EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – One woman in Eau Claire is looking for a solution after her pet cat was attacked and killed last week. But she said what frightens her most is that it happened in her own backyard.
Sara Derksen lives on Stein Court on the south side of town. It was there in her backyard two dogs considered dangerous under city ordinance attacked her and her husband’s cat Purrl.
Derksen said she came home from work on Tuesday, July 23rd, greeted her husband and looked out the window when she saw her cat lying on the ground with two dogs next to her. She said the dogs were panting and frothing over Purrl.
“So we both came out here and Purrl was dead. One of the dogs approached our cat and started to feed on her so we chased them away,” she said. “We didn't know what to do. Our neighbors over here had already called 911 so the police and animal control were on their way.”
She said community officers with the Eau Claire Police Department took the two dogs away. Officers said the dogs were pit bull and terrier breeds that escaped from a nearby neighbor’s yard. Officers said several cases of attacks by the two dogs date back to last year, including the biting of a human.
Derksen said at one point, one of the dogs started growling and snarling at her while approaching her and her husband and Purrl’s body.
“Purrl was like a child to us. My husband and I married late in life and we didn't have any children together. We adopted Purrl six years ago,” said Derksen. “My husband is devastated. He and I can't even be in our backyard without even thinking about what happened.”
City councilwoman Kathy Mitchell said the Dangerous Dog Ordinance applies in this case.
“It’s an ordinance that gives the city through the police department authority to deal with dangerous dogs. Following state statute, there’d have to be two events. So the dog has to bite someone or something twice before the ordinance can take effect, “ said Mitchell.
Because the police department said the two dogs have been in at least two cases that led them to believe the dogs were dangerous, the owner has ten days since the last incident to either euthanize the dogs or move them out of the city limits. In the meantime, the dogs can be impounded at a vet’s office.
According to the city ordinance, a “dangerous dog” is considered a dog, without provoking it, that has attacked, bitten or injured a human or domestic animal or poses a threat of serious injury or death. That’s something Sara says she felt when the two dogs attacked her cat.
“Our neighbors and my family, we spend a lot of time in the yard. We have dogs and cats and other small pets. We have small children who play with their pets in the yard. I just want people to be safe,” Derksen said.
The Eau Claire Police Department wouldn’t say who the dogs belonged to but that the owners have until August 3rd to decide whether they want to euthanize the dogs, take them out of the city or face a $213 fine per day.
Mitchell said next Monday, she hopes to at least bring up the conversation about re-looking the Dangerous Dog Ordinance. The ordinance was made official in 2006. She said one way to strengthen the law is to have the owners of the dog pay for the impounding instead of the city.