Dog mauling case going to grand jury

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Dog mauling case going to grand jury

The dog mauling case involving the death of 57-year-old Klonda Richey will be presented to a grand jury, the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office announced late Tuesday afternoon.

Richey died outside of her home, 31 E. Bruce Ave., after being attacked by two mixed-mastiff dogs in the early morning hours of Feb. 7. The dogs were registered to Julie Custer, 25, who lived at 35 E. Bruce Ave. with the homeowner, Andrew Nason, 29.

Prosecutors met with Dayton police detectives for about three hours Tuesday afternoon. A date when the case will be presented to the grand jury was not announced.

When police responded to the report of Richey’s body, they were charged by the dogs, who were shot and killed.

Police took Custer and Nason into custody while executing a search warrant after the attack. They were held in Montgomery County jail, pending possible charges of reckless homicide. They were released two days later without charges being filed.

Richey, who worked for Montgomery County Children Services and lived with about 20 cats, tried to get protection from the dogs and her neighbors for months before her death, according to records obtained by this newspaper from the county and courts.

In total, 13 complaints were filed with the Animal Resource Center and another 46 calls were made to the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center related to Nason’s home between Dec. 27, 2011, and Richey’s death on Feb. 7.

Most of the Animal Resource Center calls were anonymous but 23 of the calls to the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center were from Richey or associated with Richey’s phone number. The majority of the calls were about the dogs at the Nason house, but other calls included complaints about juveniles, fireworks and other activity.

Richey’s neighbors have been urging residents to write letters to their state legislators encouraging them to pass stronger vicious dog laws. There also is a petition on Change.org. Richey was a member of the Redcrest Neighborhood Association.

Jon Brazelton, vice president of the neighborhood association, said he believes state legislators will add stronger penalties for irresponsible owners of vicious dogs. Several local elected officials recently have said that changes are needed to strengthen Ohio’s vicious dog law to better protect citizens.

The current state law, which took effect in May 2012, created three designations for problem dogs and removed pit bulls from the definition of a vicious dog. It also created a process for owners to appeal the designation. Violators can be fined or face felony sanctions.

The two dogs in Richey’s death did not have a designation because they had no history of biting someone or killing another dog, Mark Kumpf, director of the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center, has said.

“It’s a matter of public safety, not just loose dogs in the street,” Brazelton said.

The Redcrest Neighborhood Association also sent a certified letter to Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Tucker inviting him to its April 10 meeting. The association asked Tucker to appear and explain what evidence Richey would have needed to present in order to receive a civil stalking protection order against Nason.

Richey was ultimately denied a civil stalking protection order in April 2013.

Tucker said he received the invitation, but will be unable to attend because of a medical procedure scheduled that day. He said if the association would like him to attend a future meeting, he would do so.

“I’d be more than happy to talk about this type of order and what is needed for the order to be approved,” Tucker said. “I’m not going to get into the specifics of the case.”

Last month, Tucker said to grant a civil stalking protection order, there must be a pattern of conduct — two or more incidents closely related in time — that has caused physical harm or mental distress.

In addition to the dog issues, a fire at the Nason home on Feb. 21 caused $30,000 in damage and was ruled arson.

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