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Animal Control Investigating Incident Involving Dogs, Deputy

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Animal Control Division of the Chatham County Health Department

is investigating an incident that occurred Thursday in which a Chatham County deputy was mauled by five bulldogs and three of the dogs were shot by backup officers.

The deputy, who required 28 stitches to close wounds to her left arm and right thigh, was recovering from her injuries at home Friday.

One dog was killed. The four surviving dogs were being quarantined Friday at a local veterinary hospital, where they will remain for at least 10 days as required by state law.

Staff has reviewed existing files and found that there were previous complaints regarding dogs at the residence where the incident occurred -- on Hills of the Haw Road in Pittsboro.

In November 1999, according to a statement released by the Health Department, a neighbor filed a complaint about two white boxers. It is not clear whether they were the same dogs involved in Thursday's attack of the deputy.

The complaints alleged public nuisance behavior and display of aggression. The property owners were instructed to confine the animals in a secure, fenced area and complied with the requirement.

The Health Department said no further complaints were received until July 2002, at which time the same neighbor reported public nuisance behavior involving two white pitbulls allegedly from the same property.

On Nov. 21, 2002, the same neighbor reported that the two dogs attacked one of his dogs on his property. The dog suffered minor injuries.

Pending the results of the investigation, the dogs may be declared dangerous as allowed by G.S. 67-4.1 and the Chatham County Animal Control Ordinance Sec. XXXIV.

The bar is set pretty high on the "dangerous" status. Here are key factors: without intentional provocation, the animal kills or injures a person, or an animal is trained for fighting.

If a dog is declared dangerous, the dog must be securely enclosed on the owner's property and may not go beyond the owner's property unless the dog is leashed and muzzled.

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