Have a vicious dog in your neighborhood? Want something done about it? Don't count on your S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to do anything about it. Last Wednesday night while riding my bicycle on a quiet country road just south of Loris I was attacked by two large dogs. One immediately chomped down on my thigh while the other put his front feet on my handlebars and repeatedly snapped at my face. After using a well-placed kick to convince one dog to back off, I was able to extricate myself from the dog lunching on my thigh. Placing my bike between myself and the remaining mobile dog I slowly backed out of harm's way nursing a pretty good open wound on my thigh.
Upon returning home I immediately called the number listed on the Horry County website for Animal Control. I related my story of the attack and was told that DHEC would be notified and an officer would be by the following day to take my statement and speak to the owner of the dogs. On Thursday, Horry County Officer Manjarrez visited my home to take my statement. Officer Manjarrez is very friendly, professional and was filling in for the regular officer who was not on duty that day. He told me he had visited the house where the dogs lived and found them roaming loose on the property even though no one answered the door. Officer Manjarrez reiterated that DHEC had been notified and would be in contact with me on Thursday or Friday and would arrange for the dogs to be quarantined.
This morning, Saturday, I drove past the house. My pickup truck was chased by one of the dogs who attacked me on Wednesday evening. I called the Animal Control number again and was put in contact with Officer Gore, who presents himself in a very friendly and professional manner. Officer Gore was familiar with the biting incident but said DHEC has not authorized quarantine of the dogs. Apparently the dogs are running loose on the property to provide security for whoever is responsible for the property. The problem is that the dogs don't seem to recognize the property lines and DHEC obviously is OK with using this method of security despite its inherent dangers to the public. By the way, DHEC is closed for business until after the Labor Day holiday.
Me? I'm sitting here wondering whether or not Cujo is up to date on his shots, praying that some unsuspecting 8-year-old doesn't happen to ride his bike past this address and trying to understand why an organization charged with preserving public safety would so blatantly shirk their responsibility. The public deserves better than this.
The writer lives in Loris.