FORT PIERCE — Three dogs running loose attacked and killed two other tied-up dogs in separate incidents in the city’s northern neighborhoods this week, according to city reports.
A city animal control officer captured two of the loose dogs, named Bear and Sasha, and impounded them. Officials now are trying to get the owner to turn over the third dog that took part in the attacks early Tuesday on north 16th and 17th streets, city reports show.
City officials are hopeful the owner will surrender the pit bull named Tebow, City Code Compliance Manager Peggy Arraiz said Thursday. So far “he has indicated he may be willing to do so,” she said.
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According to city records, Tebow previously attacked a pit bull Dec. 10. Tebow isn’t registered with the city, Arraiz said.
The owner, Herbert Campbell, of the 1100 block of North 16th Street, is fined $100 per dog for the unlawful killing of dogs; and $50 for allowing each to run loose.
If the owner doesn’t turn over the dog to the city, city officials would have to go through what Arraiz described as a complicated procedure of classifying the dog as dangerous. Once classified, the owner would have to get at least $100,000 in liability insurance. Also, the owner would have to keep the dog in an escape-proof shelter and could not move the dog to another place in the city without notifying city officials.
Tuesday’s attacks took place at a house in the 1610 block of North 16th Street and in the 1100 block of North 17th Street. At each place, one dog was killed. The dog owner at North 17th Street told officers one of his pit bull dogs was fatally attacked a week ago, but no report was filed.
In the attack on Tuesday, the three loose dogs killed two dogs that were tethered in yards — which city ordinances no longer allow. However those new rules are being phased in and have not yet taken effect.
During August, the City Commission approved an ordinance banning dogs being tethered outdoors unless they are in view of the owners. “Because this is such a dramatic change to the way dogs have been kept, the City Commission strongly supported an education period, which we are still doing,” Arraiz said.
The ordinance also says dogs kept outdoors must be in fenced-in areas with shelter and food and water.
Through the years ”we have seen (tethered) dogs attacked, such as in this case,” Arraiz said.
What prompted the city’s anti-tethering ordinance, she said, was the “death of Baby, a young pit bull pup a couple years ago. Baby had been tethered and when kids riled a yellow jacket nest nearby, the swarm attacked and killed Baby because he had no way to escape.
“The swarm was so intense that Animal Control and the Fort Pierce Police Department could do nothing but stand back and it was heartbreaking,” she said.
In Fort Pierce, “We have seen dogs that tried to jump a fence and hung themselves. We have seen tethers wrapped around trees and other objects leaving the dog essentially tied in place with no way to move or reach their water and food,” Arraiz said.