Pit bull that bit man won't be released or destroyed

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Postby cheekymunkee » January 18th, 2007, 12:52 pm

Pit bull that bit man won't be released or destroyed

Dog to stay for now at Mississippi Animal Rescue League shelter, but victim wanted the "deadly" canine put down

By Andy Kanengiser

A pit bull that attacked a 67-year-old Hinds County man in December 2005 won't be released from a Mississippi Animal Rescue League shelter or put to death anytime soon.

The 60-pound pit bull belonging to Travis Williams will stay at the shelter in south Jackson under orders of the Hinds County sheriff, MARL Director Debra Boswell said Tuesday.

At a hearing earlier Tuesday, Hinds County Judge William Barnett noted criminal charges never were filed against the owner. As a result, Barnett would not consider a recent decision by Justice Court Judge Bill Skinner that the dog be put to death. The owner appealed Skinner's decision.

"I don't know why we are here," Barnett said at one point.

Two pit bulls attacked Allen Kelly as he rode a bicycle in his neighborhood between Byram and Terry. He said he spent more than $20,000 on hospital bills because of the attack and may now file charges against the owner.

"These dogs are deadly," Kelly said during a break at the Hinds County courthouse.

But he said he was advised earlier by someone not to file charges and just wanted to see the dog destroyed.

A former Jackson Police Department psychologist with the agency's domestic violence program, Kelly said he also may ask Hinds County supervisors to strengthen the ordinance on vicious dogs.

Kelly and other homeowners in the area plan to meet with supervisors Feb. 5.

Boswell said problems with pit bulls and other aggressive dogs are getting worse in Hinds County and elsewhere. She favors a tougher ordinance.

Of about 90 animals being kept at the MARL shelter, there are eight pit bulls. Last year, the shelter housed more than 300 pit bulls she said.

Had the victim in December 2005 been a child instead of a man, "I fear the child would be dead," Boswell said. "There is so much breeding and overbreeding of these animals."

The pit bull involved in the attack is 2 years old now.

"Their aggressive tendencies increase as they get older," Boswell said.

Bernard C. Jones Jr., the attorney for 26-year-old Williams, said the dog, if released, "will not go back over to the neighborhood. I doubt the dog will be released."

In the Dec. 1, 2005, attack, two pit bulls kept by the owner's mother attacked Kelly. She pulled the dogs off Kelly.

Kelly went to a hospital with wounds on his leg, shoulder and other parts of his body. He had said he suffered 40 to 50 bites.

Jones said what happened "was a terrible thing," but added it was "at most, a civil matter."

One of the pit bulls in the attack is missing, MARL officials say.

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