[Update] Valdosta, Georgia - December 10, 2011 -
- Veterinarian Speaks Out About Pit Bull Stereotypes -
By Greg Gullberg
A study by the U.S. Government Centers For Disease Control, says pit bulls cause 32% of all dog-related killings of human beings in the United States.
Pit bulls only constitute 2% of all dogs, but they account for 70% of mauling deaths in children.
These numbers may come as no surprise to neighbors in one Lowndes County community.
40-year-old Misti Wyno was brutally attacked and killed by a pit bull Thursday.
It happened on Mount Zion Road just off Rocky Ford Road.
Investigators say the dog was chained in the next-door neighbor's backyard but broke free when Wyno went over to borrow some food.
The dog's owner is Bobbie Jo Courson.
Courson has another pit bull.
A neighbor says that dog bit his son.
Investigators say both dogs have been euthanized.
Many are afraid of pit bulls, saying they're violent dogs.
But one Lowndes County veterinarian says it's all how you raise them.
Nike is a ten-month-old female pit bull.
She might look pretty vicious ripping up her stuffed toys, but she doesn't have a mean bone in her body.
Nike lives at the Animal Care Center in Lake Park, Georgia.
She's up for adoption but Dr. Alba Sosa tells Eyewitness News reporter Greg Gullberg that it's difficult to find good homes for pit bulls because of their bad reputation.
"They're not genetically created to be mean. You can see Nike right here is a good example of a typical pit bull. Very energetic, she's loyal, active," says Dr. Sosa.
Dr. Sosa tells Gullberg that pit bulls do have the potential for aggression towards other animals because they have a history of being bred for fighting.
That's why it's important to get them into obedience training from an early age like 3 or 4 months old.
Neighbors on Mount Zion Street say Bobbie Jo Courson had at least 4 pit bulls.
Investigators say the two oldest dogs were put down.
The male for this fatal attack on Thursday.
And a female for allegedly biting a neighbor's 5-year-old son in September.
Neighbors say the dogs were often kept on chains in the backyard.
Dr. Sosa says that kind of treatment can lead to violent behavior in dogs.
"Regardless of the breed, that is no way to raise any living being, tied up to a tree," says Dr. Sosa.
Deputies say no charges have been filed at the moment against Courson. The investigation is ongoing.
[Update] Valdosta, Georgia - December 9, 2011 - 6:00 o'clock
- Neighbors say they knew the dogs were dangerous -
By Greg Gullberg
Misti Wyno just turned 40.
She was married and shared this home with her family.
The neighbors next door were close friends, but when she went to borrow food Thursday, the neighbors' male pit bull broke loose attacking her and killing her.
Wesley Barrentine is Wyno's Stepfather-In-Law, he tells Eyewitness News reporter Greg Gullberg that her death was just a freak accident.
"I don't know why it happened it's just a tragic accident," Barrentine said.
The pit bull owner is Bobbie Joe Courson.
Neighbors say she has four pit bulls including the one in this attack.
Mount Zion Street is usually a quiet street.
Some family members say they can't believe this happened.
The pit bulls were raised to be friendly.
But some other neighbors say it was only a matter of time.
James Sharp says his 5 year old son was bitten by one of Courson's other pit bulls, a female, in September.
"I've even told the district attorneys and everybody at the aggressive dog hearing, if these dogs get out somebody was going to get killed," Sharp tells Gullberg.
He says he filed a formal complaint and the dog was picked up by animal control, but later released back into Courson's custody.
Other neighbors have also come forth with complaints.
One waved Gullberg down at a nearby gas station.
He called the dogs a constant threat to the neighborhood children.
Investigators say both pit bulls have been euthanized.
As of Friday night, no charges have been filed against Courson, but deputies say they are still investigating.
Valdosta, Georgia - December 9, 2011 -
Lowndes County deputies are investigating a pit bull attack that has left one woman dead.
The attack happened yesterday afternoon at 4686 Mount Zion Road.
Deputies say 40-year-old Misti Wyno had walked over to her neighbor's house, when the neighbor's male pit bull attacked her.
Lowndes County Deputy Coroner Walter Wacter says Wyno had severe bite marks all over her body.
Investigators say the male and a female pit bull have been been euthanized.
Bobbie Jo Courson is the neighbor who owned those dogs.
Deputies say right now, no charges have been filed against Courson, but they are still investigating.
We'll have more on this story tonight on Eyewitness News.