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Lack of vigilance leads to cat’s death

Editor’s Note: This letter was originally addressed to: the Mayor, Town Council and Chief of Police of Carbondale.

Dear Editor,

As I write this letter, my cat sits at the vet with a punctured lung, a torn diaphragm, a damaged liver, skin torn from his rib cage, and intestines protruding through his abdominal wall. My wife is driving to work with seven punctures in her hand. The cause of this? A very nice neighbor that walks his dog without a leash. The dog attacked our cat on our front porch, my wife interceded to save the life of her cat.



Per the law we filed a report with the Carbondale Police. While filling out our version of events I made comment to the very nice officer that some months prior I had a letter published in all three of the valley’s newspapers in reference to the El Jebel dog shooting incident. Among other comments I implored local law enforcement to enforce leash and “at-large” dog laws. I inquired of the officer as to the “status” of enforcing these laws in Carbondale. To which he replied, “We just don’t have time. We only respond to complaints.”

If a manager in a corporate environment in which an accident has occurred made a comment to the effect that “We were aware of the problems but only responded to complaints,” the corporation would be prosecuted in civil as well as criminal courts. Why? The question begs to be asked: Is it the policy of Carbondale to basically ignore people committing a certain set of misdemeanors, while enforcing others? 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year, some of these people are killed, some are scarred for life. Dog attacks cost society over $1 billion annually! If you are a homeowner, your insurance premiums are subsidizing $310 million a year in dog bite settlements. Faced with these facts, for Carbondale police to recognize at-large dogs as any less of a threat to public safety than driving 30mph down Eighth Street is ludicrous! Carbondale’s failure to enforce leash laws has contributed to an air of “lawlessness” that is in no small part a contributing factor to the physical and emotional injuries inflicted on our family.



Due to yesterday’s events, the Police that don’t have time to ticket the owners of leashless dogs had to take the time to take our statements, to issue a summons to the dog’s owner and will have to take time to appear in court. Is this time management? Please explain to my wife that you don’t have time to impress on the public that there are laws, which would have prevented her injuries. I appreciate the fact that Police are wary of burying Courts in misdemeanors; however, that is why we live in a society in which minor “criminals” may simply be issued a warning. This is discretionary law enforcement. The evidence suggests, however, that Carbondale Police are not even using this as a tool to inform dog owners of the need to use a leash. By ignoring the problem Carbondale Police have allowed it to become unmanageable. The town has literally gone to the dogs.

If indeed the Carbondale Police are short staffed I will be very vocal to the town leaders for additional officers. If however they have not made their needs known, I will be a VERY loquacious opponent of this policy of nonenforcement!

Once upon a time I was angry about dogs urinating and defecating in my lawn. I was angry with “free attorneys” representing irresponsible dog owners. My families blood has been shed; my anger has been turned to fury. My neighbor is by no means the sole cause of this nor the recipient. We will resolve this matter in a very polite and civil manner. A and E are a very nice couple. I do not feel that my neighbor would have had his dog off a leash if he did not do so daily with impudence. My anger is directed at a community that gives implied consent to individuals to break the law.

People, be responsible pet owners, keep them restrained in public, it is the law, it makes financial sense.

As I write this the snow in my yard is still red with the blood of my wife.

Marco Diaz

Carbondale

As a footnote, after heroic efforts by the wonderful staff at Red Hill Animal Clinic, and after putting up a hell of a fight, “Hagen” Diaz passed away this morning. He was our only child.


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