Friday, July 14, 2017

Montana: Because Wayne Bartlett's Pit Bulls killed his landlord on his property, the most he can be charged with is county ordinance violations which are civil rather than criminal charges

MONTANA -- The owner of two pit bulls that attacked and killed a woman in Bozeman last month has received multiple county ordinance violation citations.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that Wayne Bartlett was cited for two counts of vicious and dangerous dogs and two counts of failure to have rabies vaccinations for the dogs that attacked and killed 65-year-old Melissa Barnes.

Because the dogs were on their own property when they attacked and mauled Melissa Barnes to death, there were likely limited options in terms of prosecution. If the dogs had gotten loose, ran down the street, attacked and killed her, it would be different - but with no known history of viciousness from these dogs, there really wasn't anything else they could do in terms of prosecution. These citations are civil infractions, likely to not even show up on his criminal record background check.


The citations allege violations of Gallatin County’s dog control ordinances.

A vicious and dangerous dogs citation carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine. And failure to have rabies vaccinations are punishable by a $50 fine for the first offense, $100 for the second and $150 for the third.

On the morning of June 24, Barnes was in her yard at 5499 Love Lane when she was attacked by two dogs belonging to Bartlett, who is a tenant living on Barnes’ property, according to the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.


Barnes was flown to a Billings hospital where she died the next day.

Both dogs were euthanized voluntarily following the attack, the sheriff’s office said. Both tested negative for rabies.

(Bozeman Daily Chronicle - July 14, 2017)


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