A 10-year-old girl Crawford girl was attacked by a dog the afternoon of Feb. 16, while riding her bicycle.
Sammi Beck was bitten in the leg while riding down an alleyway while on her way to her Nana's house, said her mom, Shelley Bergem-Beck. She turned down the alley, the dog chased her and grabbed hold of her leg, resulting in puncture wounds. Bergem-Beck said she contacted the Delta County Sheriff's Office and was advised to take Sammi to the emergency room.
No stitches were required.
The sheriff has filed charges against Crawford resident Michael Ince. He was issued a summons for violating a state statute for unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog and for violation of a county ordinance forbidding the allowing of dogs to run at large, according to Undersheriff Mark Taylor. Taylor said Ince claims that his dog is current on rabies vaccinations, although he had not presented proof as of Feb. 18. He is scheduled to appear in Delta County Court on March 16.
This is not the first time the dog has bitten someone, said Taylor. In 2015 Ince was issued a warning after the same dog bit another girl in Crawford.
At last Wednesday's Crawford town council workshop, trustees expressed concern about the incident and the ongoing problem of people letting their dogs run loose. They all had personal stories of stray dog incidents.
Public works director Bruce Bair said his wife was recently bitten on the calf while on a run near town and required medical treatment. He said dogs running at large is an ongoing problem that is reflected in town minutes dating back "since the town has been in existence." Crawford's animal ordinance states that it is unlawful to possess a domesticated animal that causes "annoyance or disturbance" to citizens.
Bair said that in his wife's case, the sheriff's office suggested carrying pepper spray. Mayor pro tem Mike Tiedeman said he was attacked near the town shop once and fortunately had his lunch box in his hand.
Trustees said it's a symptom of a larger problem. Crawford doesn't have a police department, municipal court or animal control officer and contracts law enforcement services with the Delta County Sheriff's Office. The Town of Crawford occasionally sends out reminders with monthly bills to keep dogs under control, and will send out another one in the next billing cycle, said mayor Susie Steckel. "They love their dogs," but then don't bother to keep them contained, said Steckel.
Bergem-Beck said this isn't the first time Sammi has been bitten. Last year she was walking home from North Fork Montessori School when she was chased by "two big black dogs." One of the dogs bit her in the leg. While the dog left teeth marks, the skin wasn't broken, and the family decided not to report the attack.
Even if Crawford had more strict laws, with no court system there is no way to enforce them. "Until we can get someone to enforce our ordinances, there's not a whole lot we can do," said trustee Wanda Gofforth.
Dog owners living in unincorporated areas of the county can license their dogs at the sheriff's office or the Delta County North Fork Annex in Hotchkiss for a $10 fee for a neutered dog, and $25 for a non-neutered dog. Applicants must provide evidence that the dog has been vaccinated against rabies. Renewals are due at the time the dog is due to be revaccinated.
County residents wishing to report problems with a vicious dog, dogs at large, or chronic nuisance dogs can contact the sheriff's office at 874-2015.