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Senator Curd’s Mastiffs Send Woman to Hospital, Require Policeman to Fire Weapon

In other news of improperly restrained animals, two Tibetan mastiffs on the loose in Sioux Falls yesterday morning bit a cop and almost killed one lady:

One of the dogs bit an officer on the thigh, Sgt. Aaron Benson said. He shook himself loose and then fired two shots when the dog approached him again.

Neither dog was hit by the gunshots.

The officer was treated at Avera McKennan Hospital. It is unknown whether the dog bite broke skin, but the officer had a knife in his pocket that the dog bit down on, according to [SFPD Capt. Greg] VandeKamp.

Neighbor Jon Arneson, lawyer for the Argus Leader, saw the incident unfold. The injured woman took shelter in his garage after the attack.

“It occurred to a few of us that had she not managed to get into my garage, she could very easily have been killed,” Arneson said in an email to the neighborhood. “There is virtually no way she could have defended herself.”

By 7:40 a.m. both dogs were contained in an Animal Control vehicle. The dogs were current on vaccinations, Benson said [Megan Raposa, “State Senator Owns Dogs Who Attacked Woman, Officer,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2015.08.01].

Raposa notes that the now incarcerated dogs belong to Senator R. Blake Curd (R-12/Sioux Falls). The incident places Senator Curd in violation of Sioux Falls City Ordinance 90.002 (“…it shall be unlawful for any person to have any animal which is owned, kept, harbored or allowed to be habitually in or upon the premises occupied by him or her or under his or her control to be at large and to go in or upon the private premises of others or upon any public property”). Under Ordinance 90.003, the police chief may declare the animals vicious, but such a designation would not mean the animals will be killed. Senator Curd can save his mastiffs by satisfying these nine conditions:

  1. The owner of the animal shall notify animal control of any changes in the following:
    1. Ownership of the animal;
    2. Name, address and telephone number of a new owner;
    3. Address change of the owner or any change in where the animal is housed;
    4. Any change in the health status of the animal; and
    5. Death of the animal.
  2. If the animal is indoors, the animal shall be under the control of a person over 18 years old;
  3. If the animal is outdoors and attended, the animal shall be muzzled on a leash no longer than six feet and under the control of a person over 18 years of age;
  4. If the animal is outdoors and unattended, the animal must be locked in an escape-proof kennel approved by animal control. Minimum standards shall include the following:
    1. Fencing materials shall not have openings with a diameter of more than two inches. In the case of a wooden fence, the gaps shall not be more than two inches.
    2. Any gates within the pen or structure shall be lockable and of a design to prevent the entry of children or the escape of the animal;
    3. The required pen or structure shall have secure sides and a secure top. If the pen or structure has no bottom secured to the sides, the sides shall be imbedded into the ground or concrete;
    4. The pen or structure shall protect the animal from the elements; and
    5. The pen or structure may be required to have double exterior walls to prevent the insertion of fingers, hands or other objects.
  5. The animal shall be permanently identified by injecting an identification microchip into the animal using standard veterinarian procedures and practices. The number and the veterinarian who injected the microchip are to be reported to animal control;
  6. A universal sign denoting a vicious animal shall be displayed on the kennel or enclosure and on a place visible from the sidewalk or road adjacent to the property where the animal is kept;
  7. The owner shall carry $100,000 animal liability insurance covering the medical and/or veterinary costs resulting from the vicious actions or any other damage the animal may do or cause to be done. Proof of insurance shall be filed with animal control;
  8. The owner shall present proof of current rabies vaccination and current city license of the animal to animal control; and
  9. The owner shall present proof the animal has been altered to prevent reproduction to animal control [Sioux Falls City Ordinance 90.003(c), “Vicious Animals,” downloaded 2015.08.01].

Dakota War College, which has often advocated killing mountain lions out of fear that the beasts might attack us and our cattle, makes sure he clips the newspaper article to include Senator Curd’s statement that he feels really bad about “this unfortunate circumstance,” then offers this fuzzy commentary:

We certainly hope everyone involved is ok. That’s scary stuff, and but for the grace of God, could happen to any of us. As domesticated as they are, dogs are still animals [Pat Powers, “State Senator’s Dogs Involved in Biting Incident,” Dakota War College, 2015.08.01].

But for the grace of God? How about the grace of a better fence, Blake?

Folks, I love dogs. But if your dog bites one of my family members and sends her to the hospital, I will expect your dog to be dead by morning. Raise and pen your dog right, and attacks like this don’t happen.


  1. mike from iowa 2015-08-01 14:10

    or the grace of more capable fools.

  2. Rorschach 2015-08-01 14:20

    Dr. Curd’s dogs mauled the hell out of that lady and the police officer who responded to the call. But she ain’t seen nothing yet compared to the mauling Dr. Curd’s lawyers are going to put on her when she brings her claim for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. By the time his lawyers are done with her she’ll rue the day she ever punched his dogs in the mouth with her arm and her leg.

  3. Nick Nemec 2015-08-01 15:49

    It’s started. On Facebook I’ve seen people who should know better claiming the dogs were provoked.

  4. Lynn 2015-08-01 15:59

    Nick, whatever happened to personal responsibility of the owners with keeping the public safe from their dogs?

    Now if she would of been armed and properly trained by classes from for example the University of Sparta Dr. Blake would be owner of two dead dogs.

  5. Roger Cornelius 2015-08-01 16:03

    Do Mastiff’s ever turn on their masters?

  6. Dave 2015-08-01 16:13

    From Wikipedia: “Lack of consistent, rational discipline can result in the creation of dangerous, unpredictable dogs (although this is true of virtually every dog breed). The protectiveness of Tibetan Mastiffs requires alertness and planning by the owner in order to avoid mishaps when the dog is simply performing as a guardian. The breed is not recommended for novice dog owners.”

    I love dogs. I also love people who exhibit common sense. Owning mastiffs as house dogs in a city neighborhood makes no sense.

  7. scott 2015-08-01 16:17

    The cop must have been told who the dogs belong to, otherwise if this had happened in the ‘hood, I’m sure both dogs would’ve been shot dead on the spot.

  8. mike from iowa 2015-08-01 17:00


    This is an independent guardian breed who will not always look to you for guidance. He will enjoy your company and bond with you, but he won’t always obey you, especially in a situation in which he believes he’s right. The Tibetan Mastiff is stubborn and usually doesn’t do well in obedience or agility competitions.

    Tibetan Mastiffs are generally quiet dogs when their needs and living conditions are met, but if left outdoors at night they can be barkers. Of course there’s an easy solution: bring your dog inside.

    If you use a yard, make sure it’s well-fenced; Tibetan Mastiffs have been known to climb fences to escape. And be sure not to leave these dogs outside for very long because they may start to dig and become territorial and aggressive.

    Under certain conditions, Tibetan Mastiffs are tolerant with children in their own families, especially if raised with them. But they’re generally not well suited to homes with young children. Tibetan Mastiffs can mistake the yelling, screaming, and playing of visiting children as a sign of aggression and often won’t allow your child’s friends to come visit.

    This territorial drive can affect not only your children’s social life but also your own. If you are a social person with many people coming and going, this breed is probably not for you, as the Tibetan Mastiff may try to limit the number of people allowed into the house.

    Socialization is essential for this breed. It’s important to take your Tibetan Mastiff puppy and adult dog to as many dog-friendly stores, parks, and events as possible. Let him meet new people, but understand if he’s wary of specific people.

    Tibetan Mastiffs have a strong instinct concerning people, and if they don’t get over their initial dislike of a particular person, there’s usually a reason. Tibetan Mastiffs cannot be walked off leash and should be taken on several different routes during their daily walks to prevent them from becoming territorial of their walking route.

  9. Douglas Wiken 2015-08-01 17:07

    Sounds like a pet pig would be a better pet than mastiffs. At least the pig might eat grass.

  10. Jenny 2015-08-01 17:10

    Oh, but they’re really just sweet dogs. Just sweet as pit bulls, stupid owners.

  11. grudznick 2015-08-01 17:43

    Who among us has not shot a neighbor’s dog? I’m just sayin…

  12. MC 2015-08-01 17:47

    Grundznick, When shooting the neighbor’s dog, I use a paintball gun. it hurts like crazy and owner’s know their dog was somewhere where it shouldn’t be.

  13. Jenny 2015-08-01 17:48

    Absolutely should Dr Curd pay for this lady and the cop’s medical expenses. He should also be fined by the city.

    I know this latest incident involved Mastiffs, but I’ve noticed the pit bull debate is like the abortion and gun debate. Each side is firmly planted with their beliefs. The pro pit bull is all about the poor ownership. The anti-pit bull (me) is these dogs were bred to fight. There is some kind of mean gene in some of them that hasn’t been found yet by science. Trust me, I go to dog parks and these Pits are the bullies of the playground. I don’t trust them and they are a liability to their owners.

  14. El Rayo X 2015-08-01 18:17

    If the officer did not hit the dogs, where did the bullets end up?

  15. larry kurtz 2015-08-01 19:21

    Curd is a mastiff: why these predators are allowed to control the legislature without muzzles remains a mystery.

  16. John 2015-08-01 23:20

    I am thinking that sf police need to be spending more time at the range. Hope it wasn’t the same officer that unloaded 10 rounds at big foot in a sf park.

  17. leslie 2015-08-02 12:15

    sounds like a neighborhood problem. arneson esq./hon. curds (R.)

    I always like to repeat: “rapid city’s FIRST ordinance was a DOG ordinance” 1876.

    can we just get along people? NO

    power’s quote is HILARIOUS. dogs STILL animals. I once found it hilarious late lawyer duffey was excluded from the rez for taking on defense of trace occonnel’s “hate crime”. “hilarious” is NOT a good thing.

  18. daleb 2015-08-02 12:36

    Ever since my favorite Chinese restaurant closed down I’ve noticed a steady uptick in dog and cat violence. probably just a coincidence.

    In all seriousness I am surprised this doesn’t happen more. Dogs escape all the time. People spoil and care more about their dogs then, well, pretty much anything else. My dog wouldn’t do this or that, says pretty much everyone. Remember the viral video of the cat warding off a dog attack. Even those owners were in denial and shock, without the video they would have never believed it. Knowing the low class of some pet owners, they were probably more ashamed that their dog was afraid and fended off by a cat.

  19. Porter Lansing 2015-08-02 12:58

    Liberals of South Dakota have a real gem in Cory Heidelberger. Without his pen, true facts and a broad-minded opinion wouldn’t surface. I read Mr. Powers account of this event and I read Cory’s account. Capital “C” Conservatives now endorse loan sharks and justify bad dogs? When you tie your allegiance to a trash truck it’s bound to drag you down some distasteful alleys.

  20. Porter Lansing 2015-08-02 13:06

    @daleb … That attempt at humor was distasteful and racist. It offended me and I feel a need to tell you in this public forum.

  21. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-08-02 22:32

    Larry, your comment was very funny!

  22. larry kurtz 2015-08-03 09:02

    Thank you, Deb. Maybe think of Al and David Nostrup as Shih Tzus or Tim Rounds as a Pug.

  23. larry kurtz 2015-08-03 09:06

    Linda Daugaard has all the characteristics of a St. Bernard, Liz May looks like a Golden Retriever and Betty Olson bears a strong resemblance to a pit bull.

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-08-03 09:33

    I learn from John Woestendiek’s Ohmidog blog that Tibetan mastiffs can be a very expensive breed. I am curious about what Scott said above: why did the police officer’s two shots not hit these dogs? Was he understandably shaken and not aiming well? Or did he choose to violate protocol and draw his weapons to warn rather than to kill because he was concerned about destroying valuable four-legged property?

  25. 96Tears 2015-08-03 13:48

    This is a Jon Stewart moment waiting to happen. In cities throughout the nation, blacks and people of color are being gunned down or strangled by cops for walking or driving lawfully or for the most minor offenses. When the cops shoot, they have no trouble hitting that person of color in the head, the heart or some other vital organ.

    But when two cops are called to rescue a passerby who gets ripped up and bloodied by a couple expensive Tibetan mastiffs in some millionaires’ chic neighborhood, they shoot and they miss. They miss!!! Even after one of the cops gets mauled by the attack dogs! Was it because those maulers were owned by a very wealthy doctor who is also an influential Republican State Senator???

    It ain’t right!

    And here we are four days later and those dogs remain unharmed and in comfortable custody. Three days after she was pulled over by a Texas state trooper for failure to signal when switching lanes while being black, Sandra Bland had already “hanged herself” while in police custody.

  26. mike from iowa 2015-08-03 14:31

    Ann Coulter may have been the inspiration for Afghan Hounds. Nice to know most Afghans have manners.

  27. Jenny 2015-08-03 16:28

    You’re right, something is not right with this story. A cop ought to be able to aim and shoot a big dog easily. Is there a history of these dogs causing trouble and the cops knew they’re owned by a dr? Never mess in a rich man’s neighborhood.

  28. 96Tears 2015-08-10 09:41

    In the right (wrong) neighborhood and if the dog doesn’t cost more than $2,000, and if the owner of the attacking hound doesn’t have Sen. Blake Curd’s political credentials, it looks like the Sioux Falls fuzz can shoot straight! From today’s Sanford Leader:


    Police officers shot a pit bull two times after the dog tried to attack them Saturday night in central Sioux Falls, police said.

    Police were at the intersection of W. Sixth Street and N. West Avenue at around 9 p.m. trying to determine where a child who was found in the area belonged.

    At that point, a passerby alerted the officers that a dog was attacking a man in a road adjacent to Burnside Park, Sgt. Michael Olson said in a news release.

    Two officers ran to the scene while another took the child into a patrol car. Once the officers approached, the pit bull stopped attacking the man and ran toward the officers, Olson said. One officer fired a shot that struck the dog, but the dog continued toward them. A second officer fired another shot and struck the dog again, resulting in the dog stopping in the middle of West Avenue, Olson said. The dog was transported by Sioux Falls Animal Control for medical treatment.

    Upon investigation, police determined the victim who had been initially attacked by the dog was actually the dog’s owner, Olson said. The man had been in an altercation with another man while seated in the passenger seat of a White Crown Victoria at Burnside Park. He told police he was robbed, and as he exited the vehicle, he was attacked by the dog.

    The man said he had been attacked by two to five people inside the car, but the passer-by who alerted police of the dog said he only saw one other person in the vehicle, Olson said.

    The victim sustained a bite to his left thumb, a swollen left cheek, a swollen left eye and abrasions to his left elbow. He declined medical treatment, Olson said.

    The victim told police he knew the man who was in the car. He described him as a black man who he only knows as “Memphis,” Olson said.


    To quote Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle: Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

  29. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-08-10 09:49

    Interesting, 96! A pit bull is a notably smaller target than one of Dr. Curd’s big dogs, isn’t it?

    And the dude was attacked by his own pit bull? Good grief.

  30. 96Tears 2015-08-10 09:51

    That dog ain’t got no loyalty! The Soo Foo cops must be improving their aim with dogs. Must’ve been some special training in the last couple weeks.

  31. mike from iowa 2015-08-10 10:44

    I hate to be cynical all the time,but those cops showed amazing restraint when shooting a dog-since it seems when a black suspect is being hosed down the police often reload and shoot some more. I don’t mean to imply SF cops would react that way.

  32. leslie 2015-08-10 11:12

    two good examples of the inherent dangers of being a cop, and during a time when racism and policing are producing such disastrous results.

    second amendment doesn’t apply to attack dogs that are still proliferating, it appears. are the mastiffs attack dogs? are “attack” dogs like “assault” rifles? are two attack dogs like high capacity clips/drums in a semi auto war gun? has the sx falls rep. explained the purpose of his two killler dogs? does he carry or conceal? did he carry in the capitol building? does he think james holmes was properly punished/treated for his mental illness?

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