LIMA — The city Safety Services Committee met with the Allen County Dog Warden, Lima police and other concerned citizens to address a dog mauling at the Lima Rotary Riverwalk.
The committee felt compelled to meet following the April 15 incident, where 30-year-old Dominique Badea suffered injuries to both legs, both arms and his face after two loose Cane Corso dogs attacked him near the YMCA. A Dog Warden deputy fatally shot one of the dogs at the scene; the other dog was quarantined at the dog pound.
At the meeting, proposals included having Lima Police patrol the Riverwalk area on bicycle, increasing citation fines and prohibiting dogs at the Riverwalk altogether.
“We’re going to talk about it and research it a bit more, and then come with a decision,” said Sixth Ward Councilman Derry Glenn. “We’re going to come together again and see what we can do.” Down the road, he said, commissioners may need to revise dog safety laws across Allen County.
For Glenn, the matter was personal.
“Those same two dogs were over by my home a couple months ago, and I appreciated when Julie (Shellhammer) the dog warden came out that time,” he said.
The dog owner then moved the dogs to another home at 639 S. Elizabeth St. A Lima Police detective determined both dogs escaped from a fence at the home that day and proceeded towards the YMCA. Before the April 15 incident, neighbors on Elizabeth Street had concerns, Glenn said, but they did not report anything to police because they feared retaliation.
Fifth Ward Councilman Teresa Adams went over suggestions made by others in a previous meeting. Someone suggested a troublesome dog should be confiscated from an owner after multiple citations.
However, Allen County Dog Warden Julie Shellhammer said dogs cannot be taken from their owners unless lacking a proper license; left without food, water and shelter; or alone off the owner’s property.
“Dogs are personal property, so that would be something the council would have to address,” Shellhammer said. “Ohio Revised Code does say dogs are personal property.”
She added 54 percent of dog cases are within Lima city limits; the dog warden deals with dog issues throughout Allen County.
A detective’s report on the mauling was given Friday to Shellhammer and the city prosecutor’s office for review. The dogs' owner would at most face a misdemeanor charge through the city prosecutor, even if Badea had suffered fatal injuries.
Lima police Detective Tim Clark and Shellhammer both said they did not want to identify an owner until they were sure they knew who it was. Clark said Friday a dog owner was identified in the investigation but did not live at 639 S. Elizabeth St.