An animal attack that took place at the end of July in the northern end of the county will be the subject of a Department of Health hearing Monday night. At stake — whether a dog will be declared dangerous.
It all began following an incident that took place July 26 at a residence in the 100 block of Stone Place Lane, according to Animal Control officer Andrew Worley.
“That morning, witnesses said they saw a dog attacking a canine,” he explained. “The dog in question was a big chow; the other dog was a boxer mix, not nearly as big as the chow.”
As a result of the attack, Worley noted, the boxer mix had a gash on his forehead and needed stitches on his ears.
“When I got there, it was hours later, the dog (chow) was still loose,” he said. “The dog still had his chain on and was running around the neighborhood. You could hear other dogs barking and growling … This was six or seven hours after the initial attack.”
The officer talked with the dog’s owner, who said she didn’t realize the animal was loose, and then the two attempted to catch the dog and bring it back to the house. Worley and the pet’s owner caught the dog some 20 minutes later.
The 7-year-old chow had never had its rabies shot. The boxer mix did.
“Once that was determined, the chow’s owner surrendered the dog over to me and I carried it to the shelter, as our protocol says,” he explained. “The dog was involved in an attack and I advised her it would be deemed potentially a dangerous dog … that is when she told me to take the dog.”
Worley said in a similar situation the dog would have been taken to the shelter and put down; however, the woman called the officer the very next morning and requested the animal be returned.
“This is where the problem was,” he said. “In attempting to get the dog back, the dog had to be deemed as a potentially dangerous dog, that is my ruling.”
The chow’s owner immediately appealed Worley’s ruling and a hearing date with the Sampson County Board of Health was set for Monday, Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m.
The woman’s appeal essentially saved her dog’s life.
“If she wins the appeal, then the dog will go back to her with no issues and I give her a ticket,” Worley said. “If my ruling stands, she will have to build a pen for the dog and it will have to have a top and a bottom so the dog can’t get out.”
Either way, the dog owner will be cited for not having her dog vaccinated, with an estimated fee of $250.
“The dog is still in the shelter while we await this hearing,” Worley pointed out.
A year ago, records show, the same chow got loose in the same neighborhood and Animal Control responded. That time, the dog’s owner was not cited.
“The shot is about $7,” Worley explained. “It (the shot) is important to have not just for your safety, but your neighbor’s safety as well. We have had four cases of rabies confirmed this year and most were from rabid raccoons attacking people’s pets. Some of those animals had to be put down over a simple $7 shot.”
A call to Sampson County health director Wanda Robinson was not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to email@example.com.