Trouble on Lambert Creek
Dog attacks and Losing horses
Part 5 in the About me series
2012.Nov.06 A vicious dog that has been troubling several residents in the neighborhood for at least 2 years, (seen injuring a calf, accused of killing chickens and rabbits) has attacked us today, caught on video camera clearly.|
Three viewing options:
1. 12 second clip shrunk to smaller size and reencoded to save space:
12 seconds MPEG4 640x360 3.2Mb
2. Original HD size and format when Dog makes 2nd contact: 3 seconds H264 MOV 1280x720 3.1Mb
3. Entire 2 minutes of dog attack, shrunk to smaller size and aggressively reencoded to save space:
127 seconds MPEG4 640x360 19.5Mb
The same dog, JD, jumped over the fence again, and came running at us, jumped toward Rowan's chest and front left leg, tearing a 4 1/2" gash plus 3 other smaller cuts.
First clip: The first seconds of the actual attack.
10 seconds MPEG4 640x360 4.7Mb
See how little time there was to react, or re-evaluate the dog's intentions as he made a bee-line toward us.
No blood is seen on the video, (until I dismount in a later video clip.) This may be distressing to watch for some people, but this is what happened, and the point is to show what happened IS WRONG!
At the first contact, Rowan rears and we turn in a circle. JD circles us and returns to the same tatics seen last November, leaping and nipping at Rowan's nose. This lasted for 2 minutes while the owner, hereafter named "Ron", whistled and attempted to call off his dog. JD was fixated on us, and ignored Ron completely. Finally Ron attempted to catch JD, and JD evaded him. Then JD jumped back over the fence, [enlarge 615Kb GIF video clip] in and then 11 seconds later jumped back out again to continue the attack. Finally JD is caught, and I ride away.
Full length video of the dog attack is now available, resized and reencoded with Voices REMOVED: 198 seconds MPEG4 640x360 31.1Mb
Second clip: After 40 seconds I am far enough away to dismount, and discover the fresh bleeding wound.
11 seconds MPEG4 640x360 4.1Mb
I am more angry than horrified, but I stay calm.
We walk home and I call the sheriff office.
Now that the dog has finally drawn blood, and I have video evidence to prove it, the sheriff's officers finally take action, and serves dangerous dog papers.
When the responding officer drove up to Ron's at 17:58, just two hours after the attack, I could hear on the scanner when he told dispatch "The dog in question, just jumped the fence and came running at me ... Hopped the fence like it wasn't even there."
The prosecutor finally takes action, and who wouldn't with such good evidence?, and the Dangerous Dog Hearing is held on Apr.03 in District court.
After the prosecutor asks the dog's owner if Rowan was bitten by his dog, the owner denies the accusation. His statement included several incredible claims, including the dog merely scratched Rowan with his paws claws, and the fence was 6 ft. tall, and is now raised to 7 ft. tall after the attack, and that he "put the dog on the chain" after the attack.
I then testify what happened, and the prosecutor plays my video for the judge to see. After seeing my video, the judge quickly concludes in my favor. Meaning the dog must be kept confined and be licensed. (This was a hearing for the State, not for the victim, and did not include any damages.)
Meanwhile back on the evening of the attack, the wound required 18 staples to close, and Rowan was very lame for several days. This next video shows her dragging her front left leg, and moving as little as possible.
18 seconds MPEG4 640x360 4.0Mb
When she finally healed enough to hit the trails again, I found Rowan's attitute toward dogs was no longer nonchalant and indifferent. Amongst the several dogs that bark at us, and run at us on the county road, I videoed yet another aggressive dog that has not crossed that line that JD did, but does come running at us on the county road, again. Rowan pins her ears and side steps.
10 seconds MPEG4 640x360 2.7Mb
On the way back past this driveway 2 hours later, the dogs are not loose, but Rowan is still hesitant to pass by. She is scared of the dogs, enough to poop when walking by the driveway, maybe she (slight humor) speaks dog and is marking her territory!?!
This makes it very difficult, for both Rowan and myself, we have to attempt to ignore the dog and let it show it's colors first. Only if and only when it makes contact can we take any action, and by then it is too late.
Some have suggested carrying a gun or other weapon. At what point would I take that kind of action? There are over a dozen dogs up and down the road that run out and bark at us. One was described as her owner as "just wanting to kiss the horse". Yeah, with teeth showing. He's the one who suggested I shoot the dog(s). That recommendation came back to bite him, (if he thought about it enough to realize it.)
Guns are for shooting and killing. That is not the kind of person I want to be. But dogs that cross the line should forfeit their lives, not be given a second chance.
Back to JD and Ron, after the Apr.03 hearing,
The dog owner's response? He took me to court to seek a restraining order to keep me from riding past his place on the legal and pre-existing access road. Because all the local attorneys had been "burned", or contacted by the petitioner, there was nobody locally that was willing to help me. There's only a few lawyers in this town anyways. Further, I could not afford council from farther away to represent myself in court, but the advice I did seek said my documentation and arguments I typed up, were very detailed and good enough I could probably go it alone, it looked like a "can't lose" case. But because of my mental disability, and electrical sensitivity, I became lost in the brain fog and mental shutdown of the migraine headache by the afternoon, and so I completely missed several avenues to respond on, and several questions that If I could remember the answers right away, (and not 5 days later as was the case in one disasterous example), would've been key to making my case. I lost.
I was not able to react in a timely manner to the outrageous claims by Ron and his attorney. They argued:
• the easements that include riding trails [JPG], are not valid, because the developer did not finish the survey of the roads 43 years ago. This tactic ignored the fact their own argument was against the very same easement that grants Ron access to his own property.
• Somehow the roads are made for motor vehicle traffic only. Huh? In hindsight, this should get all horsemen up in arms. Read the TRANSCRIPT of the hearings, with Mr. Von Sauer's outragous claim here, also available as audio [23 seconds 178Kb MP3].
• and the riding trails don't exist because there were never any "bridle trails" language or surveys done specifically for horses. Did they call them "bridle trails" in 1970? Of course not. The easement says "riding trails."
• and it was "RECKLESS" for me to ride a horse down the middle of the Lane, especially in the winter. Huh? He actually yelled that word several times in court. And I had better traction on 4 hoof drive than anybody on foot, and even some vehicles. Really, on a one lane dirt road, 10 feet wide, where do You drive your vehicle? eh? In the middle of the road! Can't move off the road fast enough?? Just play chicken. Works up until until I'm driving a Mack truck, which now seems like the only way to knock this point into his head.
• and "Why should he yield to your horse?" Followed by "Where's the law saying no running over horses?" Thereby enforcing the idea his client has the right to play chicken on the roads.
• and because I told the court I have been recording the details of where I ride (including hours and miles) since 2003, then I must've been stalking Ron that long as well with the camera!?! Can't Mr. von Sauer tell the difference between paper records and camera videos? If I was thinking clearly I could've rebutted that one too! This was obviously a tactic to discredit me.
I learned it is useless to go it alone, as I'm not trained to play the "games" and speak the lawyer language. Also because I have Aspargers Syndrome (part of the autistic spectrum), my obsession with details and meticulous record keeping only got me into trouble, as I lack the social genes to relate, or integrate my abilities with others.
In the end, it was because I was carrying a helmet camera that turned the case into a privacy issue for the judge to decide upon. None of the easement issues could be decided in District Court anyways. That is a matter for Superior Court.
The reason I started carying a camera, was because of traffic threatening me.
I was attempting to PROTECT MYSELF!
Watching this video is Recommended.
21 seconds MPEG4 640x480 6.5Mb
Including Ron, who did repeatedly speed up over the course of two years before I finally got this video in 2009, and even crossed the center line of the county road on 2007.Sep.01, on a corner, to come within a couple feet of me on his wrong side of the road.
How can the prosecutor say in 2010 he couldn't press charges because of lack of evidence, and then when I get evidence I get knocked down for having a camera that records voices? Mute the camera? How can I record myself reading their license plate, or hear their engine rev up faster, or hear the dog bark and attack, or hear fireworks exploding nearby, or hear gunshots? I am intensely frustrated by the lack of justice in this county.
As you can see in this video, I moved over to the first wide spot as soon as possible, which fortunately this time was close at hand. But still very narrow. Only one foot separated me from his truck mirror. This video should be considered as evidence, as it did not record any conversations. It did record his engine speeding up, as he passed by me at about 25 MPH.
If I go back and re-examine the dog bite incident, what conversation did I record?? At the Apr.03 hearing, when I testified I heard Ron yell "stay still" and I thought it was directed at me, Ron shook his head no. So it was directed at JD. That means at no time did Ron speak To Me. Also, at no time did I say anything to Ron. If he had looked at me, he would've seen me glaring. But he did not. So the only "conversation" I did record was between Ron and his dog, or between his dog and my horse and I. Is that what Washington State's wire-tapping privacy law is intended to prevent, recording that?? When on a public access road?
It seems the only conversation I recorded audio of, was in 2010 when Ron aimed some kind of weapon at me and threatened: "I'm going to break your legs," "One of these time I'll get you," "You might get buried around here somewhere," and "I hope you die mother*f*er." So tell me again what conversation I illegally recorded? Wouldn't you start carrying a camera when threatened by a man like that?
Especially when law enforcement is underfunded and unable to do anything.
Why have I heard in the news that making death threats is a bad thing? Seems to be ho hum, no big deal here. Sorry, can't prove it.
Fine. I admit I had a camera and started turning it on when passing by places that have threatened me. By that the court judges I was targeting Ron. So I'll take my lumps and abide by this decision. But the big question remains, what DO I do about the threatening behavior of others if I can't use a camera to get evidence?
I guess I'll have to cut off the microphone and take notes with pen and paper.
This summer after her physical wound healed up nicely, I have resumed taking Rowan to corners of my map that she has not seen.
[monthly animation: 10 years in 39 seconds with elevation and snow cover MPEG4 1024x768 5.9Mb AVI]
or [animation without elevation and snow cover: MPEG4 1024x768 5.0Mb AVI]
And this is the map that my 82 pages of detailed logs and barn records made possible because I did record our hours, and miles, and paths taken, by each horse, making it possible to reconstruct my travels over the years here.
Even when over 5 miles away from home, she stuck her nose out in new directions, even wanting to keep going away from home. Things were looking up. Rowan broke Abby's record for unique (map or flat) miles traveled.
But now this month, Rowan's hip joint has been getting worse, and is now visibly painful.
I have finally come to know she is very stoic, and hides things like pain very well.
Now instead of wanting to ride away from home, she now refuses to go up Lambert Creek Rd. Perhaps it is also the relentless scares by reckless and speeding drivers that seem to be trying to see how close they can get without hitting me, or maybe it is just that the pain is sufficient that she no longer feels like riding out very far.
Rowan is diagnosed with an auto-immune condition that is attacking her joints. All her lower leg joints, and her neck, are popping when moving. I am told it is very possible and likely this auto-immune response was triggered by the dog bite injury in March. . . But can anybody prove that?
And since she was given antibiotics at the time of treatment, stitching up the wound, we did all that was reasonable possible to prevent an immune system breakdown. At least according to the medical establishment. There are alternative viewpoints that anti-biotics kill off the good flora necessary for good health. It was a no-win situation.
Also since I have been feeding her special joint supplements for the last year, because obviously her hip problem was pre-existing, I have already been doing all I could do to help or at least offset the old hip injury, so there is no more that can be done, and no chance she will recover. Keeping her alive while in this level of pain would not have been humane.
With my barn empty for the first time in 10 years, I wonder what path I should take from here.
From when the trouble started in 2006, when I started reporting to law enforcement, the threatening and reckless driving of Ron, and several others on the county road, Sheriff officers have told me this is a lawless area, so my complaints are not without merit.
In 2009 I started using cameras to attempt to record the events and close calls, and despite the difficulties in operation, and small batteries of the time, there were enough encounters to get some useful video to submit to law enforcement... over several DVD's.
But as the incidents continue to accumulate, of drivers that harass and threaten me, and close encounters on the public roads, I feel like I am fighting against a brick wall, or tilting at windmills, for it now seems a hopeless battle that is only destroying me, as it has my horses.
Yet another dog was run over this week, and the frequent vehicles going 45-50 continues with little let up. Complaints get filed as info. Nobody gets caught. No deterrent is imposed by the law to change their bad behavior.
So now Rowan becomes the 3rd horse I have lost to law breakers on Lambert Creek.
In 2007 while riding Roany to the mailbox, the neighbor's teenage (or young adult) kid shot a bottle rocket at us, exploding close by. Two months later Roany was injured by more illegal fireworks set off by the same kid next door. Permanently lamed. [JPG] The parent denied anything happened, and certainly couldn't be bothered to take responsibility.
On 2011.Oct.31 Abby was tramautized by a speeding vehicle that stopped just one foot from her, with her nose over his hood, skidding from 35 mph down a one lane road around a blind corner, and the subsequent driver getting out to yell at us for 5 minutes "Get off my property." The response of law enforcement? To tell me to not go back up that road or I would be arrested. Since I was also too stunned to even start the helmet camera, I had no proof at all.
I sought and got a letter from a real estate attorney that shows I have a property right to ride on that road. Copies were sent to the sheriff's office. But the mental damage to Abby was profound, and over the next spring, 2012, she became increasingly fearful of the fast traffic on the county road, and began acting up, usually after the offending vehicle went past, and thus in front of other innocent drivers. A pair of speeding 4-wheelers scared her so that I became unbalanced and she ran off, I fell and hyper-extended my elbow. The responding officer, even with the pictures from my camera, was not able to find the suspects, who kept going. They were not from Lambert Creek, I did not recognize them or their quads.
Since this environment was not a good match for Abby, I sold her. I found Abby a more suitable, new home before either of us were injured again.
In 2010, and 2012, and now in 2013 the dog JD attacked me, this year drawing blood and laming Rowan. Law enforcement finally did the right thing, and the dog is declared dangerous and must be kept confined. (Albeit a few months late, and this is made worse by the case number for the November indicent being Newer than the March incident.) The November attack was not even taken seriously and worked on until after the bloody March attack.
I feel a void in my heart, as the stress of the last two years has caused my health to diminish, and my horses have been lost. I wish I had never moved to Lambert Creek. The losses seem to outweigh the accomplishments. I have now lost Rowan as well, and I've said I refuse to replace her as long as I live here. However that direction is also known as giving up, which can't be the right answer to solve this mess.
The alternative is to "Keep trying, don't give up." Be more persistant than the other guy. That is after all one of the three "P's" of Parelli's training for horses. But that option is increasingly stressful, and not why I moved here. How close to the National Forest do I have to live, to get around these problems? I thought one mile was close enough, 12 years ago.
Also to keep riding places it is legal to do so, despite people threatening me illegally, is not necessarily the loving thing to do. Jesus said to treat enemies with kindness, to defuse the situation. But here on Lambert Creek, I don't see any way to defuse and yield without completely moving.
Don't agree with me? Then tell me how You would handle it.
Maybe the situation will change, and in time I will try again in 2014 [click for next page, part 6]...
So I can't ride west because so and so said not to ride through here. I can't ride north because of a restraining order. I can't ride way east because of so and so insisting I can't ride through there. I can't ride south because the sheriff deputies said they would arrest me if so and so complained again. Yes I have an attorney's letter saying I can ride all those places. Just like the public road. Doesn't make it safe or cheap. I can see an expensive court case in my future if I want to push it. And here is another problem:
The DNR logged section 36 a couple years ago. Now the trails are littered with blocking trees, debris, and branches, and lots and lots of weeds. Shown here is mullen. Not a totally imposing wall if you don't mind spreading the seeds. The cattle that graze the rangeland spread them anyways. But also now blocking access to the shortest path to the national forest to the southeast, is a huge field of bull thistles. (sorry didn't take a picture, was too disgusted to grab the camera) 1,020 feet of trail to attempt to re-open yearly. Spiny thorny regrowth each time, worse than yearly! Yeah, right. Whose idea was this? And they made money, at our expense? Stewards of the land, indeed!
Part 6 About me, and Part 3 of the battle