Based on information obtained, the owners were identified and two dogs seized according to Loyalton Municipal Code. The owners requested a hearing before the Board of Supervisors and Sierra County Counsel was contacted to get the process started.
According to Sgt. Mike Fisher with the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office, there was a 1993 City of Loyalton and County Health Officer animals services contract which had been cancelled.
More research led to a 2009 MOU between the City of Loyalton and Sierra County Sheriff’s’ Office for general law enforcement including traffic but "to the extent that the Sheriff's Office provides animal control services within the unincorporated area of the County this MOU shall not include the Sheriff's Office providing those services with the City. If animal control services are to be provided by the Sheriff’s Office, those services shall be addressed in a separate agreement between the county and the City." No such MOU has been found, according to Fisher.
With no legal authority to hold the dogs, they were released to the owner on Friday. Fisher stated he is working with the County Health Officer, Elizabeth Morgan to see if they can voluntarily comply with conditions set forth for vicious dogs.
On Saturday the dogs reported as having attacked a cat and “running around the hospital parking lot.” They were caught by the owner who was issued a citation for dogs at large. In addition, for the sheep attacks, the owners have a criminal complaint filed, along with citations for dogs at large, dogs trespassing and harassing livestock and unlicensed dogs in town.
In talking to Dan Olsen, Support Services Manager of Truckee Animal Services, where the two dogs had
been housed following the October 1st attack, it’s the responsibility of the owners to keep the dogs strictly contained. He stated a lot of times, the herd instinct kicks in and the dogs don’t attack to kill. They could be safe in a different environment. He called the dogs “good citizens” in Truckee’s animal services environment but were segregated in each kennel. “They were fine with us,” he stated but repeated it comes down to the responsibility level of the owners.
During the Sierra County Board of Supervisors’ meeting held in Loyalton on Tuesday, FFA Advisor, Cali Griffin and several FFA students described the horrific attack and lost revenue due to the loss of the five breeding ewes and how this will effect them for several years. They talked about the destroyed fences, which will have to be rebuilt and, since finding out the dogs were returned, have had to put the injured sheep in a trailer at night. Cali stated it’s been very traumatic for the students who are giving repeated vaccinations, attending to the injured, cleaning blood and maggots off the grounds and facilities, and hauling off the dead. Supervisor Lee Adams said he’s known of this type of incident happening every few years and encouraged them to secure the site. He also stated that state law allows dogs to be shot on site even if they are worrying livestock.
Cali and FFA member, Joseph Richards attended the City Council meeting Tuesday night, stating, “Every day is tragic,” and of “a lot of loss.” Joseph described the scene. Questions from the audience included having the dogs be put down and there was concern over children walking to school. Sgt. Fisher called it a “serious issue” and that everywhere in Loyalton is at large. He explained the 2009 MOU prevents law enforcement from seizing and housing the dogs.
Mayor Mark Marin stated he’d call City Counsel the next day to contact County Council and create an MOU.