Dog mauling victim asks council to enforce ordinance; garbage rates increase

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Donna Holman, a Henrietta woman mauled by two dogs, addressed the Henrietta City Council on Monday, sharing concerns that animal control ordinances were not followed after the attack.

“Had this happened to a child, they probably would not have lived through it,” said Holman.

Holman was attacked on Monday, Sept. 21 at the intersection of North Main and West Crafton streets in Henrietta by two dogs. A man who lives at a nearby address was walking four dogs when two got loose. Holman said a medium-sized dog attacked first, biting her leg. Holman said the owner of the dogs fought to keep control of the other two animals, while a larger dog attacked the other leg, causing significant damage. The director of a children’s daycare and her son saw the attack and took Holman to the emergency room, where she received 37 stitches and spent the night in the hospital.

Both dogs were quarantined 10 days for observation by the city. The large dog was deemed vicious by the city and euthanized, while the other was returned to its owner.

During Monday’s city council meeting, Holman said that according to city ordinance, both dogs should have been euthanized or removed from the city.

“According to our ordinance, a vicious dog is any animal which has bitten, or has previously attacked or bitten any one person or more than one person; Any animal that has the propensity to bite human beings without provocation, animals that commit an unprovoked attack on public or private property; any animal that attacks, or threatens to attack a person.” said Holman, reading from the document. “Obviously, both of these dogs did this.”

The ordinance goes on to state that after a quarantine of 10 days, if the owner has not made arrangement to permanently remove the dog from the city, the animal control officer shall humanely dispose of the animal.

Teresa Covert and Peggy Garrison, owner of Celebrations Child Care, shared concerns for customers of the daycare center, located catty-corner from the home of the man who owns the dogs.

“Is the animal control person required to follow the city ordinance, or does his decision override city ordinances that are in place?” asked Covert.

“He’s the one who went through the training. We did rely on his judgement to make the call,” said Kelley Bloodworth, city administrator. Bloodworth was out of town when the dog attack occurred, and the animal control employee has been out of town since.

“I have not talked to Jimmy, but I plan to do that when he returns,” said Bloodworth. “His recommendation was that the dog was in its home range… and we relied on his judgement to make that call.”

It was not the first time for the larger dog to attack a person. Some time ago, the dog went after a man walking in the cemetery, ripping his jeans from the crotch to the ankle.

“A report had been done, he had to have a tetanus shot, the dog wasn’t deemed vicious and was given back to (the owner),” said Holman. “I would not have gone through this had that been handled properly.”

Discussion of the dog attack and animal control resolutions occurred in the public comments section of the meeting and no action was taken.

The council took action on several items, including a rate increase for garbage collection as requested by Progressive Waste Solutions during Monday’s meeting. The increase, based on the consumer price index, is required in the city contract.

Rates will increase 1.96 percent, or 26 cents for residential poly-carts. The increase will affect all sizes of containers, from poly-carts to 8 cubic yard dumpsters.

A second public hearing was held and the council voted in favor of authorizing the Henrietta Growth Corp. to enter into an inter-local agreement with the city to assist with improvements to the south water plant in the amount of $32,450.

Aldermen also approved a resolution supporting the proposed development of a 48-unit apartment complex by Rea Ventures.

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Matt Kelton

Matt Kelton began working for community newspapers at 19 and has since won numerous awards. He founded The Pioneer Sentinel in 2011 with the belief that a locally owned news source best represents a community. Matt is a fifth generation resident of Clay County.

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