An Akron woman has been charged with 21 misdemeanors related to her pit bulls after authorities say the dogs bit several people.
Diane Yanke, 58, appeared Tuesday in Akron Municipal Court for a pretrial hearing on charges that include five counts of having vicious dogs and three counts of serious physical harm/dog.
She also is accused of not having insurance for the dogs, not having them secured or vaccinated and operating a kennel.
Akron Municipal Court records show Yanke has faced dog-related charges three other times since September. She was convicted twice and another case was dismissed.
A September incident on Archwood Avenue led to a vicious dog charge and five more pit bull-related charges. Four of the pit bull charges were dismissed, but Yanke, who pleaded no contest, was found guilty on charges of having a vicious dog and unsecured pit bull. She was sentenced in October to 180 days in jail, with all 180 days suspended, and ordered to obey all laws for one year.
Less than three months after the September incident came another incident on Dec. 13 on Merton Avenue in East Akron, leading to four more pit bull-related charges.
In February, Yanke was found guilty of having an unsecured pit bull in that case. She was sentenced to 60 days in jail, with all 60 days suspended, and ordered to obey all laws for a year and comply with all laws related to pit bulls.
Twelve days after Yanke pleaded guilty in that case, three dogs attacked four people. The 21 current charges Yanke faces stem from those two March 4 incidents.
The dogs knocked a 36-year-old Norton woman down as she was getting out of her van in the 800 block of Reed Avenue in East Akron and bit her along both sides of her body, from her torso to her feet. A 32-year-old Akron man heard the woman screaming and tried to fight off the dogs. He was bitten numerous times on the left arm.
The dogs then bit a 38-year-old Akron mail carrier on the leg, leaving puncture marks on his pants, but he didn’t believe the dogs bit his leg. He sprayed the dogs with pepper spray, and they ran away.
The dogs also bit a 57-year-old Akron woman walking on Milton Street on the head, arms and legs. A group of men driving by stopped to help her and hit the dogs with sticks to get them off her.
The man and woman from the first incident and the woman from the second incident were taken to Summa Akron City Hospital, all with extensive injuries from the attacks.
Police said the same three dogs were involved in both incidents. The dogs were eventually found in an East Akron backyard and taken by the animal warden. A city of Akron spokeswoman said Summit County Animal Control euthanized the animals.
Several people who were attacked by the dogs attended Tuesday’s hearing.
Sarah Friddle, who was bitten by one of the dogs, told News 5 Cleveland that Yanke has been given too many chances.
“Essentially doggie probation has done no good and it could have been so much worse,” she said. “It could have been a child that was killed. I feel all of these attacks could have been prevented if the court had given any sort of real punishment in the past.”
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. April 26 before Judge Jerry Larson.
If Yanke, who indicated she is hiring an attorney, is convicted again, Akron City Prosecutor Gertrude Wilms told News Channel 5 prosecutors may consider an additional recommendation of five years' probation with the stipulation that Yanke not be allowed to have pets during that time.
Contact reporter Emily Mills at 330-996-3334, email@example.com and @EmilyMills818.