Official: Dangerous dog investigations in Orange County inadequate

The  Orange County Comptroller’s office looked at close to 13,000 thousand dog bites over a five year period  here in Orange County and concluded policies surrounding those dangerous dog investigation need to be changed.

Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond said owners of dangerous dogs are not being held accountable by Orange County Animal Services.

“Obviously a dangerous dog that could bite someone or someone’s child is a threat to public safety,” Diamond said.

In an audit looking at Orange County Animal Services dangerous dog compliance the comptroller found that dangerous dog investigations were not always completed, Diamond blames a specific policy on the books.

“The policy that says a victim can stop and investigation, just by saying they don’t want to proceed, that policy should be changed,” Diamond said.

The audit goes on to say there were four instances where a dog  subsequently bit another person after the division chose to suspend a dangerous dog investigation at the victim’s request

“We feel like if there’s a dangerous dog , it’s in the public’s interest that the investigation go on, and that the dog be kept safe and the public be kept safe ,” Diamond said.

In regard to those four cases Orange County Animal Services sent FOX 35 a statement saying: “Enforcement action by Animal Services was declined by the individuals.  In doing so, they are in essence refusing to serve as witness/to testify to the violation.  As with any enforcement action having no witness essentially reduces testimony to hearsay or speculation”

The comptroller also found that citations to dangerous dog owners aren’t being paid, and some cases it’s taking as long as two years for dog to be registered as dangerous.