Roseboro pitbull owners Gerald Rohmiller and his fiancee´ Amy Perez vow to keep fighting after the Sampson County Board of Health unanimously sided with Animal Control officers in defining their pitbull Mia as potentially dangerous.
Rohmiller and Perez appealed the ruling to the Board of Health, and at a special called meeting Monday night, members upheld the initial ruling lodged after their pitbull attacked a neighbor’s 10-year-old German Shepherd earlier this month.
The Shepherd’s owner, Amy Black, did not speak at the meeting, but the couple, Roseboro mayor Roland Hall and town board member James McLean offered explanations to the Board of Health.
Health board chairman Dr. Ted Thomas opened the meeting with Perez and Rohmiller explaining their side of the attack, which took place on Sept. 2. “She has never been in a fight before this,” Perez stated of Mia. “This was an accident, and we said from the beginning that we would take care of the damages 100 times. We have never denied responsibility for the attack …”
According to Perez, Rohmiller was taking the pitbull outside to put into a pen, when Black’s dog, who was on the porch with Black, broke free and attacked the German Shepherd, causing severe damage to its jaw, requiring surgery.
Rohmiller reiterated to the board that he took responsibility for the attack. “I have apologized over and over again for it,” he stressed. “I had Mia by her collar and when her dog alerted, Mia took off and it twisted my back just right and she got loose.”
Black threw water on the pitbull to get her off the German Shepherd.
“I am here in defense of my dog, and I would like to keep the ‘potentially dangerous’ moniker off of her,” Rohmiller asserted. “If anything, you can label me a potentially dangerous human for not keeping control of her. I have aplogized repeatedly, but it was an accident.”
Although both dogs received injuries in the attack, Black’s dog took the brunt of it.
A week after the incident, Black appeared before the Roseboro Board of Commissioners, complete with 90 signatures on a petition for the town to step up animal enforcement, sharing her concerns about the pitbull. Although she never mentioned Rohmiller or Perez by name at the meeting, board members knew who the pitbull belonged to.
McLean even commented at the meeting that he had previously witnessed the dog attack another resident, where Perez allegedly bought the victim a new shirt. However, no report of the attack was ever filed by the resident, Perez or McLean.
At Monday’s meeting, McLean, who lives across the street from Rohmiller and Perez, told the story again and pointed out that he was concerned for not only his safety but the safety of the other residents in the town.
“I saw this man get attacked back in May,” he explained. “Amy came out and bandaged him up and gave him money to buy a new shirt. Now, I want to say, I appreciate what he (Rohmiller) has done in the military, but by his own words, it sounds to me that he is not able to control that dog and keep him on a leash … that is the reason his dog was in the Black’s yard that day. I just couldn’t let this go without talking about it.”
McLean also talked about his grandchild. “My grandbaby stays with me during the day time and she wants to go outside,” he said, emotion creeping into his voice. “But I will tell you, I am afraid to take her outside with those dogs out in the yard. They have two Rottweilers and two pitbulls and I won’t take her out when they are there.”
Hall, who kept his comments to a minimum, noted that he was there to tell the board that he and his town board were concerned with animal safety in Roseboro.
“I am here to help you get to the bottom of this and get to the truth,” he stressed.
Rohmiller did have a chance to answer. “My issue with what Mr. McLean said is that the first attack he is talking about never happened, as far as I am concerned. There is no documentation stating that it ever happened. Also, we don’t have two pitbulls. We have a pitbull and an Amercian Bulldog, I would like to clarify that as well.”
In the end, the board did not take into consideration the previous attack alleged by McLean.
“We are not looking at anything that may have happened in the past,” noted Thomas. “We need to look at our statute and go from there.”
“To me, this fits right into the statute,” said Board of Health member Dr. Ron Faircloth.
“It certainly meets the criteria,” said Dr. Beth Turner.
Thomas called for the vote and members echoed the initial declaration by the county’s Animal Control officers.
Black did not want to comment after the meeting. For his part, Hall saidhe was happy that it was over.
“We have to abide by what we are told to do, which is muzzle her every time she goes outside,” Rohmiller said. “We still have plans for the chain link fence that we are putting up. We were not surprised about the vote, no, but we came here and made this appeal to defend our dog. Look at it, the mayor and a councilman came here tonight in her (Black’s) defense; we are all alone. I will continue to fight it.”
Both Perez and Rohmiller said they are considering creating a local chapter of pitbull owners.
“We want to raise money to help some pitbull owners in Roseboro who may not have the funding to help get them kennels,” Rohmiller said. “It is obvious that the town of Roseboro don’t care about the owners, and they do things that will suit them.”
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext 123 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.