ALBANY — The wife of a man mauled by two dogs in August 2019 recounted that morning on Tuesday as a court hearing to decide the rottweilers’ fate has been set for next week.
Nadine Harris, who spoke by telephone during an Albany City Commission virtual work session, said the attack has had a lasting impact on her husband, Joseph Harris, who still suffers from his injuries.
A second speaker described his neighborhood where he and other residents carry firearms when they venture outside to protect themselves from vicious dogs.
The city has requested a ruling from Dougherty County Superior Court on the disposition of the rottweilers and is asking that they be euthanized, City Attorney Nathan Davis said during a telephone interview on Tuesday afternoon.
“We were able to communicate with the Superior Court judge and get a hearing,” he said. “We’re filing a petition, and the owners of the dogs will be served with copies.”
Nadine Harris said that on Aug. 25, 2019, Joseph Harris was mowing the lawn outside their Augusta Drive residence when she heard what sounded like a small dog barking and then what sounded like two large dogs fighting.
“When I went outside, I saw my husband on his back,” she said. “They (rottweilers) were biting his legs. They were going for his throat. I screamed trying to get the dogs off him.
“The attack was so vicious and so horrible I can’t help wondering what would have happened if my special needs child had been outside that day.”
The dogs came to commissioners’ attention after their owner addressed them on two occasions in recent months as she has tried to have the dogs, which have been declared dangerous, returned to her home.
The dogs eventually broke off the attack, Nadine Harris said, but then approached her husband again. He managed to drag himself to the porch but could go no farther. She grabbed his shirt to assist him in getting inside the residence.
Joseph Harris was out of work for 15 days, had to undergo rehabilitation, and the family racked up $10,000 in medical bills, Nadine Harris said. She said she would not feel safe if the dogs were returned to the area.
“He still has problems with that leg,” she said. “I’m afraid for the neighbors and I’m afraid for the children. When you make your decision about these dogs, remember that we have to live with these dogs.”
Aaron Favors Sr. described a neighborhood in Country Club Estates where people are unable to walk the streets for fear of dogs. He said he is unable to walk for exercise in the area.
“I don’t think I should have to take my gun when I take the trash outside and go to the mailbox,” he said.
The commission is looking at toughening its ordinance on dangerous dogs.
“Hopefully, we as a city will do a better job protecting our citizens,” Mayor Bo Dorough said during discussion that followed the residents’ accounts.
The topic of dangerous dogs has been discussed at several recent commission meetings, and the body could vote on a new ordinance later this month.