New Castle News

TOP STORIES

October 29, 2013

State revising list of dangerous dogs

NEW CASTLE — The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has identified more than 700 potentially dangerous dogs in the Commonwealth.

That’s more than 10 times the number disclosed by the department when the Dog Law Enforcement Office was audited earlier this year.

But Monday, the Department of Agriculture conceded its staff is unsure if all the 729 dog owners deserve to be identified as owners of dangerous animals.

No dogs in Lawrence County are registered as dangerous.

The 729-dog list was posted on the department’s website, but the information was removed Monday after the newspaper asked a spokeswoman to explain what being named on the list meant.

The information was removed while staff double-check to make sure some of the people were not individuals who had been subject to a complaint but were later acquitted of any charges, said Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Samantha Krepps.

The agency’s tally included 563 cases described as “open,” and another 166 cases where the dog was described as being “registered” dangerous.

Krepps said the “open” cases would include those in which charges have been filed, but a district judge has not yet determined that the dog deserves to officially categorized as dangerous.

Krepps said one of the challenges facing the agency is that the state receives dangerous dog complaints from a variety of sources — including state dog wardens, local police and animal welfare groups. Information indicating the dog owner may have been later vindicated does not always arrive in a timely manner. In addition, the agency is also supposed to be notified if the dog is euthanized, but that information may be slow in coming too.

A dangerous dog is one that has attacked, inflicted severe injury to, or killed a human being or a domestic animal without provocation while off its owner’s property. In Pennsylvania, a designation as a dangerous dog brings with it strict requirements for owners, including: paying an annual $500 fee, muzzling the animal whenever it’s off the owner’s property, obtaining at least $50,000 in liability insurance and posting signs warning about the animal.

The Agriculture Department’s Dog Law Enforcement Office was criticized by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale after auditors determined only 65 dogs were included in the state’s dangerous dog registry. The auditors wrote: “department officials admitted that its list of dangerous dogs is likely incomplete since it contains only 65 dogs statewide.”

A spokesman from the state auditor general’s office said investigators there were never told that the Agriculture Department had a more comprehensive listing of potentially dangerous dogs.

Krepps said the shorter registry only includes dangerous dogs owned by people who are fully complying with the law. The shortcoming of that list is that it wouldn’t include people who have moved without notifying the Agriculture Department or failed to renew the dangerous dog license.

Before the department staff decided to remove the comprehensive dangerous dog list from public view, Krepps said the Agriculture Department wanted citizens to have full access to information about potentially dangerous dogs, that’s why the listing of 729 dogs was produced.

Among the individuals included in the state’s latest tally of dangerous dogs was a Somerset County man whose Rottweiler attacked four children in 2007. Robert Holsopple of Friedens, and his Rottweiler, were not named in the list of dangerous dog cases at the time the state audit was released this summer. But Holsopple and his dog Rocko are included in the more comprehensive list, described as “case still open.”

(Email: jfinnerty@cnhi.com)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
TOP STORIES
  • school.jpg Wilmington board debates ‘free expression’

    Wilmington Area school directors weighed student safety concerns against free speech rights Monday. A proposed policy on student free expression and posting of materials drew concern from one board member.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • meehan.jpg Meehan named Neshannock superintendent

    Terence P. Meehan is the new superintendent at Neshannock Township School District. Board members voted 5-4 last night to fill the post that will be vacated June 30 with the retirement of Dr. Mary Todora.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • fire.jpg Fire guts Union Township house

    The state police fire marshal is investigating a fire in that broke out in a vacant Union Township house Monday. Union Township firefighters responded at 3 a.m. to 314 Smithfield St.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 08.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Community Easter morning service

    There’s a reason why most holidays last only 24 hours. It’s because when you’re finished celebrating, there’s still work to be done. The Rev. David Young reminded everyone who attended Sunday’s community Easter morning service at Lawrence Village Plaza of that.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • money.jpg Retirements, attrition to save district money

    A slew of retirements in the New Castle School District may result in savings in the 2014-15  budget. The school district plans to introduce its spending plan next month.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fletch1.jpg No Retreat: Teacher’s golden retriever proves to be a hero, fighter

    It was last fall, and my favorite time of the year to be in the woods hunting. On this day, I could hunt small game and turkey, though my primary purpose was a hike in the woods with my dog, Maggie. This year was special. I also had my five-month-old golden retriever, Remi.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • fire.jpg Firefighters respond to gas leak

    New Castle firefighters responded to a gas leak Friday at the former Lincoln-Garfield school on Long Avenue. Assistant Fire Chief Mike Petrone said Columbia Gas received a call from someone in the 800 block of South Mercer Street about the smell of gas Friday morning.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • ATV.jpg City residents register complaints about ATVs

    Some North Hill residents expressed annoyance and frustration over youngsters recklessly operating all-terrain vehicles through their neighborhoods.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Barletto.jpg Emotional Closure: Woman sentenced in Jerry McCarthy’s death

    The driver of the car that killed a Shenango Township policeman is heading to prison. Kylee Gwen Barletto, 26, apologized Wednesday to the family of William J. “Jerry” McCarthy and to her family after pleading guilty to eight of 16 charges against her.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • fire.jpg Fire marshal probes cause of blaze

    A city police fire marshal said he hasn’t ruled yet on a blaze that ravaged two Taylor Street houses. Chris Fabian, who was at the fire scene for the duration Monday morning, said the blaze that displaced three families started in the back of a yellow, two-story duplex at 602 Taylor St.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Poll

Milwaukee catcher Martin Maldonado has been suspended five games for sucker punching Pittsburgh’s Travis Snider during a bench clearing brawl on Sunday. You OK with that suspension?

Yes. Seems fair.
No. Baseball NEVER gets it right in these situations. Should have been at least 20 games for his sucker punch into a pile of players.
Not sure, but I’d love to see baseball be like hockey and allow two guys to fight for a while before breaking it up. Let’s see how tough Maldonado is then.
     View Results