Story Summary

Dog Bites Woman, Campaign Starts to Save Him

A Turlock dog bit a 20-year-old woman back in October and was declared vicious.

The dog is sentenced to be euthanized by December 11.

A petition has started to pardon the dog, who supporters say was unfairly provoked to attack.

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Local News
03/01/13

Bolt the Dog Declared “Vicious”, Allowed to Live

Bolt

Bolt greets visitors at animal shelter where he awaits for execution in December 2012

TURLOCK-

A dog accused of biting two people in Turlock and sentenced to be euthanized will instead be given up to a rescue organization.

Last fall, Bolt, an Alaskan malamute, bit a woman, McKenzie Leedom, who was sleeping in the same home. Leedom reportedly needed several stitches to treat the wound.

During a hearing that followed, an animal control officer said there was a second report of Bolt biting another woman in the face. The City of Turlock then declared Bolt to be “vicious” and sentenced him to be euthanized at the end of last year.

However, Bolt’s owner, Daniel Mendonca, fought the ruling; a Facebook page earned 2,000 likes in support of Bolt and they succeeded in getting a stay of execution.

After weeks of back and forth, Mendonca and the City of Turlock reached a resolution this week.

Mendonca agreed to relinquish all ownership of Bolt to the city and pay all costs associated with the adoption by a rescue organization.

Turlock will allow Bolt to be adopted by a non-profit rescue organization. However, the organization cannot adopt the dog out to anyone in Stanislaus County, Daniel Mendonca, or anyone related to him. They must also inform the person adopting Bolt that the City of Turlock found him to be vicious and a public nuisance.

dog

Bolt awaiting his court hearing.

TURLOCK–

Bolt, the Alaskan malamute sentenced to be euthanized after biting a woman, has been given a stay of execution.

The stay was announced after a court hearing in Stockton Monday morning. A handful of protestors were outside of Turlock city hall, awaiting the decision.

The bite happened back on Halloween weekend, when the 3 and half-year-old, 140 pound dog bit McKenzie Leedom after she laid on top of him in the middle of the night.  She was dating Bolt’s owner, Daniel Mendonca, at the time.

McKenzie’s mother, Ray Anne Leedom, was the one to report the bite. McKenzie reportedly didn’t want to cause any trouble, but she needed several stitches to repair the damage.

At an earlier hearing, an animal control officer said Bot bit another woman in the face in a separate incident. Bolt was then declared “vicious” and sentenced to be euthanized on Dec. 11.

However, a campaign soon started in support of Bolt, with a Facebook page garnering over 2,000 likes.

McKenzie has said that she feels her reputation has been tarnished by untruths since the start of the campaign to save Bolt. Supporters of Bolt have claimed that McKenzie was intoxicated at the time and that she was lying on the dog, or had him in a headlock.

With two dogs of her own, Mckenzie is in the process of filing a restraining order against Mendonca. She claims that he threatened her after the biting incident.

FOX40 reached out to Ray Anne Monday afternoon, but she said that her family does not want to talk to the media.

TURLOCK–

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.

Bolt

Bolt greets visitors at animal shelter where he waits for execution.

TURLOCK-

An Alaskan Malamute named Bolt is on doggy death row, but his owner and supporters are fighting for his life.

On Halloween weekend, the 3 and half-year-old, 140 pound dog bit McKenzie Leedom after she laid on top of him in the middle of the night.  She was dating Bolt’s owner, Daniel Mendonca, at the time.

But Mendonca’s family members are taking up Bolt’s cause, saying he should not die for a human error.  They say Leedom, who works at a pet store and has several dogs of her own, was warned to stay away from Bolt.

The victim has several puncture wounds across her face, and required stitches.  One tooth came just millimeters from an eye, according to her mother, Rayanne.

“She has visible scars on her face,” Leedom said.

She added that Meondonca’s family is trying to mislead the media, showing photos of McKenzie that do not depict the wounds, in an effort to save the dog’s life.

“Dan begged my daughter not to turn his dog in. He knew it would be put down,” Rayanne Leedom said. She ultimately pushed for an investigation saying, “Nothing Dan can do will provide the public with any safety.”

mckenzie leedom

McKenzie Leedom’s injuries after being bitten by Bolt. (Leedom Family)

Bolt is due to be euthanized on Dec. 11 after Turlock Animal Services declared him a vicious dog.  FOX40 cameras caught Bolt licking Rodrigues on the face and holding out his paws to Mendonca’s uncle, Aaron Harris, as they visited the dog in Turlock.

The dog’s owner’s sister, Diane Rodrigues, says he plays with small children without a problem.

“He has never shown any aggression whatsoever to anyone I have ever seen,” said Rodrigues. “That’s why it’s so shocking what has happened,” said Harris.

A Facebook campaign to save his life has gotten a thousand signatures.  One of those who signed was Mendoza’s friend Dominique Carvalho, a dog groomer.  She says Alaskan Malamutes are not inherently aggressive despite their size.  She believes the 109-pound woman surprised Bold and invaded his space.

“It’s provoking them and they will strike at you if you provoke them,” said Carbalho.

One of Leedom’s friends was also attacked by Bolt in a separate incident.

Bolt’s supporters have hired an attorney to attempt to halt the execution and are seeking another hearing for the dog because they feel more evidence has come to light.  They also say they would accept another home for Bolt or assigning him to a dog rescue group.

McKenzie’s mother has her own attorney now too, and says human safety should be placed before the life of an aggressive animal’s life, adding  “I will not settle for anything less than the dog being euthanized.”

“There is absolutely no reason for the dog to be alive one more day.  No shelter or rescue will accept a dog with aggressive bite history,” said Rayanne Leedom.

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