Port Royal official calls for 'one-bite' ordinance

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Port Royal official calls for 'one-bite' ordinance

Published Friday, July 13, 2012   |  524 Words  |  

Buddy Brown cried when he held the small, brown wooden box aloft during Port Royal's Town Council meeting Wednesday.

It contained the ashes of his dog, Zoey.

The 3-year-old, 5-pound Chihuahua-poodle died last week after being bitten July 4 by a pit bull, as Brown and Sally Germer walked their dogs.

"I was Zoey's dad and that dog attacked us last Wednesday," he said. "... I was supposed to be the protector. I couldn't get there fast enough."

Zoey's death has inspired one councilman, who is friends with Brown and Germer.

"I'm on a mission to get a new ordinance in Port Royal -- a one-bite ordinance," Councilman Tom Klein said.

He is still researching the details as to what penalties would occur after a bite and has asked fellow council members to contribute their ideas.

"There is no room for aggressive dogs in Port Royal," he said.

Port Royal police Detective Andre Massey said dog attacks are uncommon, about one or two a year. When a dog attacks, town police contact the Beaufort County Animal Shelter and Control. The dog is put under 24-hour watch to determine if it is vicious, he said.

Every situation is different.

But for Klein, Brown and Germer, one bite is too many.

"I want consequences for people who have these dogs," Brown said, adding that he's worried about the safety of his other dog. "I shouldn't have to walk around with a club to protect him."

During previous walks, Germer said, the dog has lunged at the fence, but July 4 it hit the fence, and "I guess it wasn't latched properly, and she just crashed through."

"The scary part is this is a walking community, and there are children everywhere," Germer added.

The dog's owner could not be reached for comment Friday. She told police she was inside her Madrid Avenue home when she heard her dog barking.

She said her dog got out of the yard because the mail carrier did not close the gate properly, according to the police report. The dog has always stayed inside the yard in the past, and she has never had problems with it, according to the report.

She was cited for letting her dog run free, and police said the dog was found to be dangerous by Animal Control. She is fighting that designation.

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