The death of a small Yorkshire terrier named Christy Monday, February 25th, at Mothers Beach in Marina del Rey after she was attacked by a pit bull that was allegedly off-leash, confirms why it is not only dangerous to have a pet off-leash, but is also a violation of the law in Los Angeles County areas as well as in many cities.

Christy’s owner, Edson Stroll, was walking Christy on-leash at Mothers Beach at approximately 10 a.m., when a pit bull attacked Christy.

Anita Winters, Stroll’s wife, told The Argonaut that her husband was devastated when the pit bull ran over to attack Christy, and that the pit bull was not on a leash.

Several employees of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors were working nearby, and attempted to stop the pit bull from attacking Christy, but did not succeed.

Winters, who had not accompanied Stroll, said she rushed down to the site but knew that Christy was dying.

Winters said that a young woman — who said she was not the owner of the dog — was walking the pit bull and she allegedly said that the dog had gotten away from her.

County Sheriff’s Lt. Rod Kusch, harbormaster and head of operations at the Marina Sheriff’s Station, said his deputies responded to a call at 10:07 a.m. from the Beaches and Harbors workers about the attack, and said he was told the dog was still alive and had been taken to a veterinarian.

Stroll and Winters had departed, trying to rush their dying dog to an animal hospital, and Kusch said the young woman walking the pit bull told deputies that she had the pit bull on a retractable leash and that he had just run over to the other dog while he was on that leash.

Kusch said his deputies are continuing the investigation, since they had received a report that the pit bull was not on a leash, and this investigative material will be turned over to Detective Sgt. Tony Gonzalez, who heads the Investigations Department at the Marina Sheriff’s Station.

Gonzalez will review the information gathered by deputies to determine if there is potential for a criminal violation and will then decide if another detective will follow up with the owner of the pit bull, or if the case will be turned over to the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control for investigation.

Kusch referred to Los Angeles County Code 10.32.010 that concerns “Dogs running at large prohibited.” The code states, “No person owning or having charge, care, custody or control of any dog shall cause, permit or allow the same to be or to run at large upon any highway, street, lane, alley, court or other public place, or upon any private property or premises other than those of the person owning or having charge, care, custody or control of such dog, in the unincorporated areas of the county of Los Angeles, unless such dog be restrained by a substantial chain or leash not exceeding six feet in length and is in charge, care custody or control of a competent person.”

OTHER ATTACKS — Another attack by a dog was reported by Ron Griffith of Westchester, who said he was walking on Cabora Road below Loyola Marymount University (LMU) when he saw a couple with two dogs off-leash.

Griffith said he “stopped and stood still by the side of the road to allow them to pass, when suddenly, without provocation or warning, one of their dogs jumped up and bit me in the chest. After I was attacked, the owners quickly put their dogs on leashes.”

“For those dog owners saying to themselves, ‘my dog would never do that’, please know that the owner of the attacking dog said the same thing to me after I suffered a puncture wound to my chest,” Griffith added.

On Friday, December 14th, a large, off-leash Rottweiler/ Doberman pinscher mix attacked one of two Jack Russell terriers on Westchester Parkway near Falmouth Avenue as the owner was walking her two Jack Russell terriers that were on leashes.

The owner of the terriers said the Rottweiler/Doberman mix charged at her female terrier and began biting it.

The owner of the Rottweiler mix had a second dog, another Rottweiler, on a leash, and told her the leashed dog was so vicious he hadn’t been able to approach to get his other dog away from her dog.

The terrier’s owner alleged that the other dog owner didn’t hurry over to call off his dog, but walked calmly and slowly toward them, but the off-leash dog ignored his owner and continued biting the terrier.

The owner of the Rottweiler and Rottweiler mix reportedly said he didn’t believe his dog caused any injury to the terrier and simply walked away.

The terrier was taken to the vet and treated for 18 “severe” puncture wounds around the neck and rear end, and the vet said the terrier was in shock, requiring subcutaneous hydration and antibiotics.

The terrier owner said she was terrified and tried to protect her dog, but was afraid of being bitten, and had slipped and fallen trying to protect her dog.

She said the Rottweiler owner told her wouldn’t pay medical bills because he didn’t think injuries had been caused, nor would he give his contact information, she said. But the Rottweiler owner did eventually pay the veterinarian bill after a home visit by Los Angeles Animal Services representatives, the terrier owner said.

She says she called the Los Angeles Police Department, but that police did not come to the scene, telling her that it was really a “he said, she said” issue and that unless a person had been bitten or a dog was killed, they could do nothing.

Wendell Bowers, director of field operations for Los Angeles Animal Services, told The Argonaut that City of Los Angeles laws require a six-foot leash (Los Angeles Municipal Code 5334) for a dog and that the dog be under the control of a competent person.

Bowers said the police should have contacted the City of Los Angeles Department of Animal Services and followed up and informed the terrier owner to go to the West Los Angeles Animal Care Center to file a complaint.

The owner of the terriers said she then called Los Angeles Animal Services and tried to get them to follow up, but they said they were short on staff because of a holiday.

After several attempts to get Animal Services to investigate, she said she eventually called the office of Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, and his deputy, Jim Kennedy, also sending Kennedy a letter regarding the dog attack.

Kennedy contacted Animal Services, which then contacted the owner of the Rottweilers.

In another case — reported in an e-mail received by the terrier owner — the writer said he had seen a man whose off-leash dog rushed across Westchester Parkway toward a woman with a baby stroller (without a dog) and the woman tried to protect the baby by covering the stroller with her body.

Ready to intervene, this man said the dog’s owner slowly made his way over, with his second dog on a leash, more engrossed in a cell phone conversation than in calling off his dog, and finally called the dog before it attacked.

FILING A COMPLAINT —Many people are afraid to file a complaint or they try to follow up and nothing comes of it, so people need to be really persistent, said the terrier owner.

Once a complaint is filed and followed up by authorities, the owner of the aggressive dog will be on record, and subsequent attacks can be tracked as they are reported, with that animal possibly being removed from the owner’s control.

Too many people have said, “Oh, that’s the first time my dog has done that,” or “My dog would never do that, so I don’t need to have him on a leash.”

Mothers or caretakers walking their dog with the leash attached to a baby’s stroller are also risking the safety of their child. If a dog attacks the dog whose leash is attached to the stroller, the baby’s life is at risk if the stroller is tipped over or dragged away by the dogs fighting one another, said one pet owner.

Animals follow their instincts, and dog owners who are foolish or egotistical enough to think they have complete control over them leave themselves open to legal action if their dog attacks and kills a person or another animal, said another dog owner who has experienced his dog being attacked.

As for a dog owner who has a vicious dog and knowingly allows his dog off the leash, one can only wonder at this shocking lack of responsible behavior, said a Playa del Rey resident who has witnessed these types of actions.

The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control serves all unincorporated areas of the county, and also contracts with 51 cities to cover an area of 3,200 square miles.

The City of Los Angeles Department of Animal Services is included in the county contract, and the city operates the Animal Care Centers with a general manager and board of commissioners responsible to the mayor and City Council. Information, (888) 452-7381

The unincorporated area of Marina del Rey is served by the Los Angeles County Carson Shelter at 216 W. Victoria St., in Gardena (Victoria Street is the same as 190th Street, according to the county’s Web site).

Westchester and Playa del Rey are served by the new West Los Angeles Animal Care Center at 11361 W. Pico Blvd. Zip codes serviced by this facility are online at www.laanimalservices .com/wla_carecenter.htm/