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Dog survives stint on death row

 

Paul Printz with his dog Caylee, who survived a year of incarceration, several months of which was on death row.

By Michael Howell

The owner of a pit bull that was held in solitary confinement for about a year and slated for execution is glad to have his pet back, but he’s still fuming over the ordeal.

According to Paul Printz, the pit bull’s owner, his trained and trusted dog was pepper sprayed and arrested by a law officer in October of 2010 while standing her ground in her own yard. Printz was not at home at the time but he said a neighbor witnessed the dog’s arrest.

Printz believes that a hostile neighbor let his dog out of her fenced yard two days in a row. He said the first day a law officer responded to a complaint and placed the dog back in the fenced yard without leaving a message so Printz had no idea what had occurred. The following day the dog was out again when the officer stopped by to check. According to Printz, a neighbor saw the officer pull into the driveway at Printz’s Hamilton residence. The dog began growling and barking as the officer exited his vehicle. The officer then pepper sprayed the animal, captured her and took her to the animal shelter.

As Printz describes it, the dog was placed in solitary confinement, no bail was set, and no visits or observations were allowed. Printz claims that he went to the shelter every day anyway to deliver one of his freshly worn socks, some bones, some dog food and a treat.

The dog was initially impounded in October of 2010 and Printz was charged with allowing a dog to run at large and possessing a vicious dog. Printz had originally pleaded not guilty to both charges, but in May of 2011 when it went to Justice Court he pleaded guilty to having a dog at large but not to the vicious dog charge. As part of the sentence, Justice Jim Bailey ordered the dog to be destroyed. Printz appealed the conviction to District Court and in October of 2011 won the dog’s release.

District Judge James Haynes shot down the state’s reasoning that it could destroy the dog because it was allowed by ordinance to do so if a dog was convicted of running at large. Haynes found nothing in the ordinance supporting such a claim. The state also argued that it could destroy the dog simply as a condition of a criminal sentence. But Haynes ruled the state’s authority does not go that far. He struck down the death sentence and ordered the dog released.

But the ordeal was not quite over, according to Printz. When he went to pick up the dog he was ordered to pay a $15 per day fee for the animal’s keep while in jail. That came to a total of about $5,300. Although it was whittled down to $3,300 in a settlement agreement, the price still sticks in Printz’s craw.

Printz says he does not blame the Sheriff’s officer who arrested the dog.

“Who can blame them? They are young, following orders and just doing their job. But without proper training,” said Printz. He does suspect the Justice of the Peace was playing politics with him, however.

Printz obviously loves his dog and plans on keeping her with him all the time now, even taking her to work with him, to ensure she won’t face any more at large charges if someone should open the yard gate while he is gone.

“I’m aware that she did a great job under brutal conditions to obey her last command to ‘Stay!’ She is my heroine!” he said.

“I’m still contemplating how to address what I see as a serious injustice and I plan to do something to change the status quo. I’m not sure what,” he said. “I’ve witnessed much better justice, way faster, and way cheaper in the country of Iran where I spent seven years in the 70’s. In comparison, I’m flabbergasted!”

4 Responses to Dog survives stint on death row
  1. Paul Printz
    November 19, 2011 | 8:47 pm

    Certainly, the animal control board is on my agenda of corrections. Clearly, everyone involved in this case were ‘out to lunch’. Publicly, I’m pretending to be an alert citizen that assumes errors have been made. Privately, I believe that corruption and sloth abound as the few in power are ‘pharming’ the unsuspecting masses. How far does it go? Certainly this is not government “Of, By, and For citizens in their daily life to pursue life liberty and happiness. Ravalli County Justice seems to be purely predatory and parasitic.

  2. Clark Lee
    November 17, 2011 | 4:53 pm

    Sure would like to hear more about the where and why of this story. If this is a Ravalli Co. affair then it overlaps the entire ACO job time. And where was the Animal Control Board in all of this? Wasn’t part of their job to be mediators? The animal control ordinance is certainly in limbo. How can they justify the dog tax without providing the service it is supposed to pay for?
    It is by state mandate that the local sheriffs department is responsible for animal control “as they see fit”. By their own admission, Ravalli Co. sheriffs department is neither able or willing to fulfill this responsibility without a fully funded ACO, trained and deputized.

  3. Paul Printz
    November 16, 2011 | 3:43 am

    Readers, please send me an email if you have stories about similar treatment by the local system for you and your precious animals. I’m moving against this stupid ordinance and the law’s players and I can use a laundry list of complaints.
    If I don’t hear about others treated in such a fashion, I can, therefore, understand that it was a personal, political attack by this Justice of the Peace.
    Sheriff’s officers have enough on their plate without adding dog catcher to the list without being trained. The law, once in the hands of Jim Bailey, will be badly handled. A very poor Justice… Unprofessional, inattentive, arrogant, and biased.

    The dog ordinance, without genuine county facilities and trained personnel is without merit and should be removed from the sheriff’s duties and scrapped. It’s not enforceable as is; and dangerous to everyone.

    prprintz@gmail.com

  4. Paul Printz
    November 16, 2011 | 3:38 am

    Readers, please send me an email if you have stories about similar treatment by the local system for you and your precious animals. I’m moving against this stupid ordinance and the law’s players and I can use a laundry list of complaints.
    If I don’t hear about others treated in such a fashion, I can, therefore, understand that it was a personal, political attack by this Justice of the Peace.
    Sheriff’s officers have enough on their plate without adding dog catcher to the list without being trained. The law, once in the hands of Jim Bailey, will be badly handled. A very poor Justice… Unprofessional, inattentive, arrogant, and biased.

    The dog ordinance, without genuine county facilities and trained personnel is without merit and should be removed from the sheriff’s duties and scrapped. It’s not enforceable as is; and dangerous to everyone.

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