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1:07 AM Sat, Feb. 16th

Dogs should be trained and restrained

They are considered man's best friend.

They also can be man's worst enemy.

A recent dog attack trial in San Francisco, where a 33-year-old woman was mauled to death by two Presa Canario dogs last year, has led to people to wonder about the family pooch.

The owner of the two dogs in the San Francisco attack was found guilty of second-degree murder, while her husband, who was not present during the attack, was found guilty for manslaughter.

Presa Canario, a large dog from the Canary Islands, is bred to be a protector.

At one time, the dogs were used in dogfights.

An adult dog can be more than 26 inches high at the shoulder and weigh more than 100 pounds, Kingman Animal Control Officer Sandy Spruiell said.

In the city limits, a dog owner is allowed any combination of three dogs or cats.

If a dog owner has more than the legal number, animal control officers would act only on a barking or at-large complaint against that dog.

"We'll try and work with the owner," Spruiell said.

If the owner does not comply, the owner could be cited.

In the city, a dog must be leashed if there isn't a fenced yard, she said.

A complaint last week of a pit bull killing a neighbor's dog is being reviewed by a judge.

In her nine years as animal control officer, Spruiell has yet to see a court-ordered euthanasia for a dog in Kingman.

A judge has the right to destroy a dog depending on the circumstances of a complaint.

"It (the pit bull) has a bad rap sheet, let's put it that way," Spruiell said.

The pit bull went into the neighbor's fenced yard and killed the owner's golden retriever, according to the complaint.

The dog is at the animal control shelter.

The owners face misdemeanor charges of having an at-large dog and an unlicensed animal.

"They need to be trained, controlled and socialized," Spruiell said.

"Owners have to assume responsibility for their dogs.

Socialization is very important."

Dogs that are vicious are usually anti-social animals.

Kingman's first-of-its-kind dog park is now available at Lewis Kingman Park off Andy Devine Avenue, Spruiell said.

She said dog complaints are an ongoing problem and will increase with the area's population.

A growing problem in Kingman, however, is an increasing number of feral or wild dogs, dogs that are abandoned.

Domesticated dogs that get out of a fenced yard usually do so because someone leaves the gate open, she said.

A common scenario is where a dog bites a family member or another person and the owner does not want the animal and has it put to sleep.

Dogs in biting incidents are usually mixed breeds.

Dogs like a rottweiler or a pit bull will do more harm if they bite a human.

Those breeds have a bite pressure from 1,400 to 2,000 pounds per square inch.

Dogs like a golden retriever have a bite pressure of 600 pounds per square inch, Spruiell said.

In the county, pet owners are allowed four dogs.

Animal control officers will investigate a complaint, such as an owner having too many dogs.

The animals are checked for licenses or whether the owner has a kennel license, Lane Plunkett, operations supervisor at Mohave County Animal Control said.

If not, the owner can be fined or serve jail time as determined by a judge.

Owners are also libel for a civil suit in the event of a dog bite, Plunkett said.

By law, an owner walking his or her dog has to be in control of the animal.

Dogs have to be within 100 feet of the owner.

Dogs that are in an unfenced yard have to be leashed.

One local dog-mauling incident occurred four years ago in Golden Valley.

A girl was walking to a bus stop when she was attacked by several pit bulls.

The dogs reportedly got out from a fenced area when a gate was left opened.

The dogs were euthanized and the owners sued by the girl's parents, Plunkett said.