Serious dog bite reported in St. C.
By ROBERT A. DEFRANK
Times Leader Staff Writer
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Authorities are looking for a dog after a person received a serious bite Tuesday.
According to the city police department, officers responded to a reported dog bite at 9 a.m. at the Veterans Affairs clinic at Plaza Drive. The report states a man suffered an extensive injury to his arm.
“Our office is attempting to locate the owner of the dog, which bit the male subject,” St. Clairsville police Lt. Michael Troullos said.
The initial report suggested the dog could be a pit bull. Troullos added that the department has not yet been able to confirm the breed of the dog.
The victim “thought it looked possibly like a pit bull,” Troullos said. “There’s a lot of mixed breeds out there, too. It’s hard to tell.”
According to the report, the dog was being walked by a white woman about 60 years old. The woman allegedly left the scene after the bite occurred, walking toward the Burger King parking lot. Troullos said the woman could be charged with a misdemeanor offense for failing to control a dog.
The owner of the dog is asked to come forward with papers proving the animal has been vaccinated against rabies and other illnesses so that the bite victim does not need to undergo further inoculation.
“It’s kind of irresponsible for an owner,” St. Clairsville Police Chief Jeff Henry said, adding that the number of dog bite incidents in the city remains small.
In March, St. Clairsville City Council voted against passing a breed-specific ordinance designating pit bulls as vicious dogs. This was prompted by two incidents of dog bites by pit bulls. Public outcry and objections during council meetings resulted in a vicious dog ordinance being passed without breed-specific language.
“If it bit someone, it would fall under this vicious dog ordinance,” Mayor Terry Pugh said. “The sad part about that ordinance is, you have to have an incident happen before you can do anything about it. I don’t feel good about the ordinance, because if it had been a pit bull, as least the ordinance would have been on the books and it would have been preventable.”
He reviewed the wording of the ordinance.
“It would already have been designated a vicious dog,” Pugh said, explaining that the original, breed-specific language would have included special provisions for all pit bulls.
“The lady would have been required to have it on a 3-foot leash. It’s obvious she couldn’t control the dog. They would have had to have a secure fence at their house, and there would have had to have been $100,000 liability insurance coverage.”
The dog is described as white with a black patch around one eye and resembling a pit bull.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact the St. Clairsville Police Department at 740-695-0123.