Karol Arroyo spoke on Wednesday evening about an incident that began right after Christmas. She said her son, 10-year-old, SA, who is a 5th grader at Holmes Park, was with three of his buddies, riding their scooters home from Kelly Lane Park’s Skate Park, on Dec. 28th about 5 or 6 p.m. They were confronted by 4 large dogs, loose in the road in front of a home at the 1000 block of S. Park. Three of the dogs circled around three of the boys on scooters, and one German shepherd dog attacked her son.
It was reported that the dog owner and house renter, James Gage, let his dogs run from the back yard through the house and out the front door and into his un-fenced front yard, and later yelled at his dogs. The Sapulpa Times was unable to contact the dogs’ owner.
The boys said the German shepherd jumped the fence and began running toward them.
Then, according to the boy’s mother, the lady who has a daycare center across the street said she heard yelling and screaming, and at the third yell, she “made a wrong decision” and came outside her side door. The dogs turned and ran toward her. One of the boys was pinned up against the garage door and another swung his scooter at a dog, and the dogs ran away. It is unknown if the scooter actually hit the dog.
The police report stated that SPD Officer Cady Byrnes arrived after 6 p.m. Mary Ruhl of Animal Control arrived on scene at 6:49pm The reporting party called again that the “subjects are going at it.” The boys and Ms. Arroyo, who live on the other side of town (Linden St.), were at the daycare owner’s home.
Mary Ruhl issued one citation to the dog owner and picked up one dog about 7pm Ms. Arroyo said she didn’t know if pressing charges against the dog owner was “even an option.”
Her son was taken by ambulance to St. Francis where he was treated with 12 stitches and 18 staples. He was bitten 9 times, 6 on his upper thigh and 3 on his ankle. He was in the hospital about 3-4 hours.
Ms. Arroyo took 28 pictures of her little boy’s injuries. A friend of hers posted a couple of those gruesome pictures online on Tuesday, Jan. 8th, but after a few posts were made, someone removed the whole thread. Ms. Arroyo said she had no idea who removed it.
The dog owner, James Gage, was in court Monday, Jan. 7th, with Judge Stephanie Lorbiecki, and the dog that allegedly bit the child was placed back in his custody.
On Wednesday, the young victim had his stitches and staples out, and is still on crutches. He is on “light duty” at school.
Wednesday and Thursday, attempts were made to reach the dogs’ owner, the Animal Control Office and Chief Haefner.
On Thursday, Chief Mike Haefner contacted Sapulpa Times and explained the standards for designating a dog “Dangerous” and “Vicious,” and having a vicious dog euthanized.
If a dog attacks resulting in serious injury, or on 2 or more occasions within a 12 month period, attacks or bites a person that is “vicious.” A person can be cited for allowing a dog to run loose or harboring a vicious dog.
A vicious dog can be euthanized or removed from the city limits. No landlord shall allow a vicious dog to inhabit his rental property. There are many more pages of statutes, but those were the statutes relating to this particular case that Chief Haefner provided.
Sapulpa Times attempted to photograph the dog at the animal shelter, but was not allowed to see it, because it was a “subject under investigation,” according to Mary Ruhl.
There was evidence that the same dog attacked a woman who lived down the street from the dog, on May 19, 2018 (tore clothing, didn’t break the skin) but the report was with the Animal Control Office and the SPD didn’t have it in their database. Upon discovery of this old charge, a meeting was set for the SPD and Animal Control.
A meeting scheduled for Friday, Jan. 11th, between the City Attorney and the Chief, resulted in the dog in question being picked up again, due to the “severe” injuries sustained by the child victim. The dog will remain in custody until a hearing can determine what the city’s next steps will be. A date has not been set for the hearing, but Sapulpa Times will keep the public informed.
“The main concern is the protection of the public. The dog is safe, not going to be hurting anyone, and the public is safe,” were Police Chief Haefner’s final words.