Teen wasn’t Bettendorf dog’s only biting victim

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The dog that bit a Bettendorf teenager a few weeks ago has a history of biting.

“You have a large dog that latches onto our arm, of course it hurts, but more than anything it just scared me. It was unprovoked,” said Shanen Norlin.

Norlin was playing kickball on October 15, 2013 at Crow Creek Park in Bettendorf when a dog, who was on a leash bit her on her arm leaving a bruise and teeth marks.

“The one just lunged at me and latched on to my arm,” said Norlin.

A dog owner herself, she did not want to make a big deal out of it, until she worried if the dog had all of its shots.

“When I called animal control, they said ‘What's the dog's name?’ I said Journey and she said, ‘Oh no, not him again,'” said Norlin.

Journey is also the dog responsible for biting a 13-year-old at Mark Twain Elementary on March 11, 2014.

The kid nearly needed rabies shots because the owner left the school and did not report the bite. The teenager was treated and released at a hospital for minor injuries.

Police frantically searched for him and three days later police said they confirmed the identity of the dog and that he was current on vaccinations.

“He's been in some trouble before and I know it was on the table that they could possibly put down both of my dogs if there was another incident,” said Kirk Young, Journey’s owner.

Journey, a 4-year-old male German Shepherd, won’t be put down, but now has to get out of town. Young was served a letter notifying him that Journey was declared a vicious dog and has until March 31, 2014 to get Journey out of Bettendorf.

According to Bettendorf Police, since October 28, 2012, Journey has been involved in four biting incidents that have been documented.

According to Captain Kimball with the Bettendorf Police Department, on October 28, 2012, Journey broke free from his owner’s leash and was found by someone down by the Mississippi River. That person tried to pull Journey from the river and Journey bit that person on the hand.

On June 11, 2013, Journey and another German Shepherd got into a fight at the dog park at Crow Creek Park. The other dog had an injury over its right eye and had to get ten staples.

The next incident occurred on October 15, 2013 with Norlin.

According to Kimball, on November 12, 2013, he met with Journey’s owner, Kirk Young, telling him he needed to follow certain conditions in order to keep Journey.

Those conditions included keeping the city dog licenses and proof of rabies vaccinations on him, keeping a leash and muzzle on Journey anytime they were out in public or off their property, and Journey was banned from all city parks, trails, and bike paths.

Young has a female German Shepherd named Mia. According to Kimball, she was present at the June 11, 2013, October 15, 2013, and March 11, 2014 incidents, but was not involved in any of the bite incidents so none of those conditions applied to her.

When asked by News Eight how neighbors can trust his other dog, Young said, “I don't know if they can, that's for them to figure out. And I can tell you ‘til, you know, sun stops shining that they're never going to hurt anybody, but I mean you just don't ever know.”

And although he says he takes full responsibility for this latest incident, that doesn’t bring comfort to Norlin.

“He knew before going there that his dogs had a history of being temperamental, and then he took them to, of all places, an elementary school,” she said.

Young said he is taking Journey to Arkansas on Thursday, March 27, 2014.

On March 21, 2014, Kirk was charged with one count of Failure to Report a Dog Bite and one count of Animal Running at Large. Both are simple misdemeanors.


  • cindy conrad

    SERIOUSLY, the dog has to leave Bettendorf, sounds like the are handing this problem dog and owner to be someone else’s issue, this guy has proven to be negligent, by not using a muzzeled and also by not coming forward when the dog bit another victim. I AM SURE, this will not be the last we hear of Journey, let’s hope the next victim isn’t mauled and killed! Shame on u Bettendorf for passing the touch to someone else to deal with, and shame on the owner for not putting the dog down himself.

  • dee

    German shepherds do make good family dogs, they are loyal and protective. They need to be in the hands of a responsible owner which this guy clearly is not. I have a shepherd for intimidation purposes since my house has be vandilized and almost broken into. I was alerted by my dog to get up. If the person made it in he would have been bit, how bad would have been up to the person breaking in. If he fought he would have broke skin.

    I have been working with my new dog and have women telling me how well trained he was. Again it means socializing your dog and being responsible.

    In the right hands Journey can be a good dog, but I stress the right hands. If he stays with this guy, he will be the stuff horror stories are made of.

    we have people killing people who don’t get a death sentence and you want to put a dog down because of an irresponsible owner. Send the dog to dogtown in Arizona or shepherd rescue group.

  • Candace Scott

    There are so many nice dogs out there that sit and or die in animal shelters because there isn’t enough homes for them. Just like you should neuter and spay your animals so you’re not negligently breeding more, you need to take responsibility as a pet owner for a violent animal. We rescued a beautiful dog from a shelter, but she almost killed the neighbor dog and kept biting or threatening to bite friends and family members. She was too aggressive, and we knew that eventually she was going to really hurt a person, and as horribly sad as it was for us, we had her euthanized because that was the responsible thing to do as her family, and as members of our community. No, they should not be passing this problem animal (and owner) on to a different community.

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