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Owner of dog who bit pedestrian pleads guilty

Restitution paid to cover victim’s medical costs

A woman whose dog bit a pedestrian on Montezuma Avenue in May has pleaded guilty to the charge of keeping a vicious animal.

Gabrielle Wolf entered the guilty plea Monday in Cortez Municipal Court. As part of her sentence, she was ordered to pay restitution to the victim in the amount of $1,195 to cover medical costs.

Additional fines will be dropped if no similar offenses occur in the next year, said Cortez prosecutor Drew Buffington.

During the hearing, Buffington told Cortez Municipal Court Judge James Shaner that the dog that bit the victim has successfully completed a weeklong class with a professional trainer.

Wolf previously pleaded guilty to maintenance of an animal that disturbs the peace and allowing it to run at large.

As part of the sentence for all citations, the fines were suspended if no similar offenses occurred in the next year. A citation for having an unlicensed dog was dropped after proof of license was provided.

“We take these cases seriously because it is important to look out for the safety of members of the community,” Buffington told The Journal after the hearing.

According to a police incident report, Cortez resident Sharon Peterson, 60, was walking near the 40 block of West Montezuma Avenue on the morning of May 7 when the two barking dogs approached her from behind. One of the dogs bit her on the back after she fell on the ground.

A passing motorist, David Christian, stopped his vehicle in the road, yelled at the dogs and helped Peterson into his car. She was later provided medical treatment.

Before the court hearing, Peterson told The Journal she was healing from the physical injuries, and said the incident caused ongoing mental anguish as well.

“It was very scary,” she said.

She urged the public to be responsible and control their dogs.

“Many others walk that area, including children. They deserve to be safe,” Peterson said. “Dog owners need to do the right thing.”

The experience will not stop her from taking her daily walks, Peterson said, and she now carries Mace and a golf club for protection.

Monique Wolf is the owner of the other dog involved, which reportedly barked at the victim and did not bite her. Wolf pleaded guilty to the dog-at-large charge, and fines were suspended if no similar offenses occur in the next year.

A citation for having an unlicensed dog was dropped after proof of license was provided.

After the hearing, Gabrielle Wolf said the dog, which is a puppy, did well in the training class and benefited from socializing with the 15 other people and dogs.

“He was the best in the class, and I will continue to work with him,” Wolf said.

She learned that training a dog requires a mix of discipline and positive reinforcement.

“You have to be more stern, not all praise,” Wolf said.

The gate from the yard where the dogs escaped has been secured, the Wolfs said. During a previous court hearing, the Wolfs apologized to the victim.