Three years for using dog to “discipline” kids

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2004:

PORTLAND, Oregon–Washington County Presiding Judge Marco
Hernandez on September 23, 2004 sentenced David E. Hoskins, 46,
of Hillsboro, to serve three years in prison for disciplining his
7-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son for at least two years by
allowing a dog named Nigel to attack them.
After completing his prison term, Hoskins is to have contact
with the children during the next two years only with the written
consent of child welfare workers.
The sentence was widely seen as far too light, especially in
comparison to the 10-year sentence given earlier in September to
dogfighter Carey D. McMillian, 23, of Dallas, Texas, who was
charged with a single incident. (Page 14.)
Hernandez indicated that he would issue an even lighter
sentence on October 14 to the children’s mother, Joyce Hoskins, 47,
“based on the woman’s limited mental abilities,” wrote Holly Danks
of the Portland Oregonian.
Neighbor Voight Barnhardt called police on March 19 in
response to screams from the girl.
“Officers found Joyce Hoskins more worried about the animal
than her daughter, who was bleeding on a bed” from at least 12 bite
wounds that will cause permanent scarring, summarized Danks of
testimony by deputy district attorney Andrew Erwin.

“In the incident with the girl, the boy watched and tried to
come to some aid,” Erwin continued. “Joyce Hoskins refused to go to
the hospital because she was concerned about Nigel.”
Nigel had torn off a piece of the boy’s ear in March 2001. A
seven-year-old mix of pit bull terrier, Doberman, German shepherd,
and Labrador retriever, Nigel was euthanized.
The outcome of the Hoskins case is of particular concern in
Washington County following the August 24 indictment of Robert Leon
Duckett, 60, on two counts of second degree assault for a July 27
attack by a pair of pit bull terriers on Joshua Pia Perez, age 7.
“One of Perez’ ears was nearly ripped off, and he suffered
puncture wounds and gashes to his head, arms, hands, and stomach,”
the Oregonian reported.
Witnessing the attack, Good Shepherd Communities Home worker
Kathleen Imel threw herself on top of Perez, probably saving his
life at cost of severe arm and eye injuries. Washington County
sheriff Rob Gordon on August 21 awarded Imel a medal of valor.
The dogs belonged to Duckett and Anastasia Richardson, who
was fined $622 for keeping a dangerous animal and failing to prevent
a nuisance. Richardson was later jailed for violating her parole on
past drug-related convictions.

Next court tests

The next nationally prominent test of trends in dog attack
sentencing is expected in December, when the Jefferson County Court
in Colorado is to pass judgement on Jacqueline McCuen, 33. McCuen
pleaded guilty on September 24 to a felony and two misdemeanors for
the November 30, 2003 death of Elbert County horse trainer Jennifer
Brooke, 40.
Brooke was fatally mauled and two men who tried to help her
were injured by three loose pit bulls kept by McCuen and William
Gladney, 46. One of the men’s 16-year-old son interrupted the
attacks by wounding two of the three dogs with bird shot. All three
dogs were then killed by the first sheriff’s deputy to reach the
McCuen testified that she lost her home earlier in 2003 due
to a lawsuit filed by the victim of a previous attack by two of the
same dogs.
Gladney is to be tried in January 2005.
In pending cases, pit bull breeders Lisa Rego, 31, and
Todd Fratus Sr., 25, of Lowell, Massachusetts, are to be charged
with child endangerment and cruelty after the September 4 near-fatal
mauling of neighbor Naomi Libareas, 6. Libareas and Brianne
Rego-Fratus, also 6, entered the basement where 18 dogs were kept
to look at puppies. Apparently Rego-Fratus left briefly to check on
a younger child she was watching, and Libareas was attacked in her
At least eight children have been mauled by pit bulls in the
Lowell area since 2002.
In Larimer County, Colorado, a felony charge of keeping a
dangerous dog is reportedly pending against Travis Rickman, 20,
whose pit bull savaged Shirley Smillie, 73, on August 20. Smillie
was trying to shoo the pit bull and two Labrador retrievers out of a
busy road.

Ontario favors ban

U.S. dangerous dog laws still mostly follow the model long
prescribed by the American Kennel Club, the American SPCA, and the
Humane Society of the U.S., exemplified most recently by the updated
New York state dog law signed on August 17 by Governor George Pataki.
Based on the common law “one free bite” standard observed in
England since the early Middle Ages, the new law increases the
evidentiary and hearing requirements for designating a dangerous dog.
The new law does not respond to the problem of otherwise friendly and
well-behaved dogs of breeds with a propensity for killing or maiming
people on their first known attack–specifically, pit bull terriers,
Rottweilers, and related breeds also developed for fighting.
Ontario province, Canada, is likely to pursue
breed-specific regulation, attorney general Michael Bryant indicated
in August 2004.
“Officials in Kitchener, Ontario, and Winnipeg, Manitoba
have reported a dramatic reduction in dog attacks after they banned
pit bulls,” wrote Keith Leslie of Canadian Press.
Windsor, Ontario, banned pit bulls on September 27.
As of October 3, Ontario attorney general’s office
spokesperson Greg Crone told John Cotter of Canadian Press, “The
overwhelming response [from the public] has been in favor of a ban,
but no final decision has been made. Nothing will be presented,”
Crone said, “until the legislature resumes in mid-October.”
Bryant also hinted that he would include in a bill mandatory
jail time for anyone convicted in connection with a mauling.

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