Let’s see if there’s anything wrong with this picture. In the July 25 issue of this newspaper, there was a story about a man walking his dog in Dickinson Square Park who was attacked by a pit bull. The man suffered the loss of his left pinkie finger in the attack, which wound up costing him $187 for antibiotics. In addition, the man’s dog was mauled during the attack, which cost him another $795 in veterinarian’s fees. The attacking pit bull was not on a leash.
What do you think happened to the pit bull’s owner? (He also was walking a second pit bull without a leash at the time of the attack.) Let’s guess:
1) Six months behind bars for negligence plus the cost of the victim’s medical bills and vet’s fees.
2) The victim will be allowed to have his Doberman bite off the pit-bull guy’s left pinkie.
3) The pit-bull owner will be forced to spend a year going to PETA meetings and eat ALPO three times a day during that time.
4) He will be sentenced to clean up doggy-do from every public place in the area and pay the victim’s full medical costs.
5) None of the above.
If you guessed "none of the above," you’re right. He was fined $25 for walking his dog off the leash.
Before you begin hollering about injustice, consider that the police say they conducted an investigation — made easy by the reported 30 or so witnesses to the attack — and brought the matter before the District Attorney’s Office. The investigation revealed "no criminal intent" on the part of the pit-bull owner.
Let’s guess what is required for criminal intent to take place on the part of the owner of the attacking pit bull:
1) A command for the dog to attack, such as, "Sic ’em, you S.O.B."
2) Tying the victim to a tree while a nearby radio plays an hour of Celine Dion and then commanding the dog to attack.
3) Placing a red target on the part of the victim you want your pit bull to chew off and then commanding him to attack.
4) Feeding your pit bull one of those vegetarian burgers, thus inciting his anger and forcing him to attack.
5) Luring your victim by shouting, "He doesn’t bite!" right before the dog bit off the victim’s left pinkie.
If you guessed torturing the victim with Celine Dion before the attack, I sympathize with you, but justice isn’t that blind. No, folks, the reason the pit-bull owner got away with a $25 fine apparently is that he didn’t command his pit bull to attack. In other words, he didn’t mean it.
Now, if "I didn’t mean it" were an acceptable excuse in a court of law, we wouldn’t have the word "negligence" in our vocabulary. So maybe our DA’s office ought to call Funk and Wagnall right now.
Actually, we are being too unkind to the DA’s office. Here a few reasons why they couldn’t bother to prosecute this case:
1) They’re doing such a great job with the Allen Iverson case.
2) They’re still in shock that the French turned Ira Einhorn over to them.
3) Lynne Abraham was shopping for makeup.
4) How do you spell "negligence?"
5) It was only a left pinkie, for goodness sake.
Don’t despair. The victim is seeking the help of his state representative.
Note to city residents: Now, in addition to having to ask your rep to get your sewers cleaned and your Christmas tree and old appliances removed from your sidewalk, kindly contact him in the event you lose your left pinkie in a vicious attack.
Apparently the state rep already has the state Health Department and the SPCA involved in conducting their own investigations. Please don’t call me cynical, but with 30 eyewitnesses and the loss of a left pinkie and your own dog getting mauled, this case does not exactly require Columbo.
It just needs someone who can spell.