Sunday, April 13, 2008
Zachary King Jr., 7-years old, was killed by his family's pit bull.
Blames Animal Control
Minneapolis, MN - Zachary King Senior was recently acquitted for the fatal mauling of his son. Hennepin County District Court Judge Kevin Burke issued the verdict and lashed out at Minneapolis Animal Control who, he said, did not do enough to warn the family of the dog's danger. After Zachary Junior's death, authorities charged his father with manslaughter. The pit bull had a history of aggression and prosecution felt the father should be held criminally liable.
Judge Burke's lashing stuck Minneapolis Animal Control agency between a rock and a hard place. Animal control claims they only had two contacts with the pit bull before the fatal attack. In both cases, the attacks were deemed too minor to destroy the dog or deem it dangerous. Yet one of the cases involved a construction worker who received compensation after being bitten by the dog. Burt Osborne, Director of the Minneapolis Regulatory Service, responded to the judge's ruling.
A Hennepin County District Court Judge issued both a verdict and a condemnation Friday in the mauling death of a 7-year-old boy last summer. Judge Kevin Burke found Zachary King Sr. not guilty in the death of his son, Zachary King Jr., from a pit bull attack in the family's home last August. But in his verdict, the judge also lashed out at Minneapolis Animal Control Officers who, he said, did not do enough to warn the family of the dog's danger.Another fine example of outdated dog laws -- one can't point the blame at the dog's owner after multiple infractions or to the animal control agency that issued them. The finger is consistently pointed by each group to another party. Meanwhile, victims are seriously injured and killed. Judge Burke is right that this tragedy could have been prevented, but the chief party responsible for this prevention is the dog's owner who had ample knowledge of his dog's vicious propensities.
Burke said the agency knew of at least three other attacks that should have resulted in the dog named "Face" being labeled "dangerous." But Burt Osborne, Director of the Minneapolis Regulatory Service, said the judge had at least part of his verdict wrong. In an interview Friday night, Osborne said Minneapolis Animal Control officers had only two contacts with the pit bull before the fatal attack. In both cases, Osborne said, the attacks were deemed too minor to destroy the dog or deem it dangerous.
"Even if we had overreacted and declared the dog dangerous on the spot, it would not have prevented what happened to that poor boy," Osborne said. Under the city's ordinance, a "dangerous dog" has to be restrained or confined in a kennel or inside a home. Osborne said that means what happens inside a home is beyond the city's control.
"The city's animal control officers can't be in basements monitoring how many hours a poor animal has been chained to a pole in the basement and sitting in its own waste," Osborne said. Bea Change, Kare 11, April 12, 2008
03/20/08: Father Tried for Manslaughter After Pit Bull Kills Son
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| 4/13/2008 6:33 AM |
He had the dog chained in the basement and someone needed to tell him the dog was dangerous. That beats it all. He wouldn't have wanted the dog if it wasn't dangerous.
Should have given him a 3" pocket knife and thrown him in a pit of alligators.
| 4/13/2008 9:54 AM |
what a joke. i feel very sorry for the young boy but not the father. i wouldn't be surprised if king is laying the groundwork for a lawsuit against the minneapolis animal control for failing to protect them.
| 4/13/2008 11:58 AM |
The perp's lawyer had the good foresight to choose a trial by Judge instead of a trial by jury.
The law is an ass!
The judge has a small point by pointing out another animal control breakdown...Not mentioned was the fact that the perp was actually breeding this manbiter.
| 4/13/2008 1:22 PM |
Talk about a mess! Perhaps the prosecution team will have a follow up and issue some clarification. Hard to know through news reports exactly what happened in that court room. What's clear is that the judge didn't buy the prosecution's argument at all.
| 4/14/2008 1:16 PM |
It must be terribly hard to convict (at least for a jury) after a family dog kills a child. I wonder what is happening in the Holden Jernigan case -- the grandmother is being charged with child endangerment I believe. It doesn't look like there has been any recent news.
| 4/14/2008 8:19 PM |
The mother of the other Dorchester County toddler killed by a pit bull in 2007 was convicted of reckless endangerment of a child.
Out of 35 deaths in 2007, only two dog owners have been successfully convicted. Unsat!!
| 4/17/2008 1:54 PM |
A lawyer talks about the case
Those are haunting questions indeed. None of the medical professionals who treated the pit bull bites thought to tell the family to destroy the dog. The insurance company that paid out a bite claim also made no such recommendation and did not raise rates to such an extent to get the family’s attention. The city of Minneapolis never followed up and went through the process of having the dog declared dangerous.