Local News

Vance Animal Control Officer Faces Questions

Posted May 17, 2004

— Vance County's chief animal control officer is having to explain how a pit bull dog he was ordered to destroy, turned up alive and well in another county.

Melvin Bullock breeds dogs for show and for pets. Authorities said one female pit bull named Felony turned vicious after leaving her kennel and roamed a west Henderson neighborhood. In October, a Vance County judge ordered the dog be put down.

"I have respect for the court's decision even though I don't think the dog warrants being put to sleep by its behavior when it was with me," Bullock said.

Animal Control Officer Johnny Jones was supposed to euthanize Felony, but he did not. Six months later, the dog is still alive. When the news leaked about the discovery, Jones was placed on administrative leave.

"Certainly, it is not a good day for anyone when a situation like this occurs, it's a very sad day when one of our own does not follow a law and do what's ordered done. It brings a bad outlook on all of us," said Sara Coffey, a member of the Vance County Animal Advisory Board.

Authorities want to know why the judge's orders were not followed and how Felony wound up with a new owner and a new name.

The dog, now known as Misty, is being held at the Granville County animal shelter. Authorities say the dog is considered evidence in a court case. The case involves a legal challenge to the judge's order to have the dog destroyed. The challenge is coming from the dog's new owner.

"In my opinion, this is not a one-time only situation. I do believe it happened before," Coffey said.

Coffey thinks dogs trained to fight routinely avoid euthanization and end up with a new owner and new name. Jones could not be reached for comment. Previous owners of the dog named Felony and later renamed Misty did not return phone calls to WRAL.

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