Friday, September 19, 2014

TOP STORY >> Pit bull kills neighbor’s horse

Leader staff writer

The owner of a pit bull dog that killed a horse pleaded not guilty in Ward District Court on Tuesday to violating Lonoke County’s vicious dog ordinance, a misdemeanor.

The dog remains in quarantine by order of the Lonoke County sheriff.

Jeremy Taylor, 32, of 218 Ruby Lane, is set to go on trial Tuesday, Oct. 7. If he is found guilty, he faces a fine of up to $500.

The sheriff’s office plans to ask the judge for restitution, the cost of burying the horse and an order for the dog to be put down.

“This is the first time we’ve had a dog attack take down a horse. It could have taken down a child or a person,” Lonoke County Deputy Michael Kindall said.

He said the dog may have broken free from a logging chain.

According to the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office report, deputies were called at 7 a.m. Sept. 4 to 172 Ruby Lane, a mile outside of Ward.

The property owner, 65-year-old Mildred Paul, alleges that a brown pit bull got into her fenced pasture and started chasing her American paint horse. Paul said the pit bull started biting the horse on its back leg and chased the horse into a barbed-wire fence.

The horse fell to the ground, and the dog continued biting its front shoulders and neck. That horse died while Paul’s other horse and dachshund puppy were bitten several times.

She said Taylor was notified and came to retrieve his dog. He took the dog back to his home and chained it in the area it is usually kept.

Paul told The Leader after court that she had owned her horse, Sundance, for 23 years -— since 1991. “Sundance was just a big baby. He was part of the family. He was the love of my life. If you were around him, he would demand attention. If you weren’t looking at him, he would bump you or tug on your shirt. He had the personality of a person,” Paul said.

She said her oldest granddaughter, 19, has a form of cerebral palsy. She has been riding Sundance since she was six months old. When her granddaughter came over, Sundance would stand at the fence and nicker until they took her over and they could see each other. He would put his head down so they could show love to each other, Paul said.

Her second horse, Beauty, was bitten under her eye and leg. “It was like Sundance was throwing the dog away from her. Beauty mourns him and stopped by his grave,” Paul said.

The horses were together for eight years.

Paul’s dachshund was bitten on his hip and neck. He had to be taken to the vet and treated for puncture wounds.

“Little Man was sore for a couple of days,” Paul said. “I just want the (pit bull) euthanized.”

Paul is trying to get a petition to have pit bulls banned from Lonoke County.

“I know some are good, but there are more that are bad. I don’t think there is any place in Lonoke County for them. We’ve got too many kids,” she said.

Paul suggested that pit bulls be kept behind a 10-foot fence, tagged and fixed. She said the owners should be required to have a $100,000 insurance policy.

The Lonoke County ordinance defines a dangerous dog as one that, without being provoked and while off of the owner’s property, kills or causes bodily harm to an animal belonging to another person.