Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pushing for Vicious Dog Law Changes

We have now settled our case with the Bad Dog Owner. That particular chapter of our lives is concluded.

We are now in the process of working to change the "vicious dog" laws in Austin. Under the current ordinance, unless a dog attacks someone three (documented) times, kills or permanently maims your dog, or sends someone to the hospital, the dog is not considered vicious. So, if you are attacked by a dog that, say, previously killed their neighbors dog, you are out of luck as far as the city of Austin and the state of Texas are concerned.

This is, quite frankly, utter crap. If I come at you with a knife or a gun and I injure you, chances are I will spend a considerable amount of time in jail. But if I release a 50-lb pit bull from a leash and it rips your hand open, you might get your medical expenses covered if you sue me, but there will be no penalty other than that.

Not only that, but if you are injured while trying to save your dog or another person from an attacking dog, it's your fault! That's right, under Texas law, this is considered "provoking" the animal.

There are already efforts underway to remove some of these ridiculous loopholes and begin enforcing penalties on the owners of dangerous animals. Until the owner is made to feel a penalty for irresponsibly handling an animal, then there will be no incentive to act responsibly.

The Austin City Council will be reviewing proposed changes to the law this fall. Leena and I intend to be a very public part of the debate on these changes. These inane laws are stacked against the victim; we hope to change this so that no one else ever has to feel victimized by the system as well as an irresponsible pet owner.

Please watch this space as we will update it with our efforts to change the laws here in Austin.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Vicious Dog Hearing Set

On July 10, there will be a hearing to determine whether or not the dogs in question will be labeled as "Vicious" dogs under the city ordinance. We will be making more public comments after the hearing.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Major News Update

We haven't posted recently because a lot of thing happened over the course of the last few days. But since we received so many inquiries, tips and good wishes, it is worth giving an update now that certain facts are known.

It began on Friday night where I treated my wife to a date at the Brackenridge ER for a three-hour wait to get her first (of five) rabies shots. A pretty expensive and lousy date night by any measure. Customer service and hospitality are not exactly top priority at Brack, and so I hope that no one else ever has to find out what it's like.

On Sunday morning, we found out Leena is pregnant. read that right! I can still hardly believe it myself.

We were almost in complete disbelief. And happy. And then quickly frightened. By our best measure, Leena is about four weeks pregnant. This means that she was pregnant at the time of the attack. We all know how stress is hugely detrimental to a baby's development, and Leena has been nothing but stress since the attack. It was more than a week before she slept through the night, and the fear that these animals were at large with an irresponsible owner behind them was weighing on her.

Now, we had an added problem: the rabies vaccine. The particular vaccine given to Leena was of the type (category C) that is not tested on pregnant humans nor pregnant animals. After consulting with the CDC, her doctors agreed that although it was probably safe for the child, no one can say for sure. If Leena was exposed to rabies, then she would have to take her next shot late Monday or early Tuesday. She most certainly did not want to put any more drugs into her body if she could avoid it. Pregnant women get touchy about putting untested drugs in them, as you might imagine.

We did find out that if we could prove that Leena was not exposed to rabies, she could stop taking the shots. But we needed definitive proof, or the consequences could be deadly for both mom and child.

On Monday, along with information from Crimestoppers and the tips we received, Animal Control began to pursue leads. In one particular case, the guy immediately lawyered up and refused to produce any hard information. A promising step in the right direction, but Leena was still worried sick over the idea of another rabies shot. This is a horrible choice for anyone to have to make and so we made our plea to the authorities.

We explained the urgency of the situation to the Animal Control, and they sprung right back into action on Tuesday. After being confronted with this new (and rather important information) about Leena's situation, the lawyer of our alleged bad owner produced a letter and copies of the vaccination records for the dogs, along with the legalese non-admission admission that "further searching for any other animals was unnecessary". Gotta love lawyers. I hope they can both sleep at night.


Leena did not have to take the remaining shots, and a great weight was lifted off us both. It would seem that our bad dog owner has been located, and not a moment too soon.

At this point, we're not prepared to say anything else because this story is not over.


We do want to thank everyone for their good wishes, their help, and the attention that was given to this story. To those who reposted this story, people who provided information to the authorities, our tipsters, the folks in the media (Alexis at KEYE, Carla at KXAN, Olga at KVUE, JB and Sandy, and Emily T at KLBJ) who got this story out to the community, the other bloggers who spread the word, a big thanks from us all. And of course, we owe a huge debt to those who provided the information that ultimately led to our bad owner, and not a moment too soon. Dorinda Pulliam and Chris R. at Town Lake Animal Center did a tremendous job and came through in a big way--you guys get hugs from us both!

Paul, Leena, and our Little Bun
(and Bailee and Fat Cat, too!)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

More leads

We've received a few more emails and calls with leads. It will take some time to sort out the useful information from the not-so-useful, but I think an anonymous tip we received today may cut through the Gordian knot, so to speak.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Rabies shots, Round 1

It is 1:30 am now, and Leena and I just got home from the ER at Brackenridge. This is the only place one can go to get the rabies vaccine. Just how much it will cost us remains to be determined. I can't wait for the bill on this one. I have no idea how much insurance will pick up, but the drugs alone list for just under $750. My diatribe on the cost of drugs and medical insurance will be reserved for another blog, and another time.

Keep Those Tips Coming!

Some of you have posted tips to us, and we thank you. The reason those tips do not appear when you submit your comments is because all comments are moderated by me, and I do not want such tips to be published on the blog. But we do record and view all your comments, regardless of whether or not we approve them for public viewing.

Thank you for your support, and hopefully we can find this guy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rabies and the ticking clock

If we cannot find the owner by Saturday the 17th (10 days from the attack), then Leena will in all likelihood require rabies shots. This is both expensive and painful. If the dog owner were responsible enough to come forward and provide medical histories of his animals, this would, of course, be COMPLETELY unnecessary.

In a dog bite case, animals are usually quarantined for 10 days, because if they are still alive in that time, then they don't have rabies. Although the chances that Leena has rabies are extremely slim, it's quite dangerous. Rabies is almost always fatal if not treated, and detection in humans before it's too late is impossible.

This is the main thrust of the story on KVUE news. The video of the story can be found here. Thanks to Olga Campos and the KVUE team for running this story and helping try to find our missing dog owner.

Please help us save further pain and expense by finding the owner of these three dogs!

$1000 Reward for information

I'm reposting this so it's at the top of the blog roll, but it's the same information as before.

We are posting a $1000 cash reward for any information that will correctly identify the owner of these dogs and lead to his prosecution and get these animals off the street.

Our contact information is located in the right side panel, along with instructions on how to provide tips to us or make them anonymously.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More media coverage: KXAN, KLBJ and 94.7FM

It would seem that posting this story on craigslist is paying off, despite the number of power tools out there who want to engage in a debate about dog breeds.

KXAN (the NBC affiliate in Austin) called today, came by the house for a taping and ran this story on Bailee and Leena on the 10 o'clock news just a few hours ago. Also, I taped an interview for the morning show on KLBJ 590 AM. It is running as a news piece on the morning updates. The more people who hear this story, read the posts and see the videos, the more likely we can encourage someone to come forward (I hope).

The KXAN piece is now on YouTube at this link, and can be seen here:

Leena is also doing a live interview this morning on the JB and Sandy morning show on 94.7

The Bandana-Wearing Superman?

We have a lead on our Good Samaritan who saved our dog. Apparently, he was a customer at the Kwik-Kar Lube across the street (northeast corner of Balcones Woods and 183).

If you know this person, or you are this person, PLEASE call us or email. We must find him!

Bailee on KEYE and YouTube

KEYE 42 (the Austin CBS affiliate) ran this story on the 10PM news on Friday, May 9, 2008 (Thanks, Alexis!). This video is also now on youtube:

Catching the Culprit, Finding a Hero

We need your help!

The owner of the dogs who attacked my wife and dog is still out there somewhere with some very dangerous animals.

Here is what we know:

He is a white male, mid 20s, thin-to-medium build, about 5'10". He may have been wearing Vans shoes.

His car is an older 4-door model, possibly red or black but we are unsure. We have no license plate information.

There were several people coming in and out of the PetSmart who witnessed these events, but none stayed to make themselves available to the police to provide any information.

Our hero disappeared as well.

We are offering a $1000 reward for information which leads to the correct identification and prosecution of the owner of these animals. If you have any leads, you can:

  • Call the Austin Police Department (311) in regard to case number 08-1281385
  • call us at 512-382-0002
  • email us at tx.paulm at gmail dot com
  • post a comment on this blog

Also, we are searching for our hero who saved Bailee and Leena. We must find him and thank him for risking himself my girls...more on him in a coming post...

What happened to Bailee and Leena

In the attack, Bailee receiver injuries to her neck, paws, back, groin, and near her rear end. About 25 stitches in all. You can see for yourself here:

Here is a picture of her underbelly, showing the gashes and the drainage tubes going into her leg and groin area:

She also received a number of stitches on her rear end about an inch from her anus, as well as several puncture wounds all over her body that did not require stitches. As you can see, she was very lucky she did not suffer major internal damage from this attack. Leena was also lucky as well for trying to step in between 150+lbs of dogs and Bailee. This was the worst of the bites she received:

Bailee spent most of the her days since the attack recovering. She has been on some pretty serious pain medication, but didn't really sleep until the 4th night. We had to keep a cold pack on her to keep the swelling down.
She has to go back to the vet soon to get her stitches out, and the prognosis for a full recovery is good. All in all, both Leena and Bailee were very lucky.

Poor Bailee...just stunned at what happened. She will recover from the shock luckily, but Leena will not forget this so soon, and neither will I.

I am thankful because it could have been so much worse for both of them. We are all very lucky.

May 7, 2008: The Attack

On May 7, 2008 at approximately 3:00pm, my wife Leena Murray was walking through the parking lot of the Balcones Woods shopping center (183 and Balcones Woods in Austin, TX) towards the PetSmart, along with our border collie mix Bailee:

Leena noticed a car pulling into the parking lot with three tan dogs hanging their heads out of the rear window. All of a sudden, the dogs jumped out of the while it was still moving and attacked Bailee. Two of the dogs were pit bull mixes, and the third was a mixed breed of unknown type.

The dogs had on no collars or leashes, so it was impossible to subdue them and keep them from attacking Bailee. Leena tried to stop the fight, and was bitten in the process and scratched several times. To his credit, the owner of these animals tried to stop them but also failed because there was no way to control these vicious animals.

An unknown her (a tall man in a bandana) jumped into the fray and scooped up Bailee, handing her to my wife. Foolish as it was for both Leena and this man to interfere (these dogs could have turned on either of them in an instant), he saved our dog's life, he probably saved my wife from further injury, and did all this at no small risk to himself.

Leena ran into the animal hospital inside the store. When she came outside a few minutes later to call me, the owner of the three dogs had rounded them up and fled the scene.

No witnesses stayed behind when the Police arrived.

No security cameras.

Vague description of the owner.

No license plate.

And these dogs are still out there somewhere.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Why We're Doing This

This isn't about justice for my wife and our dog.

This is about responsibility.

If you own an animal, whatever breed it is, you have to be responsible for it. You must understand what it is you own, what it is capable of doing, and what you have to be prepared to do as a responsible owner.

If your dogs are party to an unprovoked attack, and you flee the scene, then you are not responsible enough to own them. Period.

My wife and I also have a responsibility. We have a responsibility to do whatever we can to find this man and warn others. What if it happens again, and it happens to you? Or your dog? Or a child?