10/06/10 A couple of residents from the Forest Hills subdivision approached the Marshall County Commissioners during their meeting Monday concerning a vicious dog running at large.

Gary West told the commissioners that on Sunday, September 19th about 3 p.m. the neighbor’s dog was running loose and he called the Sheriff’s Department to report the situation.  He was told that the dog catcher (humane society) was in South Bend.

Three hours later the neighborhoods dog was still running loose and scared a teenage visitor as he was leaving the West’s home.  He explained that a pit bull charged the young man and he was forced to jump on the hood of a car to avoid a confrontation with the dog.  Mr. West attempted to chase the dog away but was unable to do so, so  he went into the house and grabbed an aluminum baseball bat.  He had to take several swings directly hitting the dog before the animal fell over.  West said, “I was afraid I killed the dog, but before he could get in the house to call the police the dog ran home.” 

Three County police officers were dispatched to the scene along with someone from the Marshall County Humane Society.  West said the dog charged the officers and three different times they pulled their weapons but didn’t shoot.  The dog catcher told them they couldn’t get the dog while it was out in the open.

The owner of the pit bull is not living at the 11th Road address so the dog is chained to a tree and a caretaker comes once a day to feed and water the animal. 

Mr. West said, “This is not an isolated incident.   We are not the only people having issues with aggressive animals, it happens all over.”  He did say that they experienced another issue with the dog getting loose on Sunday, October 3rd.  

The other neighbor who attended the commissioners meeting said she has two small children who would not be able to run away from the dog.  She said, “Trained professionals didn’t shoot the dog.  I need a method to deal with this situation.”  She also had great concern that the animal was allowed to remain at the 11508 11th Road property.

The Timber Lane residents wanted the commissioners to impose a vicious animal ordinance.   County Attorney Jim Clevenger said the county enacted an ordinance in 1993 that allows for individual owners to be charged with a class B misdemeanor. 

Since County Commissioner Tom Chamberlin will be the new Sheriff in 2011 he will meet with the prosecutor, humane society and county attorney to review the current ordinance and determine if there is a need for more robust ordinance.