MOULTRIE — An elderly woman attacked Friday morning in her yard on Beaty Road by multiple dogs was in fair condition in the afternoon at a Florida hospital.
Mary Elizabeth Ellison, 84, was taken by ambulance to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital after the attack due to inclement weather that kept medical flight aircraft grounded.
Police said that Ellison was attacked at about 9:30 a.m. Two neighbors eventually stopped the attack, but not before she was severely injured. Among those injuries were extensive bite wounds to the head and legs.
A group of three dogs mauled Ellison in her yard in the 300 block of Beaty Road, said Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office Inv. Timmy Barnes. He was not sure what activity she was involved in at the time of the attack.
“I know one of them is A BULLDOG and feel the other two are some kindOF BULLDOG BREED TOO,” he said.
The dogs apparently came from a neighbor’s residence in the 100 block of Bill Smith Road. The dogs have been removed and are being held at the Humane Society of Moultrie and Colquitt County.
Barnes said that officers previously had been dispatched to dog complaints in the area.
“I don’t know if it was one of those particular dogs,” he said. “I know they had incidents with dogs from that address before.”
Two male neighbors heard the noises the attacking dogs were making and investigated, Barnes said.
“The neighbors heard it and came and rescued her,” he said.
The incident is still under investigation, he said.
Ellison was listed in fair condition at about 5 p.m. Friday at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said. That means the patient has stable vital signs, is conscious and that indications are favorable, she said.
An employee at the Humane Society said on Friday afternoon that he could not discuss the dogs or the case at this time.
The Humane Society is the designated animal control officer for the county and is tasked with enforcing the state’s dangerous dog ordinance, Colquitt County Attorney Lester Castellow said during a Friday telephone interview.
The organization has the authority to immediately impound dogs involved in attacks and to file a petition in Superior Court in the event a dog is such a threat it is felt that it should be euthanized. The court would decide whether or not to enter an order to euthanize a dog, Castellow said.
State law defines a dangerous dog as one that causes a substantial puncture wound with its teeth, aggressive attacks that pose imminent threat of serious injury to a person or that kills another pet while off the owner’s property, according to a summary of the law.
A designation of dangerous dog includes one that inflicts a serious injury on a person or causes injury to a person attempting to escape attack.
The county has a leash law that requires owners to have dogs in either physical or verbal control in residential areas, but does not apply to non-residential areas which make up about 99 percent of the county’s land.
All of the county’s municipalities have nuisance-dog ordinances on the books