Colquitt County-- A seven-year-old boy attached by a pack of dogs is recovering. But the investigation is ongoing, and officers are warning pet owners to learn the laws.
Seven-year-old Ramiro Valdez was bitten at least 200 times by dogs Friday. Amazingly, he survived, and has now been moved out of intensive care and is in good condition. Four dogs attacked the first-grader as he rode his bike along County Line Road in Tift County.
Officers caught all four dogs shortly after the attack, and the investigation into the dog mauling is far from over. Only one of the dogs was a stray, and the owner of the others could face charges.
Now officers are urging pet owners to be proactive about keeping their dogs confined. Colquitt County deputies are investigating the attack against the seven year old, but it happened right on the Tift-Colquitt County line. Officers say because county ordinances vary, dog owners need to make sure they aren't violating the law.
A Doberman is one of the four dogs that animal control officers say maliciously attacked seven-year-old Ramiro Valdez Friday. The other three didn't have rabies shots and were euthanized. "We wouldn't have had to do anything with these dogs if the people had just taken the time to do that," says animal control officer Regenia Wells.
The investigation into Friday's attack is ongoing, but the owner could be held responsible for what his dogs did to the first-grader. Tift County animal control officials say pet owners can help avoid prosecution by learning the laws. "If you have them in the back yard they have to be on a 10-foot chain, swivels on both ends or in a pen," says Wells.
And when walking in Tift County, dogs must be on a leash. The City of Albany has a similar ordinance, but the rules aren't the same for every city or county. "Everybody please, if you get a dog bite and you go to the hospital, make sure they call animal control," Wells said.
In addition to getting shots and leashes, officers say owners and victims need to report any and all attacks by dogs. Reporting bites is the only way officers can determine whether a canine is considered dangerous.
In addition to the state, many local governments also have ordinances that lay out specific rules for dangerous dogs. Animal control officers say owners need to be aware of whether they need to post warning signs and how dogs need to be confined.
"Last year we had about 62 bites," Wells said. "Our main thing is usually labs or strays or that kind of thing, but the hospital calls us dispatched through 911. We go take a report. We follow up on it and if the dog hasn't had his shots we pick him up."
Officers say three of the four dogs in Friday's attack had attacked another child before, but the owner never reported it. The Tift County dangerous dog board will decide the fate of the doberman.