The Staffordshire bull terrier impounded by Catoosa County animal control on March 21 for biting a 7-year-old boy on March 19 was euthanized at the request of his owner, animal shelter interim director Sheree Norton said.
The dog was quarantined for 10 days, according to shelter records. Rocco was initially quarantined at home, according to the animal control officer’s report. The dog was euthanized after the quarantine ended, Norton said.
Once the department completed its investigation into the alleged bite incident, Rocco’s owner, Ramel Burton of Ringgold, was cited for unprovoked attack and for failing to properly register his dog with the county. Burton might also be ordered to pay restitution. Animal control had amended the original citation that initially charged Burton with provoked attack, public nuisance and potentially dangerous dog.
“Major medical bills will be involved in processing this case; current and possible future surgeries may be involved,” the amended citation reads.
Burton has a court date of April 24.
Jackie Eaves of Ringgold said Burton’s dog bit her son, Tanner Eaves, on the face and groin. The grade-schooler had to have surgery for the groin injury, his mother said. Tanner’s doctors said the boy has a 50-50 chance of fathering children someday, according to Eaves.
Rocco was on a dog runner (attached by a leash to a line) when the attack occurred, according to the animal control officer’s report.
Rocco’s alleged attack on the little boy was not the dog’s first run-in with the law.
Burton’s dog was involved in two previous bite incidents last October, according to Catoosa County Magistrate Court records. Two girls, ages 11 and 13, were reportedly walking in the Ringgold High School parking lot when Rocco attacked them. Burton lives across from the school. Animal control then cited Burton on two counts of unprovoked attack, for allowing his dog to roam and for an expired rabies tag. Burton pleaded guilty and paid Magistrate Court $125 in restitution and $40 in court costs late last November.
More dog bite incidents
Catoosa County manager Mike Helton confirmed animal control was called out to three other, separate dog bite incidents since Gerald and Jackie Eaves’ son was allegedly attacked on March 19. Two of the three latest alleged attacks involved children, Helton said.
“In one of those cases a mother (reportedly) got between the dog and her child,” he said.
Rusty DeSmith of Rossville was cited on March 26 for allowing his Boston terrier to roam at large, for provoked attack, three counts of failing to inoculate his dog for rabies and three counts of failing to register his dog with the county. A neighbor had been trying to catch the dog when she was allegedly bitten on her left wrist, animal control reported. DeSmith’s dog was quarantined from March 26 to April 5. The owner was given a courtesy warning.
Todd Moore of Ringgold was cited on March 27 for allowing his old English bulldog to roam at large, for unprovoked attack, for failing to inoculate his dog for rabies and failing to register his dog with the county. Moore’s dog apparently pressed against and opened a glass door, according to animal control. The dog then ran into the street where a mother and her child were walking, according to the report. The bulldog allegedly bit the woman on her arm, breast and leg and bit through her shoe injuring her right foot, animal control reported. She was transported by ambulance to Erlanger at Hutcheson. Moore’s dog was quarantined from March 28 to April 6. Moore has a court date of April 24.
Animal control did not have details on a third alleged bite incident at press time. That case is still under investigation, county officials said.
Catoosa’s leash law
Dogs involved in bite cases — after the necessary quarantine — are kept at the shelter until their owners comply with code stipulations or until a case is resolved in court, Helton said.
Helton and Norton said dog bite incidents appear to increase in spring and summer because more people — and their pets — are enjoying the outdoors. Helton said some owners tend to let their dogs run loose in the evenings, when they arrive home from work. He said a significant number of bite incidents occur after animal control operating hours.
“Just because we’re comfortable with our dogs doesn’t mean we should take for granted our dogs are comfortable with other people,” Helton said.
Norton recommends dog owners keep their dogs on a leash or contained in a fenced yard or pen. She said there were 41 confirmed dog bite cases in Catoosa County last year, and 13 bite cases have been reported so far this year.
Helton said dogs are not supposed to be roaming free, according to county code.
Section 14-9 of the county code states, “The owner or keeper of each dog or cat within the county shall be responsible for keeping it from becoming a nuisance or from endangering or injuring other persons or property, and shall further keep such animal under control at all times. It further is the responsibility of the owner of every dog or cat to identify the owner of said animal by an appropriate rabies inoculation and county registration tag worn by the animal.”
Dogs and cats must be registered with the county, Norton said. The money collected goes toward animal control operations, according to county code.
A registration fee for an unaltered dog or cat is $10 yearly, $5 annually per altered dog or cat. Residents age 65 or older are not charged for an altered dog or cat. There is also no charge for service or law enforcement animals, according to county code.
“Owners need to get their dogs’ (or cats’) rabies vaccinations and keep them current. They also have to register their animals and keep it current,” Norton said.
Dog and cat owners can bring the inoculation certificate to the shelter or mail it with a check or money order to register their pets, she said.
If a dog or cat happens to get loose, having a county registration makes it easier for animal control to relocate the owners, Norton said.
Catoosa County Animal Shelter fees
· A registration fee for an unaltered dog or cat is $10 yearly, $5 annually per altered dog or cat. Residents age 65 or older are not charged for an altered dog or cat. There is also no charge for service or law enforcement animals.
· Impounds are $25 plus $5 a day for housing per animal within a calendar year for the first impound. Impound fees double after each impound, going up to $50 for a second impound and $100 for a third.
· Quarantines cost $10 a day.
· Surrenders are $10 each for single and adult animals, $25 per litter up to five, and $5 per animal in litters over five. Litters are aged younger than eight weeks.
· Euthanasia costs $25.
· Pick-ups are $10 in addition to surrender and observation fees.
· Potential/dangerous dog fee is $100 yearly.
· Adoptions are $60 per animal, $50 for the veterinarians’ spay/neuter cost and $10 for housing.