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Fate of dog that bit woman uncertain

Fate of dog that bit woman uncertain
Fate of dog that bit woman uncertain
Harrison County Animal Control Officer Bruce LaHue moves Prowler, believed to be a mastiff-pit bull mix, to a new kennel yesterday (Tuesday) morning. Prowler allegedly attacked a Greenville woman last week. Photo by Alan Stewart (click for larger version)

An 11-year-old dog named Prowler is at the center of controversy after it allegedly attacked a woman last week in Palmyra.
According to Harrison County Animal Control Officer Bruce LaHue, who is working with Palmyra Town Marshal Steve Hamm, the dog ‘ believed to be a mastiff-pit bull mix ‘ attacked Susie Ament at about noon Jan. 24 after she went to a Palmyra residence to visit a friend.
‘According to a witness at the home, there were three small children and the witness inside the home, and, when Susie went to the door, the witness went to put away a female black lab mix, which has also shown aggression. Before she could put up Prowler, a 4-year-old child opened the door where Susie was and the dog ran out and attacked her and bit her in the face,’ LaHue said. ‘When we went out there Monday afternoon (Jan. 24), to investigate the attack, there was still blood on the ground that led out to the driveway and some gravitational droplets of blood on the stoop and back steps.’
LaHue said the dog’s owner, Donald Bruner Jr., claims blood in the snow was from emptying out a malfunctioning freezer and blood on the stoop was from bloody hamburger meat.
The witness allegedly pulled Prowler off Ament, and Ament, of Greenville, was rushed to Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services in New Albany before being transported to University Hospital in Louisville. LaHue said Ament had her first surgery last week and noted that she’d been released from the hospital.
‘The six-hour surgery went better than expected,’ LaHue said. ‘She will have additional surgeries but not as many as originally predicted.’
Bruner claims his dog, which is not immunized, did not attack Ament. According to LaHue, Bruner says a neighbor’s surveillance camera allegedly shows a person who Bruner says is Ament approaching the home and then walking away about 20 seconds later.
Because the camera was so far away, LaHue said, there’s no possible way to confirm the person in the video was Ament.
LaHue said when Bruner first contacted animal control, he reported that his dog had scratched Ament across the lip.
‘He also said that there’d been no attack and that Ms. Ament was not in the hospital,’ LaHue said. ‘Obviously, she was ‘ ‘
LaHue took an oral statement from the witness of the attack then later asked for a written statement. The two stories matched exactly, LaHue said.
‘This is the most serious animal attack in Harrison County in quite some time and certainly the worst that I’ve seen since I’ve been in service. This is a dog that is certainly capable of being a killing machine,’ LaHue added.
‘As a public service official, I have the right and responsibility to do what is best to protect the citizens of the community. The dog did not have its immunization up to date and, by the letter of the law, I have the right to seize the animal, which is what I did.
‘The victim’s life has been changed forever,’ he said, ‘and the last thing we want is for this dog to attack someone else or even a child.’
Hamm said he’s still working on completing the criminal investigation into the attack. According to Indiana Code, a person who knowingly or intentionally harbors a dog that is over the age of 6 months and is not immunized against rabies is guilty of a Class C infraction. The offense raises to a Class B misdemeanor if the dog causes bodily injury by biting a person. Hamm said yesterday that he hopes to complete the investigation and have the case turned over this week to Harrison County Prosecutor J. Otto Schalk.
According to the witness, Prowler previously attacked a babysitter, biting the woman on the arm, but the incident was never reported.
Hamm said when he went to the home to investigate the attack, the female black lab mix lunged at him two or three times.
‘The dog’s owner had to stand between me and her to keep her from getting me,’ Hamm said.
For the time being, Prowler is under quarantine for 10 days. LaHue said he tested the canine using guidelines accepted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and found the dog to be territorially aggressive. LaHue said due to the dangerous nature of the animal, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Prowler could be put down.
‘I believe that due to the age of the animal there could be senility involved. Its demeanor is extremely unpredictable,’ LaHue said.
LaHue said yesterday (Tuesday) that he’s waiting for the criminal proceeding to run its course.
If no charges are filed, the dog would be returned to Bruner. If charges are filed, it’s likely that the dog would be turned over to the county and would likely be destroyed.
For the time being, a $10 fee is being assessed to Bruner for each day that Prowler is housed at the Harrison County Animal Control facility. This is in addition to a $20 fine for harboring a non-immunized dog and a $20 impoundment fee.