Dogs maul deputy responding to false alarm

Monday, September 1, 2003

PITTSBORO, N.C. - A Chat-ham County deputy sheriff was mauled by five pit bulls last month when she went to investigate a false alarm here.

The sheriff’s office declined to identify the deputy, who suffered wounds to her left arm and right thigh before she was able to escape from the dogs with the help of some men who were working nearby.

Major Gary Blankenship of the Chatham County Sheriff’s Department said after chasing the men who aided the deputy, the dogs then attacked backup officers who were setting up a perimeter for rescue workers. Officers shot three of the dogs, killing one and wounding the others, he said.

Blankenship said the problem arose when the homeowner, who also has not been identified, accidentally set off her system but did not alert her alarm company or police to the fact that it was a mistake.

At press time, authorities had not determined whether the dogs’ owners would be charged with a crime. The injured deputy, who received 28 stitches for numerous cuts and lacerations, has hired an attorney, but hasn’t decided whether to pursue action against the homeowner. The county health department has issued a dangerous-dog declaration against the four surviving dogs, which will be destroyed if the owners fail to keep them under control.