Jacki Clark stood before the Rocky Ford City Council members and pleaded for something to be done about vicious dogs in town. She told the panel she is still recovering from a dog attack that occurred in September.
“The reason I haven’t come forward yet is because I have a lot of PTSD from this situation and I have a hard time dealing with it,” Clark said at council's June 25 meeting.
Clark said she moved to Rocky Ford from Aurora in June 2018. Three months later, she was attacked by two dogs while walking home.
She was initially able to deter the dogs by hurling rocks in their direction but, as she turned to make her way home, they jumped her from behind. Once she was on the ground, the dogs began to bite both of her legs, Clark said.
Clark related that she kicked to get the dogs off of her, but they would jump her again. She said that scenario happened four times.
Clark's screams for help brought others to her aide, but whenever someone tried to help her, the dogs would then go after those individuals.
“Eventually, I hopped away with one foot," Clark told the council members. "I didn’t realize how badly I was hurt until I saw part of my body parts on the ground.
"At that point, I saw a pickup truck and I went crawling and hopping over to it. The dogs actually followed me to that truck and bit me again."
Clark said the attack has left her with permanent nerve damage in her legs and PTSD. She has also lost nearly all of her income because she isn't able to work.
“I can't help but think - because I've done some study - that if there had been some animal enforcement, not the police department, I’m thinking this wouldn't have happened to me,” she said.
Clark reported the attack to the police department, but the chief didn’t deem the dogs to be vicious due to lack of proof, she said. Then the officer in charge of releasing information about her case to the Rocky Ford Gazette didn’t do so in a timely manner, she said.
“They didn’t report it until Oct. 18 and this is what they put in the paper: Sept. 23 Rocky Ford police were dispatched to 12th and Chestnut concerning a dog bite. Upon arrival, officers were informed that Jacki Clark had been bitten by a dog. Clark went to the emergency room and was treated for her injuries,” she said.
After hearing Clark’s story, City Manager Shannon Wallace said she would look into the matter and see what she can find out about the case.
Peggy Sue Romero then spoke to council about a run-in her daughter had with dogs in town.
“We’ve been in a situation where my daughter was chased by a vicious dog," Romero said. "She’s eight months pregnant and was chased down our street in front of J.R.’s house and our house, by a dog that’s been reported at least 30 times minimum for being out of the yard, and nothing was done."
Councilman Dexter Bucksaid, “After hearing Jacki… we’re kidding ourselves if there isn't a lawsuit percolating out there."
Buck also brought up an experience he had where he was charged by a German shepherd. That situation stuck with him, he said, and argued that council should take action.
Mayor J.R. Thompson responded there isn’t enough money in the budget to hire an animal control officer. He encouraged council members to come up with a solution.
“I’ll find $30,000 in here and rip it out of somebody's budget,” Buck said.