Joker the horse is dead, and one of the two dogs believed responsible was still on the loose last week.
A few weeks ago, neighbors on Dan Hood Road in Mint Hill saw two dogs chasing the 34-year-old horse, which soon collapsed and died in a pasture.
Bill Williamson, the horse’s caretaker, said it was the fourth time in the past few years the horse had been terrorized by neighboring dogs. A 2011 attack left the horse with severe lacerations on his face, neck and legs.
The two dogs responsible in 2011 were captured by Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department Animal Care and Control and euthanized.
Williamson said it wasn’t long before his neighbor obtained two more dogs and the problems started again.
On Feb. 6, Mint Hill police and CMPD Animal Care and Control were called to Dan Hood Road. Both agencies can issue citations, but the town contracts with CMPD for animal control services.
Mint Hill Police Capt. Scott Hall said the dogs’ “apparent owner,” Michael Roberts, had tried to keep the dogs locked up.
“The dog owner had put up a higher privacy fence around his property to try to keep them in, but if a dog wants out, he will get out. The owner was very cooperative that day and was trying to help us find his dogs,” Hall said.
Animal Care and Control’s Melissa Knicely says owners still can be liable.
“Anytime a dog gets out of a confinement area, it’s the owners responsibility. It’s a leash-law violation, even if he’s taken all precautions necessary,” Nicely said.
Hall said police issued a uniform state citation instead of a civil citation because of previous problems with dogs at that address. That means the owner will have to appear in court and a judge will resolve the most recent case.
Roberts refused late Wednesday to answer questions about the incident.
One of the dogs, an American bulldog mix, was captured the day of the incident in a nearby neighborhood. That dog is now with Animal Control.
The other dog, which police reports described as a pit bull, was still free late last week. The report described the dog as orange-brown in color, but no other details were available.
Williamson said then that he and his neighbors were concerned about the loose dog.
Mint Hill follows the city of Charlotte’s Animal Control Ordinance, which has a section on dangerous dogs, but Williamson said those rules aren’t tough enough.
“I’ve pleaded with the town to pass a dangerous dog ordinance, and I’ve been told that it’s not their concern, that it’s an issue between me and my neighbors.
“But it’s not. It’s between the town of Mint Hill and dangerous dogs and their owners,” Williamson said.
Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Melinda? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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