Osage Nation responds to dangerous dog situation

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Congresswoman Paula Stabler on Sept. 22 introduced in the Osage Nation Congress a piece of legislation that would make it a violation of the ON's criminal code to keep unrestrained dangerous dogs. The bill also calls for making dog owners liable for damages and subject to criminal penalties.

Stabler introduced the legislation during the 2021 Tzi-Zho Session of the Osage Nation Congress.

Just two days earlier, ON Attorney General Clint Patterson issued a statement to the Journal-Capital through Senior Communications Coordinator Abigail Mashunkashey, lamenting that there had been a recent report of a dog attack in the Pawhuska Indian Village.

“The Osage Nation sends care to any individuals injured and wishes them a full recovery," Patterson said. "Our current law allows for a citation, however we are working alongside the Congress and Pawhuska Village Committee to tighten up our animal control laws and policies to address this type of unfortunate incident should it happen in the future."

The Osage News on Sept. 17 published an item headlined "Osage Nation Police: Leash your dogs," in which ON Police Chief Nick Williams is quoted as saying it is "unlawful to allow any unleashed dog to roam on the property of the Osage Nation, except for those being utilized for hunting specified game."

Williams also reportedly said the ON Police Department had been receiving "increased calls about unleashed dogs" in the Pawhuska, Hominy and Grayhorse villages.

The Journal-Capital recently spoke on two occasions with Ashley Allison, a 31-year-old woman who described having been attacked by three Pit Bulls as she was running for exercise along a street in the Pawhuska Indian Village.

Allison said she was running along Lookout, in the direction of Boundary, on Sunday, Aug. 29 when she was attacked and bitten. Allison said the dogs only stopped attacking her when another woman, who had apparently been alerted by her screams, ran at them.

"That was the only reason they stopped," Allison said.

Allison said that an ambulance responded to the incident and she received medical attention. She explained, however, that when Osage Nation police attempted to talk to a person who was thought to possibly be the owner of the dogs, that person denied her dogs were responsible and ordered the officers off of her property. The woman reportedly told tribal police that they could get vaccine information about her dogs from a veterinary clinic.

Allison said the ON police officers told her they could not do anything about the incident, even to issue a citation. She followed up on the incident by getting a Tetanus shot, and by obtaining a copy of what ON officers had written down about the attack and biting. She clarified that she figured out on her own that a Tetanus shot would be a good idea. No one advised her of that.

Allison explained that she felt she had trouble getting the ON police to follow up on the matter of obtaining vaccine information about the dogs. She said that she ended up visiting Pawhuska Police Chief Lorrie Hennesy, who called the veterinary clinic and got the vaccine information.

Two of the dogs thought to have been involved in the attack had not received vaccines, and a third had received a vaccine inoculation that had since expired, Allison said she learned. There was no quarantine of the dogs, she said.

As a result, out of an abundance of caution, Allison decided to take rabies shots. The shots were both expensive and painful, she said. Overall, between shots and other medical attention, Allison said she had incurred more than $5,000 of medical debt responding to the dog attack.

Allison also described receiving an unusual follow-up phone call from someone with the ON Police Department on Sept. 14, telling her the dogs had been located and viewed, but not answering her questions about where the dogs had been seen or what they looked like.