Local News

Harnett dad wants stricter rules for dogs

Posted May 31, 2010 5:39 p.m. EDT
Updated May 31, 2010 6:13 p.m. EDT

— A 9-year-old Spring Lake boy is recovering after being attacked by a pit pull.

Jody Pendleton said his stepson, Aaron Smith, was attacked May 26 by the dog, named Scooby, and he suffered bone-deep gashes in his leg as a result.

"Aaron was talking with a friend at the edge of the yard," Pendleton said. "He walked back to his bike but says before he could get on, the dog cam charging and dug its teeth into his left leg."

Pendleton said the dog has chased children before but that its owner, Jim Fink, said the dog would not hurt anyone.

Records show the dog bit two other children in separate attacks in the past year. Their injuries were minor.

Pendleton says the county isn't doing enough with tough dogs.

Harnett County does not have a leash law. Animal control officers say Scooby's owner kept him tethered in the yard, but the dog kept breaking free, Pendleton said.

“The dog doesn’t belong near kids, or people for that matter," he said. "There’s nothing telling that he wouldn’t attack an adult.”

If a pet hurts a person, the county does not automatically have the power to remove it. Interim animal control director Rhonda Hudson said.

She said animal control cannot forcibly remove a pet, even after it has attacked and hurt someone. She said the county’s policy requires the owner to pay a $70 fine to release the animal from quarantine. Then the animal would have to be confined at home

“It would be under lock and key. They would have to keep it in a secure enclosure,” she said.

If the owner surrenders the animal, however, it is euthanized.

Fink, could not be reached for comment Monday.

Hudson says he did surrender the dog, which means the dog will be euthanized.

Still, Pendleton says Harnett County needs a tougher law.

"So, it takes my child to have almost 20 stitches in his leg and be traumatized, and all the medical bills connected to that before they will do something?" he said.

Officials say concerned neighbors can petition animal control to remove a potentially dangerous animal. The agency reviews the request and decides whether the animal should be taken away.