AKRON, Ohio - Akron officials announced on Friday that animal control officers will respond to all vicious dog attacks, or if a vicious dog appears to be roaming at large in a neighborhood.
The policy change is the result of mounting criticism the city faced after three people were attacked by a pit bull, but the dog warden never responded to the scene at Stanton and Dietz Avenues on Sept. 19.
A 6-year-old boy suffered serious bite injuries to his head and legs.
The owner of the pit bull, Andre Brown, collared the dog and brought it inside his home, but not before the animal also attacked the owner's girlfriend and his 14-year-old son.
"I don't like the bad publicity that would affect the Department of Neighborhood Assistance. We cannot have a 6-year-old, and a 14-year-old, and a 35-year-old woman attacked and us not respond, so we will be responding from this point on," said John Valle, the director of the department.
Dispatch tapes revealed that police officers were frustrated that animal control would not come out to the scene.
Valle said animal control did not respond to the neighborhood because the dog was brought under control in the owner's home, and it was no longer a threat to others. That explanation didn't sit well with neighbors who feared the dog could be let out and attack someone else.
Valle said while the old policy was followed, he felt there was "a lapse in judgment" and a new procedure needed to be implemented.
He said, from this point forward, the two animal control officers who work for the city will be on call and respond to vicious dog bite reports, or if police officers raise concerns about a wandering dog that looks vicious.
Valle said the response will include after hours and weekends.
Brown appeared in Akron Municipal Court earlier this week and pleaded not guilty in connection to his dog's attack.
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