Local News

Woman says pit bulls jumped fence before killing other dogs

Posted September 22, 2009 11:28 a.m. EDT
Updated September 22, 2009 6:26 p.m. EDT

— A Wake Forest woman says two pit bulls, thought to have mauled and killed two other dogs, likely jumped the fence outside her home while she was away.

Susie Henley said Tuesday that she was watching the animals for their owners while they moved to the area. She left to go pick up some items on Friday to move.

That's when the dogs got away, Henley said, adding that she searched for them and put out fliers. She had no idea that they might have attacked Joyce Valentine's dogs.

Valentine said that she returned home from work on Friday to find her two Jack Russell terriers dead in the back yard.

Neighbors told her they had seen two dogs identified as pit bulls in the area. A neighbor later captured the dogs and took them to animal control.

Mike Williams, director of Wake County's Animal Control and Adoption Center, said Tuesday that the dogs' owners have since surrendered one of them to the shelter and has until Sunday to decide about the other dog.

He said the dogs likely won't be available for adoption.

"There is no direct proof, at this time, that these dogs had anything to do with the deaths," Williams said. "There is plenty of circumstantial evidence, which is why we will not be able to offer the one dog that has been surrendered for adoption."

Williams also said the owners also made clear that the dogs are American bulldogs.

"Pit bull" is a description applied to a number of specific breeds of dogs including the American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier and Staffordshire bull terrier, among others.

American bulldogs also meet that generic category, Williams said.

It's unlikely that the dogs' owners will face criminal charges, Williams said. They could, however, be fined by the county or subject to civil litigation.

Williams said the case serves as a reminder that pets should always be properly confined for the animal's safety, as well as the safety of humans and other animals.

"It doesn't matter what breed it is," he said. "Any dog can be dangerous."