Criminal charges filed in Nevada City dog attack | TheUnion.com

Criminal charges filed in Nevada City dog attack

The owner of two pit bull mixes that attacked and killed a smaller dog in February now is facing criminal charges.

Nevada County District Attorney Cliff Newell confirmed a complaint has been filed against Brittany Sanchez.

Sanchez is facing one misdemeanor count of failure to procure a dog license, as well as infractions for owning a dangerous or vicious dog, and letting an animal run at large.

She is set for arraignment on April 9 in Nevada County Superior Court.

A plea agreement offer already is on the table, according to court records. Sanchez could plead no contest to the misdemeanor, in return for two years summary court probation, restitution and a designation of the dog as potentially dangerous.

It is not clear if that designation in a criminal case would differ from the "potentially dangerous" ruling already handed down in the civil proceeding filed by Nevada County Animal Control.

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In that hearing on March 21, a judge ruled that two of Sanchez's dogs — Darla and Blueberry Pie — were responsible for the Feb. 17 attack that killed Jeannie Wood's Chihuahua mix, Scooter.

Wood testified she had been walking Scooter when the two pit bull mixes charged her and the dog, which sustained a hernia, multiple puncture wounds on his back and a leg out of its socket. Wood also was injured, suffering puncture wounds on her hands and a broken finger.

Other residents of the area testified to the dogs' pattern of aggressive behavior.

The ruling handed down on March 21 means the dogs are subject to a stringent set of safety measures for a period of three years that include spaying and either being indoors or in a securely fenced yard at all times. If they are off their owner's property, they must be restrained by a substantial leash and muzzled, and must wear an orange collar.

Sanchez was not present at the hearing and was to be mailed a notice. She has 35 days to come into compliance, according to Nevada County Animal Control Officer Stefanie Geckler.

But according to Sheriff's Lt. Sam Brown, Sanchez appears to have moved from her prior address on Red Dog Road and Animal Control officers were working to determine her new location.

If she remained in Nevada County, her new location will have to be approved for the dogs, Brown said. If she has moved out of the county, local authorities would refer the case to the appropriate agency.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.