Held at….Dog Point? Man and Son Robbed by Pit Bull Owner

Date: July 11, 2011
Location: Salmon Street Plaza, Eastbank Esplanade, Portland
Names: Rodney Graves, Jan Leith Haga Jr.

Portland Police officers arrested a 29-year-old man who used a pit bull to commit a robbery Sunday evening. The victims were a Portland man and his 14-year-old son.

According to the story reported by the Oregonian, at 5:21 p.m. on July 11, Rodney Graves, 41, and his son were walking their bicycles on the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade, when they were approached by a man later identified as Jan Leith Haga Jr., 29, of no known address. Haga was walking a pit bull, which was on a leash. Haga then demanded the backpacks being worn by Graves and his son, and indicated he would set the pit bull on them if they did not comply. Graves resisted and threw his bike at Haga, but the suspect continued to threaten the father and son, who eventually gave in, gave him their backpacks. Haga then reportedly just walked away along the esplanade.

Graves immediately contacted police, who located Haga and the pit bull underneath the Morrison Bridge. The 14-year-old’s bag was recovered, but Graves’ bag was not. The pit bull was handed over to Multnomah County Animal Control, and Haga Jr. was charged with robbery in the first degree.

Animals, especially dogs, can be scary and dangerous when they become aggressive. It is legally the responsibility of animal owners to ensure that no one is harmed by their pets, but injuries caused by animals occur every day. In this case, the dog was virtually used as a weapon, similar to a knife or gun, to demand the handing over of private property.

Intentional assault cases can be complicated. Besides criminal charges, the assailant can also be held accountable in a personal assault case. Victims of assault may also be entitled to compensation under personal injury law, so it is important to understand your rights in this situation.

Even if the person who assaulted you cannot pay, sometimes their insurance company will. You might be entitled to economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. A skilled Oregon assault attorney can investigate this for you, and handle your case, so you can focus on healing and recovery. We hope Mr. Graves and his son are soon over this very trying ordeal.