Grand jury declines to indict pit bull owner

By Baker City Herald October 17, 2013 09:25 am

A Baker County grand jury declined to indict Mary Lane, the Baker City woman who owns the pit bull that killed 5-year-old Jordan Michael Ryan last month.

District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff announced the grand jury's decision this morning.

The grand jury "reviewed the case and has determined that there is insufficient evidence to support criminal charges" against Lane, according to a press release from Shirtcliff's office.

He said Ryan and his mother, Michele Ryan, went to Lane's home, at 1947 14th St., about 9 a.m. on Sept. 27.

Lane and Michele Ryan are friends.

While Lane and Michele Ryan were inside the home, Jordan went outside and entered a fenced area in the backyard where the pit bull was kept.

No one saw the attack start, but another child found Jordan being mauled by the dog. A call to 911 was placed at 9:06 a.m.

Baker City Police investigated the background of the dog and did not find any evidence that it had acted aggressively toward people.

Lane had owned the dog for about a month and a half, having acquired it from a John Day resident.

Neither the previous owner, nor other John Day residents who had been around the dog, had seen the dog act aggressively, police learned during the investigation.

The dog was euthanized on Sept. 30.

"This was a horrible tragedy that has had a great effect on our community, schools and most importantly Jordan's family and friends," Shirtcliff said in the press release.

"Our community has responded well and hopefully this tragedy will continue to raise awareness about the need to be vigilant about safety related to dogs with aggressive genetic tendencies."