Turlock Animals Services was set to euthanize Turlock resident Dan Mendonca’s beloved Alaskan Malamute, “Bolt”, today after the City of Turlock determined the dog to be “vicious and a public nuisance”, having two separate incidents come forth involving the dog biting two women. City Manager Roy Wasden reviewed the determination made by City Staff and sentenced Bolt to death. A speedy Stanislaus Superior Court hearing was scheduled for Monday morning in an attempt to save Bolt.
Judge Timothy Salter issued a stay on Bolt’s death sentence and scheduled a hearing for January 16, 2013. The hearing will determine if the City of Turlock’s designation of Bolt being a “vicious” dog is accurate.
The City of Turlock issued a press release acknowledging the court’s decision to issue a temporary stay pending the outcome of the matter on January 16th.
During the waiting time, Bolt will remain in the custody of Turlock Animal Services, and Mendonca has been ordered by the court to pay the City of Turlock for daily maintenance and care of Bolt.
“The City will have no further comment due to the pending litigation,” stated the City of Turlock press release.
Mendonca has been actively fighting for the life of his dog after City of Turlock Animal Services sentenced it to be euthanized. This ruling came forth after police reports from two Turlock women, 20 year-old McKenzie Leedom and 20 year-old Macie Gilstrap, were made stating that Bolt had bit both of them in the face. Both women have stated that the bites were unprovoked.
On November 7th, Bolt was taken into Turlock Animal Services, which was followed by an investigation that found the alleged incidents had occurred.
Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson confirmed that the incident required a public hearing and the report was forward to Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden’s office. A public hearing was conducted on November 27, 2012.
A public hearing requires a Hearing Officer, who is not an employee of the Turlock Police Department, to take into account the police report, evidence presented by the Police Department Animal Control, the dog’s owner, victim(s) and witnesses, if any. Fire Chief Tim Lohman served as the Hearing Officer for the public hearing, and made a recommendation to the City Manager following guidelines of the Turlock Municipal Code.
City Manager Roy Wasden then reviewed Chief Lohman’s recommendation, on November 29th, and made the determination that the dog would need to be euthanized.
“Based upon the information that was received at the hearing, the City Manager made his final decision, finding the dog to be vicious and a public nuisance,” stated Ronald Reid, Assistant to the City Manager. According to Reid, the dog’s owner was made aware of civil remedies available to him under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1094.5.
“These type of incidents are taken very seriously by the Turlock Police Department and other City Officials,” stated Officer Lewis. “Once an incident has been reported, there are time restrictions that we are required to abide by, according to the law.”
“The safety of this community is of primary concern when determining the outcome of these types of incidents,” explained Lewis.
Many statements explaining the case from differing perspectives have come from Bolt’s family, the bite victims, and each side’s friends and supporters.
The Facebook page, ‘Save Bolt’, has garnered over 6,400 “Likes” and thousands of comments and posts. Many members of the community, as well as people from around the nation, also signed the petition that Mendonca’s family started online.
Mendonca’s attempt to save Bolt is moving forward as his case, and the many statements regarding the incidents, will now be heard by a court judge.
The legal costs for Mendonca and Bolt are expected to cost around $7,000. So far support for Bolt has raised over $4,500 through online and personal donations. Online donations to save Bolt can be made at this link.