Sunday, December 4, 2016

West Virginia: Huntington's law regarding pit bulls (BSL) lets owners keep them if they abide by certain restrictions. What Huntington couldn't control is that the owner had a six-year-old child living in the household with their pit bull; a pit bull which just attacked and killed the little boy

WEST VIRGINIA -- A 6-year-old boy has died from injuries suffered when he was mauled by a pit bull Friday night, Huntington Police Chief Joe Ciccarelli confirmed Saturday.

The attack happened just after 9 p.m. Friday in the 2600 block of 9th Avenue. Scanner traffic at the time indicated the boy had suffered severe injuries to his neck and head, and that the dog remained aggressive as first responders arrived.

Google maps identifies this area as the 2600 block of 9th Ave

The boy was rushed to Cabell Huntington Hospital, where he died of his injuries later Friday night. His name has not been released. (He has since been identified as Isaiah Jacob Franklin)

Huntington police are conferring with Cabell County prosecuting attorneys to determine if any criminal charges will be filed, Ciccarelli said. The dog and the boy were living in the same household.

"Any charges will depend on a review of the facts uncovered during the investigation," Ciccarelli said. "This is a matter for the prosecuting attorney to assess, and any discussion as to specific charges at this stage would be inappropriate."


Officers from HPD's Patrol Bureau and detectives from the Family Crimes Unit responded and continue investigating. Cabell County Child Protective Services was also on the scene.

The dog was taken into custody of Huntington Animal Control, which plans to seek a court order to have it euthanized.


Pit bulls and wolf-hybrids are specifically regulated under Huntington municipal code. Article 507 states pit bulls and wolf-hybrids must be either secured indoors or in a locked kennel, or leashed and muzzled when taken outside. Each dog must also be registered with Huntington Animal Control.

If any breed of dog is found to be "vicious or dangerous" following a complaint in municipal court, the owner can face up to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail, the article states. Municipal court may also order the dog be euthanized after such conviction.

The city's last fatal dog attack was more than a decade ago when 2-year-old Arianna Fleeman was mauled and killed by a pit bull in May 2005 in Guyandotte. The dog's owner, 45-year-old Donald Brewer, was convicted of misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to a year in prison.

Huntington, West Virginia Code of Ordinances
(the ordinances have been edited for length. Click on the link above to see the ordinances in their entirety)

507.01 Defintions
For the purposes of this article, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
(i) "Dangerous animal" means and includes the following:
"Pit bull dog" is defined to mean any and all of the following dogs:
A. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed of dogs;
B. The American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dogs;
C. The American Pit Bull Terrier breed of dogs;
D. Dogs which have the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of the breeds of dogs known as Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, or American Staffordshire Terrier.

The registration of a dog at any time in any jurisdiction as a pit bull or any of the dogs listed above shall constitute prima facie evidence the animal is prohibited by this section.

507.05 Registering of pit bulls
Every person owning, keeping or harboring a pit bull dog or wolf hybrid shall register each such dog with the office of the Animal Control Authority. Such registration shall be in writing and shall designate the owner or keeper of such dog(s) full legal name and the address of the location where each such dog is kept or harbored. Any person having failed to register each such dog shall be fined a mandatory minimum of $50 for a first offense, a mandatory minimum fine of $100 for second offense, and a mandatory minimum fine of $200 for each subsequent violation.

507.08 Muzzles required; destruction of vicious dogs
(a) Leash and muzzle. No person shall permit a registered pit bull dog or wolf-hybrid to go outside its kennel or pen unless such dog is securely leashed with a leash no longer than six feet in length. No person shall permit a pit bull dog or wolf-hybrid to be kept on a chain, rope or other type leash outside its kennel or pen unless a person is in physical control of the leash. Such dogs may not be leashed to inanimate objects such as trees, posts, buildings, etc. In addition, all pit bull dogs or wolf-hybrids on a leash outside the animal's kennel must be muzzled by a muzzling device sufficient to prevent such dogs from biting persons or other animals.

(b) Confinement. All registered pit bull dogs or wolf-hybrids shall be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or kennel, except when leashed and muzzled as above provided. Such pen, kennel or structure must have secure sides and a secure top attached to the sides. All structures used to confine registered pit bull dogs or wolf-hybrids must be locked with a key or combination lock when such animals are within the structure. Such structure must have a secure bottom or floor attached to the sides of the pen or the sides of the pen must be embedded in the ground no less than two feet. All structures erected to house pit bull dogs or wolf-hybrids must comply with all zoning and building regulations of the city. All such dogs or wolf-hybrids must comply with all zoning and building regulations of the city. All such structures must be adequately lighted and ventilated and kept in a clean and sanitary condition.

(c) Confinement indoors. No pit bull dog or wolf-hybrid may be kept on a porch, patio or in any part of a house or structure that would allow the dog to exit such building on its own volition. In addition, no such animal may be kept in a house or structure when the windows are open or when screen windows or screen doors are the only obstacle preventing the dog from exiting the structure.

(d) Signs. All owners, keepers, or harborers of registered pit bull dogs or wolf-hybrids must within ten days of the effective date of this ordinance display in a prominent place on their premises a sign easily readable by the public using the words "Beware of Dog." In addition, a similar sign is required to be posted on the kennel or pen of such animal.

(e) Penalty. If the municipal court shall find, as a result of the hearing upon a complaint, that a dog is vicious or dangerous, as provided under this section, the owner or guardian of such dog shall be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than 30 days or both. In addition, if the municipal court may, as a result of said finding that a dog is vicious or dangerous, order such dog be destroyed.

(Herald Dispatch - Dec 4, 2016)

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