Asheville, NC Dog Attacks Increase

Posted on Dec 08, 2008

dog fightThe Asheville Citizen Times reports that Buncombe County Animal Control officers are searching for new ways to combat dog attacks and dog bites in Western North Carolina. In a major attempt to spread awareness about dangerous dogs and how to keep your family safe from dog attacks, city officials have begun a public awareness campaign to educate citizens about how to avoid dog attacks, recognize a dangerous animal, and keep your own animals safe from dog bites.

The two-pronged plan to educate the community about North Carolina dog bite cases consist of running dog bite and dog attack awareness programs on Asheville's local TV station and holding community meetings open to the public to discuss issues of dog attacks. The TV spots and meetings also work to educate dog owners on the city's animal control ordinance and policies regarding dog attacks and dangerous dogs.

The article also reported that dangerous dog calls to the police have been on the rise. In Hayward County, there have been 89 dog bites so far this year. In Asheville, there are about 500 dog attacks reported each year. Dangerous dog calls are up a staggering 77% from 2004. The number of dogs receiving annual licenses fluctuates between about 2,000 and 3,500.

Why is public awareness of dog attacks so important? Ask Dylon Ingle, a 14-year-old living in Canton, North Carolina, who was viciously attacked by a pack of three local pit bulls. One dog bit the boy's neck, while two others attacked his arms and legs. One bite came within inches of his jugular vein. His father, Gary Ingle, was lucky enough to beat the three dogs off of his son with a shovel and save his life while his wife, Debra Ingle, looked on horrified. The owner volunteered to have the three dogs euthanized for everyone's safety.

In another case, Allison Frank of Asheville and her dog were attacked by two pit bulls who escaped from their owner in a Sand Hill Road neighborhood. Frank suffered dog bite injuries to her back knee, shoulder, legs, and neck. Her dog, who she was trying to protect her, suffered puncture wounds.

Asheville Police Captain Daryl Fisher believes that the calls regarding dangerous dogs have more to do with public awareness of animal control ordinances than with an increase in dangerous dog activity.

"Our goal as far as the animal control ordinance goes is simply to get the folks to comply," Fisher said. "We understand from time to time that things happen to folks, so if it's a first time offense or if something has happened, we give the folks a chance to comply with the ordinance."

All in all, Buncombe County currently has more than 100 dogs regulated with preventative measures, including about two dozen dogs classified as dangerous according to animal services officers. The animal control officers also stated that each animal attack or dog bite case was unique and because of this, specific measurements are hard to pin down.