Summit County man charged in Pro Challenge dog-on-dog attack
September 30, 2013
A Summit County Sheriff's Office deputy was forced to shoot and kill a pit bull during a dog-on-dog attack Tuesday as spectators gathered on Hoosier Pass for the USA Pro Challenge.
Christopher Steven Crumbliss, 37, was cited with failure to control a pet animal, failure to prevent a pet animal hazard and failure to license a pet animal, all designated as penalty assessments in Summit County. Crumbliss was ordered Thursday to pay court fines of $50 per penalty.
In addition, Crumbliss faces a violation of Colorado Revised Statutes and is charged in Summit County Court with unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog, a Class 3 misdemeanor.
The incident occurred at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday near the intersection of Colorado Highway 9 and Carroll Lane in unincorporated Summit County. According to court records, fans were gathering along the USA Pro Challenge racecourse near the summit of Hoosier Pass when two unrestrained pit bulls began attacking a 15-year-old beagle.
One of the pit bulls was collared and witnesses were able to pull it off the beagle, according to reports. The second pit bull did not have a collar and efforts to stop the attack were unsuccessful.
A deputy responded to the commotion and determined the beagle would not survive unless the attack was stopped. The deputy ordered witnesses to step back and shot and killed the pit bull, records stated.
"We fully support the actions of our deputy," said Sheriff John Minor in a news release. "In my 24 years of law enforcement, I have never seen a more gruesome dog-on-dog attack. Given the fact that there were children and other adults in the immediate area, it appears by all accounts that the deputy had no other choice."
Additional deputies responded to the scene and escorted the beagle and its owner to a local veterinarian. The beagle survived, but will have to undergo several reconstructive surgeries, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.
On Thursday Tracy LeClair, public information officer for the Sheriff's Office, said the costs of those surgeries could play a significant role in Crumbliss' punishment on the misdemeanor charge, if found guilty.
According to Colorado Revised Statutes, a Class 3 misdemeanor conviction can carry a maximum fine of $750, as well as victim restitution. As of Thursday the beagle had undergone an estimated $6,000 in reconstructive surgery, LeClair said.
This is not the first time Crumbliss has been cited for possessing a violent pet, the release stated.
In November 2010, Crumbliss pleaded guilty to Town of Breckenridge charges of vicious animal and animal running at large. Both of those charges involved the same dog that was killed Tuesday, the release stated.
In the 2010 case, Crumbliss paid court fines and fees, and was ordered to have no dog violations for six months.
The surviving pit bull from Tuesday's incident has been designated as a dangerous animal under state statute. Under that designation Crumbliss must:
• Keep the pit pull in an escape-proof enclosure
• Post warning signage at his home
• Leash walk the dog
• Microchip the dog, report it with the state's dangerous dog registry
• Notify the state in writing if the dog changes locations due to a move or transfer to another owner
• Notify new owner in writing that the dog is a dangerous dog