Tuesday, March 8, 2016


A Jackson County man was savagely attacked by four dogs Monday while he was walking along a rural road outside Commerce.
The victim, Michael Wiley, 42, was transported to Athens Regional Medical Center following the attack on the 1100 block of W.L. Williams Road, according to a Jackson County Sheriff’s report.
A Commerce man found the victim about noon along the road near a field with bite wounds covering his legs, torso and back with gaping flesh wounds to both arms, deputies said. The victim, who lived in the community, was incoherent when medics and deputies arrived on the scene.
A family member said Tuesday that Wiley was moved from the intensive care unit into a room, where he still in “a lot of pain.”
The victim’s clothing was ripped from his body during the attack by the FOUR DOGS, THREE DESCRIBED AS MIXED PIT BULL DOGS AND ONE AS A MASTIFF MIX DOG.  Owners for three dogs were located, but the fourth dog was described as a stray that “hangs out” in the area.
When the deputy arrived the victim was already being moved into an ambulance, the officer said.
The deputy observed the four dogs and as he drove in their direction, they acted aggressive and “were actually biting my patrol car,” according to the report.
The deputy called for an animal control officer, which responded and cited the dog owners.
The dog owners, Oland Tarpkins, 68, and Jennifer T. Staples, 57, both of W.L. Williams Road, were each cited for violating the county’s leash law and not having proof of rabies vaccinations.


Farmer Jane said...

It is just unbelievable that these serious, preventable maulings are being treated in this manner. The dog owners are charged with misdemeanors that have to do with the dogs being unleashed and unvaccinated. There are no charges that have to do with the severe injuries that the dog caused the victim. The authorities leave it all up to animal control. The cops need to get in there and advocate for the human victim and charge the owners with causing bodily harm. No one is unaware of the damage that these dogs are capable of. As owners they need to be held responsible for the actual damage caused, not just for mismanagement of their pets.

Anonymous said...

The safety of communities across the nation are being threatened by a system that fails to be pro-active, definitive, and consistent in handling of dog attacks. People across the nation, including elderly and children are being mauled, injured, and killed. Survivors are often left with large, non-recooperable financial burdens.

We need:

1. Stricter legislation, higher penalties, and criminal prosecution when appropriate. Current fines for breaking dog laws are too weak to be a deterrent. Example: giving false information or fleeing the scene of a dog attack should be treated like a hit-and-run felony. Another example: It should be a felony for individuals and organizations to make dogs available for adoption without full disclosure of its history (biting, aggression). Another example: the penalties for dogs roaming at large should be much more severe when an attack is involved.

2. Mandatory liability insurance for dog owners. Insurance protects the community from financially incapable owners of dogs that attack people, leaving victims with thousands in unpaid bills...In recent news, as the result of a dog attack, a woman had medical bills upwards of $170,000. The cost of medical care is no joke and could easily bankrupt the average American. Homeowners and renters with dogs are not required by law to have liability coverage on insurance policies. Should they be financially over-extended, suing them is unlikely to offer financial relief. This can force victims into bankruptcies and being unable to get proper medical care.

3. Ban unlicensed backyard breeding of dogs. Breeding should be left to professionals to ensure safe temperaments of dogs. Backyard breeding should be illegal. It can lead to dog fighting. It can lead to dogs being poorly bred with genetic defects, and unsuspecting consumers having to pay costly vet bills or being forced to send such dogs to shelters.

4. Mandatory and immediate confiscation of unlicensed and un-vaccinated dogs 1 year or older. By this time, the owners have proven themselves unfit, and the dogs deserve the opportunity to be adopted by someone that actually cares. We need legislation that revokes an animal's status as personal property and enables Animal Control to immediately confiscate the pet so that it can be adopted. Such a law would protect pets and the public from irresponsible owners.

5. Mandatory euthanasia of dogs that specifically kill or maul a human being, or kill another domesticated animal. Such aggression poses an immediate risk to the community. There should be no leniency for the first attack, that defies logic and statistics. Owning a dog should not be a right, it is a privledge. We need legislation that revokes an animal's status as personal property and enables Animal Control to immediately confiscate and euthanize it. Without this, the current process takes months to designate a dog dangerous, and that can be extended if the owner puts up a legal battle. And in many cases, during the interim, Animal Control often leaves the dog with an irresponsible owner--completely defying logic. All of this undermines public safety and slaps victims in the face with injustice. We need laws that actually protect the public.

6. Dog ownership should require basic training. A dog's obedience is a large factor in increasing public safety and minimizing incidents of dog attacks, or accidents involving dogs. Currently, no such law exists. Such a law would increase public safety and protect pets too.

Write your Governors and Senators, and ask them to protect our families and children. Ask them for these 6 points.


Sweetie Pie said...

I love Anon 6:57 PM's ideas. To make it work, we'll also have to purge all animal control agencies of pit bull fans.

Farmer Jane said...

Sweetie Pie, our thoughts are the same. Laws are only as good as they are enforced. Even if our AC agencies did try to enforce such laws, they are often woefully understaffed and underfunded. AC won't even come to my neighborhood. I've been told to call the Sheriff's office in the past. Unless the dog is off-property and attacking a person when the officer arrives they really don't want to/can't do anything but make a report. As one young Deputy said,"Lady, you live at the ass-end of the poorest county in the state. What do you expect?".

Although I'm usually against more government, regulating dangerous dogs needs to be taken out of the hands of local municipalities and given to state or even federal lawmakers. The issue is bigger and more dangerous than city or county governments can deal with.