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Dog attacks 97-year-old English man

Incident sheds light on loose animal problem

September 02, 2009
An elderly man is recuperating after being attacked Aug. 23 by a neighborhood dog in English.

Thomas Scott, 97, was in his backyard at 503 Court St. when a black Lab-mix attacked him. Scott said the dog bit him on his leg as he was walking in his yard, and he had to use his walker to get the dog off.

In a report by Crawford County Deputy Sheriff Eddie Weber, who responded to the incident, Scott was in his residence when Weber arrived and had sustained a severe laceration to his leg. Crawford County EMS treated the victim at the scene, and he was transported to Harrison County Hospital in Corydon. It required 11 stitches to close the wound.

After an investigation, Weber determined the dog belonged to Brandy Brooks, 25, who lived nearby at 601 Court St. The dog was not secured and was allowed to run loose. Brooks, according to police, admitted that she let the dog run loose while she was at work. She was advised that the dog must be secured on the property until a quarantine is complete and the animal checked.

"The dog must be kept away from other animals and quarantined for 10 days," Sheriff Tim Wilkerson said. "Only one person can oversee the dog during the quarantine. The owner must provide records from their veterinarian so we can check for vaccinations, but we're really limited in what we can do.

"If the owner can't quarantine the animal, we have no place to keep them. We are required to make a report of any dog attack to the health department within 24 hours, but there's not much more we can do," Wilkerson said.

"This has been an issue for years. Someday, the county will have to face up to the problem. Stray dogs and cats are the biggest problem. We receive complaints about them getting into garbage or killing chickens, but most aren't vicious; they're just strays. In rural areas, a lot of dogs get dropped off and they're domesticated animals. They can't really take care of themselves; they depend on us."

Wilkerson added that if the county had a small animal shelter or a contract with a neighboring county to take strays, it would help tremendously.

"Or if we had an animal control officer, he could probably get volunteers to help," he added. "There's agencies that will donate food, shots and other needs. We had David Cox (of English), who took care of the strays for a while, and I think he did an excellent job. I don't know what happened to that arrangement, but we need something.

"It's not a sheriff's department problem, but we get the calls and have to deal with them the best we can," he said. "But we're not really equipped to handle animal control problems. The public has the right to protect their property, but we don't shoot dogs. We've been surprised by dogs when we're serving papers or go to a residence for other reasons, but we usually 'mace' them when we have to.

"We're certainly willing to work with the commissioners on the animal control problem, something that would benefit the whole community."

Crawford County District 2 Commissioner Randy Gilmore said the county's hands are tied due to the absence of funds required to set up a shelter.

"It's an expensive proc-ess," he said. "Some counties have actually dropped their animal shelter programs due to a lack of funds, and the way our budgets are right now, I don't know where we'd find the money for a shelter or an animal control officer plus insurance.

"The last time we looked into it, we found that a huge expense of having a shelter is the liability insurance cost," he said. "And now, we couldn't even afford that. We're having trouble finding enough money to fund the highway department and courthouse. There's just not enough money to go around now."

The Sheriff's Department handled 142 animal complaints since January. During the same period, there were 11 animal bites or attacks reported.

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    Animal Solution
    September 02, 2009 | 08:38 PM

    I would like to see the county find some type of resource within the state to implement a program for the "Leash Law" problem. If aggressive dogs are an issue, then at least lets find the means to combat it instead of pointing the finger at the sheriffs dept. Maybe there's a program that would enable more than one county to share the facility and expense so that one county alone wouldn't have to foot the bill. Might be worth looking into

    B Scott Daughter of the 97 year old man
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    Animal Solution
    September 03, 2009 | 09:58 AM

    I don't understand......is the Sheriff saying he doesn't have to enforce Indiana's Leash Law? IC 15-5-9-13 It is a Class C infraction for an owner to allow his dog to stray beyond his premises, unless under the reasonable control of some person or when engaged in lawful hunting accompanied by the owner or custodian.

    Barbara Lee
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    The Dog
    September 05, 2009 | 11:35 AM

    As of two days ago the dog was "put down" humanely and with an agreement between both families. This dog won't bother anyone anymore. Both sides were agreeable and as this was an ongoing problem the owners recognized that the dog was unpredictable and did the correct thing. I commend them because i know it is hard to lose a family pet.

    B Scott
Barbara Shaw
Schuler Bauer
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