Tuesday, December 13, 2016

New Mexico: Katrina Flanagan insists her son's pit bull bulldog mix is a service dog and well behaved; neighbors who have been menaced by the dog disagree

NEW MEXICO -- The Tijeras Senior Center was filled to capacity Monday night as people heatedly spoke about whether or not a pit bull claimed to be a service dog is a vicious animal.

The testimonies came during a public hearing within the village’s regular council meeting Monday night. The hearing came about in response to concerns from two village employees who said they had been threatened by the dog.

Tijeas has a ban on pit bulls but Flanagan argued that because she calls it a service dog, it overrides the pit bull ban.

A council decision on whether the animal is vicious, though was put off.

“A decision will be made at a later date,” Tijeras Village Mayor Gloria Chavez said.

Brewskey was initially alleged to be a pit bull-type dog.

Katrina Flanagan, the dog’s owner and mother of the child that Brewskey works with, argued in October that the dog is an Americans with Disabilities Act certified service dog.

A DNA test administered by veternarian Vickie Averhoff determined the dog to be an American Staffordshire terrier with some bull dog mixed in.

They keep saying DNA determined it's not a pit bull. What do you think a Staffordshire terrier is???

Two councilors spoke up near the end of the public hearing in praise of the dog’s overall demeanor.

Councilor Jake Bruton visited with the Flanagan in October and found Brewskey to be “very well behaved.”

“I went to her home, I wanted to meet Brewskey. I wanted to see him. I wanted to see if he was vicious. When I got to her property, I walked right through her gate, up to her house, knocked on the door. The dog never barked. Mrs. Flanagan came to the door and Brewskey stood right next to her,” Bruton said. “He was a super sweet dog, super nice. I didn’t see any sort of vicious behavior out of him whatsoever.”

Councilor Don Johnson said he also visited with the family and the dog and did not feel that Brewskey was a vicious.

Applause erupted after each spoke to Brewskey’s virtues.

Councilor Maxine Wilson offered a free training through the Acoma Training Center in Albuquerque. This came about after Flanagan had said at the Oct. 11 meeting that she would do anything it took to help Brewskey.

“Brewskey helps me a lot. I like him a lot,” said Conor Flanagan, Katrina Flanagan’s son.

Helps him do what?

The question of Brewskey’s breed was brought up after two Tijeras Village employees reported that they had been intimidated by the dog.


One was allegedly chased back to his vehicle after trying to check the water meter, and the other heard Brewskey barking in an intimidating way. During the barking incident, Flanagan ordered the dog to stop barking and it did, both parties stated.

Two of a small amount of people to speak against Brewskey were the two employees involved in those incidents.

A form letter was sent to the Flanagans after the incidents stating that a possible outcome would end up with the dog being put down, but Chavez pointed out that the village has never put a dog down and is more concerned if the dog is dangerous.

The village has had a ban on pit bulls since a young girl was attacked by pit bulls in the 1980s.

The council only listened to testimony and did not make a decision Monday night.

However, if the council had made a decision, the situation would not be over yet.

The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section has received a complaint and Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Langenwalter was in attendance as an observer and to collect information.

“At this point, no action has been taken. There has not been a disability rights violation or even an allegation of a disability rights violation that our office or that the office of the Civil Rights Division in Washington would act on. I’m solely here to observe,” Langenwalter said.

Breed laws cannot be used against any service animals unless that service animal has proven to be a direct threat, Langenwalter added.

(MVTelegraph - Dec 13, 2016)

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