Madison Council denies dangerous dog appeal

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By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer

Ashley Spivey appeared before the City Council March 10 to appeal City Manager David Nunn’s ruling that her dog be declared a dangerous dog, which would require Spivey to post warning signs on her property and to keep the dog secured behind a fence, in a pen, on a leash, or within their home at all times. The council denied Spivey’s appeal, voting to uphold Nunn’s decision.

The dog, an 18-month-old medium-sized German Shepherd mix rescued from the Humane Society, was deemed dangerous in January 2014, after a two complaints were filed with animal control against the dog for minor bites. The most recent complaint was filed by Christian and Christy Henry, Madison residents, who reported the dog to animal control after Christy Henry was bit on the lower leg during a jog near Spivey’s property.

“The dog bit her leg, putting hole in her pants and bruising her skin,” said Christian Henry. Christy Henry, after being bit, ran to a nearby ditch and picked up sticks to fend off the dog until her husband arrived. “I was kicking the dog away. I kicked like crazy, as if I was doing the Irish River Dance, and the dog was still coming at me,” said Christy Henry.

Animal Control Officer Cindy Wiemann handled the complaints concerning this dog before. “This is not the first incident with this dog to show aggressive behavior,” said Weimann. Jennifer Pennington, a nearby resident, also had an encounter with the dog while on a walk in the neighborhood. “He didn’t draw blood, but he did nip me,” said Pennington. Spivey maintained that she was not aware of the dog’s aggressive behavior until the Henry’s complaint or the extent of the other complaints called into animal control about her dog.

“I was only aware of one incident before this, and I was not told that the dog bit Ms. Pennington,” said Spivey. “Had I known, I never would have allowed the dog to be out at all.” The Henrys are not seeking to have the dog put down or taken away.

“We were just concerned because we have small children that walk in that neighborhood,” said Christian Henry. “We just want to see to it that this dog stays enclosed and kept away from people on the road.” Spivey agreed to comply with the city ordinance pertaining to dangerous dogs. “I take full responsibility,” said Spivey.

“I am fine with keeping the dog enclosed and putting up signs. I just didn’t want an excessive punishment for an honest mistake,” said Spivey. “We have to call it like we see it. We can’t overlook a dog that has bitten people and not do anything about it or else it becomes a liability for the city,” said Nunn.

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