weather icon Clear

Officials to reconsider dangerous dogs definition

The memories of several dog maulings that occurred in Pahrump within the last seven years are still fresh in the mind of Nye County Animal Control Officer Stephanie Zane.

Moved by the recent death of Kenneth Ford, who was viciously mauled by several pit bulls earlier this year, Zane proposed changing the definition of a dangerous dog in Nye County Title 6 at the last Nye County Animal Advisory Committee meeting. The change would involve eliminating an 18-month period within which a dog would have to bite a person on two occasions to be declared dangerous.

“My goal was and our whole department feels the same way, to remove that,” Zane said about an 18-month period. “There shouldn’t have to be two times. You know how your dog behaves and we should have zero tolerance.”

As it stands currently in Nye County Title 6, a dog is declared dangerous when on two separate occasions within 18 months, it behaves menacingly to a degree that would lead a reasonable person to defend himself or herself against substantial bodily harm when the dog is off the premises of its owner or keeper, or not confined in a cage, pen or vehicle.

Since Jan.1, 2014, Pahrump logged in 319 animal bites, 238 animal attacks and 2,371 animals running at large, according to the data provided by Nye County Animal Control.

In an eight-year period there were two human deaths by dogs. Most recently, a six-year-old boy was attacked by a pit bull when he was visiting his relatives in Pahrump.

In March 2015, Pahrump resident Kenneth Ford, 79, was mauled by a pack of pit bulls.

According to police records, three pit bulls jumped over a six-foot fence and started brutally attacking Ford. He died almost a month later at University Medical Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas.

“Had we had stricter law, (it) probably wouldn’t have happened,” Zane said about the attack.

While the owner of the dogs, Ricky Davidson, was jailed after the attack, Zane said Nye County Animal Control couldn’t do much because of the animal ordinance.

According to current regulations, a dog can be declared vicious only if without being provoked, it kills or inflicts substantial bodily harm upon a human being.

“We are probably the most lax county for dog ordinances. In other states, and I did months of research, if your dog snarls at somebody, they can deem it dangerous. You have to carry strict liability insurance. There’s tons of stuff, and us, 18 months, who cares, no big deal. You can’t deem it vicious until it kills somebody. (It) shouldn’t have to go that far,” she said.

Within the last four years, three dogs have been declared dangerous, according to Nye County Animal Control records. And although about 80 percent of the daily call volume is made up of calls about dogs running at large, the number of dog bites in Pahrump is “epidemic,” said another Nye County Animal Control officer, Susan Ryhal.

“Biting dogs, dogs running at large, why does it have to seriously hurt you or kill you to become vicious,” Ryhal said.

The proposed change has to get approved by Chief Deputy District Attorney for

Civil Division Marla Zlotek and the Nye County Board of Commissioners, but Zane said by getting this definition through, she hopes to preclude potential tragedies.

“And I’m sure the public, the majority of the public would be for it,” Zane said.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Tuatara comes to the finish line on highway 160

The motor of the now record-breaking SSC Tuatara wound down to its final stop along Highway 160, near Tecopa Road, on Oct. 10.

Helicopter crashes into Lake Spring Mountain

No serious injuries were reported following the crash of a helicopter in a lake at the Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club just after 10 a.m., on Friday morning, Oct. 16.

Nye County waives brothel licensing fees, rejects same request for pot industry

In the face of COVID-19, many businesses in Nye County have seen negative impacts and have been struggling to keep afloat as the pandemic continues to hold sway over government mandated restriction. In a lot of cases, those businesses have been able to turn to federal, state and local programs for assistance but not so for the brothel and marijuana industries, which are barred from utilizing a majority, if not all, of the available programs.

Impact statement for Lee Canyon plans now available

The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest on Oct. 9 published the Notice of Availability of the final Lee Canyon Master Development Plan Phase I Environmental Impact Statement for a 30-day review period.

Nursing home group warns of another COVID-19 spike

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately 5 million people each year, released a report today showing nursing homes in the U.S. could see a third spike of increasing new COVID-19 cases because of the community spread among the general population.

WGU enhances B.S. degree program in cloud computing

Western Governors University on Tuesday announced the launch of key updates to its Bachelor of Science cloud computing degree program built in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, Inc. The degree program is designed to prepare students with the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy and meet the demands of employers seeking cloud professionals.

Health guidelines revised for vocal performances

Nevada Health Response has issued a revised version of the “Nevada Guidance for Safe Gatherings” to clarify when vocal performers can remove face coverings.

Nevada gets high marks for computer education

Nevada’s strides in computer science education were recognized Oct. 14 in a report by Code.org, the Computer Science Teachers Association and the Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance.

Nevada begins rolling out Lost Wages Assistance

The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation announced in October the rollout of the Lost Wages Program funded by FEMA, which provided grants to participating states to offer additional temporary benefits to certain individuals receiving unemployment benefits.

Virtual festival takes aim at mental wellness, teen suicide

Hope Means Nevada, a community-based nonprofit focused on eliminating youth suicide in the state, announces Rising Hope, a free statewide virtual festival to raise awareness of how mental wellness saves lives and helps those struggling with mental illness find resources and community.