LEWISTON – A Livermore man was ordered to pay a maximum fine of $1,200 combined on four violations after he admitted Monday that two of his pit bulls attacked 11 show goats Nov. 15, 2006, killing two of them and injuring the others.
The owner of the goats, Tammy Sanborn of Livermore, shot and killed the pit bulls when she discovered them in her barn on Botka Hill Road, a neighboring street to Peter Drown Jr.’s residence on Goding Road.
Judge John McElwee denied Drown’s request Monday to continue the case a second time before he called a recess to allow Drown’s attorney, Donna Martin, and Assistant District Attorney Andrew Robinson to discuss the matter.
Drown had entered denials to the two civil violations of owning dogs running at large and two violations of owning dogs that injured or killed livestock in January in the case. He also had paid more than $700 in fines in 2006 for other dog-related incidents including injuring and killing livestock and poultry.
When the two attorneys came back to the courtroom after meeting with McElwee in his chambers, Drown’s attorney said he planned to enter admissions to the four charges and a fifth charge of owning or keeping a dangerous dog in a separate case was to be dismissed. Drown’s dog, Kira, had had puppies when a woman entered his house Jan. 12 and Kira bit her on the leg. There have been no further instances with that dog, Robinson said.
Drown admitted that his dogs, Nova and Junior, ran at large and attacked the Sanborns’ prize-winning show goats. They were killed.
McElwee ordered Drown to pay the maximum fine of $500 for each charge of a dog running at large and $100 for each charge of owning a dog that injured or killed livestock.
The surcharges on the fines brought the tally to $1,520 for Drown.
Drown asked that he be able to pay $100 a month on the penalties, but McElwee ordered $250 a month after Drown said he made about $50,000 a year as a self-employed woodsman.
When Drown left the courtroom, Robinson asked if anyone had questions.
He explained the charge of dangerous dog was dismissed because it was mislabeled and someone had entered Drown’s premises.
The court has the admissions on the other charges on record, Robinson said, and a civil attorney could use them in a case to help get reimbursement for damages and veterinary bills.
“It seems to me the signal has been sent,” Robinson said. “This was not your typical dog-at-large case.”
He said Drown paid the maximum penalty and installed a new fence to keep the dogs secured.
“If they do come back, we will pursue it vigorously,” Robinson pledged.
In addition, Robinson said, with a new law change, livestock may be considered domesticated animals and a dangerous-dog charge may be brought in the future.
What if the dogs “won’t let us out of our house?” asked Mark Holt, Drown’s neighbor on Goding Road.
“It’s a dangerous-dog charge,” Robinson said. “We are going to bring that charge. … The bells have gone off. We are aware. … We hear you. It’s going to be a dangerous-dog charge.”
Tammy Sanborn said outside the courtroom, “The court did go with the maximum that they could. I just wish there was more they could have done. They did all they could.”
Drown said after making his payment arrangement, “I’m glad it’s all settled.”
He added that he has five dogs remaining, and he plans to apply for a kennel license and dog-breeding license.
“If anyone wants to come see my dogs, call me at 931-7005. They’re the most lovable dogs I’ve had. It’s all over with. We have to get on with our lives and that’s what we’re going to do.”