Frederick Tanner’s dog, Daisy, was taken into custody and put into quarantine by Washoe County Regional Animal Services on Aug. 7. Daisy was found outside of Tanner’s yard and had previously been identified as a dangerous dog. Now, Tanner is going to court to keep Daisy from being destroyed.
Daisy had been involved in six bite incidents, according to animal services field supervisor Bobby Smith. Tanner accepted a deal that labeled Daisy as dangerous after a bite incident on April 25, 2008.
Daisy was found outside of Tanner’s yard on May 14. There are no reports of Daisy biting anyone during her time out of the yard on May 14 or Aug. 7.
It is standard procedure for a dog that has bitten a person to be quarantined for 10 days to check for rabies, under Animals and Fowl chapter of the Washoe County Code. When an animal has been involved in multiple incidents, animal services gives the information to the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office, Smith said. The district attorney then decides whether to take the matter to court. Animal services does not decide whether to destroy dangerous dogs. That is left to the judge, Smith said.
Washoe County Code states that a dog is determined to be dangerous if, without being provoked, it acts menacingly enough that a “reasonable person” would defend themselves against substantial bodily harm on two separate incidents within 18 months.
Before Daisy was designated dangerous, it had been 20 months between the bites. She was given the designation because of Tanner’s plea.
Smith said two bites in 18 months is the usual requirement, but animals can be determined to be dangerous after just one incident. Each case is treated differently based on circumstances, he said.
If Daisy had been confined to her yard when the bites occurred, she probably would not be facing a death sentence. It is considered a provoked action if someone is bitten by a dog that is contained in the owner’s yard or house, Smith said. He remembered one incident where an animal bit someone who was invited into the owner’s house. It would normally be considered a provoked action and not something the animal services would give to the district attorney. But the owner had the animal put down without animal services’ intervention.
In congested areas, all animals except for cats must be restrained by a fence or leash. If pet owners want to prevent their animal from biting people, Smith recommended restraining the animal to the yard and asking a trainer for help.
Doctors and nurses are required to report all dog bites to the Washoe County District Health, according to a spokesperson at Renown Regional Medical Center.