BISHOPVILLE — A Bishopville woman is mounting a campaign to
elicit stronger punishments for dog owners who allow their pets trespass on
private properties, after two great danes owned by a neighbor entered her
property and killed her dog earlier this month.
“The attack just left us with such a loss,” said Carla
Canakis, who lost her 6-year-old papillion, Boo, on Oct. 1. “I’m hoping to get
the laws changed so people take better care of the animals.”
Canakis said that morning, she let Boo out to run in her
Cedar Creek Road yard that is protected by an electric fence, as she routinely
does every day. A man who was working at a property across the street later
stopped by to inform the owner he saw her dog being attacked and dragged away
by two dogs that entered her property.
“He asked if I had a furry dog. After I replied yes, the man
told me he was gone.”
“Did he escape out of the fence?” she asked.
“No,” he replied, “he’s gone.”
While Canakis was having difficulty figuring out exactly
what was going on, the man explained further.
“He got flustered, and then told me my dog is being eaten,”
Canakis, in shock, immediately called 911.
By the time local police and Worcester County Animal Control
arrived, Boo had succumbed to its attack. The dog had been mauled so violently,
officers told Canakis not to look at the body.
“Our sons are having such a hard time with the loss. The
brutality of it all was just so unexpected,” Canakis said. “There is a
different aura in the house, now.”
Lisa, the owner of the two great danes that were deemed a
potential threat by Worcester County Animal Control after the attack, was
forced to pay a $200 fine — $100 for each dog.
According to Susan Rantz, chief animal control officer of
Worcester County Animal Control, the punishment is strictly for trespassing,
and the charge does not change whether an attack occurred or not.
The grieving family does not believe that is punishment
Canakis has filed criminal charges against Lambright with
the Worcester County District Court. The trial is scheduled for Dec. 4.
“I’m afraid to get another dog,” Canakis said.
She later met with Worcester County Commissioner Jim
Bunting, where it was discussed that in Wicomico County, dogs are quarantined
for 45 days after such an incident.
Canakis told Bunting she would be willing to attend the next
county commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 7, to discuss the issue.
A representative from the county commissioners’ office said
the agenda is not prepared until a few days before the meeting, thus he could
not confirm if the subject will be an official discussion during the November
Bunting was not available for comment.
Chief Rantz said that although her department cannot amend
any laws, she is in support of a change.
“There should be a higher penalty for a dog that [has] been
attacked and killed, versus a dog running at large,” she said. “All of us at
Animal Control are certainly willing to have more enforceable laws.”
While no laws have been changed, the public outcry may have
been enough, as Rantz confirmed that Lambright, who owned several dogs,
recently removed the animals from her property.
“Our office has followed up on the incident, and she
[Lambright] no longer owns any dogs,” Chief Rantz said.