Pit bull owner a no-show for arraignment on criminal charges | TheUnion.com

Pit bull owner a no-show for arraignment on criminal charges

Brittany Sanchez, the owner of two pit bull mixes that were ruled as "potentially dangerous" in a civil hearing after they attacked and killed a much smaller dog, failed to appear for her arraignment on criminal charges Monday.

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, and was set to appear in Nevada County Superior Court.

No decision has been made on Sanchez's failure to appear. As was the case for an earlier civil proceeding, Nevada County's judges have recused themselves due to a potential conflict of interest — the victim, Jeannie Wood, works in the courthouse. No judge has been assigned to the case yet, court staff said.

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

Wood testified she had been walking Scooter when the two pit bull mixes charged her and the dog. Other residents of the area testified to the dogs' pattern of aggressive behavior.

Sanchez did not show up for that hearing, either, and was to be mailed a notice. She has 35 days — until April 25 — to come into compliance, according to Nevada County Animal Control Officer Stefanie Geckler.

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The ruling handed down in March means the dogs must be spayed and must either be 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 has moved from her prior address on Red Dog Road and has no mail forwarding address, said Nevada County Sheriff's Lt. Sam Brown, who oversees Animal Control.

"Those dogs are no longer in that neighborhood, but where did they go? That's the big question," he said.

Animal Control will continue to try to follow up and if the deadline to come into compliance passes without contact, Sanchez could face additional charges, Brown said.

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

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