Drinking in a Parking Lot may Cost a Local Homeless Man his Dog

June 16, 2010


 Tuesday morning Superior Court II was the site for a unique hearing involving one of Plymouth’s homeless citizen.

Todd Wagner has been homeless for a good portion of his adult life, spending most of it here in the town of Plymouth.  Ironically, Todd also found himself in a familiar setting, a Marshall County Courtroom.

On Tuesday the City of Plymouth was part of a preliminary court hearing intended to stop Todd Wagner from getting his dog back once he finished his current sentence in the Marshall County Jail.

“The hearing took place to make sure Mr. Wagner would not be able to have access to his dog once he finishes his sentence on June 22nd,”  said City Attorney Nelson Chipman. “We feel the dog is a dangerous animal considering a series of circumstances that have happened, deeming the animal ‘vicious.’   This hearing is a by-product of a June 8th incident involving Mr. Wagner, his dog and Plymouth Police”, added Chipman.

On June 8th the Plymouth Police Department received a call from a concerned citizen stating Mr. Wagner was drinking alcohol outside of the Aldies Supermarket in Plymouth. When police arrived, Officer Mark Owen asked Wagner to surrender the alcohol and leave the premises, to which Wagner became uncooperative. He was arrested and taken to the Marshall County Jail and charged with public intoxication and intimidation. The problem didn’t end there for authorities, as Wagner’s dog “Sheirky” was tied to a tree and not allowing officers to release it.

“This dog was very agitated. It didn’t help when Mr. Wagner yelled from the back of the police car, attack, attack,” said Officer Owen. “This dog would not let us get near it….to a point where we called Seven Oaks Veterinary for help. They brought food stuffed with three sedatives to try calm the dog down. And it still didn’t work! We spent an hour with dog trying to see if it would settle down,” Owen stated.

With help from the Marshall County Human Society, the dog was finally captured but not without a struggle.

“We couldn’t shoot it, our location was not the place to take that kind of action. We had a parking lot to the east and roads all around us. There was no way we were shooting the dog.”, said Owen.

Since being transported to the Human Society, Wagner’s dog has been a handful to handle at his new residence.

“Since the dog has been here, it’s been in fights with other animals to a point where we have had to make a huge special kennel for him just to separate the animal from others,” said Nancy Cox, Director of the Marshall County Humane Society. “He is a dangerous dog. He has three incidents of biting people, including a 8 year child on May 1, 2008. He’s so aggressive which is sad to see because you can’t have it near anyone! This dog is part wolf. Just a beautiful dog. It just breaks my heart,” said Cox.

The animal physically seems alright, it’s had its shots for the next three years Cox said. She explained the reason behind the three year shots was so the veterinary clinic would not have to treat the dog for a while because of its behavior.

Cox added, “Area clinic’s are hesitant to treat this dog anymore because of it’s aggresiveness”.

Attorney Chipman stated a June 30th trial will determine whether the dog is deemed “vicious” by the court.  If Judge Bowen rules in favor of the City, necessary steps will be taken to handle the dog and it will not go back to Mr. Wagner.