http://mv-voice.com/print/story/print/2008/09/12/wolf-dog-stalks-old-mountain-view


Mountain View Voice

News - September 12, 2008

'Wolf dog' stalks Old Mountain View

Neighbors say it corners people in their yards — small terrier attacked last week

by Daniel DeBolt

Residents of the Old Mountain View neighborhood are up in arms over a large, aggressive dog that roams the area unleashed and is known to attack other animals — including a small Boston terrier last week.

For at least six years, neighbors say, a large grey husky named Sylas — but which neighbors call the "wolf dog" — has frightened people living near the 700 block of Hope Street. When it's spotted, people are known to yell "wolf dog" or "bad dog alert" before grabbing their children and running in the house.

Sierra Avenue residents are especially familiar with it: They say it's cornered people in their yards and approached growling and ready to attack. Even grown men have had to yell and scream to end threatening standoffs, neighbors say.

"This dog is scary, he stalks you," said one View Street resident. "I've got a broomstick I walk with now."

Neighbors say owner Linda Rowles of the 700 block of Hope Street has been ticketed many times for violating the city's leash law, but the problem persists. The dog was even seen roaming the streets a few days after last week's attack on Chloe, the small Boston terrier belonging to Kelly and Sam Rohlfs on Sierra Avenue. Kelly chased the big dog away after hearing what she described as a "scream." Chloe required 14 stitches as a result of the attack.

"It was just the latest — and bloodiest — incident with this dog," wrote neighbor Chris Petti in an e-mail.

Members of several households were gathered on the Rohlfs' front yard when police arrived.

"My 4-year-old was in tears and had a difficult time falling to sleep that night," said neighbor Kim Ragnartz in an e-mail. (The Voice has been flooded with e-mails from neighbors concerned about the dog after last week's attack.)

As for the police, neighbor Mark Deem wrote in an e-mail that "the laws on the books by which they have to abide simply don't give them the power to do more than they have, which is to repeatedly fine an owner who has told the police point-blank to just keep writing the tickets, that she doesn't care. There is nothing criminally that they can do until one of us or our children are attacked. That is just outright ridiculous, infuriating and completely unacceptable."

Police said they shared his concerns, but that the law is vague as to what a dangerous dog is. In the end, it's up to city attorney Michael Martello to make the call.

"It looks like this dog is being the scourge of the neighborhood, but it's the first we've heard of it," Martello said. "We've been pretty on top of these things when we get a complaint."

Sam Rohlfs said police initially wouldn't take a report. But City Council member Margaret Abe-Koga, who lives a block away and had heard about the dog before, said she contacted the city manager about the incident, and shortly afterwards the police chief directed officers to take a report.

Front door open

The owner of the dog, Linda Rowles, lives with her grown son on Hope Street, at an address known to police dispatchers who get calls about various domestic disturbances there, neighbors say. Attempts to contact her were not successful.

Reached at home, Rowles' son told the Voice that "Maybe the dog should be put down," and noted that his mom would be around "when you find her."

Although some residents say Rowles has been working at improving communications with her neighbors, others say they have given up trying to talk to the family. Some of the braver residents have started walking Sylas back to the house themselves after it escapes through a front door left open.

Neighbors said they suspect that when complaints about the dog get too hot, Rowles will leave town with it for weeks or months. But it always comes back.

'A real threat'

Pam Walton of Yosemite Avenue said that over a year ago, as she was walking down Hope Street, Sylas "grabbed one of my dogs by the neck and shook her." She called the police but no report is on record, said Tony Lopez of the Mountain View Police Department.

"The dog is a real threat to small animals and even small children," Walton wrote in an e-mail. "It will be a blot on law enforcement in Mountain View if a child or animal is killed, perhaps even grounds for a lawsuit."

The Voice also received an e-mail from Yosemite Drive resident Cheryl Dewey, who found her cat dead on her front lawn Monday morning. She said vets at Adobe Animal Hospital told her the cat "was attacked by another animal, and suffered crushed ribs and internal injuries."

Another man who spoke anonymously said his small puppy was attacked by the dog a year and a half ago, causing minor injuries. He never called the police and said he didn't want to give his name because he doesn't trust the dog's owners.

"I'm not sure who I'm afraid of more, the people who live there or their dog," said neighbor Lisa Reiche, who said the dog once growled threateningly at her daughters.

Sam Rohlfs had to look up Rowles' mailing address at the county assessor's office to have veterinary bills reimbursed for Chloe, and said he found that Rowles also lives at an "intentional community" on Page Mill Road called Struggle Mountain — a Los Altos Hills commune where folk singer Joan Baez once lived. A resident of Struggle Mountain told Rohlfs that the community has never had any problems with the dog.

But that's not the story from residents of Old Mountain View, where the dog lives in a house backed up to Castro Street storefronts.

"Having this dog in the neighborhood is especially frustrating and upsetting because the children and adults on the block like to gather in the summer evenings in our front yards to socialize and watch the kids play," Ragnartz said in an e-mail.

If city attorney Martello decides to take action, the dog will be picked up pending hearings, at which Rowles will be given a chance to state her case. The dog could be put to sleep or given to a new owner, police said.

"You have no idea what a relief that would be — to be able to sit outside and not have to keep an eye open," said Sam Rohlfs, who added, "We don't want it euthanized; we just want it out of our neighborhood."

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

Comments

Posted by Ned, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 11, 2008 at 8:56 pm

What kind of crappy reporting is this? The Voice hits a new low. Sounds like a dog lynching is in the works.


Posted by GreenBean, a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 12, 2008 at 7:40 am

I have met this dog. It was on a leash, with his owner. From far away Sylas seems imposing - he is a big dog -, and his mix doesn't help either. I think he's horribly misunderstood. I walked up to him, said hello, and received a wave of rubs and gentle nudges. It must be hard for pet owners to not have a grudge against anyone who causes their pets harm, I get that. But I think that there is a lot of ignorance here, and ignorance often raises the fear factor.

I have to agree with Ned. What kind of reporting IS this?

Praise to Ms Rowles also, for attempting to stay above this "noise".


Posted by Kelly Rohlfs, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 12, 2008 at 8:16 am

It is not a dog lynching and we are not acting out of irrational fear. The people on our block who have small pets and small children, who live withing a few hundred feet of this house, have 6 years of very bad experience with this dog. The dog has a bad owner who lets the dog run wild day and night. We do not hold a grudge against this dog - we wish it no harm. But more importantly we wish no harm to the darling children who live on our block. I don't know how we are "misunderstanding" how the dog attacks our pets, not only mine but many of my neighbor's pets, or how it repeatedly threatens to attack us and the small children. We can't sit on our front porch with our small dogs without keeping an eye out for the threatening dog, we can't let our dogs enjoy the sunshine on our fenced in front lawn. The only responsible thing to do as a member of the community is to take action to ensure this dog is relocated.
When I read you are praising the dog owner, you can't possibly know to which house we refer. To put this in a very nice way, the dog lives in a house where the owners appear to have a combination of mental illness and drug abuse. They are on a first name basis with every Mountain View police officer, and the 911 dispatch can send a squad car out based on the address "the crazy people on Hope Street". When my husband and I walked around the few blocks near our house to talk to neighbors about this dog, EVERY person we spoke with knew the dog, had seen it off leash numerous times, had been threatened by the dog, or had their pets attacked by this dog. So, bad dogs do exist, and bad dog owners do exist. I would caution others to try to defend this dog without really knowing the whole story because if we are not successful as a community in solving this problem then we are all guilty of the future consequenses.


Posted by Sam Rohlfs, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 12, 2008 at 8:58 am

A dog lynching in the works? Praise to Ms Rowles for staying above the noise? There is a lot of ignorance here? What rude, ridiculous, and uniformed things to say. We have dealt with this dog and this family for over 6 years. You met the dog once? Who is the ignorant one? I am stunned that you can flippantly dismiss our plight, the MV Voice article, and my dog's 14 stitches. Who are you to trivialize our situation as noise? You should be ashamed.


Posted by Steve-O, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 12, 2008 at 9:13 am

GreenBeen, I believe you are an idiot sir. Good Day


Posted by Enough, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 12, 2008 at 9:28 am

I've had several encounters with this dog. He's big and looks menacing. So are a lot of people. But in this case, and in the case of many big people, he's a very friendly dog if you just give him a chance. I'm generally suspicious of people who take this sort of invective to the press, and equally of the press that prints it.


Posted by Why Judge?, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 12, 2008 at 10:04 am

It is as simple as a dog with some history (I blame the owner) that was loose and injured another dog in her own yard. There is no need for people to comment on whether they think it is newsworthy or not. There has got to be better things you can do with your time. Go make your own "more worthy" news for the Voice to print.


Posted by mv, a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2008 at 10:43 am

While I definitely agree that there is a problem with this dog, the Voice needs to start writing like a real paper and less like some cheap tabloid.


Posted by Sally, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 12, 2008 at 11:01 am

Try making friends with the dog. It sounds like it would be a good neighborhood protector.

Animals just react, they don't really think much. Fear is something they WILL react to.


Posted by The Judge, a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 12, 2008 at 11:08 am

Why judge others, "Why Judge?"?

People can say whatever they like. Welcome to america!

P.S. About the story - we don't live in a lawless land. Call the police if there is a problem. Let the laws in place deal with this. If you don't report it to the police, its your problem.


Posted by Amazed, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 12, 2008 at 11:30 am

"Sally"...

- Really? Make friends with the dog that ripped up your terrier, killed a cat, and threatens children? Good call...you don't live on that block so don't throw out ideas that make absolutely no sense.

"The Judge"...

- Did you even read the article? Honestly? If you actually took the time to read the whole thing you would know that they called the police and they failed to take a report. There aren't laws in place to deal with "this", which in turn prompted this whole thing.

People need to put themselves in this family's position. If this was YOUR dog , YOUR family, and took place in YOUR neighborhood you wouldn't be making senseless comments.


Posted by Frank, a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 12, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Based on the comments here, I'm more on the "Wolf-Dogs" side. Sounds like a whiner neighborhood to me.


Posted by The Judge, a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 12, 2008 at 1:57 pm

To "Amazed",

Well, first off, I'm "Amazed" you didn't even read the article after saying that I didn't read it! Truely Amazing indeed. Try again, maybe you'll see "He never called the police" in there. Do you understand the meaning of "He never called the police"? It means "He never called the police".

If its a problem, call the police. If you don't call the police, its your problem.

Get a lawyer if you don't understand the law.


Posted by Advocate, a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Hey "judge" guy:

"As for the police, neighbor Mark Deem wrote in an e-mail that "the laws on the books by which they have to abide simply don't give them the power to do more than they have, which is to repeatedly fine an owner who has told the police point-blank to just keep writing the tickets, that she doesn't care. There is nothing criminally that they can do until one of us or our children are attacked. That is just outright ridiculous, infuriating and completely unacceptable."

Police said they shared his concerns, but that the law is vague as to what a dangerous dog is. In the end, it's up to city attorney Michael Martello to make the call."

No too bright, for a judge.


Posted by Amazed, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 12, 2008 at 2:49 pm

To "The Judge"...

First of all, the quote

"Sam Rohlfs said police initially wouldn't take a report."

This refers to actual person involved in this story.
Since I LIVE in the neighborhood, and I was told by the ACTUAL people that witnessed the attack, I KNOW that the police were called and they arrived on-site but declined to take a report.

"He never called the police and said he didn't want to give his name because he doesn't trust the dog's owners..."

This quote is about a whole another incident regarding a totally different family! Maybe that owner really is afraid of the owners down the street and didn't want to be targeted?

Seems to me there have been a lot of incidents building up to this, and this was the straw that broke the camel's back. I am glad this family is finally speaking out against the behavior of this dog, and its irresponsible owners. Its just too bad their dog had to get attacked before something was done, as there could have easily been children in the yard.

Your argument makes no sense at all, so stop wasting your breath on a situation you know nothing about.


Posted by Amber, a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 12, 2008 at 4:58 pm

dysfunctional families create dysfunctional communities.


Posted by dog lover, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 12, 2008 at 6:01 pm

looks like the doggie is gonna end up paying for neighbors who are afraid of its owner who they trying to get in trouble


Posted by Sympathetic, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 12, 2008 at 7:37 pm

I live in the neighborhood but don't believe this dog comes as far as my street. I know the house referred to however and have always assumed its' occupants inherited the property because of the amount of junk in the yard. It appears that the owner has a problem parting with anything. To each his own.

Maybe calling the humane society whenever he runs loose might help. My gentle dog, "the great escape artist," used to take himself on walks even following our regular route. Until we saw him open the gate himself one day, It sure was a hassle going down to Santa Clara to bail him out of dog jail.

Obviously the dog's owner has little respect for her neighbors. If it is as dangerous as is described and the city can be of no help, perhaps the families involved can "relocate" the animal to a better home themselves.


Posted by Ned, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 12, 2008 at 7:44 pm

Good post Sympathetic. And I thought my dog was the only escape artist.

The owner of the wolf dog probably just needs to get the dog fixed to control its wander lust. Gee... I can hardly wait for next week's Voice headline: "White Boy Wolf Dog Getting Preggers."


Posted by Donna H., a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 12, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Ned, the woman who owns the dog doesn't seem to want to do anything about the dog. She told the police to just keep writing her tickets, that she doesn't care. The dog escapes through the front door of the house when it's left open, which apparently happens frequently. And if you read the article, you will see that this dog has attacked other pets and threatened some number of people, cornering them in their yards and coming at them growling and ready to attack. The Boston Terrier it attacked required 14 stitches. I like dogs, but I wouldn't want one like that in my neighborhood; and I'd be after the city to do whatever they could to make my street safe.


Posted by McCain 08, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 13, 2008 at 8:00 am

Why doesn't someone just shoot it? It's only a dog.


Posted by obama 08, a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 13, 2008 at 10:50 am

Good Call McCain 08-shooting a gun in a residential neighborhood is against the law and immoral, just as attacking a country (Iraq) pre-emptively. I'm thinking your "handle" is in reference to your political affiliation, which explains a lot. Bush clones (McCain & Palin) think nothing of shooting defenseless animals (see Palin shooting wolves from low-flying aircraft or slitting a moose's throat with her child present. They think nothing of killing INNOCENT CIVILIANS in the Middle East. It's funny that whiney yuppie REPUBLICANS care more for their prestigious address in "old" Mtn View than a neighbor who may just need a friend. HAs anyone ever tried to reach out to this person instead of condemming her for her "junky" yard and wayward dog?


Posted by Palin 08, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Since when is it immoral to shoot a gun? To kill a dog? The pro-choice county and state kill dogs all the time. It's all about population control for democrats.


Posted by obama 08, a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 13, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Good point Palin 08. I meant shooting at dogs randomly would be immoral, not to mention illegal. Don't you think shooting dogs is a little extreme? Next, it'll be okay with your kind to shoot quirky neighbors or Democrats! I believe in "no kill" shelters and I also believe animals have kinder souls than many "civilized" people who live in our fair city. I'll make sure my dog wears his Kevlar whenever we walk by your house! Take Care Now.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 13, 2008 at 8:58 pm

Isn't there a leash law in this city? There is a law that forbids dogs to bark for more than 10 minutes at a time. These laws aren't aimed at the animals, but at the owners. Clearly the owner of "wolf dog" is plain lazy. Dogs require walking, training and attention. This dog just seems neglected and untrained. "Wolfie" might be a nice dog if he was placed with a responsible family.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2008 at 7:44 pm

I just moved into the area and have been running in the neighborhood and am scared now reading this article. I can't believe that all the police are doing is writing tickets! Isn't there any leash laws? And why are they not being enforced? feel like I've moved to the Wild West instead of Old Mt. View. Aren't dog owners responsible for their dogs? Who in their right mind would have their dog roaming freely around this area where anyone can get bitten especially with the downtown traffic? Do we have to have a Diane Whipple incident here for the city/police to step in???


Posted by Palin 08, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2008 at 8:15 pm

Kate, a little irrationale, no? Remember, this is only a story in the Voice. If you are new to Mountain View, you will soon see that the Voice is notorious for articles based little in fact.


Posted by Chris, a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 15, 2008 at 1:51 am

Why is everyone waiting for another Diane Whipple style attack?


Posted by Get real folks, a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2008 at 11:44 am

I seriously doubt that the owner of this dog is a lesbian hating, white supremicist, disbarred lawyer looking for a little sport killing, which was what the Diane Whipple homicide was REALLY about.
The Husky breed, like all sled syle dogs are not bred nor are they dispositioned to fight or kill such as Pits, Canary's or other similar breeds.
Bad habits that the owner cannot deal with is a completely different issue.
Why don't you pick on the basketball headed Pitbulls that are constantly paraded around by the gang bangers of the once safe streets of this formerly lovely town?


Posted by YOU get real, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 15, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Your a joke. No one is "targeting" a breed, its just one bad dog. Close your mouth, turn off your computer and get into the closet where no one can hear your retarded opinions.


Posted by Melissa, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 15, 2008 at 1:10 pm

I saw this dog out in my apartment complex (middlefield rd) this morning at 7am while I was walking my dog ( toy chi). While the dog was just going to the bathroom, my dog began to bark and shake, which she actually never does despite her breed. I originally had laughed at the story because as someone coming from LA, I thought that it was funny to see something like that on the front page. Until I actually encountered this dog myself that is. I grabbed my dog and ran, which I know may be as a result of group hysteria...but its better safe than sorry. From now on, I plan to walk with my baseball bat and a can of mace. I'd rather defend myself, my dog, and small children and risk answering questions later. It is kind of sad actually, that because of this owners arrogance and lack of compliance, it puts this dog at risk of harm because when push comes to shove, people will protect their pets and families if they need to.


Posted by Get reat folks, a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Hello YOU Get real-

I am no joke. Either are the gang bangers and mean ugly dogs that plague Mtn. View, a place where I would never buy a house again, spend money or time in again.
FYI, my mouth was not open when I wrote my OPINION and any retardedness that you "hear" probably come from your close minded a** puckering fearful homophobic 3cell brain.

any time, any where, I can and will beat you.
As for the "closet", maybe you should go in and hang from a rope that you are at the end of...
have a beautiful day!


Posted by Scott, a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 15, 2008 at 2:40 pm

By the posts here, it seems like this dog is right where it should be.

I'm so glad I don't live in that hateful "community".


Posted by Liz, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 15, 2008 at 3:53 pm

It seems that there is an issue here with this dog. This dog did attack another little dog who is lucky to be alive. What I want to know is why animal control has not been called and had this dog picked up ? Also does anyone know if the person who's dog attacked the little dog did they pay the vet bills ? If not take her to court.


Posted by Eric, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 17, 2008 at 2:17 pm

I'm surprised at the stupidity of most of the comments here.

I've had my own run in with this dog (late at night, it ran up to a friend's yard and growled and barked at me as I was leaving the house, as if it was going to attack.) It's probably poorly trained and abused.

The owner is clearly a loser (you should see the front-yard, it's a mess,) and should be held accountable. I hope she feels humiliated a little bit, at least.


Posted by Nuge, a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 19, 2008 at 9:03 am

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Problem solved.

Oh gubmint, please save me from this awful beast!