Corvallis Man Arrested, City to Euthanize His Dog

On Saturday, May 21, there was an incident at the Safeway on 3rd St. in which an emotional support dog was first tased then taken away by Animal Control. The story made its way onto Facebook, as these things tend to do, so we decided to attempt to put together all of the pieces. 

It began just before 2:30 p.m. at SW 9th St and SW Washington Way, on a residential street between Lonny Smith’s home and the Safeway where Smith works. He was skateboarding to the store to talk to his manager. Since it was his day off, Smith brought along Mary Jane, his 15-year-old pit bull support dog. Smith has had Mary Jane since she was a puppy, and she’s seen him through the death of his wife 13 years ago, the raising of his kids as a single father, and a time when Smith was houseless. 

Smith acknowledges that he was riding his skateboard on the street, and said that a driver nearly hit him. 

According to the police report, Smith was “yelling at his dog and hitting cars with a skateboard” when a driver called 911. The responding officers saw Smith and Mary Jane enter the Safeway, and found them inside the manager’s office.  

Smith said he was unaware that the police were there to talk with him, so he excused himself and began to leave the office. That was when the officers came up to him. 

Safeway Deli Manager, Brandi Campbell, said that, as the officers approached him and the dog, Smith warned the officers that Mary Jane was uncomfortable around police due to past incidents in which she was tased and/or taken to an animal shelter. Campbell said that Smith asked the officers to “move back” several times as Mary Jane became more distressed. 

Campbell and Smith agree that the officers pulled Smith’s arms behind him, and Smith ended up on the floor – by force according to Smith and Campbell, by resisting arrest according to the police. However it was that Smith ended up on the floor, he was still holding the dog leash as he fell, and Mary Jane was caught between his legs. She then began to bark and bit one officer on the arm – breaking the skin. 

An officer then tased Mary Jane to get her to let go of the other officer’s arm. She bit the second officer on the hand before Campbell was able to get her away from the commotion and into the manager’s office.  

Smith was taken to jail where he was given a court date, paid a fine, and was released. Mary Jane went to Heartland Humane Society where she will likely be put down. 

According to Corvallis Police Lt. Gabe Sapp, there have been two other issues in which Mary Jane was labeled “potentially dangerous” – which we are looking into. This most recent incident, according to Sapp, has caused the city to now consider the dog “dangerous” and unless a judge rules otherwise, Mary Jane will euthanized. 

If a judge rules in favor of the dog, then according to Municipal Code, whoever owns her must hold $300,000 worth of liability insurance on the dog, provide a “suitable structure or enclosure approved by the Animal Control Officer,” and muzzle the dog when she goes out of the home. 

By Sally K Lehman 

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