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Health board upholds animal control ruling
German shepherd classified dangerous
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A family's 1-year-old German shepherd has been deemed "dangerous" following a ruling by the Dawson County Board of Health last week.

During a special called meeting on Thursday morning, the board voted unanimously to uphold the classification made by animal control officers in late October.

State code regulates that a dog can be classified as dangerous if it kills a pet while off the owner's property.

Rene Santillan, who lives near the intersection of Holcomb Road and Hwy. 53 West in western Dawson County, appeared before the board hoping officials would reverse animal control's decision.

"We're very sorry this happened," Santillan said. "He's a good dog."

According to reports, the German shepherd got loose on Oct. 30, went through a gap in a fence onto the neighbor's property and bit their 8-week-old boxer puppy.

The puppy died from its injuries.

Owner Belenda Reidling saw the alleged attack on her puppy.

"I had just gotten home from work that day and I was going to let my dog out in the backyard ... when I turned around, I heard her screaming," she said. "The German shepherd had the puppy in his mouth. I yelled, and he dropped my puppy and ran off."

Santillan countered that his dog had chased the puppy from his property back into Reidling's yard, but Reidling disagreed.

"The puppy was 8-weeks-old and she was terrified of her own shadow, let alone anything else, so she wasn't going to run off far," she said. "And I know that she never has before."

Animal control investigated Reidling's complaint and notified Santillan that the German shepherd's actions warranted a "dangerous dog" designation.

Santillan filed paperwork to appeal the classification on Oct. 31.

The family is required to enclose an area for the dog and post signage declaring the canine dangerous, according to Dawson County Planning Director David McKee, whose office oversees animal control operations.

Santillan said the family has made arrangements to build a fence on their property.

"We bought fencing to fence in the whole property. We got fencing, posts, concrete. We don't want that to happen again," he said.

The Santillans could face fines and penalties if they fail to adhere to the provisions.