4 dogs remain in quarantine after attack

Published 5:32 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The fate of four dogs remains uncertain after an attack on three people last week.

The dogs — a 1-year-old Labrador-boxer mix, a 1-year-old Staffordshire terrier mix, a 9-month-old German Shepherd mix and a 5-month-old potential pit bull mix — are still under quarantine at the Beaufort County Animal Control facility, and staff met with the dogs’ owner Tuesday morning to determine next steps.

UPS driver Ronald Robinson and two neighbors on South Wedgewood Drive in Washington were brutally attacked by the dogs a week ago, suffering severe lacerations, and in one case, needing plastic surgery to correct facial injuries. The dogs’ owner was not home at the time of the attack.

Billy Lassiter, animal control director, said the owner is looking to appeal the decision deeming the dogs as potentially dangerous on the grounds that the victims were on his property when the attack happened.

“I think that’s the angle he’s trying to go for,” Lassiter said. “He has until Friday to sign an appeal letter and send that in.”

Once the dogs’ 10-day rabies quarantine ends next week, a “dangerous dog board” will hear both sides of what happened and determine if the dogs are in fact dangerous.

Lassiter said the German Shepherd mix appears to be mild mannered by nature, and he believes the 5-month-old was just following the actions of the older dogs. Despite these observations, it is difficult to separate the dangerous from the not so dangerous in a multiple-dog attack, he said.

Lassiter said if the board deems the dogs as dangerous, the owner is then required to keep them in an escape-proof pen approved by animal control, post warning signs, have them all micro-chipped and report if he decides to move to a new place or if one of the dogs passes away.

“If they’re ever loose, he’s held strictly liable. They’re automatically picked up by animal control,” Lassiter said. “Basically, it’s a prison sentence.”

“I just hate to, you know, rush into it and say all of them are (dangerous), but really it’s not up to us,” he added.

Lassiter said he thinks the overall situation is sad, and the owner has expressed that he may not even want all of the dogs back. If that is the case, he said any of the dogs left at the facility would not be eligible for adoption.

The owner was given a citation for recently expired rabies vaccinations on two of the dogs, according to Lassiter.

All of the victims escaped with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. There is no word on their conditions at this time.