Dogs involved in Grand Junction mauling quarantined; owners ticketed |

Dogs involved in Grand Junction mauling quarantined; owners ticketed

Caitlin Row
Grand Junction Free Press

State Trooper Shane Gosnell, who saved the life of a fellow trooper a year ago during a shoot-out in Glenwood Canyon, used his Taser to halt vicious dogs earlier this month in Grand Junction.

The April 7 attack occurred around lunchtime in the area near Genghis Grill on Hwy. 6 and 50, which is a popular Grand Junction shopping district.

Sharon Tinsman of Grand Junction, the victim of the dog attack, has been released from St. Mary’s Hospital. Three dogs involved in the incident — all Catahoula-mixed breeds — are impounded by Mesa County until further notice.

The dogs jumped from a blue Dodge truck’s bed and mauled Tinsman, who was at the time “walking east on the sidewalk north of the restaurant,” a news release stated. “Several good Samaritans chased the dogs back to the truck, stopping the attack. The dogs jumped from the truck a second time, however, and a Colorado State Patrol officer [Gosnell] deployed his Taser toward the dogs causing them to retreat.”

Last May 8, Gosnell and Trooper Eugene Hofacker were traveling to Glenwood Springs when, following policy regarding cars stopped in the canyon, they checked on a parked vehicle. Thomas Ornelas, who was drunk, carrying cocaine and awaiting trial on an attempted murder charge, shot Hofacker four times. Gosnell returned fire and killed Ornelas, almost certainly saving Hofacker, who continues to rehab.

In the Grand Junction attack, according to a Mesa County Animal Services case report, Alexander Franklin Rice and Crystal D. Proctor, both of Whitewater and owners of the dogs, were eating in Genghis Grill in the back of the restaurant during the attack. They were unaware of the incident until a Grand Junction police officer alerted them. Though Rice indicated that Tinsman may have provoked the dogs, an officer on site measured the distance from the back of the truck to the curb’s edge where the attack happened.

“The distance of 47 feet from the truck bed where the dogs were left unattended to the spot of the assault would eliminate the possibility of provocation by the victim,” the case report said.

In the same report, Tinsman confirmed that all three dogs participated in the attack. Injuries described in the case report included multiple bites and tears, including a statement from Tinsman that the dogs “ate” her skin and that she might need skin grafts.

Rice and Proctor could be asked for restitution for the victim’s injuries, and possibly for the cost of city, state and county response personnel’s involvement.

Case reports revealed that both of Rice’s dogs were unvaccinated. Proctor stated in the report that she thought her dog was vaccinated, but she could not provide verification. Rabies vaccinations and animal licensing is required in Mesa County. Dogs are also considered “at large” if they leave an owner’s vehicle unattended.

According to Penny McCarty, director of Mesa County Animal Services, when dealing with dangerous dog violations, animals are held at Mesa County Animal Services until a court order is received changing the sheltering or ownership status.

Rice and Proctor were ticketed for the incident. Rice, owner of two dogs, was cited for having a dog at large, no proof of license, having a dangerous dog, and failure to control. Proctor was cited for having a dog at large, no license, and having a dangerous dog. They are expected for their first court appearances on April 28.

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