It may take longer to do all the research, but a well written correspondence definitely will help your cause in the case of a dog attack. In my last post found HERE, I was not impressed with the response from the dispatcher about the resolution to our situation. This morning I received both an email and a phone call from a deputy in Union County and he was most cordial and apologetic for not getting back to me yesterday.
The reason, which made our problem pale in comparison, was that they had spent most of the day finding the next of kin from an accident fatality. I'm definitely fine with being put on the back burner for that. He was truly apologetic for at least not calling, but spent a great deal of time on the phone with me discussing our situation. Long story short, he will be giving the owners their free warning that should it happen again, the dogs may certainly be removed from their premises. The deputy told me that he will update me on the meeting with the owner.
Things to remember if you should be in this situation:
1.) Details. Get as many details about the incident as you can. Giving an exact address is great, but if you don't want to start round two with the dogs, then at least get landmarks and the nearest roads. Try to remember time of day as well.
2.) Photos. I have to start carrying my camera all the time. Without Kathy's camera yesterday, I'm not sure we would have such a strong case. The deputy thanked me over and over for the photos saying that he couldn't have better proof of the dogs being out of line.
3.) Know the laws in your area. By copying the South Dakota Codified Law section on "Vicious Dogs" into my email, it both educated and saved the deputy time and effort. He said that his first step was to have the dog owner read that and see what he had to say.
4.) Keep a list of all the Sheriff's Departments in your area of riding. Yesterday I was caught without my list so I did not report it until a couple hours later. I'm debating about adding them all to my cell phone now.
5.) Be professional with Law Enforcement. They understand you are upset. There is no need to go down that road again. My conversation with the Deputy ended with him telling me to contact them any time with further issues. That's the feeling that I want right there, the one that says 'we are here for you', not 'quit bothering me'.
Overall, it was a positive experience. Dealing with the owners is not what I want to spend my time doing. Dealing with the law enforcement allows them to take ownership and be informed on the situation for future run ins. It will forever be my first line of contact from here on out. I humbly suggest you make it yours as well.
BDCC Annual Meeting
2 months ago