Confusion in Courtroom over Pit Bull Case
By Julie Straw
Some Terry residents fear a pit bull that attacked in their neighborhood may be allowed to strike again. In September, the dogs owner Travis Williams was fined for possessing vicious animals and ordered to euthanize the dog. Then in an appeal Tuesday, a Hinds County Court Judge decided not to take up the case.
Nearly 20 residents from Springlake Circle gathered at the Hinds County Courthouse awaiting the judge's decision.
They hope the ruling to euthanize the pit bull that attacked 67 year old Allen Kelly in December 2005 will be upheld. Instead, Hinds County Court Judge William Barnett said he could not take up the case because no criminal chargers were ever filed against Williams.
"I can't explain it, it should have been dismissed in Justice Court. It shouldn't have ever got to justice court without a warrant or affidavit," says defense attorney Bernard Jones.
That leaves the question of the September ruling, when Justice Court Judge William Skinner sentenced Williams to a six month suspended jail sentence and $500 fine for possessing vicious animals.
"That's sort of like pulling some law from Mars," says Jones, "I don't know where it came from."
Meanwhile, the Springlake Circle residents who were hoping to testify are left wondering where to go from here.
"It's too bad that one should face up to near death and have no progress made in this area," says Allen Kelly.
Two year oldScooby Doo has remained in the care of the Mississippi Animal Rescue League for more than 13 months. MARL Director Debra Boswell says it has cost the shelter more than $6,000 to keep the pit bull, but she says she would not feel comfortable releasing the dog.
"If the dog goes back in the community, the next time he's going to kill somebody. If that was a child, that child would have been dead," says Boswell.
The Springlake Circle residents say they are planning on calling on the Hinds County Board of Supervisors to strengthen the ordinance against vicious dogs.