Quite the biased piece of reporting. The crime that was warranting jail time was not that her dogs barked (once, as you would imply). Rather, it was due to multiple citations for barking dogs which had been ignored by the defendant, leaving the courts with no alternative. It is also because of these repeated warnings being ignored that the dogs were ordered to be forfeited - lesser means were simply not resolving the issue.
As someone who lives in the neighborhood, I can tell you that these dogs are frequently left outside all day, and are constantly barking for hours at a time. Not just one or two incidents, this has been going on for over 3 years, and neighbors who have lived in the area longer than I have reported that this has been a problem with the owners previous dogs for many years. I and others in the neighborhood have repeatedly and courteously informed Ms. Saputo that the barking is unpleasant to us, and pleaded with her to address the issue, but she has refused to do anything about it. I believe we have the right to a peaceful atmosphere in and around our homes.
As an animal lover, I am also worried for the dogs. They are left out in inclement weather with no cover; left out during hot summer days with no water (they constantly knock their dish over - one previous neighbor told of having to lower buckets of water over the fence for the poor animals when the owners would go out of town for days). The dog ordered to the groomer was not just "unkempt fur". It had its own waste stuck in its fur and the fur around its eyes was so knotted and matted it couldn't see. On at least two occasions that I am aware of, the dogs have escaped and nearly bit hit by traffic on the busy street in front of the house. (One of the escape occasions happened following one of the regular domestic disturbances at the address, when one of the family members deliberately opened the gate to allow them to run away). This is not only a danger to the dogs, but to drivers and passerby. One of the dogs even tried to bite someone who was attempting to get it out of traffic. Not once have I seen either dog out for a walk - and a big german Shepard needs exercise. It is no wonder that they bark constantly.
The last thing those of us in the neighborhood want is to waste time, money, and effort on court proceedings, but the owner has left us with no choice. I am appalled that the defense attorney, and the court, feels that further legal proceedings are justified at the expense of taxpayers.
I really wonder what the motivation behind this piece was. This is a person who mistreats her animals, is inconsiderate of and rude to her neighbors, and has repeatedly disobeyed the courts. A better use of time might be to help find these dogs a safe and loving home.
Salt Lake City Weekly
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