People vs Spalding
February 6, 2012 Update:
This morning, Heidi's owner, Ms. Spalding and her attorney appeared at the 44th District Court. Ms. Spalding pled no contest to the dog bite charge; the charge of not having her dog licensed was dismissed (she had obtained a license for the dog within 5 days of the incident). As a condition of the plea, she agreed to have her dog wear a muzzle if the dog is going to be taken out in public.
In that Ms. Spalding has no prior criminal record, she was given a six-month delayed sentence pursuant to MCL 771.1. At the end of the six months, if she has not committed any other criminal violations (including any violations of the City's Dog Ordinance), she will be allowed to withdraw her plea and the case will be dismissed. If she does commit any other violations, she can be sentenced to up to 90 days and/or $500 for this offense, and the conviction will remain on her record. The Court did not impose any fines and costs at this time.
Press Release - February 2, 2012
On Saturday, October 15, 2011 at approximately 5:00 p.m., a 45-year-old Warren resident approached a woman holding two leashed Dobermans outside the Fresh Approach market on Campbell Road in the City of Royal Oak. He asked the woman (the 26-year-old girlfriend of the dog owner’s son, who was inside the store) if the dogs were friendly, and she told him that they were. As he came closer to them, one of the two dogs jumped up and bit him in the face. After getting immediate assistance from store employees, the man went to the emergency room at Beaumont Hospital for treatment. Hospital staff determined that the bite had broken the man’s nose.
The Royal Oak Police Department’s Animal Control Officer received a report of the bite on Monday, October 17, 2011. Based upon her subsequent investigation, she issued the owner of the dog, a 59-year-old Royal Oak resident, two misdemeanor citations — one for the dog bite and one not having the dog licensed. The dog’s owner has pled not guilty to the two charges. Two pre-trial conferences have been held on the citations in the 44th District Court, and a third is scheduled for next Thursday, February 9, 2012.
Contrary to published reports, the City of Royal Oak is not seeking to have the dog destroyed. Under both State law and City ordinance, the City has the authority to file a petition in the District Court to require the owner to show cause why the dog should not be destroyed. The City has not filed a petition regarding a dangerous animal, and does not intend to file a petition in this case. In the context of plea negotiations on the pending citations, the City is looking for the owner to agree to take reasonable steps to minimize the chance that the dog will attack or bite any other person in the future.