Retriever left dead after alleged attack by neighborhood pit bulls

Animal Control cites owners of canines for unconfined pets

One of the pit bulls belonging to Robert Wallstrom’s neighbor chained to a tree recently. Photo: JC AMBERLYN/Miner

One of the pit bulls belonging to Robert Wallstrom’s neighbor chained to a tree recently. Photo: JC AMBERLYN/Miner

KINGMAN - Robert Wallstrom came home on Feb. 1 expecting to see Honda, the family golden retriever, waiting by the fence in the yard. When he didn't, he immediately knew something was awry.

Wallstrom's fears where confirmed when he found Honda dead behind his neighbor Henry Parks' residence. Parks submitted a witness statement to Mohave County Animal Control claiming he witnessed two pit bulls attack the dog earlier in the day.

Wallstrom called the Mohave County Sheriff's Office in order to report the incident but was directed to Animal Control because they handle all animal-related incidents. According to Lane Plunkett, operations supervisor with Animal Control, Wallstrom and the pit bulls' owner, Mac Kirkland, were issued dog-at-large citations.

Plunkett said the citations were issued because all the dogs were not on a leash and not on their owners' property. He added that both parties were cited even though Honda was dead because he had to equally apply the law.

"It's unfortunate Mr. Wallstrom lost his pet," Plunkett said.

Wallstrom said he and his wife each have had to take a day off of work to handle the loss of Honda, who had been a member of the family for the past 10 years.

Kirkland's phone number was unlisted and efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.

Plunkett said there was not much more he could do because he had consulted the Mohave County Attorney's Office and was unable to find any law or code violation for domestic animals attacking each other.

"If it was a human, it'd be different," Plunkett said.

That's a concern Wallstrom shares with several neighbors. Many in the neighborhood have given written statements that they have seen the two pit bulls regularly running around the neighborhood unsupervised.

"The dogs are going to get a kid eventually," Wallstrom said.

Bonnie Koepping, Carol Schram and Connie Rice, residents in the neighborhood, said that they have seen the dogs in question attack other dogs in the neighborhood.

"It's not closed yet," Plunkett said of the case. "We're looking to see if we can go further."

With no criminal charges on the horizon, Wallstrom said that he is looking into possible civil action. "I'm going to take this as far as I have to take it," Wallstrom said.