Fayette deputy shoots attacking dog

Fayette deputy shoots attacking dog

2 people, small Yorkie injured in earlier attacks by 2 roaming dogs northeast of Fayetteville

Back-to-back dog attacks by two Argentinian mastiffs during the morning hours of June 29 in a neighborhood off Banks Road northeast of Fayetteville resulted in two dogs and two adults injured, and one of the attacking dogs shot and killed by a deputy defending himself against a growling, charging dog.

Above, a home surveillance video shows two large hunting dogs attacking Krista Hinkle’s 10-pound Yorkshire terrier, Harley, in her driveway Sunday morning. The two Argentinian mastiffs also attacked and injured her and a neighbor before deputies arrived. One of the two attackers was later killed. Photo/Submitted.

The second dog, a breed known as Dogo Argentinos, has been quarantined. The dogs’ owner is being sought.

The Yorkshire terrier that suffered one of the attacks, as well as its owner and a good Samaritan who put himself in harm’s way, are all in good condition.

The attack at Krista Hinkle’s house on Sugarland Trail occurred just before 9 a.m. Sunday. Hinkle said she was preparing to take 10-year-old Harley, a 10-pound Yorkie, for a routine walk. She and Harley were in the garage where she had put on his 6-foot leash. Krista said Harley pricked up his ears as the garage door was open.

“I thought it was a squirrel,” Krista explained. “He started walking out of the garage, then stopped.”

Krista said one dog was trotting toward Harley, when the other large dog came from the side and grabbed him.

“Then the (other dog) jumped on him,” Krista said. “One dog had Harley’s hind quarters and the other had his head.”

Krista said the dogs began dragging her and Harley.

“I was screaming. I was afraid to let go of the leash. They would have dragged him off,” Krista explained.

Krista said it was then her neighbor, Tommy Lee, “whipped into the driveway in his truck and got out.”

Tommy’s arrival caused the attacking dogs to be somewhat distracted, giving Krista time to grab Harley. During the retrieval, Krista said she received a scratch on her hand from a tooth or claw as the dogs were trying to get Harley from her arms.

Krista said the two dogs then went for the neighbor, knocking him to the ground, as she ran into the house with Harley, bleeding. Krista said she put Harley down and ran back into the yard to find that the two dogs had left, and Tommy walking back to his truck.

“He wanted to follow the dogs to make sure they didn’t attack anyone else,” Krista said, adding that she called 911 and told Tommy to stay to stay there until the ambulance came. “His leg and arm were bleeding.”

EMTs arrived at the home and Krista soon took Harley to the vet, where he underwent surgery later that day.

Tommy’s arrival to help Krista and Harley was the second of two attacks that morning. Tommy on Saturday said he left his house for a walk and saw the two dogs attacking the dog of a neighbor that was tied on the porch near the front door.

That is when the 76-year-old Tommy responded. With a golf club shaft, Tommy approached the two dogs and began striking them to help free the other dog from the attack. At one point, Tommy said he thought he slipped and fell to the ground. It was then that the dogs turned on him.

While defending himself with the golf club, Tommy said he was bitten above his left foot, on the inside of  his right arm and in the area of his right chest.

“Then they left,” Tommy said. “I got in my truck to see if I could find them.”

Find them he did. Tommy saw the dogs attacking Harley, and Krista struggling to free the Yorkie.

Tommy pulled into the driveway and exited with the golf club. He slipped in the wet grass. That was when the dogs came at Tommy for the second time.

“I don’t believe they bit me this time. It happened so fast,” Tommy said, explaining that the dogs soon left the area.

Tommy met with EMTs upon their arrival and then went to the hospital, where he was treated and released.

Commenting over the weekend about his intervention, Tommy played down his involvement.

“I think I did what most people would have done. I was trying to keep them from getting to Krista and her dog,” said Tommy. “I’m glad I could help.”

From Krista’s perspective, Tommy’s humility deserved much praise.

“Tommy is my hero,” Krista insisted.

Her husband, Ed, agreed.

“If it wasn’t for Tommy this could have been a whole lot worse,” he said.

“I’m a dog lover and have never been afraid of dogs until now,” Krista insisted, the emotion in her voice obvious.“I was terrified to think what might have happened if our teenage son who is vision- and hearing-impaired had been outside. It’s a blessing he didn’t go with us. Dogs like this shouldn’t be in a family neighborhood if they can’t be contained.”

The incident was captured on the couple’s home video.

Harley the Yorkshire terrier following surgery to repair multiple dog bites. Photo/Krista Hinkle.
Harley the Yorkshire terrier following surgery to repair multiple dog bites. Photo/Krista Hinkle.

Krista on Monday reported that Harley had three drainage tubes from surgery removed and is in good condition. The condition of the tethered dog in the first attack is not known.

Sheriff Barry Babb said deputies received a call on June 29 at approximately 9:26 a.m. about two white and cream-colored dogs running loose. The dogs were said to have attacked a dog on a front porch on Smokemont Drive, then another dog and its owner on Sugarland Trail while the woman was walking her dog. An area resident was reported to have broken up the fights, Babb said.

Arriving at the scene, the investigation led deputies and an animal control unit to 165 Sugarland Trail, said Babb.

Deputies walked around the house and came across two large dogs near the fence, one of which appeared to be the same dog on a video taken by a neighbor. One of the deputies yelled to the other deputy and, at that point, one of the dogs locked its gaze and charged in attack mode, growling and barking and bearing its teeth, said Babb.

The deputy moved toward the street to gain a reactionary distance, Babb explained, then drew his weapon. The deputy discharged three rounds into the oncoming dog until the threat ceased. Babb noted that animal control witnessed the attack and provided a statement.

Babb said the second dog was captured without incident.

Investigators are attempting to contact the owner, Babb said, adding that victim and witness statements were taken and crime scene investigators arrived on-site.

Babb noted that deputies arriving at the 165 Sugarland Trail residence found chain-linked kennels in the back yard and heard what sounded like several dogs locked in the garage and barking.

Fayette County Animal Control Director Jerry Collins on Saturday said animal shelter staff is following the legal process of determining is the other dog is dangerous. The dog is being quarantined for 10 days to ensure that rabies is not present while the positive identification of the owner is being determined. If cited as “dangerous,” the owner will be sent a registered letter and can appeal the decision to the Fayette County Magistrate Court.

Collins said a dangerous dog can return to the owner, though the owner must comply with a number of legal requirements.

Collins said there were four dog houses in the yard of the residence where the dogs allegedly live. If proved that four dogs live there, the owner would be in violation of a county ordinance that carries a maximum of three animals per household.

Pertaining to the 165 Sugarland Trail address, Collins said the owner of the dogs was issued a citation for restraint of animal in September 2017. Collins said another incident, in August 2017, which was handled between the parties after the neighbor’s dog was injured. The dogs got out approximately a week later, at which point the neighbor requested a citation, and the citation was issued.

“The Dogo Argentino is a large, white, muscular dog that was developed in Argentina primarily for the purpose of big-game hunting, including wild boar,” according to Wikipedia. Full-grown, such a dog typically weighs between 80 and 100 pounds.