Local owner tied to multiple dog attacks allowed to adopt again

Investigations

LAKEWAY, Texas (KXAN) — A Lakeway woman who has owned dogs tied to multiple attacks of people — and other dogs — has been allowed to adopt another dog with a similar history.

Neighbors and victims say they worry a public safety issue will drag on even further.

KXAN first reported about Patricia Stanford earlier this year.

Erica Curtis and her bulldog were badly injured after being bitten by Stanford’s two dogs. The animals are tied to attacks on other dogs and injuries to humans — in addition to the dogs simply running around unleashed.

Curtis has filed a lawsuit against Stanford. Her attorney says Curtis is still not done with a series of surgeries.

“I think she’ll always have a permanent and lifelong injury and lasting injury to her hand,” said Jason McMinn.

After the attack, the two dogs were banned in the city of Lakeway through a court order that required Stanford to house them with a relative in Midland, Texas.

Officers there found the address Stanford gave didn’t exist, and there had been sightings of the dogs as recently as September.

According to Lakeway PD documents, one of Stanford’s dogs was found roaming miles from her home back on September 6.

The Austin Animal Center took the dog in, but later returned it to Stanford. In a statement to KXAN Monday, the AAC said that Lakeway’s ban was out of its jurisdiction.

On September 13, another Lakeway police report says one of Stanford’s dogs was loose and tried to attack a neighbor’s puppy.

“It just continued to show a complete disregard for public safety,” said McMinn.

Stanford adopts another dog

On Monday, Lakeway Animal Protection Officer Andrea Greig wrote in an email:

Austin Pets Alive adopted out another pitbull to Patricia Stanford. I contacted them and they told me she adopted a dog that does attack little dogs. I feel she purposely got this dog because it attacks. I just can’t believe Austin Pets Alive as a rescue does not do even, Google lookups. To say I am livid is an understatement.

“It blows my mind,” said McMinn.

“It absolutely surprised me that she was allowed to adopt the dog. It didn’t surprise me that she tried to adopt a dog with aggression.”

Austin Pets Alive! was not able to make someone available for an on-camera interview Monday. But APA sent KXAN this statement:

This adopter, like anyone who has adopted an animal from APA!, was not on any known do-not-adopt lists, completed a comprehensive adoption interview process, was provided known behavior history, and would not have been approved to adopt if there were any indications of safety concerns.

This dog’s history was specific to a previous two-year home and we don’t consider it a danger to the community at large. Additionally, we recommend all dog owners avoid off-leash or unsupervised activities with unknown dogs.

KXAN went to Stanford’s home to find out where the old dogs are living, and whether the newly adopted one was there.

A man who identified himself as Stanford’s friend told KXAN’s Kevin Clark she was in the hospital.

When asked where the dogs were, he said, “In Midland, Texas, as far as I know. One is in New Mexico.”

No dogs were seen or heard outside Stanford’s home Monday. But neighbors tell KXAN they saw dogs outside the property as recently as one week ago.

An official statement from the City of Lakeway reads:

“Regarding the issue of the adoption of a dog from Austin Pets Alive by Ms. Stanford, we have no legal authority to prohibit her ability or opportunity to adopt such an animal. The focus should be on adoption services who adopt out animals with a known prior history of aggression toward other animals or people. We will monitor the situation with Ms. Stanford and her animal as we would any other resident of the City of Lakeway. Should she violate the Lakeway animal protection ordinance or applicable state laws, we will take the appropriate legal actions.” 

As of this article, calls to Patricia Stanford’s cell phone have not been returned.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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