As spectators arrived at Hoosier Pass, Colo., for the USA Pro Challenge bike race on Tuesday at about 2:30 p.m., two unrestrained Pit Bulls savagely attacked a 15-year-old Beagle named Heidi, who was attending with her owner. .
The incident occurred near the intersection of Colorado Highway 9 and Carroll Lane, where fans were gathering along the racecourse.
One of the Pit Bulls was wearing a collar, and bystanders grabbed it and pulled it off the elderly dog. But the other dog had no collar and efforts to stop its attack were futile.
The attack was so vicious and intense that it became apparent Heidi would not survive if it continued. At that point, a Summit County Sheriff’s Deputy ordered everyone to step back and he shot and killed the attacking dog, according to court records.
“We fully support the actions of our deputy,” said Sheriff John Minor in a news release.
“In my 24 years of law enforcement, I have never seen a more gruesome dog-on-dog attack. Given the fact that there were children and other adults in the immediate area, it appears by all accounts that the deputy had no other choice.”
Additional deputies responded to the scene and escorted the Beagle and her owner to a local veterinarian.
The owner of the pit bulls, Christopher Steven Crumbliss, 37, was cited for (1) Failure to Control a Pet Animal, (2) Failure to Prevent a Pet Animal Hazard and (3) Failure to License a Pet Animal, all designated as penalty assessments in Summit County. Crumbliss was ordered Thursday to pay court fines of $50 per penalty.
In addition, he faces a violation of Colorado Revised Statutes and is charged in Summit County Court with unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog, a Class 3 misdemeanor.
Crumbliss, who lived nearby came to look for his dogs after hearing the commotion, and told deputies they had escaped through a hole in his fence.
Heidi survived, but she will have to undergo several reconstructive surgeries, according to a Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, but the costs of those surgeries could play a significant role in Crumbliss’ punishment on the misdemeanor charge, if found guilty, reports the DenverChannel.com.
Under Colorado Revised Statutes, a Class 3 misdemeanor conviction can carry a maximum fine of $750, as well as victim restitution. As of Thursday the beagle had undergone an estimated $6,000 in reconstructive surgery.
This is not the first time Crumbliss has been cited for possessing a violent pet, the release stated.
In November 2010, Crumbliss pleaded guilty to Town of Breckenridge charges of vicious animal and animal running at large. Both of those charges involved the same dog that was killed Tuesday, the release stated.
In the 2010 case, Crumbliss paid court fines and fees, and was ordered to have no dog violations for six months. The surviving pit bull from Tuesday’s incident has been designated as a dangerous animal under state statute.
Heidi is still recovering.