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Dog attack kills blind, deaf cat as owners watch


Published: August 27, 2010

AN ELDERLY cat was chased and killed Aug. 10 in his yard by two Siberian huskies who escaped from their leashes while they were being walked on Second Avenue.

The attack on 18-year-old Lucky was witnessed by the cat’s owners, Margaret Tobin and her 14-year-old daughter, who had complained to police in January after one of the dogs chased Lucky, according to animal control officer Cindi Mitchell.

After the latest attack, Mitchell issued a citation to the dogs’ owner, Salinas resident Marshall Stimson, and Mitchell said she might have 5-year-old Padma and 4-year-old Caspian declared “vicious,” which would require leashing and muzzling them in public.

Mitchell said Stimson told her he had been walking the huskies along Second Avenue between Camino Real and Casanova around 2:30 p.m. when one of the dogs slipped its collar and ran after something. As he went to retrieve the dog, the other husky also got loose and took off.

Tobin and her daughter, Lillian Young, who live on Casanova Street, told police officer Joe Boucher they were watching TV in their living room when they “heard the sound of multiple dogs being aggressive” outside, according to Mitchell.

From the kitchen window, Tobin saw two dogs attacking Lucky, who was deaf and blind but didn’t act like it. “He was a very independent cat,” Mitchell added. “He didn’t like to stay in.”

The girl told police a gray dog bit the cat’s head and neck, while a white dog held onto Lucky’s hind end. “The dogs were trying to pull the cat apart,” Mitchell said. “And the daughter immediately ran outside to try to save him.”

As she did, the white dog, Padma, let go and ran off, but Caspian held on until Young “punched the dog across the snout,” she said, at which point he released the cat and also ran away.

The teenager chased the dogs down the street to Second Avenue, where she found Stimson, whom she reportedly remembered from the earlier cat-chasing incident.

“She confronted Stimson, telling him his two dogs had just attacked her cat,” Mitchell said. “He said was very sorry.”

Young returned to the yard, finding her cat had died from the mauling, and dialed 911.

Stimson told Mitchell he had seen his dogs running back toward him, followed by the girl. He yelled at the huskies, but they kept running to the property he owns at Camino Real and Second. When the girl asked him to come look at her cat, he told her he needed to go secure the canines. He locked them in his truck, where Mitchell later saw them.

After interviewing Stimson, Mitchell went to Tobin’s home and spoke with the distraught cat owners.

“I asked for some further information, and then I returned to Stimson’s location and issued him a citation for his dog menacing another animal,” which is defined as causing any type of fear or harm, she said. “It’s about the highest level that I can give, versus just a dog being loose.” The citation carries fines of more than $100, including court costs, according to Mitchell.

She also warned him she would soon decide if his dogs would be labeled as vicious under an ordinance that requires owners of such dogs to muzzle and leash them in public.

“I’m still in the process of following up on the history of other occurrences,” she said Wednesday. “I want to make sure I have all of it before I decide.” Mitchell said she is looking into a possible incident in Toro Park reported to the Monterey County parks department.

“Stimson is cooperative and feels bad, but of course, the owners of the cat were there and saw everything,” she said. “We discussed ways this could have been avoided. It’s very disheartening that this whole thing happened. You don’t want anything like that to happen to your animal. He had no control over his dogs.”