April 16, 2011 7:07:00 PM
The owners of four dogs involved in a fatal attack on a poodle face fines but no criminal charges.
According to witness reports, three purebred boxers and a fourth dog being referred to as a pit bull mix attacked a toy poodle Monday at Avalon Apartments'' designated dog walking area. Witnesses intervened to help the poodle but it''s injuries were too severe to treat and the dog had to be euthanized.
Now investigators are attempting to piece together the chain of events despite differing accounts from nine witnesses, several of which are young children. Meanwhile, two of the dogs responsible for the attack remain in custody and two have been returned to their owners, who face no punitive action besides fines.
SPD Animal Control Officer Richard McKee said the owners would face criminal charges had the dogs attacked a person. But under the circumstances, the only recourse available to the poodle''s owners is civil legal action.
None of the animals were on a leash at the time of the attack and three of the four attacking dogs were not current on their vaccinations, all of which violates Starkville''s animal ordinance.
The original call to the police, received at 3:40 p.m. Monday, was made in reference to the dogs being unleashed. The attack occurred while officers were on their way to the scene.
McKee said one of the dogs has been deemed dangerous and will now either need to be kept indoors or confined in an enclosed outdoor kennel with a concrete floor and a metal or chain link roof. If the owners wish to walk the dog they must muzzle the animal and keep it on a leash no longer than three feet. And the city has the right to check in on the dog at any time to ensure those guidelines are being met.
None of the attacking dogs face euthanasia.
WCBI reported Thursday the poodle''s owners had previously complained about the pit bull mix involved in the attack to the apartment complex''s management. An employee in the complex''s main office had no comment Friday when asked about the incident.
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