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Loose dogs rankle neighbors

Unsettling encounters stoke safety fears near Palm Crest Elementary.

November 18, 2010|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

At least three encounters with aggressive dogs roaming streets near Palm Crest Elementary School have residents near the school on alert, and one of them pushing school and public-safety officials to take action.

Orchard Lane resident Roger Dahl said that on Oct. 30 he was confronted in front his home by three large, free-roaming dogs — one of which chased him up his own driveway until he repelled it with a walking stick.

Kim Chafin, who lives nearby on Palm Drive, said that a month prior to Dahl's encounter, she felt so threatened by two dogs loose at the corner of Palm and Orchard — one of which growled at her, the other coming close enough to lick her hand — that she flagged down a stranger's passing car and fled the scene in it.

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And in a well-documented incident in June that caused a brief lockdown of the Palm Crest Elementary campus, one of Martha Peterson's dogs was bitten repeatedly and her own clothing tugged at by several large dogs as she walked her two small terriers past the school.

"To me, this is a life-threatening situation," said Dahl, 82, who immediately complained to Sheriff's Department and Animal Control officials regarding the Oct. 30 incident and has since penned letters to the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Department and Palm Crest Principal Karen Hurley calling for a neighborhood meeting or other intervention.

Hurley said she is aware of the June 9 incident in front of the school before her tenure there began, and wrote to Dahl this week recommending that he work with law enforcement officials to resolve the issue.

"We are taking every reasonable precaution to ensure the safety of our students at all times," Hurley wrote to Dahl.

Sheriff's Sgt. Tania Plunkett said a lieutenant handled Dahl's emergency call and reported the incident to animal-control officers, but investigations of animal-related concerns are under the authority of animal-control officers with the Pasadena Humane Society.

None of the incidents resulted in an actual bite to a person. Common to each encounter is that two dogs hang back from close contact with the people involved while another dog is quick to approach.

Though Dahl suspects that all three incidents relate to dogs kept at a Palm Drive home facing Orchard Lane, a Pasadena Humane Society spokeswoman said there is not enough information to say whether any of these incidents are related.

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