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W’bago declares dog as dangerous

By Staff | May 3, 2020

The Winnebago City Council, on a vote of 2-1, decided that a dog should be designated dangerous, and as a result, be put down.

The decision came at a special City Council held at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 24.

The vote, which came at the end of a long discussion, was 2 to 1 due to the fact that two of the four council members were absent.

Council member Jean Anderson voted yes, council member Paul Eisenmenger voted no, and Mayor Jeremiah Schutt cast the deciding yes vote. Council members Rick Johnson and Calvin Howard were absent.

The dog’s owner, Katie Reisenbigler, was present at the meeting. She did not dispute the fact that her dog, Lucy, had attacked the city’s police dog on April 11.

City attorney David Frundt said the council had several options.

One was to take no action. Another choice was to declare the dog to be “potentially dangerous.”

As such several things would have to happen, including get a microchip inserted in the dog, keeping the dog fenced, signs put up warning of a potentially dangerous dog, liability insurance increased and other measures.

“If there are no other issues for a year, the label of a potentially dangerous dog would be removed,” Frundt said.

The council could also declare the dog dangerous, and have all of the previous restrictions put in place forever.

“The other option is to declare it a dangerous dog and have it put down,” Frundt said.

Reisenbigler said she was willing to abide by all of the restrictions that would be set, and mentioned the dog was already micro-chipped.

“I am sorry for what happened,” she said. “The dog was a rescue dog and does have problems with other dogs, but not with people. It was our foster child with the dog that day and did not handle the dog right.”

Winnebago Police chief Eric Olson agreed that the dog was definitely not after him, but after the K-9 officer (police dog).

Olson, who was injured in the attack, said he was not sure where the injuries on his arm came from while he worked to separate the two dogs.

“At first I thought the dog should be put down, but now I think it needs something like an agitation collar to keep it under control,” Olson said. “But, the attack I saw was vicious, this dog wanted to kill my dog.”

Councilwoman Anderson made the motion to declare the dog in question a dangerous dog and be put down.

“I am an animal lover, but I would hate to see another dog or a child get hurt,” she said. “I had a dog that got old and got mean when it got old, and had to be put down.”

However, Anderson’s motion did not get a second at first.

Councilman Eisenmenger said he also would hate to see a child get hurt, and favored declaring the dog dangerous, but following the guidelines and if it ever violated again it would be put down.

Mayor Schutt then stepped in and seconded the motion and he and Anderson voted yes.

An emotional Reisenbigler asked when this would happen, and was told it would be right away and the dog would be taken into possession of the city.

She asked if the family could take the dog to their own vet to have it put down, so they could have some time to say goodbye, and was told yes, but was told to have it done, or a plan to have it done, in place by Friday, May 1.