NORTH CAROLINA — Bethel Heights resident Dorothea Stewart experienced one of the very worst days of her life back on Sept. 1.
That’s when she herself witnessed a neighborhood pit bull kill her cat, Pussel, as she valiantly, however unsuccessfully, tried to pull the massive dog off her beloved pet.
Stewart told the entire story to the Haywood County commissioners on Monday, not only to get answers regarding the two departments that had investigated her complaint, but to also protect the neighborhood from what she called a vicious killer whose next target may not be chickens or cats, but a young child.
Indeed, her next door neighbors, who included children, watched a nightmare unfold as the pit bull attacked the cat, which was killed in front of all, Stewart said.
“I will never forget the horror in her eyes when I pried her away,” Stewart stated of Pussel, who had been with her 12 years.
“I saw it and now have to live with the memory and permanent fear that this dog might break lose again and be in my house and get my other two cats,” she went on to say.
Stewart spoke with a sheriff’s office deputy regarding the incident, and was puzzled that even though the officer interviewed the dog’s owners, he didn’t know their names. She also mentioned that she spoke with an officer at the animal control department. Both of the officers promised to get back to her, she said, but despite follow-up calls for information, she still has heard nothing more than two weeks after the incident.
She was also quite concerned that there no official report is on file about the incident at either office.
“This dog will break loose again as sure as I’m standing here,” Stewart noted about the dog she described the it as massive and powerful and is only tethered to a clothes line.
There are children in the neighborhood, including a toddler, she went on to say, emphasizing the dog is terrorizing the entire neighborhood. One neighbor noticed also that two chickens were missing the last time the dog broke loose.
“I don’t want to lose another cat, and I don’t want to see neighborhood kids get mauled or even worse,” Stewart stated as she asked the commissioners what needs to be done now since she had heard from neither department that handles issues such as this.
Commission Chairman Kirk Kirkpatrick asked County Manager Ira Dove to go ahead and check into the issue.
The dog ran through house
During an interview that was done later at her home, Stewart described the turn of events leading to a tragedy that will never be erased from her mind.
She was working at her dining room table when she noticed her three cats who were sitting in a window overlooking the porch react to something. She found the pit bull on her porch and promptly chased him away. She then stepped out on the porch at the other side of the house to make certain he was leaving, and that was when the dog doubled back, charged right past her and ran into her house where she said he began searching for prey.
Her three cats fled for their very lives and the dog followed through an open window.
Pussel made it to the yard area where the dog attacked and killed her. Stewart made a very valiant attempt to pull the dog off her beloved pet as her neighbors and their children watched in horror.
Stewart went on to say that she lives in fear, and often can’t sleep as images of the scene replay again and again in her mind. Not only is she losing a lot sleep, she explained, but her two remaining cats, Liesl and Fredie , are on edge and jump at even the slightest movement.
She has actually now borrowed a rifle from a friend, however, is still concerned she might not be able to reach the weapon in time to defend herself or her two remaining cats if the dog comes back.
“I now live with the memory and permanent fear that dog might break lose again and be in my house and get my other two cats,” she stated.
She attempted to talk with the dog’s owner, who she said seemed to not care. Another man in the trailer even ordered her off their property and began shouting all sorts of obscenities, she mentioned. She said she was on the public road, not private property, and stopped to warn them that she would indeed shoot their dog if it came onto her property.
“If the county does nothing, and the next time the dog mauls or kills a child, there will be no end to the liability,” Stewart stated.