Officials attending Monday night’s Fruitland City Council meeting evaluated the potential danger of two local dogs as it relates to recent, separate incidents. Community members turned out to hear city councilors discuss the events that transpired during each dog incident.
Fruitland Police Chief JD Huff said the first of the two incidents involved a dog owned by Jessie Mitchel. Huff said many attempts have been made to determine whether the dog is current on vaccinations and residing within a secure enclosure. The complaints against Mitchel’s dog stem from reports of the dog not staying home as well as allegedly acting aggressive.
Huff said he felt as if Mitchel has given “zero compliance” as it relates to issues with her dog. Councilor Stuart Grimes added that he saw there is “sufficient evidence to prove the dog has been roaming around.”
The council voted to declare that Mitchel’s dog is considered potentially dangerous. As Fruitland City Attorney Stephanie Bonney told the City Council, this determination is for the purpose of introducing a specific set of safeguards, ensuring public safety and preventing any future incidents. Mitchel will have 10 days to comply with the council’s decision, for which she will need to implement safeguards including adequate residence fencing, proof of current vaccinations and neutering.
The second incident involved Brianne Peden’s dog allegedly biting a neighborhood child. Peden said that the dog does not have a history of aggression, but does have a chronic leg pain from a previous injury.
Mayor Brian Howell, stated that he knows the dog personally and asked the city attorney whether he needed to recuse himself as a result. She replied that he did not.
Councilors Ed Pierson and Kari Peterson both determined that the photographs provided showing the alleged bite did not show evidence of a dog bite or are inconclusive.
The council’s decision was split until Howell ultimately sided with Pierson and Peterson to determine that the dog was not potentially dangerous.