Dog Owner Faces Charges In Buncombe County After 9-Year-Old Attacked

According to an official in Buncombe County, the owner of three dogs that mauled a 9-year-old girl, causing her personal injuries, will face at least 11 misdemeanor criminal charges.

According to Buncombe County animal services director Lt. Helen Hall, 47-year-old Candler resident Pamela Bechinski will be facing three charges each of owning dogs that bite, allowing animals to run at large, and failure to have animals vaccinated, in addition to two charges of not having animals spayed or neutered.

Bechinski faces potential fines and fees costing thousands of dollars. Animal control rules are county ordinances, and violation of county ordinance is considered a misdemeanor.

Hall said that, due to an ongoing investigation, she was unable to comment in detail about the May 22 attack in which 9-year-old Erin Thomas was attacked by a pit bull, a boxer, and a “lab-mutt mix,” but described Thomas’ injuries as “serious.”

Thomas was released from the hospital on May 26, four days after the attack occurred.

On the day of the incident, Thomas was riding her bike near the end of the family’s driveway when she was attacked by the dogs. She suffered bites wounds to her legs and hand.

Hall said that after she began to investigate, a neighbor told her than her son had twice been bitten by the dogs.

Animal control officers seized the dogs and are holding them in 10-day quarantine at the county animal shelter to determine if they are sick. Afterwards, a decision will be made on whether or not the dogs should be labeled as dangerous.

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