Family Questions Jeff City Animal Control's Policies After Dog Bites Daughter
JEFFERSON CITY - Chloe Ramsey holds her left hand at an awkward, limp position. She said she can't shake hands, eat or write with the injured hand. Doctors said that she should be able to move her fingers again in a few days.
Chloe said she was attacked by a neighbor's pitbull Friday evening. She said she was taking her dog, Calvin, outside when the neighbor's dog grabbed Calvin and started attacking him.
"I just wanted to save Calvin," Chloe said. Chloe said she then went after the two dogs and was bit by the neighbor's pitbull.
Chloe's parents took her to the emergency room, and said they called Jefferson City Animal Control on the way to the hospital.
"We met the animal control specialist at the hospital," said Angela Ramsey, Chloe's mother. "He said he was 'fairly confident' the pitbull didn't have rabies. 'Fairly confident?' I couldn't believe it."
Jefferson City Animal Control quarantined the pitbull until Saturday, but then it said it returned the dog to its owners. The neighbors also own two schnauzers, according to Angela.
"The problem is animal control is not enforcing their leash laws," Ramsey said. "The dogs are just left outside all the time, day and night, and roam free, running loose."
However, Jefferson City Animal Control said it does enforce its leash laws. According to Animal Control, all dogs must be on a leash if they are off the owner's private property.
Missouri is a statutory strict liability state. This means, dog owners are responsible if their dogs bite a human being. Missouri Revised Statues, section 273.036 states, "The owner or possessor of any dog that bites any person while such person is on public property, or lawfully on private property...is strictly liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog."
The neighbor who owns the pitbull was unavailable for comment. The Ramseys said the owner sent a text message on Monday asking if Chloe was okay. Angela said the family plans to speak out about the incident at the next town meeting, claiming Animal Control did not do enough. She said she hopes her experience will lead to stricter enforcement of leash laws or changes in leash laws.