Drown’s dogs have caused enough pain


“The value of a sentiment,” the long-dead British playwright John Galsworthy reportedly wrote, “is the amount of sacrifice you’re prepared to make for it.”

Peter Drown Jr. is the victim of sentiment. His 37-year-old brother, Mark, died suddenly last July, leaving the elder Drown brother to care for his canines: two pit bulls, Kira and Nova, and two Rottweilers, Wizzard and Zeus. Drown owned a pit bull named Laser. The brothers, and all the dogs, lived together on Goding Road in Livermore.

Their track record for caring for the dogs is spotty. There have been convictions for keeping unlicensed dogs, letting the dogs run free, and for the dogs killing livestock, poultry and rabbits. Neighbors feared the animals of Goding Road long before Nova and her puppy, Junior, massacred several show goats belonging to Drown’s neighbor, Tammy Sanborn, in November.

Sanborn shot and killed Nova and Junior, a decision Drown, 40, condones. “They probably deserved what they got,” he says, although he wishes authorities were involved sooner. Nova left behind a litter of eight puppies, which were followed by another litter of eight from Kira, both fathered by the mighty Zeus.

Last week, a reportedly unwelcome visitor to Drown’s home was bitten by Kira, ostensibly to protect her 3-week-old pups from harm. The bite caused a puncture wound on the woman’s leg, and yet another summons to Drown, whose love of his animals is starting to become costly.

Sanborn wants compensation for her goats, said Drown. Then there are the probable fines and lawyer fees. Drown is pretty stoic. “I’m not saying I’m not guilty,” he says. “I know there are going to be repercussions.”

As well there should be. What Drown’s dogs did to Sanborn’s goats is unforgivable, because Drown admits Nova had a propensity for hassling the goats whenever she broke free. The recent incident is more murky, as the rationale for the woman’s presence inside Drown’s home is in dispute.

It’s sentimentality for his brother’s memory that keeps Drown from dispensing with the dogs. Zeus and 15-year-old Wizzard were mentioned by name in Mark Drown’s obituary as his enjoyments in life; though regarded as dangerous by outsiders, inside the Drown family, they were – and are – loved.

But the value of Peter Drown’s sentiment is too dear. With reportedly 10 Rottweiler-pit bull puppies and the five adult dogs inside his home, Drown will likely run afoul of Maine’s kennel-licensing rules soon. He shouldn’t be eligible for one, as his history of animal violations is long and sordid.

Practicality needs to outweigh sentiment, in this case. Drown needs to surrender these dogs to someone more able to care for them.

Although we respect his intentions to honor his brother’s memory, these animals have caused enough pain.