? (Don't know yet when it will be.) Would that be helpful?

If you want to tell me I'm a stupid idiot for letting this happen, that's okay. I've been telling myself that a lot since yesterday. I just want to do everything I can to make sure Bruno doesn't pay the price for my mistake. Even if you don't have any good advice, keep us in your prayers. I'm trying to keep the mindset that I stay calm, prevent aggressive thoughts from taking hold in my mind, and pray for a peaceful resolution.
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Okami- Amaterasu

I shalst- pluck-eth ze- toy...
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 12:30pm PST 
Well, I don't have any advice but I'd just like to say good luck.

It's terrible when stuff like this happens.

Hope everything turns out alright hug
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Isabelle the- Great

Nothing is- greater than an- Springer!
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 12:33pm PST 
I do not think you are a stupid idiot, Bruno. Not even for smacking Bruno. Things like this happen. Training is never complete. Get his CGC before court of possible. Burden of proof should lie on him for other attacks. Do you live in the same county? How often do you visit?

Be remorseful, to the court. Make sure you tell them you already offered to pay for the damages.

Good luck!!
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Lucille

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 12:54pm PST 
As I'm sure you know, it's very lucky that Bruno was unhurt and that Maggie will probably be ok.

Laws like this vary so much not only by location, but by discretion of the person who is handling your case. It's in your favor that technically Bruno hasn't been caught worrying livestock before and isn't 'in the system' as you noted.

To be honest, I'm not so sure speeding up a CGC would help, the judge might not know or even care what that is. There isn't much relevant in the CGC testing to calling a dog off livestock. Bruno might be better served if you demonstrate what you've done to keep this from happening again. Did he jump a fence? Then start installing a taller fence that he hopefully cannot jump...that kind of thing. If it's already a work in progress, at the very least you're demonstrating the willingness to remedy whatever lead to this unfortunate outcome. It's good that you offered to make reparations. Did you speak to the owner of the injured livestock and apologize? Sometimes a face to face meeting can make all the difference.

You've probably read some posts of mine on this topic, because I grew up near sheep, goat and dairy farms. It is a sad fact that once a dog gets a taste for this activity, they are often repeat offenders. That's part of the reason why there might be a reaction to blame your dog for similar attacks. Not that it's fair to Bruno if he's not guilty of others, but there you have it. Some dogs really love doing this, and they will return to the same farm again and again, that's part of the reason why it's usually legal for a farmer to shoot them. That and those animals often support an entire family and other people they might employ to care for them...

I'm sorry you have to go through this stuff, and I hope and pray that Bruno and Maggie will both be ok after all this is over.hug
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Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 1:16pm PST 
Lucille, the incident happened at my grandparents place, not my home (which I hope is a point in my favor...). At home we have a 6-ft chainlink fence. Out there it's only 4-ft livestock fence. I'm thinking that he is not going to be off-leash on that property ever again now that he knows the sheep are there. The gunshots frightened him pretty bad, but probably not enough to stop him from going back. I might just not take him with me when I visit my grandparents there anymore.

I know the CGC contains nothing relevant to livestock chasing, but I thought it might be a point in my favor (showing that I'm a responsible dog owner.) But you're right, it's a moot point if the judge has never heard of it.

Fingers crossed, I'm going to find the relevant sections of the state and county codes dealing with dogs at large so at least I know what I'm up against.
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Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 1:40pm PST 
Hmm. Found the relevant legal code.

"609.162 Guidelines for imposing remedial measures, civil penalties or other sanctions. (1) If a county determines under ORS 609.156 (2) or after a full and fair hearing that a dog has engaged in killing, wounding, injuring or chasing livestock, the county shall take action in accordance with the following guidelines:
(a) If the dog has engaged in chasing livestock and has not previously killed, wounded, injured or chased livestock:
(A) The county shall take reasonable measures to prevent a recurrence. Reasonable measures include, but are not limited to, requiring that the dog owner take specific measures to adequately confine the dog and provide a notarized written pledge that the owner will prevent the dog from chasing livestock again; and
(B) The county may impose a civil penalty of not more than $500.
(b) If the dog has engaged in chasing livestock and has previously killed, wounded, injured or chased livestock, or if the dog has engaged in wounding or injuring livestock and has not previously killed, wounded, injured or chased livestock, the county shall impose a civil penalty of not less than $250 and not more than $1,000. In addition to imposing the civil penalty, the county may:
(A) Require the dog owner to surrender the dog for adoption by a new owner approved by the county;
(B) Require the owner to remove the dog to a location where, in the opinion of the county, the dog does not present a threat to livestock; or
(C) Require that the dog be put to death in a humane manner. Before requiring that a dog be put to death under this subparagraph, the county shall make specific findings on the record that other measures are not available, are not adequate to remedy the problem or are otherwise unsuitable.
(c) If the dog has engaged in wounding or injuring livestock and has previously killed, wounded, injured or chased livestock, or if the dog has engaged in killing livestock and has not previously killed livestock, the county shall impose a civil penalty of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000. In addition to imposing the civil penalty, the county shall:
(A) Require the dog owner to remove the dog to a location where, in the opinion of the county, the dog does not present a threat to livestock; or
(B) Require that the dog be put to death in a humane manner.
(d) If the dog has engaged in killing livestock and the dog has previously killed livestock, the county shall impose a civil penalty of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000. In addition to imposing the civil penalty, the county shall require that the dog be put to death in a humane manner.
(2) In establishing the history of a dog for purposes of this section, or the history of an owner for purposes of ORS 609.163, a county shall consider all known determinations involving the dog or owner by any court, or by a governing body, official or agency of any local or state government, without regard to where or when the incident occurred. [1999 c.756 ยง5]"

So it all comes down to what the dog has done in the past, and whether I can prove that I'm a responsible owner who will take measures to prevent it from happening again. I'm hoping I can convince them that this was a one-time thing that won't happen again, and that I am NOT a habitual offender. But it looks like a hefty fine is par for the course, from 250 to over 1000 depending on severity of the crime. Plus double the value of the damages to be paid to the livestock owner.

Wish me luck.
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Lenny

Lenny -The- Wrecking Ball
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 2:07pm PST 
I don't have much advice to give, but I certainly hope that the court will see that it was an accident and that you are a responsible dog owner who will do everything possible to prevent it from happening again. I can't believe the guy wants to take you to court after you offered to cover the damages.

I wish you much luck and hope it works out as best as it can. hug
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Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 2:26pm PST 
Lenny, while I (obviously) don't like it, he was completely within his rights to call AC. Maybe he thought I wouldn't pay up otherwise, or he wants to make sure there is a record of this incident officially, in case it happens again (he doesn't know me, doesn't know if i'm responsible or not) because then the penalty is much higher for repeat offenders. (And I do believe repeat offenders deserve the penalties.)

This sounds hokey, but I am trying to use a version of controlled visualization on this- I imagine a web of glowing green threads that connect every living thing, I imagine the webs between me, this guy, the dogs, and the sheep, as being damaged and tangled but as the anger flows away it straightens out and is stronger than before. Trying to see the real pattern underneath all this hurt and aggression, that we are all connected and every life is equally important, the sheep, the dogs, the people.

It might not be doing anything, but it helps me control my emotions and not entertain useless thoughts of blame and regret.
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Turner - Gone Too- Soon

Hi I'm Turner- Wanna Smell My- Butt?
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 2:35pm PST 
I would take pictures of your fencing showing that his home life is secure and that you maintain total control of him. I would bring any training information and letters from the trainers about Bruno. I would tell the courts that you were visiting family and due to your negligence (Sorry, but true) he jumped the fence and did indeed chase/kill sheep. You should also tell the court that you offered to pay for any and all damages knowing that you were at fault. I would state that there were no other instances of Bruno escaping and chasing animals and that you are distraught over the entire situation.

Even though the courts consider dogs to be property I would make sure they understood that these are your companions that you have dedicated time and energy to train and ensure their well being. I would also tell the courts that the dogs would never be allowed into another situation that may question their ability to escape and create any problems.

ETA: 1) he chased and did not kill - that's good...
2) The law states that he may be banned from the area to an area safe - prove to them that your house is safe...

Good luck! We'll keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Please keep us posted.

Edited by author Mon Jan 9, '12 2:39pm PST

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Mr. Pibbs- *CGC*

Snuggle up!
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 9, '12 3:26pm PST 
I'm so glad Maggie will be okay!
Living in a rural area, I know how farmers can be (and I can't blame them).
With that said, since they did not kill nor injure any livestock, I think Bruno will be safe, especially if you never bring them to your grandparents again.
It's also very refreshing to see someone being so empathetic to the "victim".
We wish you the best of luck and your in our prayers. Please, please keep us posted!
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