One stray dog may be a nuisance, but a pack becomes dangerous.
Tracey Mirgon of Springwood Court on Monday said she faces painful surgery and thousands of dollars in medical costs because of an encounter Thursday between her dog and four dogs from a pack that apparently has been roaming the Sunset Road area, south of Cabot.
But in speaking of the incident, Mirgon becomes more agitated over the injuries suffered by her dog, CH. Bay Wye Von Ruann’s Gunslinger Admiral Otto – a champion German shorthaired pointer – Otto for short.
It took 45 stitches to close Otto’s wounds and, should there be scars, his life as a show dog could be over, Mirgon said.
Speaking on Monday, Mirgon said she was dismayed on discovering there is little to no help to be counted on from the county. "I raise dogs. I train dogs. I don’t shoot dogs," she said of advice from a sheriff’s deputy.
On Tuesday, County Judge Doug Erwin, himself a cattle raiser, said he understands the law provides for shooting dogs that are attacking a person or livestock.
Otherwise, the county has no animal control officers outside of law enforcement.
By press time, the sheriff’s office had not been able to respond to queries about the incident.
Mirgon said the pack has apparently been roaming the area for some time. About three weeks ago a deputy sheriff had warned her of the pack.
"I was out running with my dogs … and [the deputy] stopped me and told me about them. He said I might want to know about them," Mirgon said.
It was not until Thursday that she actually saw some of the dogs.
Mirgon has a fenced area behind her house, with privacy fence on the sides, and a 4-foot chain link across the rear. Perhaps fortunately, the dogs were fighting through the chain-link portion. Though contact was limited, there was enough to open wounds on Otto’s head and legs.
Mirgon was bitten when she tried to separate the dogs, severing a tendon in one finger and causing other wounds. It is fairly certain that it was Otto that bit her, "But he was not going after me," she said.
She also injured her knee in melee, and is likely to require arthroscopic surgery, Mirgon said.
There are other, significant, safety concerns, Mirgon said.
One of her neighbors has a baby that she takes out in a stroller, another neighbor has small children who play outside, Mirgon said. "What if [the pack] comes around when they are out?" she asked.
Beyond the medical costs for her and Otto, is the disappointment of missing the 2012 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship at Orlando, Mirgon said. Otto’s performance this year with a number of top finishes had won a position in the show, she said.
"Now we have to wait until we both heal before we can try again," Mirgon said.