JUNEAU, Alaska — A Juneau-area dog owner has been fined for not being able to prevent his mastiff-pit bull mix from killing a smaller dog in what the judge called a "horrific incident" last year.
Judge Keith Levy found Jody Vick of Douglas guilty of "objectionable menacing" and other minor offenses for failing to comply with subsequent demands by Animal Control. Vick was fined $150.
The charges are all non-criminal infractions, akin to a speeding ticket, the Juneau Empire reported (http://bit.ly/1nXV7Qk ).
Vick did not deny his dog, Sushi, attacked. But he said the smaller dog, a Shih Tzu-Pomeranian mix named Sophie, provoked it by biting his dog on the side of the nose. Levy said that wasn't a valid defense.
"I think what's described here is a horrific incident," Levy told Vick following a one-day bench trial. "Even if other dog did provoke your dog, obviously you didn't have enough control over your dog to prevent it."
Animal Control deemed Vick's dog dangerous, a designation that Vick is contesting in a separate proceeding.
Vick said the fight was not as bad as described and the wounds to Sophie were superficial, except for one puncture wound. Denise Vanderpool, a witness called by the former director of Animal Control, who was handling the case for the city, said she saw the bigger dog grab the smaller one by the throat and shake it before it "ripped its throat apart."
Vanderpool said she saw Vick try to pull his dog off, to no avail.
Levy also found Vick guilty for failing to license his dog and take out a liability insurance policy of at least $100,000, which Animal Control requires for dogs labeled as dangerous.
Levy found Vick not guilty of failing to post signs that his dog was dangerous. Levy said the "beware of dog" sign posted by Vick was sufficient.
Currently, 13 dogs in Juneau are deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous.
Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com