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Court Appeal for Turlock Dog on Death Row

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The Alaskan Malamute named Bolt will have its death penalty decree reviewed by a judge. Bolt was declared a vicious dog by the City of Turlock after it bit a 20-year-old woman in the face in October resulting in several stitches.

A web campaign has collected some 2,000 signatures for Bolt’s pardon, with supporters saying McKenzie Leedom provoked the 140 pound dog. But, Leedom says she feels her reputation has been tarnished by untruths — including claims that she was intoxicated at the time and that she was laying on the dog or had it in a headlock.

At Bolt’s hearing, an animal control officer said Bolt bit another woman in the face in a separate incident.

Leedom has two dogs of her own and is in the process of filing a restraining order against Bolt’s owner Daniel Mendonca — her former boyfriend — who she says threatened her dogs after the biting incident.

Police say Leedom’s mother, Ray Anne Leedom, actually reported the bite because McKenzie didn’t want to cause any trouble.  But, Ray Anne now says her daughter realizes that the dog may do the same thing again to someone else.  The Turlock Fire Chief Tim Lohman, who served as the administrative officer, apparently agreed.

Bolt has a court date on Monday, a day before he is scheduled to be euthanized.

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  • Dino

    It’s sad how this Turlock fire chief us overstepping his boundaries and trying to play GOD, does fire chief Tim lohman make decisions on who lives and who gets put down, Tim stick to your porn videos,x-box and polishing your fire truck since that’s all your good at , if harm comes to this dog , Tim lohmans world will be turned upside down same for ray Anne and her druggie daughter

  • danmendonca

    First of all, I just want to say my family, friends, and I are very concerned about Macie and McKenzie’s well being. I just want everyone involved to be accountable for their actions. IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. I take this matter VERY seriously, but right now a member of my family, my son Bolt, is in imminent danger of losing his life. So yes, I am fighting for Bolt’s right to live. This does not mean I love animals more than humans, I just feel that both were created by God and both have a right to live.

  • danmendonca

    With all the false information flying around, I feel that something needs to be said on my behalf. What many people don’t realize is that I kept in contact with both Macie and McKenzie after these incidents happened. I made sure that they were alright and asked if they needed help with anything. Mckenzie and I were even still dating after the incident.

  • danmendonca

    In regards to the incident with Macie, people have asked if she was drinking at my home. And the answer is no, she was NOT DRINKING AT MY HOME. She asked me to give her a ride home from a party. After the incident, I was informed by Macie on October 4th that she was healing fast (I have proof), which was a major relief to me. I have repeatedly asked her for her out-of-pocket expenses (she never informed me that she didn’t have insurance) and she only told me that she does not want anything from me. I last contacted her on Dec 4th, again regarding payment. This is directly from the text: “I'd like to reimburse any money that you had to fork out that your insurance didn't cover. Just let me know the cost and I'll send it your way, sorry for this disaster.” She told me “I just want you to know I didn't go to court because I didn't want to even be apart of this battle” (I have proof). So, her comment in the Modesto Bee on December 6th was very hurtful to me. She said that she was stuck paying for her medical bills alone, again, this is not true. If she would just present me with the bills I would still like to pay them.

  • danmendonca

    Now regarding McKenzie, again, I want to explain she did NOT DRINK AT MY HOUSE. She sent me a text to come pick her up because she had been drinking. After the incident, she and I discussed my financial responsibility while we were still dating, YES, we were still dating after the dog bite incident. I, also, spoke with her mother, Rayanne on October 29th again stating my financial responsibility for the incident that occurred. In both incidents I did take responsibility for any medical expenses that would occur until their full recovery-even plastic surgery if needed (I have proof).

  • danmendonca

    Again for the record, I did NOT PROVIDE THE ALCOHOL FOR THESE TWO WOMEN. I was the DESIGNATED DRIVER for a group of friends on the night Macie was bit. On the night that McKenzie was bit she had sent me text messages for over ½ an hour (I have proof) to come pick her up. I was already in bed and had to get up and get dressed to go pick her up. I was not intoxicated on that night; I was even pulled over by a police officer, due to a missing front license plate.

  • danmendonca

    The Bee's pet column since 2001. Said that from the victims' accounts of their bites, he does not think Bolt should be put down. He said the behavior, while violent, was not necessarily aggressive. He said, "An aggressive dog is one that will continue the attack posture. Which Bolt did not. Determining whether a dog is vicious is difficult, he said, but the notion that once a dog bites a human it has a "taste for blood" is false. "It does not imply recidivism in any way

  • danmendonca

    .”Lisa Moore, a certified canine behavior counselor who owns Top Notch Kennels in Modesto and has written a pet behavior column for The Bee since 1995. Moore stated that “she does not have firsthand knowledge of the cases. But based on the victims' accounts, she also believes the dog should be spared. She said “if Bolt is returned to Mendonca, he should take immediate steps to modify the dog's behavior and create a secure environment. That includes keeping Bolt away from people, crating him around visitors and meeting with a behavior counselor and trainer.” I WILL MEET WITH A BEHAVIOR COUNSELOR AND TRAINER WITH NOT ONLY BOLT BUT WITH MILO FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES, WHETHER IT TAKES 6 MONTHS OR A YEAR. I will do anything they say so I can get my family back together and do everything I can to insure nothing like this EVER happens again. I strongly agree with Moore when she said, "To expect humans to take no responsibility and blame the dog is ridiculous." I heed that everyone involved should take this advice.

  • danmendonca

    Randee McQueen, who is head of rescue with the Bay Area Siberian Husky Club and on the board of the Northern California Sled Dog Rescue, stated that “in her experience, reports of human bites are rare. There is a line to be drawn in each area in terms of what is vicious and what is not. Both Siberian huskies and malamutes tend to be extremely friendly. We always joke that people want to adopt them to be protective and they are just not that kind of dog."

  • danmendonca

    Bolt’s veterinarian Rob Santo’s even commented on his FaceBook account on December 6th. “We took care of Bolt’s wounds when he was attacked by a pack of pit bulls. He was a super nice patient at Monte Vista Veterinary.” Bolt was in so much pain when I took him in and he never bit anyone throughout his stay at this veterinary office.

  • danmendonca

    In conclusion, I just want people out there to know the reason I am are pursuing this case in the Stanislaus County Superior Court is to give Bolt a fair trial. I believe there are multiple factors that weren't considered in the first trial. Probably, the two that most concerned me was the City of Turlock's refusal to allow an animal specialist to evaluate Bolt for aggressiveness and the reports that the Chief of Fire, who presided over the hearing, had a conflict of interest. Bolt may not be human but he is part of my family. He's my son and given me so much. All I want is for my son to have the fair trial he deserves regardless of cost.

    Daniel Mendonca