Two Troup County families are scarred with images of attacks on their animals by unleashed dogs.
On Dec. 1, Logan Lanier, a teen resident of Wilcox Street, was taking his seven month old Lab for a walk down his street, when he said that three dogs ran from the yard of a residence to attack his dog. Lanier said that he picked up his dog and held her in efforts to keep the three dogs from attacking her.
In his efforts, Lanier said one of the three dogs, a white American Bulldog mix, bit his arm to get to the dog, causing two puncture wounds on both sides of his arm. Lanier dropped his dog and the Bulldog ran off into the woods with his Lab. Lanier’s dog was never found.
Teresa Bledsoe, owner of the three dogs, gave a different account. She said her dogs were outside playing with her kids and Lanier walked by with his dog on an extended leash that allowed the dog to come into her yard, which incited the incident.
After speaking with the Troup County Marshal’s Department, the dog was taken to the animal shelter for quarantine. Marshals gave Bledsoe a citation for the animal being lose.
“We did our job,” said Chief Lonza Edmondson of the Troup County Marshal’s Department. “We gave her a citation and picked up the dog and took the him to the shelter for quarantine. That’s all we can do.”
Shane Lanier, Logan’s father, feels like the owner should have receive more than a citation.
“There are kids all over the neighborhood. What if a kid would have gotten severely attacked?” Shane Lanier said. “There were three dogs and they were not on leashes. They should have been on a leash or restrained some kind away to keep them in the yard.”
On a separate occasion, Paige Neighbors, a resident of Crestwood Drive, said that her 16-year-old cat was attacked by two pit bulls.
She said that on Dec. 17, her cat was outside while she was in the living room watching TV when she heard a strange noise outside. She looked out her front window, and saw her cat being fatally mauled by a smaller black pit bull and a brown pit bull.
As she emotionally recalled the attack, she described that the cat’s head was in the mouth of one of the dogs and the other had the cat’s leg.
Neighbors told her that the dogs lived on Wall Road, where it had previously attacked a neighbor’s horse. Initially, LaGrange Animal Control came out to take pictures of the lifeless cat, but the incident was turned over to the marshals the next day because the attack occurred in the county. Marshals informed her that the dogs would be taken away for 10 days and that the owner would pay a fine.
The city of LaGrange has restrictions on pit bulls that require owners to have specified secure enclosures and insurance, and register the animal with the city. The city of West Point has a similar ordinance for “dangerous dogs,” which includes pit bull breeds, that requires owners to register and hold insurance for their animals. In Hogansville and unicorporated Troup County, there are no such breed-specific limitations.
Both victims are familiar with the animal and leash laws of Troup County, but are not happy with the enforcement.
“I had called the animal control several times before about the dogs being lose, but they have never done anything.” said Neighbors. “Nobody cares until someone gets hurt, then it’s too late.”
In more than 10 cities across the United States, pit bull dogs have been banned due to attacks and aggressive behaviors. Niehgbors believes that it should be illegal to own pit bulls.
“I don’t believe when people say ‘It’s how you raise them.’” said Neighbors. “I believe that pit bulls have the instinct to kill, if not maim. I’ve seen plenty of cases where owners say that their dogs have always been good and never hurt anyone, but end up attacking later in life. On the news a while ago a woman was attacked by a pit because the owner said her perfume incited him.”
Neighbors is hoping that a ban would become law in Troup County and everywhere in the United States. The Laniers are hoping that stricter consequences be imposed on the owners of violators of animal laws.