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Vicious dogs continue to plague area

By Staff | Apr 8, 2015

On April 1, at around 6 a.m., a Paden City woman became the second victim of a vicious dog attack within the last year.

Debbie McMahon and her small dog were walking near her home on Main Street when they were both attacked by a large pit bull dog. After screaming for help, McMahon’s son came out of their house and stabbed the dog several times to get it off of his mother. The dog, after being stabbed, was still able to run off before the Paden City Police Department arrived. Patrolman Mike Shreves arrived on the scene within minutes to help provide assistance to the victim. McMahon went to the Wetzel County Hospital on her own for treatment of her injuries.

After looking for the dog, it was later discovered it was at home on South First Ave., a few doors from where the attack took place. Police spoke to Cecil Allison, owner of the dog, who informed them the dog has had his shots. Allison was cited by the Paden City Police for allowing a dog to run at large. He will have a hearing in Paden City Court. Charges of harboring a vicious animal have also been filed in Wetzel County Magistrate Court and a hearing will be held in the matter before Magistrate Tom Shepherd.

Allison has been ordered by the Paden City Police Department to quarantined the dog in his basement for 10 days to make sure it is not rabid.

Wetzel County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Haught said he was aware of the incident and he would be involved in the hearing at the Magistrate level. He said it is his understanding that the individual who owns the dog is being cooperative. He also said, “It is my position as prosecutor that if the owner of a vicious dog who bites someone does not have the dog put down, I will work to have it done.” Haught said there need to be stronger penalties against irresponsible dog owners. He said Wetzel County has had to deal with at least three vicious dogs in the last year and all three have been destroyed.

Greathouse has been placed on a $2,500 personal recognizance bond by Magistrate Dotson and ordered not to leave the state. A hearing will be set in the matter. Greathouse has requested a court appointed attorney.

Paden City Chief of Police Mike Kelly said, “We have talked to the patrolmen and informed them to step up patrols in the areas where vicious dogs reside. We also want to remind dog owners that they are to keep their dogs on a leash at all times.” Kelly said it is a problem because many dog owners are not being responsible and are not willing to cooperate. “We have a vicious dog ordinance in Paden City and we expect those with vicious dogs to register them and properly insure them,” said Kelly. “it is very difficult to enforce when Tyler County refuses to hire a dog warden and build a dog pound. We recognize there is a problem and we are doing everything we can to get this under control, but we need the help of the people as well. It is our position that if a dog is off leash, the owner can and will be cited and brought into court.”

One resident wishing to remain anonymous said she is afraid for the children and is praying it doesn’t come down to some child or older adult getting mauled to death. She said Paden City has always been a safe place to walk, but with the recent attacks it is not even safe to be in the park.

In another dog-related matter, Robert L. Greathouse, 38, of Margery Run Road, Middlebourne, made his initial appearance before Magistrate Mary Dotson on March 31 to answer to four separate misdemeanor offenses of failure to rabies vaccinate a dog, keeping vicious dogs, failure to pay head tax on dog, and failure to pay license fee for vicious dog. All the offenses are alleged to have occurred on Feb. 25.

It is alleged that Greathouse owned a pit bull that escaped from a fence on the end of his residence and attacked an individual, biting him on the leg and arm at 4615 Elk Fork Road. Greathouse allegedly did not have a license for the animal, nor did he have it properly secured to prevent it from causing injury to another person.

After receiving a call from 911 that an individual had been attacked and the dog was still circling the residence, Tyler County Sheriff Deputy Shannon Huffman responded to the scene. He observed the house from the road but did not see the dog. Huffman said, “I then pulled in the driveway and parked. I started to exit my vehicle and noticed the dog coming around the front of my vehicle, I shut my door and waited for the dog to come around the vehicle. I rolled my window down and whistled at the dog, the dog turned and looked at me, I spoke to the dog and he begin growling and then jumped into my window and tried to bite me.”

Huffman said he then rolled the window up and the dog fell off the vehicle. He said it made another attempt to get in the car and fell over his mirror. Huffman then sprayed the dog with Fox spray and it fell off the vehicle. According to Huffman, the dog then attacked the tires on his vehicle. After several minutes, Huffman said he was able to run over the dog and it stopped attacking his vehicle and ran off into the woods. He said he then exited the vehicle and observed the victim who had large bites on his left arm and right leg. He was transported by ambulance to Wetzel County Hospital for his injuries.

Huffman said, while he was at the scene the dog owner came and asked if we had found his dog. “I asked him if it was a brown pit bill and he said, ‘Yes.’ I told him about the incident and that the dog had run off into the woods.” Huffman advised the owner to find the dog as it was a risk to public safety.

Huffman and Cpl. Scott Dalrymple went on the hunt of the dog but were unable to locate it. After again talking to the owner, they learned he had owned the dog for about one-and-a-half years. It was about three years old and weighed about 130 pounds. The officers also viewed the fence where the dog was kept and discovered it was a woven wire fence about four foot high and was designed for sheep, not dogs. The fence also had a sign which read “Danger I Bite” in large red letters. It is believed the dog was shot and killed by a local farmer.