Neighbors complain La Crosse man’s dogs make them fear for their safety
A ticket for letting dogs run loose might not sound like a big deal, but neighbors of one La Crosse man said it's part of a much larger problem.
They say the dogs living at Steve Reinsvold’s home at 2821 S. Ave. terrorize the neighborhood.
Neighbors said they want to come forward, but they're afraid to.
"They have made it very clear that they have no problem -- I don't want to say 'coming after us,' but harassing us. And so I think everyone kind of just doesn't want to put themselves in that position," said a neighbor who wants to remain unnamed.
In November, Reinsvold's two pit bulls, Coco and Princess, were euthanized by court order after it was alleged they mauled a neighbor's dog to death.
Now, neighbors say they fear the new pit bull and two mastiffs living on his property.
"We shouldn't have to be scared that dogs of that nature are going to come running and tear into us," said the neighbor.
On Friday night, La Crosse police issued Reinsvold a ticket after the three dogs got out of his yard without a leash.
Reinsvold said the incident was no big deal.
"I opened the gate to walk out and the pit bull -- somebody let it out of the house and it shot between my legs. So when I went after her to grab her and bring her back into the yard, my two puppies followed me out. And when I got ahold of her and carried her back into the yard, they followed me right back in, never left my side," said Reinsvold.
The police report said Reinsvold became "extremely belligerent and aggressive towards police" and he "lacks the ability to properly control his dogs."
"If we get more complaints about the animals running at large or being vicious or chasing other dogs or citizens, it could come down to an incident where these animals may also have to be removed," said La Crosse Police Sgt. Randy Rank.
"They're not scary dogs. They're very friendly. They love my grandchildren. I've got 11 grandchildren, and they can play with any of them," said Reinsvold.
Some of his neighbors don't buy it, and they said they're just trying to keep their own children safe.
"We're not trying to be mean to a specific person. We're not trying to hurt anyone. We're only trying to protect ourselves, our children, our property and everything that we have a right to protect. It's our freedom," said the neighbor.
Reinsvold said the dogs that got out on Friday aren't actually his. He said the pit bull belongs to his son's girlfriend, and the mastiffs belong to his daughter. Rank said the mastiffs were just licensed in Reinsvold's daughter's name yesterday.
Reinsvold faces a $177 fine. His court date is next month.
Rank said while the city can force a resident to get rid of an animal that's causing trouble, it cannot force a resident to have no pets. A judge can order it as a condition of probation, however, if a person is convicted of a serious crime, but Reinsvold has not been accused of one.
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