Animal Control Officer Sues
UPDATE 02/27/09: An animal control officer mauled by pit bulls last year is suing the owner of the dogs for $500,000. Two pit bulls attacked Kenneth Crowder, 37, a Maryville Animal Control officer, last February when he was called to assist the Blount County Sheriff's Office pick up the animals. He filed suit in Blount County Circuit Court on Feb. 19.
Deborah Kay Dyer, the dogs' owner, was at the residence when it happened. Crowder knocked on the door of the trailer and "the dogs came busting through the door," Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp said the day after the attack. Crowder tried to hold back the dogs using his baton and other measures, but the pit bulls continuously attacked him.
According to Crowder's suit, Dyer didn't restrain the dogs. A witness said it appeared Dyer did nothing to try and get the dogs off Crowder. "Deborah Dyer had prior knowledge that her dogs were vicious and would bite and she willfully and knowingly failed to prevent the attack on victim Crowder, which resulted in serious bodily harm to him," the report states.
Dyer was charged with felony reckless endangerment in the attack, but entered a "no contest" plea in December to a lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless endangerment and received a judicial diversion. If she commits no crimes in a 12-month period following the sentencing, the conviction in Blount County General Sessions Court will be removed from her record as a condition of the diversion.
Crowder is seeking $250,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages. The city of Maryville is not a party to the suit.
02/29/08: Officer Ready to Return to Work
Maryville Animal Control Officer, Kenneth Crowder, is ready to return to work after suffering 25 stitches in a pit bull attack. Friday is the first time he's talked publicly about the attack. "When I was on the ground," he said, "I thought I was going to die." Officer Crowder went to the home to confiscate the pit bulls after they allegedly attacked another man and his teenage son.
Crowder had been to the house before but never had any problems with the dogs. That day, however, he says, he knocked and they attacked. "Pretty much by the grace of God that dog latched onto my pepper gas canister. It bit through the canister and the holster, and it exploded in the dog's mouth. It pretty much disabled that dog."
Just after, he fell to the ground and the other pit bull followed, mauling his leg. At this point, his baton was his only defense. He knew he had to stick the baton into the dog's mouth to break the jaw's grip, and that's what I did. He adds: "I felt like God was there protecting me. That's how I survived."
02/22/08: Pit Bulls Had History of Attacks
Crowder was checking up on the dogs after they had recently been quarantined for attacking a fifteen year old. Crowder became the dogs' next victim. But neighbors say these two incidents are only a partial list of victims. Jimmy Hatcher, who was also bitten by the dogs said, "I got to see him pretty bloody and you know he [Crowder] got put on a stretcher and they hauled him out. He was pretty bad shape."
Another neighbor says that her dog got on the victims list last December: "She had 13 drainage tubes when we got her to the vet. They waited two days before they did surgery on her to see if she was going to make it. They didn't think she was going to make it," said Barbara McGill. Yet another neighbor, Taylor Page, said he was recently bitten while riding his bike.
Neighbors are terrified the dogs could be returned to their owner. More importantly, they are afraid if Tennessee officials fail to "get something done" these dogs are going to kill a person.
02/21/02: Maryville AC Officer Injured in Attack
Maryville, TN - Forty-four year old Deborah Kay Dyer is in jail today on a charge of reckless endangerment after her two pit bulls reportedly attacked a Maryville Police Department animal control officer. Dyer was arrested after AC officer Ken Crowder was mauled when he went to her residence to pick up the two dogs. Crowder was called in for mutual aid due to the violent nature and history of the two dogs.
Information was not immediately available on the nature of the attack beyond the report that Crowder was at the home to remove the dogs. Crowder was taken by ambulance to the hospital, his condition is unknown. The Maryville Police Department is currently holding the two pit bulls and has requested the dogs be destroyed. The animals should be euthanized by the end of the day.
Recent Tennessee stories:
01/25/08: Dog Owner Not Charged Because Dog Jumped Fence
01/18/08: Pit Bull Mauls 5-Year Old Returning From School
11/15/07: No Charges Filed for Owner of Pit Bull that Killed Friend