Thursday, April 7, 2011
Deputies impound pit bulls
By SUE WATSON
Two pit bulls have been taken to the sheriff’s animal pound following two alleged attacks upon several animals and threats to humans in the Ballard Road community.
Sheriff Kenny Dickerson said his animal control officer and deputies took the dogs to the pound after a second complaint of vicious attacks to animals was lodged Thursday, March 17.
Susie Brown pleaded with the county board of supervisors to do something about the dogs at the March 14 board meeting. She said the pit bulls “got after my horse” and when she tried to run the dogs off, they turned on her. She shot one of the pit bulls with a pistol as she scrambled to get safely inside her home when the dogs left the horses to chase her. She was able to get back inside the house by the barest, she said.
After calling the sheriff’s office, Brown alleged she was told both dogs had been tied up on chains and were supposed to have been enclosed in a fence.
Her neighbor, the owner of the dog she shot, wanted her to pay the veterinarian bill, she said.
Brown asked the board of supervisors to outlaw pit bulls in the county like she said DeSoto County has.
“The owner said the dogs were just overly friendly,” Brown said. “I know a lot of people think a lot of their dogs. I got rid of mine because it was bothering the neighbors.”
Brown said the dogs came up on her front porch then went back out and ran the horses some more after she got inside safely.
Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett told Brown the county was advised it could not outlaw a particular breed when it wrote its animal ordinances.
“The dog ordinance says they have to be kept up,” he said.
County zoning administrator Conway Moore added that dogs must be confined or under the owner’s supervision.
Sheriff Dickerson told Brown the situation was a civil issue at the board meeting.
“She’s a good neighbor, that’s the thing about it,” Brown said.
That discussion with the board had no immediate effect on Brown’s concern with the pit bulls. But a week later the dogs got loose again on Ballard Road where one woman banged pots and pans to run them off. A second neighbor fell in his backyard trying to get the pit bulls away from his dog, Brown said. But the dogs killed his dog that was fenced in.
An ambulance was called March 17 to help the fallen man because he thought he was having a heart attack, according to Maj. David Cook with the sheriff’s department. He was stabilized by EMTs and stayed home, Cook said.
Perry Pipkin, a deputy and animal control officer, responded to the call initially, he said.
Cook said the sheriff has to give the dog owners due process and notify them that the sheriff intends to ask for a court order to have the pit bulls destroyed.
“We seize dogs and they stay in our care until the judge orders the decision,” Cook said.
Three individuals came to the justice court complex following the incident to get complaint forms, according to Monet Autry, justice court clerk. One of the individuals wanted to recover a vet bill, one to recover a medical bill (for the ambulance) and one was seeking recovery from injuries, Autry said.
The county has filed no charges against the owners of the pit bulls, as yet, Cook said.
The animal control ordinance sets penalties for any owner whose animal injures or harms another domestic animal, pet or person as deemed a result of the owner's violation or noncompliance of the ordinance. Each violation is deemed a separate offense.
Civil and criminal provisions of the ordinance are enforced by the sheriff’s department, division of animal control.
Kent Smith, attorney for the board of supervisors, weighed in on the issue of vicious dogs.
“Pets give us all a lot of pleasure, however, when a rogue dog is wild and/or vicious and attacks people or their pets, the county has laws to address the situation and protect the citizens,” he said. “We cannot tolerate wild and vicious dogs attacking people’s livestock and pets.
To view the county’s animal ordinances visit the Marshall County Zoning Department or chancery clerk’s office.
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