Pit bull quarantined after attack; will be euthanized

HUBERT — A dog is being held in quarantine after attacking a Hubert man and his dog.

Daniel Harrington was walking his border collie, Valerie, on Friday when a pit bull that had apparently broken free from its chain, attacked the two.

“(Valerie and I) were walking our normal route when this dog came barreling toward us,” Harrington said. “It knocked me down and tried to take a bite out of my hand, but it couldn’t get a good grip. Valerie was between the pit and me. It got a good hold on Valerie’s right thigh.”

The border collie needed medical attention from a veterinarian; and Harrington, who has cancer, worries the experience may derail her training as a service dog.

“She was very shaken up. She actually backs away from me when I try to reach down and pet her,” he said.

Alan Davis, director of Animal Control for Onslow County, said the agency is currently quarantining the dog. In Onslow County, if a dog bites someone, it must be quarantined for 10 days, Davis said. If the owner can produce proof the animal has its rabies shots, it can be quarantined at home.

Each dog bite case is handled individually. Owners whose dogs get labeled “potentially dangerous” or “dangerous” have to follow specific guidelines. Davis said he believes the owner of this particular dog is going to sign the dog over for euthanasia.

“This is what happens with people,” Davis said. “They get dogs that are strong, and if they don’t spay and neuter them, and take them to animal behavior training, there is no way they are going to be able to control them.”

Pit bulls were responsible for 263 dog bites from 2007-2011 in Onslow County, second only to Labrador retrievers. There were 48 pit bull bites labeled moderate to severe; labs were responsible for 27.

Davis said there is no breed-specific legislation against pit bulls in Onslow County, and such bans in other areas of the country have been ruled unconstitutional.

“It is typical around the country,” he said. “Pit bulls are the breed of our timeframe. Years ago, it was Dobermans and Rottweilers. Incidents happen because there are more of them around.”

Davis said that any dog, especially strong dogs like pit bulls, akitas, chow chows and Rottweilers, for example, need animal training so the dog can learn obedience.

Any dog has the potential for being dangerous, he said.

“It can be a Lab, a pit bull, a German shepherd — it can even be a beagle,” he said. “It just depends on the circumstances.”

Contact Daily News Reporter Tabitha Clark at 910-219-8454 or Tabitha.Clark@  jdnews.com  . Follow her on Twitter at @TabithaLClark or friend her on Facebook.

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