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By Crystal Howerton
Lily, an approximately 2-year-old English Bulldog was reportedly attacked by a Pit Bull during her evening walk down East Avenue in Edina Wednesday evening. The Edina Police Department responded to the report of a vicious animal attack at 5:47 p.m. on March 12, 2008.
According to Jeanne Bailey’s statement, she and her daughter were walking their two English Bulldogs in the street and they heard barking from a nearby trailer. Looking around they observed a Pit Bull watching out a window. Uneasy, they attempted to hurry past the residence, however the Pit Bull jumped out of the window "viciously attacking Lily, clamping its jaws around her head and whipping her back and forth." "My daughter had Lily’s leash pulling trying to get away from the dog and I kicked at the Pit Bull’s jaw area trying to get it off our helpless dog." Finally, Bailey said, the owner of the Pit Bull came out and beat his dog in the head repeatedly until it released its victim.
Luckily, Lily did not receive any serious injuries. "Thanks to our dog’s large head, loose skin and the fact that Lily is docile and did not fight back, she got by with some puncture wounds, torn up gums and badly bruised and bloodshot eye," remarked Bailey.
Jeanne Bailey and her husband, Freddie, intend to start a petition to ban Pit Bulls within the city limits of Edina. "We were lucky that our dog is going to be okay," said Bailey. "But the next time this happens, and there will be a next time, that person or animal may not be so lucky."
Edina Police Chief Roger Waibel said the Pit Bull’s owners were given the option of removing their dog from Edina immediately or releasing it into custody for the 10-day period of impound. The owners surrendered their dog to the Edina Police Department on Thursday afternoon. To reclaim their dog, there is $35 fee for violating the City’s animal control ordinance, as well as $10 per day for each day in impound, which must be paid before the animal is released. Proof of current rabies vaccination was also verified.
Sammy Russell, owner of Gus, a 3-year-old Pit Bull, denied that his dog did not have adequate provocation. According to Russell, Gus was only guarding his property, as was expected, and that Gus merely watched the progress of the passersby until they crossed into his territory. At which time, Gus came through the screen window of his residence and moved the offending dog off his property. Russell claims that his dog his a well-trained house pet, raised from a puppy. In three years, he has never experienced a similar incident and does not believe his dog was at fault. "We would never consider destroying Gus," said Russell and his wife, Bonnie, "he is our family pet."
Gus has been dubbed a "vicious animal" per the Edina City Ordinance 659, as well as a "public nuisance animal". According to the definition in the ordinance, a vicious animal is any animal that attacks, bites, or injures human beings or other domestic animals without provocation. Upon reclaiming him, Gus’ owners must follow certain regulations, including posting signs on their premises stating "Beware of Vicious Animal" or face penalties in violation of the ordinance.
Ordinance 659 was approved by the Edina Mayor Davey Strickler and City Council on August 27, 2007. Ordinance 606, which was repealed by Ordinance 659 did not include a vicious animal clause.