Mary Salter and her friend, Herb Connellan, were walking her dog, Josie, on Saturday in the Lake Forest subdivision off Atlanta Highway when a neighbor’s dog attacked the woman and her pup.
Salter was left with 38 stitches and staples in her head, multiple puncture wounds in her arms, swelling in her head, pain in her neck and hip, and severe headaches. The dog had to undergo surgery and stay overnight in the hospital.
Salter said she noticed a teenage boy walking her neighbor’s PIT BULL down from them and began to worry.
“I looked at Herb and said 'Get ready to pick up Josie,'” Salter said. “I was worried because I could tell the boy was not in control of the situation.”
After a few more minutes, Salter said she saw the pit bull get loose from the boy. It charged toward her and Connellan. The friend lifted Josie, an eight-pound Terrier mix, above his head to protect her.
“Somehow it was able to jump up and grab Josie’s back side out of Herb’s grasp,” Salter explained. Salter grabbed on to Josie’s front while the pit bull pulled back.
“As soon as I saw it let go of Josie, I grabbed her and wrapped my body around her,” Salter said.
The pit bull reportedly jumped over Salter’s back and began chewing on her head. She said she could hear the dog’s teeth scraping her scalp.
“All I could think was that he was going to chew my scalp off,” Salter recalled.
A few feet ahead of them, Coleman Smith and his wife, Meagan, had been on a walk when they noticed the scene. Coleman, an ex-EMT, came to the scene and threw his body on the pit bull while Salter got away.
Connellan said he followed the boy who was walking the dog back to its owner’s home once the boy got the dog back on the leash.
“I had been yelling at the boy, but he looked so panicked,” Connellan remembered.
Salter said the boy was just a teenager and had no way of knowing what to do to control the dog. Connellan said the boy immediately explained to the dog’s owner, Octavia Barnes, what happened.
Salter said Barnes hugged her after the incident and said she wanted to come see her after her hospital trip, but that she has yet to check in. Salter is more concerned about her medical bills for both herself and her animal.
“I told her I have insurance, but I don’t know if it will cover all of this,” Salter said. “I for sure do not have insurance on my dog, and I told her I cannot afford her medical bills.”
Salter said Barnes has not explicitly said she will not pay for the medical treatments, but she has not agreed to pay them either.
“All she has said to me is that she needs to see the bills and paperwork,” Salter said. “I just don’t think I should have to come out-of-pocket for walking through my neighborhood and getting attacked.”
Another worry for Salter is that Barnes has reportedly not shown any paperwork indicating that her pit bull received rabies vaccination. If Barnes does not present the paperwork soon, Salter said she will have to receive rabies shots in all of the areas she currently has puncture wounds.
Salter does not blame Barnes for the event, or even consider her to be a bad pet owner; her issue is with Montgomery Animal Control, who she says “dropped the ball”.
Back in February, the same pit bull attacked Mike Arrighi while he was walking in the neighborhood with his wife, Nancy, and their dog.
Nancy Arrighi said the pit bull attacked her husband and their dog, but they did not want to press criminal charges.
“The Humane Society told us we could press criminal charges, but we didn’t want to because dogs get out all the time,” Arrighi said. “So, they told us they would write up a report for the case.”
Arrighi said she dealt with Deputy Matthew Davis who told her months later that he misspoke, and that she would actually have to go file the report herself.
“I feel responsible that this happened again,” Arrighi said. “If we had not been lead to believe that the Human Society was going to take care of it, we would have done it ourselves.”
Arrighi went to the magistrate on Monday afternoon to file a complaint after hearing about what happened to Salter. She said she waited for an hour and a half before being told her husband would have to make the complaint since he was the one who suffered the attack.
Salter said she plans to go file a complaint with the magistrate as soon as she is able to. Both Salter and Arrighi said their goal is to get the pit bull off of the streets because they fear for all of the children and elderly people in the community.
Salter said she has not seen the pit bull removed from her neighbor’s home. However, MHS’ Steve Tears said he was told the dog is quarantined with in a veterinary office. Tears also said the owner reportedly does not know what to do with the dog and is scheduled to surrender it to the Humane Society on Tuesday morning.
Octavia Barnes refused requests to comment on the story or give her point of view.
Requests for comment from Deputy Davis at the Montgomery Humane Society are still unanswered.