Three days after a dog attack that left a 61-year-old Muskogee man in critical condition, the district attorney is considering criminal charges against the animals’ owner.
Glenn Boulet was attacked by two dogs Monday night near his residence in the 300 block of South Ninth Street, police Cpl. Mike Mahan said in a telephone interview. Boulet, who suffered severe lacerations to his face and arms, was flown to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, where he remains in critical condition.
“Animal control told me these dogs literally ripped (Boulet’s) face off,” District Attorney Larry Moore said. “They had to do reconstructive surgery, many reconstructive surgeries. It’s a wonder that we don’t have a death here instead of a serious injury.”
Following the attack, police there were about to issue three citations to the dogs’ owner — who has yet to be named by authorities — on municipal violations of failure to rabies vaccinate, harboring a vicious animal and allowing an animal to run loose, Mahan said. Each citation would carry a $249 dollar fine.
Moore said he asked the city to hold off on issuing those citations while his office determined whether more serious charges could be filed. Had citations been issued, the dog’s owner could have theoretically pleaded to them and paid the fines, meaning the DA’s office would be unable to file criminal charges — likely a misdemeanor, Moore said.
“It would be double jeopardy at that point,” Moore said. “So we’ve just asked the city to hold off until we get the reports back from animal control.”
Those reports would hopefully tell investigators whether the dogs, which have been killed and had their remains sent to Oklahoma City for rabies tests, had bitten people before. Mahan said neighbors had reported a few days before the attack that the two dogs had killed a rabbit and a cat.
If there have been previous bites recorded against people, Moore said he believes state statutes would allow him to file a misdemeanor against the dogs’ owner.
“This is something that we need to make people aware of,” Moore said. “If you have vicious dogs and you allow them to roam loose and they bite someone, well, you always have possible civil action, but there may be criminal action as well.”
As for Boulet, Mahan said the man would probably not be alive had it not been for the actions of two nearby residents. Mahan said the two men, Allen O’Laughlin and Thomas Harper, heard Boulet’s screams and began beating the dogs with baseball bats. When the dogs were not deterred by the bats, one of the men went back in his home and returned with a shotgun.
That briefly scared the dogs away, Mahan said, and the two men surrounded the wounded Boulet. One dog attempted to resume its attack and was shot with the shotgun.
“If it wasn’t for them, (Boulet) would have died,” Mahan said. “They saved (his) life. It’s the worst I’ve ever seen.”
Criminal charges have followed a dog attack in the county before. In 2012, Chelsea Richardson was charged with child neglect after her 2-year-old daughter was attacked by the family’s dog. She eventually pleaded guilty and received a five-year deferred sentence.