Almiriam Montgomery loves to stop and smell the flowers. More than that, she loves her companion of 14 years, Domino the dog.
Walking with Domino in her Virginia Beach neighborhood used to be the favorite part of her day until the unexpected happened when a neighbor’s dog pounced.
"We were walking along our cul de sac as we normally do, and I got right about here,” says Almiriam Montgomery, a dog owner.
“She just jumped out and grabbed my dog from inside of the mouth to the outside and she just started shaking her,” says Montgomery. "And I'm freaking out because I can't protect my dog. So I got her home and there's blood everywhere.”
The code of Virginia defines what rises to the level of a so-called 'dangerous dog.'
Almiriam turned to Animal Control to take action.
"So Officer Casen came out and I told her what happened and she said we're going to court. This is a felony,” says Montgomery.
Did Domonio the dog get his day in court? Yes and no.
"The system is very flawed. This was an unprovoked attack,” says Montgomery.
It was time to get the other dog owner’s side of the story. Several cars were in the driveway, but no one answered after several knocks at the door.
Wayne Gilbert with Virginia Beach Animal Control told NewsChannel 3 the dog on dog attack is not in dispute, but where it happened affected the outcome.
"The victim dog owner testified that the bite actually happened actually occurred on the dog owner’s driveway making it on her property,” says Wayne Gilbert with Virginia Beach Animal Control.
That distinction is noted in the code of Virginia which says in part "no dog shall be found to be a dangerous dog if such attack occurs on the property of the attacking or biting dog's owner."
"We were not on the property and the judge said you were close enough,” says Montgomery.
"It's very hard to make a dangerous dog case on the dog owner’s property if the bite occurs on their property, versus an attack that happens on the dog owner’s property,” says Wayne Gilbert.
In this case, it was a question of inches between the street and the homeowner’s driveway.
Almiriam did not prevail in court leaving her frustrated.
“The court was no help. It was a waste of time, so what do you do to protect your animal,” says Montgomery.
Animal Control says each dog attack case is looked at individually to see how it meets the criteria of the dangerous dog law.
Take note: The code allows exceptions if a dog is on his home turf when the bite occurs. The court may see it as the dog protecting its property or owner.