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Darlene Waldrep said her dog, Tiger, was killed by a pack of Labrador retrievers.
Courtesy photo
Darlene Waldrep said her dog, Tiger, was killed by a pack of Labrador retrievers.

Woman says pack of dogs mauled pet
Midway residents: Labradors stir trouble in community

By Nancy Glasscock · 340-2443

MIDWAY —When Darlene Waldrep’s granddaughter visited, she used to ask about Tiger, the family’s Shih Tzu mix, before she asked for Granny or Papa, Waldrep said.

Now, all Waldrep has left of Tiger are photos, after the 8-pound dog was mauled to death by a pack of Labrador retrievers recently, Waldrep said. Though she didn’t see the alleged attack on her dog, Waldrep said she found Tiger’s corpse near the Labradors.

“I went and looked for (Tiger), and I was met by five dogs,” she said.

Waldrep said a pack of dogs roams free near her home off Lawrence County 221 and has caused problems in the community for more than a year. She said the same family owns the entire pack of dogs, but attempts to reach the owners Tuesday were unsuccessful.

“They’re nipping at the heels of cattle, tearing up garbage, growling at elderly people and children playing outside,” Waldrep said.

Stanley Wiley said Waldrep’s dog was apparently killed in his yard. He said he confronted a woman he said owns the Labradors when he found garbage strewn across his yard Tuesday morning, and the woman refused to do anything about the dogs.

“She got smart with me and told me to put my garbage up to keep them out of it,” Wiley said. “I put it in cans. What more can I do?”

He said he fears the dogs will eventually harm or kill children.

“I’d like to see them disappear,” he said. “I have three grandbabies, and there’s at least eight of (the dogs). It might be nine or more that they let run loose all the time.”

Waldrep said she reported the dogs to Lawrence County Animal Control but was told her options are limited because no leash law exists outside the city limits.

That could change, however.

Lawrence County Animal Control officer Carolyn Atchison and others are working with county commissioners to draft an ordinance that would allow local officials to reprimand owners of dangerous dogs, Atchison said.

“If we have numerous reports on a dog and its conduct and have a past history, then we should have a right to make that person obey the guidelines set up by the proper authority for us to follow,” she said.

Atchison said Animal Control receives about 10 phone calls a day about dangerous dogs from residents who say they can’t go for a walk or bicycle ride without being chased.

“These dogs will come out of nowhere just chewing at your wheels,” she said.

Problems with vicious dogs have also been reported recently in Moulton. A 14-year-old terrier owned by an 84-year-old woman was mauled to death by a pit bull, Atchison said.

Atchison said the pit bull was picked up by Animal Control, but officers had to return it after learning the owner hadn’t been notified that the dog was running loose.

While pit bulls have a reputation for being aggressive animals, Atchison said, most are friendly, like the 135-pound pit bull that wandered into the Lawrence County Hospital Emergency Room recently.

People in the Emergency Room were afraid of the dog, but Atchison said it never showed any signs of aggressive behavior.

“Seventy-five percent of the bulldogs are very friendly toward people,” she said. “At the same time, you have those others that are being trained and taught by the human race to do the opposite.”

Not everyone supports an ordinance for vicious dogs, Atchison said.

“They say we don’t have the training to investigate whether this dog is a potential biter or not,” she said. “All of my comrades are more than trained and skilled to handle the tasks that they’re doing.”

Because county Animal Control officers are limited in what they can do to control dangerous animals, Atchison said, some residents take the law into their own hands and resort to shooting threatening dogs.

About 15 percent of all phone calls to Lawrence County Animal Control are about dog shootings, she said.

“They’re tired of calling me and saying there’s dogs trying to attack me or attack my animals,” she said.

Charles Compton, who lives near Waldrep, said he might have resorted to shooting the Labradors if he didn’t fear legal repercussions. He said multiple dogs often attack another animal at the same time, “like a pack of wolves.”

The pack has attacked livestock, and tried to kill a calf, but the mother chased the dogs away, he said. The dogs also attacked his 5-month-old blue healer, but the blue healer “held its own,” during the fight, he said.

“They fight 12 and 13 in a pack, run up and down the highway, scare people. It’s unreal,” he said. “Something needs to be done.”

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