Shepherd mix kills "Scooter" the cat; owner seeks justice
Six months after a roaming neighborhood German Sheperd mix killed Scooter the cat in her own front yard, the owner is still seeking justice.
Reporter: Tammy Vo
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Recent dog maulings in Tucson have left some of our viewers wondering -- if you or your pet are attacked what can you do? Lauren Benson tells KGUN 9 about how she's been trying to get justice for her cat Scooter who was killed six months ago.
"She was 16 years old" said Benson. It was in her front yard the day before Halloween where Scooter was killed by a dog named Pumpkin, a dog that Benson says terrorized the neighborhood and killed another cat. Animal Control told KGUN9 News that Pumpkin is a a Sheperd mix.
First, Pima County Animal Control got involved and eventually declared the dog dangerous forcing the owner to post three "dangerous dog" signs, carry liability insurance, neuter and muzzle the dog in public. Benson says that the dog's owner paid for the vet bills, but Benson and Tucson city prosecutors took him to court. He now faces two misdemeanor charges: animal bite and dog at large.
Six months later there's still no resolution to the case. Benson says that the dog's owner is avoiding this plea deal: pay $450 or do 45 hours of community service, among other stipulations. She thinks it's a slap on the wrist when considering that the maximum punishment for this crime is a $2,500 fine and three years of probation.
"If I had my way the owner would be in jail, but that's not realistic" said Benson.
9 On Your Side tried to reach the owner on Monday, but he wasn't home.
Benson encourages other victims of dog attacks to pursue justice. "As frustrating as it has been for me (almost 6 months), I know eventually I will have justice".
Dog bites, in general, are misdemeanors at best. But if the dog has a known or documented history of being aggressive, it's a felony thanks to Fabian's Law which was passed last year after a Glendale dog named Fabian was killed by a pit bull. But even if a dog killed a human, it may only be considered a misdemeanor if there was no known or documented history of aggression with the dog.
Animal Control encourages anyone to report incidents of dog aggression so that it can be documented, and in some cases, the dog can be officially declared dangerous or vicious.