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2016-06-02

Dog attacks reported in Lakehills, surrendered dogs euthanized

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

In April 2009, Bandera County Commissioners Court unanimously approved a new Rabies and Animal Control Order. According to Judge Richard Evans, the strengthened order had been designed to “put some teeth” into enforcement of its various components – pun intended.
A portion of the order said Bandera County Rabies Control Officer Conrad Nightingale, DVM, covered a protocol to be followed in the event of a biting incident.
The Animal Bite Protocol stated: “Any bite or scratch by a wild or domestic animal should be reported to health officials, city or county animal control, school nurse or Dr. Conrad Nightingale, Bandera County Rabies Control Officer. Any animal that bites a person must be examined by a veterinarian within 24 hours and a bite report submitted by appropriate authorities to the Rabies Control Officer. This requirement is for all animals whether currently vaccinated or not.”
However, any order is only as strong as its enforcement.
On Monday, May 16, a report came in to emergency dispatch dogs reporting two dogs running at large in the Pebble Beach area of Lakehills. At 7:05 pm, a resident of the 300 block of Black Bass had apparently been attacked and bitten several times by the dogs. As he attempted to get away, the man reportedly fell and was later diagnosed with a broken arm.
According to the incident report, after Bandera County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Daryl Richardson arrived on the scene, he observed the dogs, as well as a woman walking toward the area. Three men in a golf cart came along and assisted Richardson not only divert the canines from the unsuspecting woman, but also return them to their pens.
According to BCSO Chief Deputy Matt King, one of the men said the same dogs had also bitten his daughter a few weeks earlier. The bite on her head had required stitches, according to her father. He also said the girl escaped the dog attack by jumping into Medina Lake.
The unidentified man had reported the dog bite to Precinct 2 Constable Ernie Reich; however, despite Bandera County’s Animal Bite Protocol, a series of miscues resulted in the dogs not being impounded. The delay apparently enabled the attacks to continue.
Another report stated that the same boxer-type dogs had also attacked another little girl, who had been riding her bike in the area. “There have been three documented incidents with these same dogs,” King said.
However, after the latest bite incident, an animal control officer impounded the dogs and transported them to the animal shelter located on Highway 173 North, where they will be quarantined.
Charges were filed with County Attorney Janna Lindig against the dogs’ owner for allowing dogs to run at large. According to King, the dogs’ owner said he did not want his animals returned to him. Consequently, after the owner surrendered the pair, both were humanly euthanized on Thursday, May 26.
Representatives from several local animal rescue organizations had indicated they were willing to take possession of the animals at the completion of the quarantine, with hopes of re-homing them.
However, county authorities were reluctant to release animals that had attacked people repeatedly.