Friday, October 10, 2014

TOP STORY >> Pit bull owner innocent

Leader staff writer

The owner of a pit bull that killed a horse near Ward was found not guilty of violating the Lonoke County vicious dog ordinance during a bench trial on Tuesday at Ward District Court.

Judge Joe O’Bryan determined that Jeremy Taylor’s dog was not deemed vicious by law at the time when the dog broke free from a logging chain and attacked two horses and a dog. Taylor was not fined, and his pit bull was returned from quarantine.

According to the court docket report, the dog was deemed dangerous on Tuesday night as defined by the Lonoke County ordinance.

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

As a dangerous dog, the pit bull must be kept indoors or in an enclosed locked pen to prevent escape. The enclosure must be marked with a warning sign.

The dog is required to have a muzzle and be on a leash when out. The dog must be registered at the Lonoke County Judge’s Office, and Taylor has to get a surety bond of at least $50,000.

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 Ward.

The property owner, Mildred Paul, 65, alleged 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 it into a barbed wire fence.

The horse fell to the ground, and the dog continued biting it on the front shoulders and neck. The dog killed that horse, while Paul’s other horse was bitten under her eye and leg.

Her dachshund puppy was bitten on his hip and neck. He had to be taken to a vet, who treated the puncture wounds.

She said Jeremy Taylor of 218 Ruby Lane was notified and came to retrieve the dog. He took the dog back to his home and chained the dog in its area.

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

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