A Winnebago woman sat sobbing after hearing the family’s pet dog needed to be euthanized for attacking the city’s K-9 officer.
During a special City Council meeting Friday afternoon, Mayor Jeremiah Schutt and councilwoman Jean Anderson voted to put Katie Reisenbigler’s pitbull mixture to sleep while councilman Paul Eisenmenger voted against.
The decision to put Lucy down was made despite a plea from Police Chief Eric Olson to let her live.
“If you would have asked me a week ago what I thought, I probably would have sided with Jean (Anderson),” says Olson. “This is their pet. Now, if they took proper precautions I’d be fine with that.”
On April 11 around 7:30 pm., Olson was walking his dog Jack when Reisenbigler’s dog broke loose from its handler.
Olson says the dog charged at them and he stood in front of Jack to try and shield him. But, it jumped in the air to get around him.
“It didn’t want anything to do with me, it wanted the dog,” says Olson. “The attack I saw was vicious. I believe it wanted to kill my dog. I hit it with everything I had and it wouldn’t come off.”
The council would be talking about a dead dog and not a dog attack, says Olson, if it weren’t for a 2-inch thick agitation collar Jack was wearing.
Reisenbigler says Lucy is a rescue dog they have owned for six years and that the animal is taking Prozac and CBD oil for anxiety.
“She’s never been aggressive toward humans at all. The reason we put her on Prozac is because she had been aggressive toward our other dog, but now she is fine,” says Reisenbigler.
Under a city ordinance, council members had the option of declaring the dog to be potentially dangerous or dangerous.
If declared dangerous, the council could choose to euthanize the dog or impose restrictions for the owner to follow.
City Attorney David Frundt says the Reisenbiglers would have to keep the dog fenced in, erect warning signs and plaques, muzzle the dog if taken for a walk and increase their homeowners dog insurance from $100,000 to $300,000.
“The animal itself would have to wear a tag that says it is a dangerous animal,” says Frundt. “The dangerous designation is permanent. What that means is that it follows the animal and that would have to be disclosed to a new owner.”
Councilman Paul Eisenmenger, who is a dog owner, suggested that perhaps the Reisenbiglers could find a more appropriate setting for the dog to live.
“I think having the animal declared dangerous and put down is a bit excessive,” says Eisenmenger.
But, Anderson questioned whether restrictions should be imposed on the dog only to have another incident happen again.
“I’d say the dog is not potentially dangerous, it is dangerous. I would hate to see someone else, a child or another dog get hurt,” Anderson says.
Schutt agrees with Anderson, by saying, “A dog that bites unfortunately in my opinion is a dog that should be put down.”
Olson was treated for an injury to his left arm, while Jack was taken to a Mapleton veterinarian and received treatment costing $400.