A judge will decide the fate of the dog that bit a lady’s finger off on Southside Drive last week. The dog continues to be quarantined at Warren County Animal Control.
Members of the Warren County Health and Welfare Committee met at Animal Control property Thursday night and discussed what should be done about the pitbull.
The 66-year-old woman who was bitten by the dog wants the dog euthanized. The owner of the dog, a male college student, wants the dog to be returned.
According to Animal Control director Kim Pettrey, the woman had fed the dog numerous times and it was a welcomed visitor to her home. “Her husband said the dog comes to the house and she feeds it often. This time it came inside the house and jumped her small dog. The woman tried to break up the fight and she lost a finger trying to do that,” said Pettrey.
Pettrey said the dog is normally kept on a dog run cable but it had slipped out of its collar.
When discussing whether the dog should be labeled as “dangerous” or “potentially dangerous” in accordance with Animal Control rules and regulations, county commissioners discussed the facts surrounding the biting, including the fact the dog had been a welcome visitor to her home before it bit her.
“The dog has been running loose and they never complained about it and they fed it. Of course, I understand where the woman is coming from because she lost a finger to this dog,” said County Executive John Pelham.
Commissioner Sally Brock said, “I certainly wouldn’t step between two dogs and try to stop a fight.”
“Most people would, though. It’s just instinct to try and stop the fight,” said Pettrey.
Commissioner Blaine Wilcher said, “What if it was a child? If it was a child, it could have been three fingers or a whole hand that was bitten off. I don’t want to take a chance it could happen again.”
Members agreed a citation will be issued for the owner to appear before Judge Bill Locke in General Sessions Court for the purpose of determining whether the dog in question should be designated as a “potentially dangerous” or “dangerous” dog.
Article XXVI (a) in Animal Control’s rules and regulations states, “The court shall designate a dog as a “potentially dangerous dog” if the court finds, upon a preponderance of the evidence, that the dog:
1. Has, within the prior 18-month period while off the property of its owner, attempted to attack or has attacked a person, domestic animal or livestock; or
2. Has, within the prior 18-month period while off the property of its owner, engaged in any behavior when unprovoked that reasonably would have required a person to take a defensive action to prevent bodily injury; or
3. Has, when unprovoked while off the property of its owner, bitten a person or a domestic animal causing a minor injury.”
The court shall designate a dog as a “dangerous dog” if the court finds, upon a preponderance of evidence, the dog:
1. Has attempted to attack or has attacked a person or domestic animal on two or more occasions within the prior 18-month period; or
2. Has, on two or more occasions within the prior 18-month period while off the property of its owner, engaged in any behavior when unprovoked that reasonably would have required a person to take defensive action to prevent bodily injury; or
3. Has, when unprovoked while off the property of its owner, bitten a person or a domestic animal causing a severe injury; or
4. Has previously been declared a potentially dangerous dog but has not been kept in compliance with any restrictions placed by the General Sessions Court judge upon the owner of such dog.
In either case, the dog can be returned to its owner. The difference is the number of restrictions that must be followed.
If the dog is deemed dangerous, the restrictions can be costly. For a complete list of restrictions, visit www.warrencountytn.gov.
If the owner does not want to comply with the restrictions, the dog must be surrendered to Warren County Animal Control and will be euthanized.
“We could not adopt the dog out to someone else and take the chance it does something like this again. We would have to euthanize the dog,” said Pettrey.