While County Residents Await Anti-Chaining Decision, Dog Attack Victim 'Gets Justice'

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Updated By: Winnie Wright
March 10, 2015

Valdosta, GA - It's a story we brought you first; a young boy in Lowndes County was attacked by a dog that broke from its chain.

It happened last month; Jaxson Smith was playing with another kid in his North Valdosta neighborhood, when a neighbor's dog attacked him; scarring his face, back and neck.

Tuesday, that boy and the dog's owner were in court over charges pressed after the incident. Angela Burgess, the dog's owner, pleaded guilty to nuisance animal, as well as restraint and confinement charges and was sentenced in the Magistrate Court.

"We got justice, but it's not over. It's not over for us because we still have to live through everything that's happened. Paying a fine and watching someone cry doesn't resolve everything for us", says Jaxson's mother, Christine Smith, who took the stand Tuesday.

Burgess opted to have the animal put to sleep. Jaxson tells us he is still scared, but feels better knowing the dog can't hurt him anymore.

Updated By: Winnie Wright
February 10, 2015 5:30 pm

Valdosta, GA - After three people, including two children, were attacked by chained dogs who broke away, a local vet has proposed an anti-chaining ordinance to the Lowndes County Commission.

The Commission recently took a weekend retreat to discuss the ordinance and other issues for their upcoming Spring agendas.

Lowndes County Clerk, Paige Dukes, says members of animal control presented data to the commissioners on that retreat to help make their decision.

Dukes says, "We have the numbers from animal welfare on how many calls our officers are responding to that involve dogs that are being improperly chained. So the question is, whether or not it's humane to chain your dog for long periods of time, or at all. And how you care for those animals that can't remain inside if you don't have them on a chain."

No decisions have been made on the anti-chaining ordinance proposal. Dukes says the Chairman has requested additional info from Animal Control.

Winnie Wright
February 2, 2015

Valdosta, GA - According to the Lowndes County Animal Shelter, in the last two weeks three people, including two kids, have been attacked by dogs that broke their chains.

Valdosta resident, Christy Smith, says it was just a week ago Sunday when her six year-old son, Jaxson, went to play at a friend's house, just two doors down, and a dog from right across the street broke it's chain and attacked her son.

"And next thing you know, we are dealing with a dog bite, and I have no control over what dog's going to break loose off a chain. And he has no control. And he now has no control of his emotions when he goes outside to play. He is scared to death to go out and play", says Smith.

"I think there's dogs around, but there's usually not", says Jaxson, "I don't want to be scared anymore."

Through it all, Smith says blames the owner, not the dog, for what happened to her son. Dr. Amanda Hall, says she has been working with the Lowndes County Commission to create a new "anti-chain" ordinance, to save these dogs and local citizens.

"Dogs are social animals and throwing them on a chain and leaving them there, not providing them adequate socialization, they don't know how to behave properly. And when they do get off their tether, many times they can almost lose their mind", says Dr. Hall.

She adds she hopes the county will adopt an ordinance to limit or ban chaining, which she says would greatly diminish the number dog attacks.

We reached out to the dog's owner for comment, but no one answered.

The Shelter says the dog's owner has released the pet in to their custody, but it will not be eligible for adoption. It will be euthanized after it completes it's quarantine.

The Lowndes County Commission is set to discuss their ordinance at it's retreat over the upcoming weekend.