A woman walking her small dog on a leash in the alley by South Second and Park St. in Paden City were attacked by dogs on Saturday evening, May 24, sending both the woman and dog to the hospital with injuries.
Donna Parsons, 58, of Paden City and her Shitzu, Riley, were attacked near the Industrial Park in Paden City while on their evening walk.
Sgt. Bryan Owens of the Paden City Police Department said he received a call from the 911 dispatch just after 8 p.m. on Saturday, reporting someone had been bitten by a dog.
Upon his arrival at the scene, Owens said he found the woman and her dog still on the ground and the attacking dog(s) inside the home of their owner.
"She reported that she was walking her dog on its leash and saw another woman with a dog on ahead of her when two other dogs came from the nearby woods, jumped on her small dog and started biting it."
"When the dogs attacked, she tried to pull her own dog away, and the two started attacking her and she was bitten several times as well."
Owens said everything was over by the time he arrived, so he had to rely on witness statements.
Ed Parsons, husband of Donna, said he was in his garage about a block-and-a-half away when he heard terrible screams coming from down the road. "It sounded like a child screaming," he said. "I didn't know if somebody had got hit by a car or what, so I went running in the direction of the screams to see if I could be of some help. I never expected to get to where the screams were coming from and see my own wife and dog being attacked by other dogs."
Parsons grabbed a stake from a tomato plant in a nearby garden and began beating the dogs to get them off his wife and small dog. After running one dog off, he kept hitting the other but it would not stop. A neighbor stepped in with an aluminum baseball bat and began hitting at the dog as well. Finally, after several minutes, the dog ran off.
"Donna was bleeding, I didn't know how badly she was hurt and you could just see what terrible shape Riley was in," Parsons said. "It was terrible."
The Wetzel County EMS was dispatched to take Donna Parsons to Wetzel County Hospital where she was treated for severe bites and scratches to her fingers, hands, and face. Riley was taken by the Parsons' granddaughter to an Animal Emergency Care Center in Wheeling where he underwent surgery. Donna Parsons returned home that night, while Riley still remains hospitalized in critical condition.
"I was as scared as I'd ever been," Ed Parsons said. "We still don't know all the repercussions of this. If that had been a child that was attacked, I don't know what the outcome would have been. Donna is in a lot of pain and can't use her hands, and Riley . . . well, we're just hoping he can come out of this."
Owens said the owner of the other dogs-a Pitbull, a Boston Terrier, and a Pitbull-Boston Terrier mix-Jessica Peck, was charged with harboring a vicious animal and dog running at large. He said his investigation is complete and Peck will now have to appear in Magistrate Court to face the charges. The dogs must now be quarantined for 14 days and can have contact with no one in that time.
Within that 14 days, at the court hearing, the magistrate will decide what, if anything, is to be done about or with the dogs.
It was rumored that these same dogs had attacked someone before a few years ago, but Owens said that police reports show they did not physically attack anyone. He said reports show that one of the dogs was behaving aggressively towards a person in September 2010. That person contacted the Chief of Police in Paden City at the time, who answered the call to the address and was approached aggressively by the dog also. Owens said the police chief shot the dog, and then took it to a local vet where it was treated and obviously healed.
At that time, the owner was not charged with harboring a vicious animal. She was charged with having an animal at large, which resulted in a small fine.
West Virginia Code states that no person shall own, keep or harbor any dog known by him to be vicious, dangerous, or in the habit of biting or attacking other persons, whether or not such dog wears a tag or muzzle.
Also, several residents have come forward since the attack and said they have registered complaints about the same dogs being vicious. "But I have looked back through all of the reports and there have been no complaints to the police department about these dogs since June 2012," Sgt. Owens said. "People do not want their name on reports, so they call up their councilmen or the mayor and bypass the police department, therefore we have nothing really to go on."
Donna Parsons may require further medical attention, including reconstructive and plastic surgery and the outlook for Riley is still not clear.
"We just want to get him home," Ed said. "We appreciate all the kind attention of our friends and neighbors and all the prayers being sent in our direction. Also we'd like to thank the quick response and attentiveness of the police department and EMS workers."