Leaders of the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society are disappointed to see pit bulls taking up so many of the shelter”s cages.
Two seizures of pit bulls in Lowndes County last week added to the tally of pit bulls and pit bull mixes residing at the shelter, bringing the total to about 40, executive director Karen Johnwick said. Meanwhile, she said, the shelter contains 54 cages.
“If we have 40 pit bulls here, that”s just ridiculous,” she said. “There is just no reason we should 40 pit bulls here.”
She and her colleagues may not allow people to adopt pit bulls from the shelter, even if not all of them are fighting dogs. And so, at least for now, pit bulls and pit bull mixes outnumber adoptable dogs, she said.
Aggressiveness and the potential to fight may not be a matter of nature, though. “Pit bulls are awesome dogs, but I also think they”re dangerous in the wrong hands,” Johnwick said, suggesting people train the dogs to be vicious.
“You would have thought that Michael Vick would have slowed down all this, but evidently it did not,” said Juliaette W. Sharp, the organization”s president.
Columbus-Lowndes animal control officers seized four pit bulls and two puppies from a residence on Pickensville Road July 14. Columbus police officers found equipment used to train the dogs to fight. The four adult dogs were scarred and bloody. The dogs” owner, Joseph Ellis, 19, is scheduled to appear in court in the municipal complex at 1:30 p.m. July 29.
Sharp and others against dog-fighting will rally at Ellis” court hearing.
“We”re calling in the forces,” Sharp said, “because this has been going on and going on and going on, and these people that have been training pit bulls have been arrested time and time again, and all they get is a slap on the wrist, so to speak. They are not pursued and fined to the utmost.”
Four days after Ellis was arrested and his dogs were taken away, another seizure of pit bulls occurred in Lowndes County.
An 11-year-old boy was walking down Oil Well Road in Caledonia Saturday when four pit bulls attacked him.
At 2:20 p.m. Saturday, the Lowndes County Sheriff”s Office received a call from the boy”s father, Randy Hayward, to report the incident, said LCSO Chief Deputy Greg Wright. At the time of the call, Hayward and his son were on their way to the emergency room.
The owner of the dogs, Kevin Blizard, 21, of 23 Oil Well Road, said one of them was aggressive, according to a report Deputy Randy Collins made after speaking with Blizard. But Hayward disputes Blizard”s claim, since all four of the dogs attacked the child.
The child suffered a bite on his left arm, Wright said.
Columbus-Lowndes County animal control officers took the dogs to the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society. They were still housed there Wednesday. If a judge will decide at a hearing whether the dogs are dangerous, they could be euthanized, Wright said.
A hearing on the incident will take place at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Lowndes County Justice Court.
Neither Blizard nor Hayward could be reached for comment.
Police are withholding Hayward”s son”s name.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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