Bolt To Be Rescued, Mendonca Relinquishes Ownership

Courtesy of the Rodrigues Family

Updated: Bolt's life will be spared, but the Alaskan Malamute accused of biting two Turlock women will not be reunited with his owner.

The decision comes as part of a settlement agreement the City of Turlock announced Friday. The settlement will see all legal action dismissed and Bolt be adopted by a non-profit rescue organization, which may not return the dog to its owner, Dan Mendonca.

The agreement isn't ideal, according to Mendonca's lawyer Bruce Wagman, an animal law specialist from San Francisco, but all parties are “happy with the result.”

“Nobody is ever completely happy with a settlement,” Wagman said. “A perfect world would have been for Dan to get Bolt back again.”

Though Wagman believes Mendonca would have been successful in court, litigation could have taken months or even years with appeals. Throughout that time Bolt would have been cooped up alone in a small dog run at the Turlock Animal Shelter, rather than with a family.

“Dan made an incredible human sacrifice in terms of making that tough decision and saying, 'If Bolt can get out of there, I'm willing to give up and move on,'” Wagman said.

Following the agreement, which was reached Monday night in closed session discussions with the Turlock City Council, Bolt was released into the rescue's care on Friday morning. The settlement was announced only after Bolt left Turlock's custody.

“It was a highlight of my day this morning when I got the call this morning that Bolt had left the building,” Wagman said.

Bolt was accused of biting two Turlock women, McKenzie Leedom and Macie Gilstrap, in September and October 2012. Bolt was slated to be euthanized following a November 2012 Turlock administrative hearing found him to be vicious.

Mendonca argued that Bolt was provoked by the women and sought legal council to prevent Bolt's execution. Leedom and Gilstrap both dispute Mendonca's story, claiming that Bolt struck without provocation.

The case was destined for a March 8 court date before this week's settlement was reached. Bolt had been in the care of Turlock Animal Services since Nov. 7.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement Mendonca will dismiss the case, relinquish his ownership of Bolt to the City of Turlock, and pay all costs associated with Bolt's adoption. The adoption is not expected to have any cost, Wagman said, but Mendonca was required to pay nearly $700 to the City of Turlock for their costs to house Bolt.

The city will allow Bolt to be transferred to a non-profit rescue organization, but will not allow Bolt to be adopted out to anyone in Stanislaus County, Mendonca, or anyone related to Mendonca.

That term was essential to the City of Turlock, according to Interim Assitant City Manager Ron Reid.

“We have to take care of the people that we're serving,” Reid said.

“From the beginning our concern has always been safety for the public. To release him back (locally) would be wrong in our eyes, and potentially dangerous.”

The rescue organization, which was not named, will be required to disclose that Turlock has determined Bolt to be a vicious dog and that Bolt is believed to have bitten two women. The rescue organization will also assume all liability for Bolt.

The rescue has asked not to be identified, to avoid media attention as it looks to find Bolt a new home.

“We just want him and Daniel to go off into the sunset,” Wagman said.

Wagman said that the rescue, which he located and was vetted by City of Turlock staff, has prior experience in adopting out dogs accused of being violent.

But Wagman and Mendonca still dispute the claim that Bolt is a violent dog.

Already, Bolt is winning new fans, Wagman said. Bolt is playing with other dogs at the rescue, enjoying human companionship, and being “wonderful” in the words of the rescue operator, according to Wagman.

“Bolt is the wonderful dog we thought he was, and he's already proving it,” Wagman said.

Related Article:
Court Ruling on Dog "Bolt" Death Sentence Postponed

Bolt Gets a New Attorney, New Court Date

Comments 37

  1. Yay!!! says:
    Good for the city to do the right thing. Its sad that Bolt can't go home with Dan but he should not have been euthanized. So happy for Bolt! Yay!!!:D
  2. Bad deal says:
    The dog bit two girls. He'll just bite someone again and should be put down before he hurts another person. Why did the city quit the case?
  3. billy says:
    I think the city shouldn't allow him to own dogs. He has proved to be an irresponsible dog owner
  4. Ann says:
    What a great ending! I wish he would go back to his owner..But at least he is not put down. Those are great dogs and shame on anyone who thinks this dog will "attack" again. Great ending!
  5. Guest says:
    You obviously are not a supporter just because a provoked dog bit some one does not deem it vicious now if he mauled the woman thats another story the owner is not to blame. so before you go and accuse others maybe you should get all the facts i for one am happy he is released and given another home. accidents happen all the time everyday. you obviously didnt read the article or any of the supporters or articles on the case, he isnt mean or aggressive the breed just isnt do your research. your narrow minded view is why people are stereotyping animals all the time.
    • Jeeves says:
      The dog was spared and hopefully he'll move on to an owner who can act more responsibly. The owner and/or his reps. worked very hard to impugn the integrity of some young woman. I'm glad things worked out the way they did. I am especially glad the dog was removed from an owner who cared more for his dog than the safety and reputation of the victims. Glad we the nonsense is now done. Bolt's 15 minutes of fame have ended.
  6. alena says:
    So glad bolt was free. He was never a vicious dog. He is a loving dog.
  7. Erika says:
    I am very happy for Bolt! Obviously the city knew they did not investigate properly and did not give Bolt a fair treatment. The government never does anything out of the goodness of their heart.
    • Jeeves says:
      Ericka ~
      Erica ~

      Your post is the most ridiculous post of this whole ridiculous story. The dog and owner got what they deserved. The dog will get a good owner (hopefully) and young women won't be bit due to the owner's negligence. This story is done . . .
  8. Tami says:
    The city had no case. They refused to let an assessment be done to determine if he was viscious because they knew damn well he wasn't.
    • Jeeves says:
      Tami ~

      If the City had no case why has the dog been removed and the owner forced to pay its bills? Quit whining about this equitable resolution and move on.
      • Bethany says:
        The would have lost if Dan continued to fight. The City of Turlock dropped the ball in this case.
        1. No warrent served on Dan when they, Animal services took his dog/property
        2. A bias hearing/Tim Lohman went to school with the Leedoms
        3. Assessment of Bolt denied by the City of Turlock
        4. No recordings/recorder of the vicious dog hearing.
        This was not the first time City of Turlock was sued for doing the wrong thing, concerning someones pet. This will not be the last time Tim Lohman and Glenda Jackson, hide behind the skirts of Turlock. Again, Dan thought of his boy, which meant more to him, than getting the cities money.
        • Jeeves says:
          Wow are you twelve? I hear the arresting officer didn't read Bolt his miranda rights either. The dog is has been removed from the irresponsible owner and the young women in our city are safe again. If Mendonca really "thought of his boy" he would have fought until the end of time. He just fought until he ran out of other people's money. Yeah, Big Hero - Sheesh!
          • Ashlee says:
            You know what, Jeeves, you are sounding way to much like rayanne! I am getting a kick out of watching you once again, stand up against thousands of people with your pathetic comments. You need to go improve on your mother skills and leave that family alone!
          • Jeeves says:
            Ashlee

            LMAO - Thousands of people? You have got to be kidding me. Yeah, not a female and certainly not related to anyone involved in this case. I just like to call "BS" when I read nonsense like the stuff you have written. The owner blew through his donations and the case is over. He lost, the people f Turlock won, the dog is gone and this story can now rightly come to an end.
  9. Al Seaton says:
    Remember, dogs don't bite people, people bite....Aww Heck...silliness I tell ya'
  10. Bethany says:
    Glad to hear that Bolt is away from those cazy people. Dan is a big man for protecting his boy from the Turlock crazies and making sure that he is far away fom their evil hands. Congratulations to the Rodrigues/Mendonca family for a job well done. Your devotion and love inspired us supporters.
    Also, Jeeves, you are a retard! Dan could have fought the City of Turlock and very easy have won. He saw the changes in Bolt from being locked up for so long and decided to work on just releasing him as soon as possible. That in my book is true love. The girls reputation was not tarnished by this family. It was her bed hopping and drunken ways that did that! Also the Gilstrap girls Mother was never even spoken of, it was the nut case Mother Leedom that was rightfully trashed.
    • Jeeves says:
      Even the use of the word "retard" in this case suggests that you're ignorant Bethany. Are you suggesting the owner makes a habit of entertaining drunken, young, bed-hopping women? I wish you could understand how foolish you sound. I'm guessing those girls were over 18. I hope so or perhaps another case should be opened.

      Congratulations? Your boy lost. He spent a lot of other people's money to defend his dog from a legitimate impoundment. The idiots who supported him (you included) probably did so for the right reasons but you're naive. The good news is now the dog be placed in a GOOD home (hopefully).

      BTW, the city isn't in the business of taking people's dogs. However, I'm glad this dog won't hurt anyone else in our city or county.
      • Valerie says:
        Jeeves, Jeeves. You did not read the articles, did you? Dan, picked up the drunk 29 year old after she begged him for a ride. He got out of bed and spent time to pick her up. In my opinion, he should have let her wrap her car around a pole! You are the foolish one, talking smack about something you know nothing about. Dan did not spend alot of peoples money, that money was a gifted to Bolt! Like the other lady said " if you cant bring it home to Mom, dont bring it home to your dogs". Bolt is safe away from the hateful people the yorself. Dan's love for his dog really shows thru. Also that man said "I wonder how Mckenzie feels being the Casie Anthony of Turlock?"
        • Bethany says:
          Valerie, that girl was 20 years old not 29. Which makes her an underage drinker. Another thing that the City of Turlock chose to sweep under the rug. Bolt will be happy living away from home, but can we say the same of the underage drinker that put this dog thru hell?
      • Jeeves says:
        Bethany,

        So why would an adult man take a drunken, underage woman to his home rather than hers. You really are naive. You're right, I wasn't there and neither were you so unless you were there anything you have to say is just your conjecture.
        • ashlee says:
          Because they were dating, or more like sleeping together. Thats why you moron.;)
          • Jeeves says:
            Asslee -

            You're a classic. You can't win on the facts so you resort to name calling. So now you're accusing Mendonca of sleeping with the drunken victim? Wow - that's really low. Here's the deal. Mendonca lost, the people of Turlock won and the dog is gone - never to be seen again within our community. I'm sorry you're having trouble dealing with that but that's your new reality.
    • Jeeves says:
      Even the use of the word "retard" in this case suggests that you're ignorant Bethany. Are you suggesting the owner makes a habit of entertaining drunken, young, bed-hopping women? I wish you could understand how foolish you sound. I'm guessing those girls were over 18. I hope so or perhaps another case should be opened.

      Congratulations? Your boy lost. He spent a lot of other people's money to defend his dog from a legitimate impoundment. The idiots who supported him (you included) probably did so for the right reasons but you're naive. The good news is now the dog be placed in a GOOD home (hopefully).

      BTW, the city isn't in the business of taking people's dogs. However, I'm glad this dog won't hurt anyone else in our city or county.
      • valerie says:
        No Jeeves, most of Turlock wanted Bolt to live. Just a few idiots like yourself wanted him dead. Bolt lives against what you and some very few idiots wanted. Again Dan won. Bolt lives. Yes Dan was sleeping with her, many many nights.
        • Jeeves says:
          Valerie ~

          You have zero credibility when you claim you're in law school. You write like a high school student in remedial classes. So much name calling. Actually, most of Turlock didn't care a wisp about Bolt. It doesn't matter now. It is over so quit whining an move on.

          Oh and please share what law school you attend?
    • Jeeves says:
      Even the use of the word "retard" in this case suggests that you're ignorant Bethany. Are you suggesting the owner makes a habit of entertaining drunken, young, bed-hopping women? I wish you could understand how foolish you sound. I'm guessing those girls were over 18. I hope so or perhaps another case should be opened.

      Congratulations? Your boy lost. He spent a lot of other people's money to defend his dog from a legitimate impoundment. The idiots who supported him (you included) probably did so for the right reasons but you're naive. The good news is now the dog be placed in a GOOD home (hopefully).

      BTW, the city isn't in the business of taking people's dogs. However, I'm glad this dog won't hurt anyone else in our city or county.
  11. Theresa says:
    The city of turlock handled this case in an unfair manner. Bolt was the victim of 2 stupid drunk bimbos that won't take any responsibility for what happened. The people defending these bimbos are probably friends or family.
  12. Theresa Easley says:
    I am very happy Bolt was spared but sad that Dan can;t keep him. I think the city of turlock did this agreement because they knew they were wrong and didn't want egg on their face. It obviously was very one-sided and made me wonder if someone was a friend of the drunk women. Those women are to blame because they shouldn't be drinking if they can't hold their liquor. All drinking does is get you in trouble. They don't sound like very reputable women and Bolt pays for their stupidity.
    • Valerie says:
      Theresa, Dan sent his boy to live where it will be safe for him. It is people like Billy Eden, Gary Baker, Momma Leedom and a few more that made it impossible for Bolt to stay with Dan. Good Bye Bolt Boy! I am sure his daddy is resting easy now knowing his dog is safe. One more thing, maybe now Mr Billy and momma Leedom can get a job and stop trashing people. :)
  13. valerie says:
    Jeeves, in America you can not take someones property without a warrent. I learnered that in school. Did you go to school? Miranda rights is something that is read to your Mother Father Sister or Brother, not a dog.
    • Jeeves says:
      Valerie ~

      Obviously, you didn't understand I was being facetious re: the dog and Miranda Rights. Are you that confused or just a very concrete thinker? I'm guessing both. BTW, warrants are used to search people's home, auto or other personal property. Local laws address when an animal can be taken. In this case they took a dog that occasional bites young women.
      • valerie says:
        They have to have warrents to seize property. I'm not stupid. I'm attending law school for pete sakes.
        • Jeeves says:
          No you don't need a warrant. If you're in law school then why do you continue to mis-spell "warrant?" God help you clients. I think you're fibbing about law school as your writing and cognitive skills are pretty poor.
  14. Charly says:
    I can only feel that some comments are from people who do not have a dog. Giving up ownership of a dog is a very unselfish act on this guys part. Unfortunately any time if involves court and lawyers, most people do no have that much money laying around. Most dogs are not aggressive, people make dogs aggressive or you also have to remember the only way an animal has to say get off, is with his mouth, they don't have hands.

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