As per the police reports and statements obtained by the Scioto Post, the dog involved in the September 23rd attack, injuring 9-year-old Nevaeh Vansickle had a previous police report filed for aggressive behavior.
The initial incident involving “Jake” the Pitbull-mix occurred on December 4th, 2017 which resulted in one man receiving lacerations, requiring a response by Circleville EMS crews.
The victim, Ryan Chapman, stated in the police report obtained by the Scioto Post that he was walking to the front of his residence on Washington Street to obtain mail when three dogs ran at him. The report states that Ryan attempted to flee inside his house while “fighting” off the dogs. The white dog, “Jake” was then struck with a hatchet by Ryan in an attempt to force the dog to let go of his arm. The report also advises that the dog’s owner advised that Ryan had “thrown his hatchet” which landed in the vicinity of her daughter – a claim that Ryan refuted in the report. The result of this December incident was forwarding the incident to the Pickaway County Dog Warden, and advising that the dogs were kept inside the residence until the warden could communicate with the owners Gary Shepard and Dawn Shepard.
Additional information on the September 23rd attack was also offered in the report. Circleville police officers responded to the dog owners home on the 900 block of S. Washington Street with a shotgun. The dog in the attack advanced towards the officers, bloodied by its earlier encounter with bystanders with a “hole in the left side of its head”, taking an aggressive posture against the officer. However, when one of the dog’s owner came into the yard, the dog lowered its posture, becoming eased in posture as the owner held the dog. As per the report, the owner of the dog claimed the dog had damaged a window on the front door and broke out of a cage in the house, prompting the escape and eventual attack.
The report also alleges that Nevaeh was going to the Shepard’s address to close to gate to keep the dog from running off the premises, but the dog charged her, taking her to the ground and biting her, prompting action by bystanders including the shooting of the dog by a concealed carry permit holder.
The dog is currently involved in a 10-day quarantine as per the Pickaway County Health Department. As per the Pickaway County Dog Warden, a Dog at Large charge has been filed, and other charges may yet be filed.
According to Ohio revised code 955.28: Dog owner strictly liable if he dog’s behavior caused the injury, the injured person was not committing (or trying to commit) a crime, the injured person was not trespassing, and the injured person did not tease, torment, or abuse the dog in order to provoke it.
Pickaway County Dog Warden can deem a dog that attacks as a dangerous dog under prior Ohio law (ORC 955.11(A)(4)(a)), a vicious dog was defined as a dog that, without provocation, met any of the following conditions:
1. Has killed or caused serious injury to any person.
2. Has caused injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person, or has killed another dog.
If Jake the pit-bull would be deemed dangerous by warden and courts the family if chosen to keep the dog would have to live by these rules according to state law.
- posting prominent “Beware of Dog” or “Dangerous Dog” signs
- keeping the dog in a locked enclosure, or one that meets certain specifications for height, strength, and other features
- buying a certain amount of liability insurance or posting a bond to cover damage or injury caused by the dog
- buying a special license, which is usually much more expensive than a regular dog license
- having the dog sterilized
- having the dog permanently identified with a tattoo or microchip
- not taking the dog out of the city or county, and
- notifying animal control officials if the dog is sold or given away, and notifying the new owner that the dog has injured someone.