Complaints about out-of-control dogs have become increasingly concerning in Wadesboro, according to Police Chief Thedis Spencer.
The issue has particularly affected Morven Road, the chief said.
One woman was walking along the road with her little dog when another dog attacked them, he said. The woman had the little dog in her arms and the attacking dog grabbed and killed it, town manager Alex Sewell added.
There have been other incidents, many along the same road, Spencer said. One woman can’t sit on her porch anymore because of pitbulls next door.
Even dogs that are tied up have caused problems. Some have broken free and caused havoc.
“If dogs are on a chain, it bothers me to have to tell people that if it’s chained and they have food and water, then there’s nothing we can do,” Spencer said.
There were 132 calls last year regarding animal complaints, he said. Some of those were about deer or other animals, but many were complaints about dogs. There were 176 in 2015 and 167 in 2014.
“People are tying up their dogs, but a lot are vicious,” Spencer said. “An officer had to pull his weapon out the other day.”
When officers try to track down the owners, people are slow to claim the nuisance animals.
“People aren’t coming to the door when we go because we issue citations,” Spencer said. “A lot say that it’s not their dog, but their son’s or whoever’s, and that he’s at work.”
The problem is becoming worse.
“We’re seeing a growth of people with pit bulls on chains, and them breaking off the chain,” Spencer said. If animal control officers come, they’re reluctant to take animals that have their tags, shots and a known owner, he said. One animal control officer told the chief that the shelter needs permission to take some animals unless it bites someone and that the town could write the shelter a letter granting it permission to take the problem animals.
Mayor Bill Thacker said that he would also like to see if the town has an existing ordinance regarding leaving animals out in freezing weather, and if there isn’t one, writing one, giving police more they can enforce. He said Spencer and town manager Alex Sewell can look at animal control ordinances in the surrounding area and draft one to present to the council.
“If they break away, they’re wild animals,” Thacker said. “There’s no other way to look at it.”
“Dogs that break the chain, you can imagine that they’re a big dog,” Spencer said. “The lady that was attacked said that was the third time. They always put the dog in the house when we go there.”
The owner of the dog in the attack case was charged, Spencer said.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.