For 11 days in May, North Olmsted residents did not know it, but they were in danger. Five dogs under the not-so-watchful eye of a negligent dog owner/dog sitter (depending on her story) were roaming the streets, biting people. Amanda Ramos Martinez, the owner/dogsitter, did know the animals were loose and they bit four people in those 11 days.

“These dogs were running around attacking people,” Police Chief Bob Wagner said in a story published soon after the incidents. “They bit three different residents. Then, fast forward to Monday (May 24), when one of my officers — delivering a letter to the owner, who lives on Clague Road — was attacked by one of the dogs.”

The residents bitten include a Clifford Drive man mowing his lawn when he was attacked by five dogs. The dogs bit him on his hands, legs and lip. The dogs then made their way to Marion Road, where they attacked a woman. With bites to her leg and buttocks, the resident was bleeding and saved by a neighbor, who called police. After the dogs appeared to have left the area, the neighbor, while attempting to take the woman to the hospital, was also attacked and bitten on the leg.

So of course, the city confiscated the dogs, which were labeled vicious. End of danger, right? Wrong. The city let Martinez keep the dogs, basically under house arrest. The city’s kennels were full, officials said, with, we must assume, dogs more dangerous than these five dogs biting residents at will? Doubtful.

So Martinez took her dogs home and poof! They have disappeared. No one — the North Olmsted police included — knows where the dogs have gone. Martinez was quoted as saying she “doesn’t know” where they are now housed.

Police and city officials have repeated ad nauseum that they have checked the North Olmsted house and the dogs have not returned. That’s helpful. We know they are gone. We also know that wherever they are, they present a real and frightening threat.

Let’s talk about the consequences of the disappearing act. Oh wait. There are none. On June 29, Martinez’s lawyer submitted a plea of “not guilty” to 10 charges related to the biting incidents. She maintains the city made the decisions about the dogs before hearing the facts.

At least two of the bite victims were in court that day, leaving the hearing frustrated at what they consider to be a lack of justice and accountability by both the dog owner and the city.

“Somebody’s got to hold somebody responsible,” one victim said to a local TV station.

We agree. Someone must be held responsible. Don’t get us wrong. We love dogs. But bad dog owners can pervert them or scare them so much they will never be open to loving arms and loving family life. That is absolutely tragic.

Go after the dog owners. Don’t let vicious dogs go. Maybe the dogs can be helped. And maybe, just maybe, the city can admit that it screwed up royally.

Shame on officials for not acknowledging this mistake and shame on them for not being more vigilant in their duty to protect and defend.

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