Weather Forecast


Dog attack has neighbors angry

Detroit Lakes Police are on the lookout for a dangerous, white pit bull they say is responsible for a second random dog attack in the neighborhood of Minnesota Avenue.

The attack happened Tuesday afternoon around 3:30 p.m., and according to Sgt. Robert Strand of the Detroit Lakes Police Department, the owner of that dog, Emilo Gonzales San Ramon, had already been cited for “dog at large” and served papers on the dog, deeming it a dangerous animal, because of a similar attack last month that took the lives of two poodles.

San Ramon could not be reached for comment.

With that dangerous dog designation, the owner was supposed to have kept the animal on a leash, muzzled and under direct supervision when outside.

“That didn’t happen,” said Strand, who says a violation like this typically results in police impounding the animal. However, when authorities arrived at the residence where the animal and another pit bull live, the dog was gone.

“It had already been put in a van, whisked away and its whereabouts are now unknown,” said Strand, who says the owner of the pit bull is being “uncooperative” in the investigation.

Now Strand says authorities are not only contemplating possible charges on the owner, depending on the outcome of the investigation, but officers will also treat the wanted dog like they would a wanted human.

“If we come across it within the city, we’ll impound it,” said Strand, “it’s just a matter of finding out where it is.”

Strand, who spent several years living and working with K9 police dogs, says he believes dogs’ behaviors are indicative of its owners.

“If a dog shows negative behavior and you want to change that behavior, you usually can,” said Strand, who says he knows the latest dog to be attacked by the pit bull was taken to the vet with lacerations.

Meanwhile, news of a second dog attack on Minnesota Avenue is bringing up some raw emotions for Judy Dey, the woman whose dogs were killed by the pit bull on June 10.

“It’s very, very frustrating to hear this happened again,” said Dey, who was walking her dogs, Snickers and Piki, when the attack happened. “I thought we had spread the word enough in the neighborhood about this dog, but I guess not. It makes me feel so terrible that another person had their dog hurt by this pit bull.”

Dey says she sees the owner and two other people in the residence taking turns walking both a white and brown pit bull, and she says both of them appear to be hard to control.

“So we’re not just in fear of one dog, we’re in fear of two,” she said, talking about the day she was walking her poodles near her home on Central Avenue when the white pit bull came running from the next block down.

Day says it all happened so fast.

“One poodle was bitten and thrown down to the ground. As soon as I would grab one dog, the pit-bull would attack the other dog, and so there was nothing I could do. I tried to reach for his collar, and he had no collar; then I tried to grab the skin but it was like trying to grab the skin of a pig — I couldn’t get anything —, I kicked him once, but he didn’t feel it.”

Dey says she was so intent on saving her dogs that she never thought about whether or not she could be in danger.

According to Dey, a man in charge of the dog, who she says lives in the same residence as the pit-bulls’ owner, came upon the scene, but it was too late.

“I was hysterical,” said Dey, who was holding one of her crying dogs that had been ripped wide open and bleeding profusely. “And he (the man responsible for the dog) just stood there by the dog. He just stood there jibber jabbering, and finally I said, ‘Get your dog back to your house,’ I couldn’t believe he was just standing there.”

Both of Dey’s dogs had to be put down — one with very severe lacerations and the other with brain damage from being slammed to the street.

After the vet visit, Dey took herself to the emergency room because she feared stitches from a recent surgery on her arm (which she had in a sling at the time) had been ripped open.

Dey says the emergency room visit cost her $1,300, and the vet visit cost her nearly $500. But what may be worse, it’s also cost her peace of mind.

“I did get another dog, but I won’t let him out of the house,” said Dey, who says she did get a voice message from the dog’s owner, but she couldn’t understand him because of his thick accent, and she had no desire to call him back.

“I’m very, very frustrated,” said Dey. “This never should have happened again.”

Others with pets in that area are also extremely upset at the news.

Denise Ohnstad lives on Summit Avenue and Central Street with her two wiener dogs and two cats. She says she’s been wary of these pit bulls and their owners for a while now.

“I saw a man and a woman walking those pit bulls — they were on the other side of the street from my house — and I watched the man reach down and unhook the male pit bull from the leash,” said Ohnstad. “And the dog took off straight to my yard — I suppose he was looking for my dogs.”

Ohnstad says although her dogs were inside, she went outside to confront the situation.

“I told them they have a beautiful dog but it’s not welcome in my yard because I have two small dogs, and she said, ‘Oh, it got off the leash’, and I said, ‘No. I watched him unhook it.’” Ohnstad says she had a second encounter with the pit bull when she let her dogs out and they took off around the house.

“I heard a ‘yip’ and then they came running back towards me,” said Ohnstad, who went to see what the situation was.

“And there was that dog in my yard. The man had it on a leash, but he had absolutely no control over it,” said Ohnstad, who says other neighbors have reported seeing the dog chase after a young boy on a bicycle.

“I’m so angry that the city hasn’t done anything about this,” she said. “Are we going to wait until it actually hurts a human being before we do anything?” said Ohnstad. “It’s upsetting — the people in the neighborhood are very distraught, and in the meantime those people (the pit bull owners) are laughing.”

Ohnstad also says she’s seen a third pit bull — a female that had a litter of puppies six to eight weeks ago — that was visibly nursing and was being kept in a shed on the property.

“The whole thing is scary,” she said. “What’s going to happen if some lady is walking down the street with her baby in a stroller and the dog comes after it? Something has to be done.