A Durant woman is grieving the loss of her pet Chihuahua and nursing injuries to her leg after two bulldogs running loose attacked them in their yard Saturday on East Main Street.
Rhonda Bates said she was in her yard with her dog when the two bulldogs came through a hole in the fence and attacked her little dog. While trying to rescue her pet, she was bitten by one of the dogs.
She said they called several times before police responded with an ambulance, fire truck and the animal control officer.
Bates said she had reported the dogs running loose in the past but nothing was ever done. The animal control officer told her that according to the city ordinance on animals, if he wrote the owners of the bulldogs a ticket for allowing the dogs to run free, he would have to write her a ticket because her pet was not secure although it was in her yard.
It was first reported the attack was by pit bulls, but Animal Control Officer Mark Lasiter, said the dogs were actually just bulldogs. They have been taken to the animal shelter where they will be monitored for rabies, and since they are classified as vicious, will probably be put down.
According to Lasiter, the ordinance requiring not only dogs, but any animal be secure on property is pretty vague.
“Animals, who are determined to be vicious, meaning they have bitten a person or another animal, can come under stricter guidelines,” he said. “However, many times we are presented with a vicious animal case, the owner disappears before action can be taken.”
Charges are still possible in the fatal April attack on James Hurst when he was mauled to death in his yard by two pit bulls in Mead. According to witnesses in that case, the dogs had a history of escaping from their yard.
District Attorney Emily Redman she has assigned an investigator the task of conducting a further investigation and he has conducted multiple interviews and is continuing to conduct others.
“The statutes require that the prosecution prove that the dog owner had prior knowledge of an offending dog’s propensity toward viciousness and further that the owner did not take reasonable precautions to prevent the dog from running at large, Redman said.”
She also said the owner of the dogs have since moved from the jurisdiction of this area.
Communities in Oklahoma are prohibited from passing breed specific ordinances, according to Lasiter. However some states do allow breed specific laws and 650 U.S. cities and all military housing areas prohibit or require insurance for pit bull owners. Statistics show that 67 percent of deaths from dog mauling were from pit bulls.