Attorney Learns Dog Had Bitten Before
UPDATE 04/08/08: Tony Buzbee, the lawyer helping the little girl, has learned that the dog had bitten before. He's got a written statement of a woman that lives above Trena Morse's mother-in-law. He says the woman also reported the bite to the apartment manager.
Blake, the apartment manger, said she’s been managing for less than two weeks. She denied that the dog was dangerous and said that it had not bitten anyone. "That dog didn’t bite and is not aggressive," she said. She also tried to pass the dog off as an American bulldog -- one of the oldest pit bull owner tricks on record.
Had the incident that injured Aubrea not been serious, Mr. Buzbee doesn't think Blake would have called the police. He also thinks that Blake minimized the little girl's injuries by calling them "scratches" -- the second oldest trick on record. This of course led animal control to release the dog because the incident was not considered a "dog bite case."
Blake claims that Hedgewood, the owner of the dog, is not a resident at the complex. She also said that she saw the dog out 3 times that day. Each time, she returned the dog to the apartment were Hedgewood was staying. The apartment complex forbids dogs over 25 pounds and flat-out prohibits pit bulls and rottweilers.
04/05/08: Woman Hanged Dog, Couldn't Afford to Quarantine
In a story that depicts just how troubled some pit bull owners are, Tiffany Hegwood of Texas City recently hanged her dog from a tree. Police initially believed that Hegwood feared animal control would euthanize the dog after it injured a 2-year old child, so she put a rope around the dog's neck and hanged it from a tree.
At first, Police thought 2-year old Aubrea suffered only minor injures, but Trena Morse, Aubrea's mother, said she found 6-10 puncture marks on Aubrea’s backside. She took her to Mainland Medical Center, where animal control officers took a bite report. The dog also knocked down her son, Adan Morse, 3, and 10-year-old daughter, Amber Coombs.
Animal control officers took the dog to the animal shelter in Texas City and gave Hegwood, who lives in the apartments, the option of having it quarantined at the shelter or at an authorized kennel. The shelter then released the dog back to Hegwood on the condition she would quarantine it for 10 days to determine if it showed signs of rabies.
Animal control officers arrived at the woman’s apartment Tuesday, expecting to pick up the dog for the quarantine period. Hegwood told them that the dog was already dead. "Me and my friend took the dog out, shot and buried it," she said. When officers asked Hegwood to show them where it was buried, she said she didn’t know.
Officers gave her until 4 p.m. to locate the dog. Hedgwood showed up at the animal shelter later with two guys in a pickup, and the dead dog in the bed. Animal control said it was obvious the dog had never been buried or shot but had been strangled. It is unclear upon which tree the dog was hanged.
Capt. Brian Goetschius of Texas City police said Hedgewood killed the dog because she didn’t have the money to quarantine it and believed it would be killed anyway. At least now the health district can send the dog’s head to a laboratory to test it for rabies.
In many states, killing your own animal is legal, as long as it is done humanely, for instance, by shooting it. Strangling an animal by hanging it from a tree does not constitute a "humane" method.