Reno, NV - On November 2, 2007, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported that a quarterhorse named Zack was put down in Smith Valley as a result of injuries inflicted by a neighbor's four pit bulls. The neighbors had moved in one day prior to the deadly attack, which also injured two human beings. The owner of Zack, Lisa Adams, has written DogsBite.org to share her story.
In Lisa Adams Words
"On Oct 28th, 2007, my husband had left for work at about 7:30 a.m. Dust, screaming and the most horrific event shortly followed. "Four" pit bulls came from the house next door; we did not know they were even there? The new people moved in on Saturday and the attack took place on Sunday morning. My Barrel Racing horse "Zack" was attacked in his stall and was so severely torn apart he had to be put down. People were hurt badly as well. I myself will never get over this, and I am hoping I can do something to help with these horrific attacks. I truly from the bottom of my heart would like to do something regarding these careless people that own these dogs that do not take care of them properly. The female part in the couple walked out to a small man-made kennel and let these vicious killers out and they turned right instead of left. This changed our lives forever. In our small neighborhood we have horses, birds, goats, dogs and small "children." We are all animal loving people."
Dog Attack in SV Results in Death of Horse
The incident began about 7:30 a.m. Sunday in the neighborhood between Day Lane and Artist View in Smith Valley as Mrs. Adams got up and saw a neighbor who had apparently moved in the day before let four dogs out of a small fenced kennel. She said she couldn't tell what kind of dogs they were but admitted she was a little concerned seeing a neighbor with dogs. Her husband Steve, a LCSO deputy, had already left for work.
Lisa Adams then walked to the other side of the house and noticed her 26-year-old mare, who can barely move, walking in circles, dust kicked up.
She ran outside and heard noise in the other horse's stall (a third horse the Adams own is on the other side of their five-acre property). She saw an apparent owner crouched down with one dog to the side and three pit bulls in the stall.
So she ran inside to call 911, Mrs. Adams related, and apparently was screaming for help so the three neighbors arrived. Two tried to get the dogs away from the horse, but one was kicked and injured in the leg, so the other and Mrs. Adams dragged her out of the stall.
"Thank God the dogs didn't turn on her," she said.
Eventually, Adams went into her home to get a pistol and shot one of the dogs, although it survived, as Bolzle said it was a superficial wound. However, Adams said the other dogs then left her horse alone. (Keith Trout, "Dog attack in SV results in death of horse," Reno Gazette-Journal, November 2, 2007)
When Adams went to help her horse to try to stop the bleeding, the horse being in severe pain, struck her in the head. She also had chest pains from the stress, which resulted in a hospital trip. Adams described the ordeal as happening fast, but it also seemed "to be in slow motion." She said, "It was a horrific thing." She said the pit bulls "shredded a 1,200 pound horse." The horse had part of its face torn off. Its left front leg was seriously damaged, almost completely detached as well.
After the Attack, in Lisa's Words
"I spent the night in the hospital with chest pain and feeling horrible about what had happened. Who wouldn't? In the story it says that my neighbor was kicked but she was actually run into by the horse as he tried to fight off the dogs. The dogs had him pinned in his stall. He had made numerous attempts to jump or get out of his pen, it's all horrible...I just hope by telling this story I can save a life of a human or animal. The people that owned these dogs should be in jail. I feel very strongly about this, and I hope someday they get caught breeding and selling these animals. They moved to another area in Nevada by the name of Gardnerville, which is a beautiful small town that sits under South Lake Tahoe. I am sure without a doubt that their "new" neighbors have NO idea what has or will happen. I truly feel for them. We were caught completely off guard and still feel sick this happened. These careless owners need to be punished."
Charges Brought Against Dog Owners
The two dog owners were issued a citation by Lyon County Animal Services, cited for a violation of NRS 68.370, which says permitting dog to chase, worry, injure or kill domestic animals on open range or private property is unlawful, a misdemeanor offense. Nearly seven months later -- June 23, 2008 -- the two pleaded guilty to the charges. They were ordered to pay fines, court costs, and restitution. Each were sentenced to six months in county jail, which was suspended for one year with the following probation terms:
- Pay all fines, fees and restitution
- No violations regarding animals
- No further ownership of pit bulls (and similar breeds)
Lisa also told DogsBite.org that the conviction will be entered on the two dog owners' national criminal history since it was a violation of state law, not a county ordinance. She said the conviction might be the first for this type of crime in her area. Now, she and her partner wait during the next year for the small amount of restitution to be paid. If the dog owners do not pay, she promises to do all within her power to have their probation violated and the six-month jail sentence imposed.
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