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Residents: Dog is 'terrorizing' neighborhood

August 28, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Residents of Highland Manor say a 10-month-old pit bull declared vicious and dangerous by the Humane Society of Washington County is "terrorizing" their neighborhood by lunging at and chasing people as they walk outside.

"The dog had held me hostage in the middle of the street and then chased me into the neighbor's house," David Kendrick of Ayrshire Court said Wednesday in a phone interview.

The dog's owner, Charlene Foster, said Blitz is not vicious or dangerous and is friendly around her young children and others who come to visit.

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"Yes, he does get out of the gate, but he's never bitten anybody," Foster said. "He protects his family."

"If I thought he was vicious or any threat, I would not have him around my kids," she said.

Highland Manor resident Cathy Fawley said 105 residents have signed a petition asking that the dog be permanently removed from the development.

The Humane Society of Washington County, responding to complaints from Highland Manor residents, made the vicious and dangerous declaration on May 28, the day of Kendrick's incident with the dog, according to an Animal Control Authority document.

County regulations state that once such a declaration is made, the dog must be taken to the Humane Society's facility until further notice.

The dog, an American Staffordshire terrier, is classified by the American Kennel Club as a pit bull.

Charlene and her husband, William, of Heather Drive, appealed the declaration to the Animal Control Authority, which ordered on July 9 that Blitz be returned to its owners under several conditions.

The order affirmed that the dog was vicious and dangerous and stated that Blitz "shall be confined to a kennel, chain, the residence or securely leashed and under control" of a person over the age of 16.

The Animal Control Authority also ordered the dog to be neutered within 30 days. Charlene Foster said Blitz has been neutered.

Kendrick said that since the ruling, Blitz has run loose in the neighborhood at least three times.

Fawley said she was sitting on her porch last Thursday when her children came running toward her.

"The kids are screaming, 'Blitz is out. Blitz is out,'" she said.

Charlene Foster said Blitz got loose one time months ago but can't remember any other times it's happened.

County Attorney Richard Douglas said the Humane Society on Aug. 7 appealed the decision in Washington County Circuit Court.

According to the Animal Control Authority's order, Humane Society Officer Courtney Sahaydak testified that the dog lunged at her and bit her jacket, barked viciously at people and acted aggressively on more than one occasion.

"He doesn't like the Humane Society officer," Charlene Foster said. "He doesn't like anybody because this is his yard."

She said Blitz will lunge at people from inside the fence if someone approaches the house, but that he doesn't act in an aggressive manner otherwise.

She said her family plans to fight the Humane Society's appeal.

"We spent too much money on this dog to let him go for something stupid and ignorant," she said.

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