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2 dogs, a cat and 2 irate neighbors

When a neighbor's dogs kill his cat, a man calls authorities. Ultimately, one dog is euthanized.

By LOGAN NEILL
Published January 31, 2007


BROOKSVILLE - Although he doesn't own a dog himself, Ron Daniel was certain the vicious snarls he heard outside his front window Saturday signaled that something wasn't right.

He and his wife, Janet, stepped outside to see two dogs dashing through the yard of his home on Lake Lindsey Road.

Daniel managed to chase one dog, a German shepherd, off his property. The other dog, a pit bullterrier mix, came back several times before Daniel was able to chase it off for good. It was then that he realized what all the commotion was about.

Underneath an oak tree lay the mauled body of his 8-year-old cat, Beauregard. The sight angered Daniel, who immediately called the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

According to a Sheriff's Office report, Daniel told a deputy and a Hernando County Animal Services officer that both dogs belonged to his neighbor, Christopher Niswander, who lives at 18670 Lake Lindsey Road. Authorities then contacted Niswander, who claimed ownership to the animals. When Niswander refused to surrender the dogs, Animal Services issued him a $400 public nuisance citation.

It would not be the last encounter that Daniel would have with the two dogs. When they returned to his property Sunday afternoon, he again called authorities.

According to Lisa Brown of Animal Services, after being convinced the pit bullterrier was too aggressive to keep, Niswander agreed to surrender the dog and its seven 10-week-old puppies to Animal Services. The pit bullterrier was later euthanized; the puppies were turned over to an animal rescue agency.

In addition, Niswander was issued a license and vaccination citation for the German shepherd. Attempts to contact Niswander on Monday were unsuccessful.

Daniel, an environmental lands coordinator for Pasco County government and president of the Hernando Heritage Museum, said he was saddened by the outcome of the ordeal. He believes that had his neighbor constructed a fence to keep his dogs on his property, the incident might not have happened.

"The sad thing is that there are two animals dead," Daniel said, "and it wasn't necessary."

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@sptimes.com or 352 848-1435.