Cherry Street neighbors worried about dog attack

Three weeks ago, Allen Burns watched as his two dogs were savagely attacked by a pit bull during an evening walk in their Central Point neighborhood.

The 52-year-old Cherry Street resident said he's got friends and neighbors on the lookout for the large, black pit bull, adding that he has grown increasingly concerned for the safety of other neighborhood pets and children.

The Sept. 21 incident happened along Tenth Street, near Hazel Street, where Burns and his Weimaraners, Lady and Beaumont, walk every night. Burns said he was caught off guard when a young man frantically yelled, "Grab your dogs! Grab your dogs!"

Within seconds, a pit bull knocked the 70-pound Lady to the ground and sank his teeth into her neck.

As the pit bull reared back to lunge again at Lady, whose "gimpy" front leg is fused due to previous injury, Beaumont stepped between her and the attacking dog.

After 10 minutes of biting and tearing, the pit bull had severed most of the flesh and cartilage between Beaumont's right ear and skull.

"The dog's owner, with a closed fist, was punching this dog for at least 10 minutes, and that dog didn't even flinch," Burns said.

"I didn't think I could do something to hurt an animal, but adrenaline kicked in and I started kicking him like a football."

When the dog released Beaumont for a split second, the men were able to separate the dogs. Without his cellphone, a blood-soaked Burns asked a witness to call his wife, Susan, to bring towels and his car.

Both Lady and Beaumont were on leashes throughout the attack, leaving Burns and his dogs tangled in leash cord and soaked in blood.

The man who identified himself as the pit bull owner said he would "take his dog home" and return, Burns said, but the man didn't return.

"The neighbor said she would watch for the guy to come back but he didn't come back that night," said Burns. "I wanted to believe he was going to do the right thing, but I checked a few days later and she said he never did come back. For me, that was when he really crossed the line."

Burns said he has spotted the man once since then, "but he ran when he saw me."

Despite spending $1,500 for Beaumont's surgery, which lasted several hours and required more than 80 stitches, Burns said his main concern is that the pit bull is still at large.

Burns, who carries mace and a knife on dog walks now, said he refuses to buy into stereotypes about pit bulls.

His 98-year-old grandmother owns a pit bull "and even sleeps with the thing," he said. "I don't dislike pit bulls. I dislike people who raise them to be violent. I feel bad because I hate to see any dog put down, but this dog, I really believe, needs to be."

"I couldn't live with myself if a kid got attacked and I hadn't done something to try to prevent it. This whole thing really rattled me, and I just can't shake the feeling that this dog is going to hurt someone else if we don't find him."

Neighbors have reported pets being chased and a cat being killed in the same neighborhood by a large, black pit bull.

Linda Wells, who witnessed the attack on Burns' dogs, said she's worried that the dog could attack again.

"It's scary to think that dog is still out there," she said.

Both Jackson County Animal Control and Central Point police are investigating.

Anyone with information is asked to call Jackson County Animal Control at 541-774-6655 or Central Point police at 541-664-5578.

— Buffy Pollock


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