Regional news: Aspen owner cited after second ‘vicious’ dog attack
May 2, 2017
ASPEN — An Aspen man whose dog attacked another dog earlier this spring was cited again Friday after the animal ripped a chunk of a dog's ear off at the base of Aspen Mountain, police said Monday.
William Roush's approximately 50-pound shepherd mix was supposed to be muzzled and leashed after it got free and attacked three dogs in March and nearly killed one of them, said Charlie Martin, an Aspen police community resource officer. Roush's dog also attacked another dog last summer.
"This dog has a significant history," Martin said. "We've got to figure out what to do with this thing. This is unacceptable."
Brian Beazley of Basalt said he was walking up the stairs at Gondola Plaza after 8 a.m. Friday with his dog on a leash and his skis on his shoulder when he saw Roush's dog by itself and off leash coming down the stairs. He said the dog didn't look vicious and he thought nothing of it.
"As he went past my dog, he just turned on him and attacked him," Beazley said Monday. "He just went for his head — he bit his head — then took off down the stairs and was gone."
Beazley's dog — a 40-pound rat terrier mix named Colby — immediately started crying and bleeding profusely, he said. Beazley later found a piece of his dog's ear about the size of a silver dollar on the ground and tried to keep it cold in the snow but a veterinarian later said it could not be sewn back on.
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The dog was not seriously hurt, but could have been if Roush's dog bit him in a more vulnerable spot like his eye, Beazley said.
"If it was a fair dog fight, that's one thing," he said. "But this was a sucker punch."
Beazley said he saw no sign of the dog's owner before taking his dog to the vet. Friends of Beazley's hung out for another 20 minutes and also saw no sign of the owner. The dog, however, did return, and a woman who witnessed the attack took pictures of it and gave them to police, who were able to track down the owner, Beazley said.
"I think it's a case of an irresponsible pet owner," he said.
Roush said he'd been skiing on Aspen Mountain on Friday morning with his dog, Maddy, who was muzzled and on a leash. At one point the two became tangled around a tree and the dog broke loose, he said Monday.
"(The muzzle) came off when we got tangled and she took off," he said.
After the March incident — when a Yorkshire terrier was nearly killed — Roush pleaded guilty in that case to allowing his dog to run at-large and harboring a vicious dog, according to Aspen Municipal Court records.
On April 5, Aspen Municipal Judge Brooke Petersen ordered Roush to keep the dog muzzled and on a leash at all times, records state. The dog also was supposed to be kept inside an electrified chainlink fence.
Roush said he complied with all those terms. He also said the dog bit another dog within Pitkin County last summer.
"She's bit other dogs," he said. "She's not aggressive with a lot of dogs, but it's enough so that we need to make sure this doesn't happen again."
He said he's bought another muzzle for the dog but is looking at other options, "including possibly finding a different place for her to live."
He said he's offered to take care of Beazley's veterinary bills and apologized for Friday's incident.
"We're very sorry," said Roush, who was again cited for having a vicious dog. "(I want to) express that to the owners of the other dog."
Beazley said that while his dog will now have one ear longer than the other, he's healing up.
"He's doing fine," Beazley said. "He's on the mend."