Cordovas Off the Hook Again
UPDATE 05/14/08: The latest dog attack was dismissed against the Cordovas. Four dog bites have now been attributed to this family; no charges ever delivered. There is no law for cumulative dog bites, meaning you need to have one dog -- the same dog -- bite twice before criminal charges can be pursued.
This brings to mind a recent quote from Kenneth Phillips when discussing Virginia State law. When commenting on the "one bite free" component to the law (which also applies to not tracking cumulative dog bites), he says: "If you own three dogs, all three of them can bite somebody. Then you can buy three more dogs, and all three of them can bite three people, and this can go on and on."
05/09/08: Four Dogs from One Family -- Three Bites
Buffalo, NY - Robert and Ashley Gerrish watched in horror as a pit bull pounced their 2-year-old beagle, clamped its jaws into her neck and violently shook her. Their dog, a female named Magoo, fortunately survived. After the shock wore off, the Gerrishes got angry when they learned that the owners of the pit bull have had incidents in the past.
The pit bull is the fourth dog owned by the Cordova's that has attacked in the past three years. And the years before that?
Robert Gerrish is concerned. He said if this was the first time, you could understand, accidents happen, but dogs owned by this family have "attacked so many people." He wants the Cordovas to be prevented from owning any more dogs. Kelly McCartney, director of Buffalo’s animal shelter, agrees that the property owners should be restricted from owning dogs.
In response, Brenda Cordova, whipped out the pit bull owner's Conduct Unbecoming Guide. She denies that the dogs inside her household are dangerous. "You’re making it seem like my dogs are killer dogs and we’re just siccing them on people," she said. "My dogs are family-owned and they love people ... It’s not like it was done intentionally ... Things happen. It happens by mistake."
The most serious injuries caused by one of their dogs was on May 5, 2005, when a 33-year-old woman was walking along the street. Two of their mastiffs mauled the woman, biting into both her forearms and upper arms. The injured woman was sent to Erie County Medical Center, and the two dogs were destroyed, but no summonses and no charges were filed against the family.
In another case, a woman was walking out of the Cordova home when one of their dogs attacked her, biting her right arm and right leg. However, the dog was not euthanized, and no summonses were issued. This most recent case involving the unleashed pit bull left the Gerrishes’ pet beagle with a puncture wound and cuts on her neck that required two staples.
Counsel woman Alisa A. Lukasiewicz would like to see the existing law changed, which fails to penalize dog owners for collective dog-biting offenses.
In another hook, Robert Gerrish believes the Cordova family is being given preferential treatment because it has connections to a city employee. Reports show that Dog Control Officer Timothy Dyte wrote on his official animal bite report that the Cordova family is related to Michael Murphy, who is a city exterminator. Gerrish is disappointed such a statement appeared on a city report.
McCartney said no preferential treatment was given to the family, adding that it was "unprofessional" for the dog control officer to refer to the family’s relationship to a city employee. Christopher Cordova, the son of Brenda and the owner of the offending dog, was issued two city summonses for having an unlicensed dog and failure to restrain a dog on premises five days after the incident.
Three years ago, Gerrish and his wife decided to move to Buffalo because of its highly acclaimed and well-funded science research (both are in academia). He said that he loves the city and feels lucky to be surrounded by great neighbors on both sides. He added that "It’s a shame that people could be assaulted in broad daylight ... I just want to make this neighborhood safer."