MP City Council gives Tank a second life
The dog stays.
Mt. Pleasant City Council members, meeting in regular session Wednesday night, overturned a police department order to remove a dog from a Mt. Pleasant residence.
After hearing an impassioned, tearful plea from the dog’s owner, Amber Waller, the council was deadlocked 3-3 on whether to uphold the department order. A tie vote means the council motion to uphold the police department’s order fails.
Testimony from Ron Galusha of the department revealed that Waller’s dog (named Tank) allegedly bit a friend in the Waller home after being provoked by a phone ring tone. The ring tone, later played during the council meeting, sounded like a dog in distress.
Galusha said he was summoned to the Henry County Health Center to investigate the bite and interviewed the victim and one of Waller’s relatives. “There were dog bites on the victim’s arm and in the breast area,” Galusha testified. “The rabies vaccination was up to date which meant the dog did not warrant quarantine. The bites resembled puncture and scraping wounds and looked like they would leave scars.”
He said he filed an “allowing a dog to run at large” charge due to the bites.
Waller, fighting back tears, testified that she was not in the room when the alleged attack took place but entered the room of the incident shortly afterward. “The dog has never shown aggression to anyone. Lizzie (the victim) has been there a few times before and the dog was fine with her. Lizzie and her mother did not want to press charges. My dog is my world.
“My dog is very curious and when he heard the ring tone, he thought something was wrong,” Waller continued. “He is very lovable and has never done this before. My dog is the most loving dog. I think he was spooked. I don’t think my dog is a threat.”
Following the testimony, City Attorney Patrick Brau said the question for the council is whether there was provocation and the scope of the provocation.
Councilman Matt Crull was the first council member to state an opinion. “It appears the dog was clearly provoked by the ring tone. I am leaning in favor of the owner. I have never backed down (from backing the police department) before and I really don’t believe I am saying this, but I think the dog was clearly provoked.”
Stan Curtis agreed with Crull saying his only concern is that if the dog hears a similar ring tone again and is provoked. “If the dog is constrained (kept in the house or on a leash), I don’t believe this will happen.”
For more on this story, see the Feb. 24 issue of the Mt. Pleasant News.