The Santa Barbara dog owner suspected of interfering with Animal Control procedures and evading legal responsibility after her animal bit a 5-year-old child on the face could face charges for up to four misdemeanors and one infraction, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department (SBPD).
The SBPD identified Jean Frances Snyder, a 57-year-old Santa Barbara County resident, following an investigation into the July 5 incident during which Snyder’s dog allegedly bit a child attempting to pet her at a charity event. While SBPD spokesperson Riley Harwood could not say how severe the girl’s injuries were, he said she was taken to the emergency room. After the incident, Snyder reportedly walked away from the scene but was stopped by the victim’s father. Snyder provided contact information including a name and the dog’s license number — all of it allegedly false.
However, the victim’s mother stayed on the hunt, finding pictures of the suspect at another charity event and presenting them to the SBPD which then sent the photos out through its Nixle alert system, asking for the public’s help in identifying the woman. By July 17, SBPD had identified the suspect as Snyder, thanks to numerous tips from the community. Her name, at that time, was not released.
Now, the SBPD has recommended to the District and City Attorneys that Snyder face misdemeanor charges for concealing information about an animal to prevent quarantine, interfering with Animal Control duties, failing to report an animal bite, and failing to isolate or surrender a biting animal, as well as an infraction charge for not providing accurate information within 48 hours of an animal bite incident.
The misdemeanor charges stem from mischief that allegedly ensued when Animal Control officers responded to Snyder’s home. According to Harwood, Snyder reportedly presented a different dog to Animal Control officers, claiming it was the one responsible for the bite. Harwood said the real offending animal, described as a red chow mix, is not a first time offender — perhaps the reason Snyder appeared so intent on keeping it out of the hands of Animal Control.
As of press time, the District Attorney’s decision on Snyder’s charges has not been released.