North Olmsted police allege five American Bully dogs attacked and bit three people in the span of 11 days from May 13 to May 24.
There are 15 charges pending against the animals’ owner, Amanda Ramos Martinez, including five counts of dogs running at large, according to police reports and Law Director Michael Gareau.
“We will be exploring additional charges,” Gareau told City Council at their most recent meeting on June 1.
Potential misdemeanor registration charges are more substantial than the at-large allegations and could result in penalties of 30 days in jail. Gareau said incarceration is unlikely.
The first reported incident occurred about 2:20 p.m. on May 13 according to police. The victim, identified in reports only as “Tom,” said he was cutting grass at his Clifford Drive home when five dogs appeared. Two allegedly jumping on him and biting. The victim tried to reach his front door but the animals knocked him down. A brother, Mark, who again was only identified by his first name, came to his aid, chasing the dogs away. Mark then drove the victim to an unnamed hospital for treatment. The victim suffered bites on both hands, his knees and upper lip, police reported.
The same dogs then allegedly attacked a female outside her home on Marion Road. Police reports give the same estimated time for both attacks. The Clifford incident was reported first.
The Marion woman, whose entire name was blacked out in public reports, told officers five dogs jumped on her and bit her. She ran to a neighbor’s house and the dogs disappeared. The woman and neighbor, also unnamed, felt it was safe to go outside but the dogs returned, attacking the neighbor who fought them off with his cane. He was bitten several times on his left leg.
Both the woman and her neighbor sought treatment at a hospital once more unnamed in reports. The extent of their injuries was not released.
A department official said he had no further information on the case beyond what is contained in edited public reports.
Police said Martinez was looking for her pets on Marion the same day as the alleged attacks. Police did not report when Martinez was found or her more precise location on Marion. Reports said Mark Adkins, city animal control officer, told Martinez the dogs are considered vicious and needed quarantining for 10 days following the incidents. Martinez would need to remove the dogs from the city following the quarantine.
The city sent an officer to Martinez’ home May 24 to deliver a letter regarding the dogs. Police did not release the woman’s address. The officer reported Martinez was in a car with her dogs, one of which jumped out a car window and attacked, biting him on the buttock.
The officer said Martinez had paperwork showing up to date vaccinations for the animals.
“We are making sure they are not back in the neighborhood,” Mayor Kevin Kennedy told council. “We are checking on it on a regular basis.”
The city is following all state and local regulations, Kennedy continued, adding the law department is working to ensure the dogs are out of the city.
City regulations require owners of vicious animals to insure those animals in case of attacks. Martinez did not insure her dogs, Gareau said, adding the state holds dog owners liable for damage or injuries caused by their animals.
The case is still in its infancy and the law department has not been in contact with the defendant, Gareau said.
Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Ellen Hemann wants the city to preserve its right under state law to destroy the allegedly offending animals.
That was the outcome a few years ago following a similar incident in her ward.
“I want to make sure these dogs are gone, they are not here and they won’t come back,” Gareau said, adding he will pursue maximum penalties against the suspect he called highly irresponsible.
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