Owners of dog killed in Lincoln Park find responsible party

One of the owners of a dog who died of his injuries after being attacked near Lincoln Park said they have “a degree of closure” after finding the owner of the dog who bit their pet.

Shaye Chirotarrab told the Town Crier that she and her family are feeling a little bit better now that they have tracked down the owner of the chow chow accused of clamping down on her Yorkie terrier Mike’s stomach Feb. 18. Mike was rushed to a nearby animal hospital and did not survive after undergoing a four-hour surgery.

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Courtesy of the Chirotarrab Family
A still from private surveillance video footage shows a woman whose Chow Chow-retriever mix, also pictured, is suspected of killing the Chirotarrab family’s Yorkshire terrier, Mike, Feb. 16 in Lincoln Park. After going door-to-door in her neighborhood, listed on Nextdoor, the family was able to figure out that she was the owner. A joint investigation by the Los Altos Police Department and Palo Alto Animal Services is ongoing.

“It would have been awful to not have resolution regarding who it was and whose dog it is,” Chirotarrab said Feb. 25. “(We) are trying to do something effective to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else’s animal.”

Chirotarrab, who was walking the family’s Yorkies Mike and Attia at the time of the mauling, said she and her husband found the chow chow’s owner – a fellow Los Altos resident – via Nextdoor and knocked on her door. A neighbor informed them that she was out of town, likely recovering from a leg injury at her sister’s home. The chow chow’s owner was using a knee scooter when the dog got away from her and attacked Mike, according to the Chirotarrabs and surveillance footage of the woman when the mauling took place.

The Chirotarrabs said the neighbor – only identified as Debbie – told them she walked the chow chow once, approximately four years ago, and it attacked a small dog in the neck area. The injured dog needed stitches.
Officials from the Los Altos Police Department and Palo Alto Animal Services said they have no record in their databases of the previous attack.

According to the Los Altos Municipal Code, a dog is considered a potentially dangerous animal if it has attacked two animals in a 36-month period, Los Altos Police Captain Katie Krauss said.

But Chirotarrab is convinced that it wasn’t the chow chow’s only act of aggression prior to last month’s attack.

“I would put money on it that her dog has gotten ahold of another dog in her presence,” Chirotarrab said. “My client is an animal behaviorist and when she watched the video of the attack she called the chow a killer dog. There was no provocation – he just lunged.”

Shaye’s husband, Martin Chirotarrab, received a text message about a week after the attack from the chow chow’s owner in which she described the incident as a “perfect storm” of events. Her dog had not been walked in a long time and he doesn’t like small dogs, she texted.

However, Shaye said there were no warning signs, like growling or stiffening of the body, that warned her Yorkie that the chow chow was going to attack.

“Her dog doesn’t like small dogs, to the degree of attacking them,” she said. “It shows a complete lack of ownership responsibility of your animal. Buy a muzzle and put it on your dog. It’s a no-brainer.”

A muzzle was the only thing that could have stopped the incident from happening, Shaye said. Because of the chow chow owner’s condition and her dog’s stature, “all freaking hell broke loose” when the dog launch itself at Mike, she said. Shaye doesn’t think a muzzle would be fitting punishment.

“It’s not this dog’s first or even second time,” she said. “Somewhere along the line I feel (the owner) truly has to face the consequence of her actions. If her dog has to be put down, it’s 100% her fault.”

As she worked to calm her pained animal that afternoon, Shaye said the chow chow’s owner did offer to help. Afraid to freak her dog out anymore, Shaye sat on the curb quietly until her husband and daughter arrived. A good Samaritan nearby noticed Attia attempting to get into the street and corralled her back in as they waited.

“I never spoke a word to her, not a single word and I don’t want to in my lifetime,” Chirotarrab said of the chow chow’s owner. “She offered to pay the costs and wanted us to just accept all of it… we have no bearing on the decision of animal control… get your checkbook out and if you’d like to, we’d be grateful for you to pay for it, but we have no legal reclaim.”

As they await animal control’s report on the attack, the Chirotarrabs aren’t concerned about the money.

“I would pay twice over if I could have my boy back,” Shaye said. “Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. I would not wish this on my worst enemy. It’s a goddamn nightmare.”

The Town Crier attempted to contact the chow chow’s owner via multiple email addresses listed online, but she did not respond and her Nextdoor account was no longer active.

To read our original coverage of the dog attack, visit https://bit.ly/37Y2o1n.


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