Dogfight sets stage for court fight
A swift but bloody fight last weekend between two pit bulls, a Lhasa apso and a burly former rugby player has led to what seems to be a legal cat fight brewing between the owners.”I’m on a mission to get pit bulls banned in my neighborhood,” declared West Bank Mesa homeowner Rob Snyder, owner of Barkley, the 20-pound Lhasa apso. The incident left Snyder with a damaged knee and Barkley with 60 stitches in the Lhasa apso’s throat.West Bank Mesa, a neighborhood of large, relatively new and rather upscale homes, is between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, on a shelf of land above the West Bank golf subdivision.”These are two people who should have known better than to have lethal weapons walking around the neighborhood,” Snyder said of the pit bulls. “What if it had been my kid out riding a bicycle?””I’m going to sue him for slander,” countered Nancy Crenshaw, who with her husband, Randy, owns the two pit bulls. She accused Snyder of carrying on “a personal vendetta … to get me and my dogs out of the neighborhood.”She said her dogs were not causing any trouble when Snyder’s Lab ran up, and that at first “they were just doing what dogs do.” And when Barkley ran up and was grabbed by one of her dogs, she said, Snyder “ran out in the street and slipped on the gravel, on his back or hip or something.”Snyder noted that in his struggle to save Barkley, he suffered either a wrenched or torn ligament in one of his knees that already has cost him about $1,500 in diagnosis fees and might require surgery. And the 60 stitches for Barkley cost “seven or eight hundred dollars.””So, I’m going to be out about 2,500 bucks,” he said, adding that he did not know if he would sue the Crenshaws, but he has hired attorney Jamie Knowlton to work on his campaign to ban pit bulls from his neighborhood.But Crenshaw, reached at her house on Tuesday, said the incident was Snyder’s fault because his dogs were not tied up and came out into the road to “chase” her dogs.”He got a ticket,” she said. “I did not.”Snyder confirmed the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office cited him for letting his dogs “run at large,” and he must appear in court in November.The battle, which happened around 8 p.m. Aug. 13, involved two dogs belonging to Snyder, a valley businessman and former Gentlemen of Aspen rugby player, and the Crenshaws’ two pit bulls.According to Snyder, Nancy Crenshaw was walking her dogs – a young, 55-pound pit bull and a 4-year old, 67-pound bull mastiff mix named Bertie, both on leashes – past Snyder’s home when the trouble began. Snyder said he was playing with his Lab, Winston, tossing a tennis ball for the dog to retrieve, when Winston ran out to greet the pit bulls.”They instantly attacked him,” Snyder reported, explaining that he ran out to separate the dogs just as Barkley jumped off Snyder’s porch and ran into the street “to see what dad was doing.” Snyder said one of the pit bulls grabbed Barkley by the throat, the other grabbed an ear, and Snyder shifted his efforts to freeing Barkley.Snyder said he succeeded in freeing Barkley only when two men who live nearby ran up to help, and that he immediately left for the nearest emergency vet’s clinic, in Basalt. He called 911 as he drove, and a Garfield County sheriff’s deputy showed up a couple of hours later, he said.Crenshaw, in a report she filed with the sheriff’s office, maintained that Winston ran out to “chase” and “antagonize” her dogs, and that at one point she unleashed Bertie, and Winston and Bertie began “antagonizing each other” until Snyder separated them. She acknowledged in the report that Bertie grabbed Barkley by the throat and would not let go, despite she and by Snyder beating the dog, until the neighbors arrived to help.In the wake of the attack, Snyder said, he has begun seeking support from neighbors for a rule forbidding pit bulls in the neighborhood.He said that some front range communities had enacted laws against ownership of pit bulls, and added, “3 1/2 million people in the cities of Denver and Aurora can’t be wrong.”But Crenshaw said her dogs are is normally very gentle animals, both “rescued” from animal shelters, and maintained that the incident was the fault of Snyder’s dogs.John Colson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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