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July 21, 2001 - Neighbors Say Vicious Dogs Ran Amok In Upscale Avila

July 21, 2001 - Neighbors Say Vicious Dogs Ran Amok In Upscale Avila

In a lawsuit filed against dog owners John and Lisa Dillard, the Avila Property Owners Association claims that the Dillards failed to comply with subdivision covenants by allowing the dogs to bark continuously, run free without a leash and relieve themselves on neighbors' property.

Court records and residents said the pair of Chinese Shar-Peis chased screaming children, defecated on lush lawns, annoyed neighbors, attacked other dogs, and eventually mauled a kitten to death. Eventually, the lawsuit was settled under confidential terms.

Sgt. Lois Wimsett, a county animal control investigator, said the animal ordinance violations the Dillards face are not only common, but a serious problem countywide. Animal control officers write about 10,000 citations a year, with nuisance animals and vicious dogs ranked among the top four violations, she said.

The lawyer for defendants said his clients were innocent of the allegations. "It's untrue that the dogs were terrorizing the neighborhood," he said. "Apparently the dogs did get out, although the Dillards did everything that was reasonable to prevent that from happening." He also noted that the Dillards tried to keep the dogs on the property by putting a secure lock on the fence gate.

After the kitten was killed, animal control officers were prepared to open a dangerous dog investigation, but they couldn't locate the dogs. Days later, the Dillards surrendered the dogs to the Humane Society, where they likely were euthanized, county officials said. The Humane Society said they no longer have the dogs, but would not say if they were destroyed.

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