Dog bite saga goes to court and the Big Dog gets the last laugh
Knowing that you are right and fighting for what is right sometimes requires patience and perseverance to see things through.
On April 14, 2011 a dog belonging to an irresponsible owner sunk its teeth into my leg. I needed to follow through with legal system to insure that this would never happen again to anyone.
On Tuesday, December 20 in District Court the case came before Judge Harry Freitas as the defendant asked for a trial.
This was the third time owner of the vicious dog had been to court and he was advised of his rights and the seriousness of the consequences should he be found guilt.
At his last court hearing the owner had pleaded not guilty and asked for a trial.
His defense was going to be that I, running up Shower Drive in Hawaiian Paradise Park every morning at 5 am, aggravated his dog which had lead to the incident.
This is the same owner who had his dog loose on 10 previous occasions and told me that if I didn’t like it “I should go run someplace else.”
Before his trial took place, and facing 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, he decided – under advice of counsel, to change his plea to “No Contest.”
After the No Contest plea Judge Freitas found the irresponsible dog owner Guilty and handed down a sentence.
The Judge ordered that the dog be licensed and chipped. He also ordered that the owner pay a $200 fine, but since the owner is on social security disability the judge gave him a choice of paying the fine or doing 29 hours of community service.
The dog owner asked to do the 29 hours at the Keaau Humane Society and that judge thought that was a good idea.
Judge Freitas also ordered that the dog be confined to a kennel by December 31 and in the meantime the dog is to be tied away from the street.
The dog owner was also ordered to report to the nearest Police Department where he was to be photographed and finger printed.
The owner was instructed to return to court on February 23 at 1:30 pm to prove that he has followed the court orders.
I will also be present on 2/23/12 as I’d like to insure that this person follows the courts instructions.
After 8 months and several court appearances I feel that we are finally going to have this resolved to my satisfaction.
Kudos to the Prosecutors Office and Irene Bender who is with the Victim’s assistance Program working out of the Prosecutors Office and to the Police Department who followed through with the case. Ms. Bender kept me informed along the entire way of the eight month process and even sat in the courtroom for that final court appearance.
The message of this story is to allow my readers to understand that the system, from the police, humane society, to the courts is there to protect us from undo harm.
We all have the right to run, jog, and walk without being accosted by an unleased dog.