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Two dog attacks take place in Martinsburg

July 26, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A young boy and a woman were injured in two separate dog attacks that occurred within about six hours of each other in the city Wednesday, animal control officers said.

Three-year-old Alex Otey, of 218 E. King St., was attacked by a Rottweiler about 2 p.m. Wednesday after he went into a friend's yard to play with other children, an animal control warden said.

Otey was bitten about 17 times over various parts of his body, according to Berkeley County Animal Warden J.S. Ahalt.

Otey was taken to City Hospital where he was treated and released, Ahalt said.

The Rottweiler was being kept at the animal warden's office Thursday afternoon, Ahalt said.

The owner has agreed to release the dog to the animal warden's office, chief animal control warden Ray Strine said.

At about 8 p.m. Wednesday, about six teenagers were walking three pit bulls near Race and North streets when the dogs attacked another dog belonging to a woman, Strine said.

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One of the pit bulls bit the woman in the thumb while she was trying to break up the fight, Strine said.

Barbara Brown, who lives at the corner of Maple Avenue and Race Street, went to City Hospital for treatment, Strine said. It was determined she had a shattered bone in her thumb, Strine said.

Two animal control wardens arrived at the scene and were able to contain the dog that bit Brown. The boys fled the area with the other two pit bulls, Strine said.

Strine said he is not sure who the owner of the dog is and is still investigating the incident.

There have been a string of dog attacks in the county, which has led the Berkeley County Commission to draft a law controlling vicious dogs.

A 190-pound Rottweiler attacked a Martinsburg man in May, requiring him to have surgery for wounds to his ankle, leg and side.

Within a week of that attack, six other dog attacks occurred in the county, including an incident in which two dogs killed a horse.

Strine attributed the string of attacks to dog owners who are trying to be "macho" with the dogs.

"This is just too many pit bulls in the city limits. And Rottweilers too," Strine said Thursday.

Because the county does not have a law controlling vicious dogs, animals are sometimes returned to their owners after they are picked up by animal control officers.

Under the proposed new law, dogs could be destroyed if they are determined to be vicious by a county animal control officer.

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