Almost 2 months ago I started this thread (link) over an encounter with a dog (and owner) in a leash law area. Turns out the dog owner decided to contest his citations from the county animal control so a court date was scheduled and I received a subpoena as a witness.
Yesterday was the day. This being a county ordnance violation, it wasn't exactly Federal Court. The 1st case was two adjoining homeowners arguing endlessly (45 minutes) about who was dumping grass clippings on the other before the judge lost his temper and kicked them both out telling them to work it out themselves.
I perked up on the 3rd case because it was a biker who had filed complaint against a dog owner because of the dog entering the public right of way to chase him, a duplicate of my case. The case immediately degenerated into a "my dog would never leave the yard" vs "yes he did", "no he didn't", etc, etc. The judge dismissed the case saying he couldn't rule to convict based only on no other evidence than disputed testimony.
"Interesting", I thought. My turn was next, I gave my statement and then the animal control officer gave her statement; the judge turned to the accursed (joke) and asked for his side of the story as I wondered how much attention he had been paying to case #3. Apparently not much because the first words out of his mouth were "One of my dogs likes to chase them bicycles but I was in the front yard watching when he (me) came by and that dog barely got in the road. He barely got over the white line and didn't chase him more than 100 feet cause I hollered at the dog". Which military General was it who said something to the effect of never disturb your opponent when he is in the process of defeating himself?
Why contest the tickets when his first words were an admission of guilt?
Any rate, he got a fine, don't know exactly how much. Hopefully enough to convince him to control the dogs, I've been cut off from one of my favorite routes for some time. I've seen from afar his dogs in the road two other times since the original incident.
The main thing I learned is that, at least locally, you need some sort of collaboration to make a vicious animal charge stick. Pictures, additional witnesses, something. Don't think you can count on the owner voluntarily hanging himself very often. In my case, I think I'll drive past his house in my car a few times with a camera handy. This is a leash law area and only a 100 yards or so from the local bike trailhead.