When Dogs Maul Officers, Charges Are Filed – Treat the Public Equally, Please!

Felony charges were filed this week against the owner of the pit bull that attacked an animal control officer visiting her home. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Antoynette Michelle Jenkins with one count of owning mischievous dogs causing bodily injuries for a May 7 pit bull attack on Southeast Area Animal Control Authority officer Vince Hernandez. (To read the article, click here.)

I am in favor of prosecuting the owners of clearly dangerous dogs. In this case, the danger involved the so-called “pack mentality” and local laws. Ms. Jenkins had agreed to give up three of her five dogs to comply with a city ordinance permitting up to two dogs per address. More than two dogs is one of the danger factors on my Dog Bite Danger Scale. It is well established that docile dogs often become uncharacteristically violent and vicious when they are in a pack. (To read more about the scale, click the “Dog Bite Law” button, above, and see the topic about halfway down the page.)

What I see, however, is that prosecutors do not aggressively file charges on dog owners unless an officer is involved or the case makes the news. This is a nationwide phenomenon that repeats itself every day. Just today, for example, there is a report of a family in Fremont, California, who had a known dangerous dog which has now almost killed their son. Authorities are mulling over the possibility of filing charges. At the prosecutor’s office, a kid who is injured doesn’t get the same vim and vigor, it seems, as an officer.