Police finish investigation into owner of aggressive pit bull

The pit bull involved in the bloody attack on a woman and her small dog at Starbucks July 12 in Gilroy.

The Gilroy Police Department has concluded their investigation into the owner who fled the scene when his pit bull attacked a dachshund at Starbucks on First Street on July 14, causing the dachshund to be euthanized and causing non-life threatening injuries to its owner. 

“We have completed our investigation and it will be sent to the District Attorney within the next few weeks,” said Police Sgt. Chad Gallacinao. 

The suspect has been avoiding police contact for several weeks, Gallacinao said. 

The Santa Clara Count District Attorney’s Office will ultimately determine whether it is appropriate to charge the pit bull’s owner with any crimes. If the DA feels they can convince a jury that the man is responsible for something criminal, they will issue a warrant and the GPD will make an arrest, Gallacinao said. 

“Since this person avoided contact and has made no attempt to contact us or the victim, there is a potential law violation there,” he said. 

Gallacinao was referring to an entry in the California Penal code that says “a person owning or having custody or control of an animal knows, or has reason to know, that the animal bit another person, he or she shall, as soon as is practicable, but no later than 48 hours thereafter, provide the other person with his or her name, address, telephone number, and the name and license tag number of the animal who bit the other person.”

The man could also be charged with a misdemeanor or felony if he is proven to have known about his dog’s violent propensities before the dog caused injuries to the female victim of the attack, Gallacinao said.  

Even if the DA does not press charges against the owner, Gallacinao said the GPD will hold him to several animal code violations. 

The GPD had the pit bull euthanized recently, Gallacinao said. 

Police say the pit bull charged the dachshund on the sidewalk outside of Starbucks at 7:30 on July 12, mauling the small dog and leaving it with life-threatening injuries that caused it to be euthanized later that morning. When the dachshund’s owner reach out to save her dog, the pit bull attacked her arm, causing serious but non-life threatening injuries. 

Gilroy’s animal regulations

Gallacinao encourages dog owners to be familiar with the city’s animal regulations. Here are a few important rules:

  •  All dogs must be licensed and vaccinated for rabies by the age of 4 months. 
  • All dogs must wear identifying tags when out in public. 
  • All dogs must be on a leash when out in public. The leash must be capable of restraining at least four times the weight of the restrained dog. 
  • If your pet defecates in a public place or on someone’s private property, other than your own, you are required to pick up and dispose of the feces in a waste bin. 
  • Dogs can be classified as a “Dangerous Dog” based on aggressive behavior. 
  • All pit bull breeds must be spayed or neutered by the time they are 4 months old, with a few exceptions. 
  • Pets may be licensed at the Gilroy Police Department or on-line at www.petdata.com

A copy of the complete animal regulations (Chapter 4 of the Gilroy Municipal Code) can be found via the Internet at http://www.codepublishing.com/ca/gilroy/

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