Did the Cleveland Kennel needlessly kill a dog over a neighborhood mail delivery dispute? Carl Monday Investigates

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - After eight months, mail delivery is back on Cleveland's Walden Avenue. Delivery was stopped at seven homes after mail carrier Jeffrey Glenn was attacked twice last year by a neighbor's dog called "Rocky." The dog charged at the carrier, latching onto his mail bag.

"I would say he is vicious, no doubt he could bite" said Glenn.

Janet Foster, Rocky's owner, thinks otherwise. "My dog didn't bite anybody, didn't do anything. There's no record of hurting no one" said Foster.

True, Rocky never actually bit the carrier, but the two attacks put Foster in the city's dog house late last year. Foster was sent to court for having an Animal at Large. The case wrapped up in December. Foster was found guilty and ordered to pay a fine.

The Division of Animal Control also told Foster she needed to get liability insurance for the dog, and construct a kennel in the backyard along with a few other items. In May, the Division of Animal Control made a random stop at her home on Walden Avenue to see where the insurance was, and if the kennel was constructed.

Foster was not in compliance.

The Division of Animal Control filed two new charges against Foster, and Cleveland Municipal Court issued a Summons to court.

Foster said she never received the Summons because she now has a P.O. Box and never received the certified mail.

According to Foster, she'd only found out about the two new charges in May after the Division of Animal Control came to her home in mid-June and seized her dog. Chief Animal Control Officer Ed Jamison immediately put the dog down. Last week, Foster appeared in court on the May charges, after Rocky's death.

"I said you didn't have to kill him. You have all these other dogs who attack and he didn't attack anybody. So why would you kill him? Why would you put him down?" asked Foster

We've tried repeatedly to get answers to those questions from folks at Cleveland's Division of Animal Control. With no response received, we did the next best thing. Our investigative team tagged along, as Janet Foster confronted Chief Warden Ed Jamison at the Cleveland Kennel.

"We don't have your dog anymore. It's been euthanized. Deemed dangerous. (You) Did not get into compliance" stated Jamison to Foster.

Jamison said Foster failed to get proper insurance for the dog and construct a kennel for Rocky in her back yard. Foster admits she only built the kennel and obtained the insurance after Rocky was removed from the home. But she says she never got the compliance letter the city claims it mailed out or a letter ordering her to appear in court.

But what about that compliance letter? Was it ever sent? Did it get lost in the mail? Remember, the post office stopped delivery to Foster and nearby residents. Foster did open a P.O. Box, but it wasn't there either. Records obtained by our investigative team show the letters still haven't been delivered.

When it comes to Cleveland's Division of Animal Control, a lot doesn't add up. In a phone call late Thursday afternoon , the City of Cleveland contact our investigative team and stated that Chief Animal Control Officer Ed Jamison extended himself multiple times to Foster to try and get her to come into compliance. In the end, Jamison told the City of Cleveland that he had to "follow the law." Which specific law that is, we've requested a copy of it.

As we reported back in May, the city has failed to enforce its own mandate – that dangerous dog owners who are cited post the required warning signs on their property.

We found only one of 40 cited dog owners have complied.

In fact, our investigative team has found that only five citations for failure to obtain insurance and post proper signage  have been issued in the past several years. That's the exact violation that ended Rocky's life.

We also shared the story of 4-year-old Ivy Farnham, seriously injured after she was attacked by a neighbor's pit bull inside a home on West 81st Street. Mom Tiffany wonders why, after three months, nothing's been done about the dog.

"I see the city's not going to do anything, it's been months now" said Farnham. The dog, even though it violently attacked a child, is still alive and home.

Christina Grace, the dog's owner, is claiming the attack was provoked and doesn't expect any charges. Grace said the child was teasing it with food,

Earlier this month, a little girl also on the city's west side named Anastasia was enjoying fireworks when she went inside a home and dropped food on the floor, startling two pit bulls. According to the Division of Animal Control report, both dogs mauled the little girl, then bite her mother and her mother's friend. Both dogs were seized by Animal Control. While in transport to West Park hospital. one of the dogs died from an owner inflicted gunshot wound and the second was ordered euthanized by Animal Control.

Why didn't the dog in Ivy Farnham's case receive a death sentence for violently attacking her, but a dog who bit a mail carrier's bag did? Isn't Ivy's case similar to Anastasia's?

Cleveland's Division of Animal Control doesn't seem to be following the same rules for all incidents. We've asked for interviews with Chief Animal Control Officer Ed Jamison more than enough times. Our interviews requested have been ignored.

The fact is, Janet Foster's dog Rocky never bit anyone and the city still put him to sleep. Even mail carrier Jeffrey Glenn sends his regrets saying "I don't like the fact that they put the dog down. We just want to do the job safely."

Foster says this is just round one in her fight with Cleveland. Like the movie that bears her beloved dog's name, Foster said she plans to take the city to the mat, over Rocky's death.

"Something's got to be done. Cause that's not right to put down an innocent dog. Whatever steps I got to take, that's what I'm gonna do," she said.

Cleveland Division of Animal Control - 216.664.3069

To learn more about dogs that pose a threat to public safety, click here.

Click here to find the animal complaint form to report a nuisance dog in your neighborhood.

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