ROCK HILL — A week after the York County Council unanimously threw support behind a proposal that toughens the countys animal control laws, two Rock Hill families are without their pets after a dog fight resulted in the death of a 6-year-old Labrador/boxer mix.
On Monday, Rocky Barrett, owner of Good Guys Automotive and Barrett Motor Co., his wife, Candice, and their three daughters, ages 6, 8 and 12, returned home around 6 p.m. to find Angel, their 40 pound Lab/boxer-mix, bleeding to death on their back porch.
Angel, who Rocky Barrett said mothered his horses and children, was spayed, vaccinated and a really gentle animal that slept on a small sofa on the familys porch at their S.C. 324 home.
Sometime Monday, Angel was viciously attacked by two Rottweilers who Barrett said often roamed the neighborhood and attacked his dog once before.
When Barretts 8-year-old daughter, Reece, found Angel, she had more than 100 puncture wounds, Barrett said. The family immediately rushed her to Chappells Animal Hospital but it was too late.
Angel took her last breath as Candice Barrett loaded her into the car.
She didnt stand a chance, Rocky Barrett said about the dog he says never bothered anyone.
On Tuesday, dried blood was still splattered across the porch. Potted plants were knocked over and a glass top table was broken. Barrett, pointing to a gaping hole at the bottom of the screen door acting as a secondary entrance to the porch, believes a Rottweiler broke through the screen and dragged Angel into a corner.
My dog didnt go down without a fight, Rocky Barrett said.
It couldve been my 6- or 8-year-old daughter, said Barrett, struggling to hold back tears while also saying that hes sure his 6-year-old daughter wouldve tried to break up the fight had she been home. Those dogs couldve killed our children ... couldve killed our horses.
This was the fourth time within almost two years that the dogs have trespassed onto the Barretts property, they said. The first time, they called the dogs owner and had them pick up the animals. The second time, Rocky Barrett said he took them back himself. The third time, the dogs managed to jump on Angel and beat her up, he said. Angel was saved, he said, thanks to the intervention of Jimmy Bagley, deputy city manager for the city of Rock Hill.
I picked up a stick or rock and ran them off, Bagley said, adding that he had just dropped off one of the Barretts daughters from school when he saw the dogs chasing each other and going at it.
His concern, he said, was more for the Barretts children, who were outside playing and eventually screaming when the Rottweilers showed up on the property.
The Barretts said theyve asked the dogs owner, Amy Clark, who lives nearby on S.C. 324, to keep them contained.
Nothing happened, Rocky Barrett said.
After Angel died, Candice Barrett said she went to see Clark. While in her neighbors yard, she saw that the Rottweilers still werent contained. Instead, they were bloody, sweaty and punctured, she said.
On Tuesday, Clark told The Herald her dogs ran off when she let them out their kennel to play. When they returned, she said they looked beaten and injured.
I dont have mean dogs, Clark said, just hours before she prepared to have both dogs euthanized. I dont know why they did it. I hate that it happened.
Clark said she agreed to have the dogs euthanized to satisfy her neighbors.
Now, Im going to lose my family pet too, Clark said. Nobody wins.
Tuesday morning, the Barretts remained home while their daughters, who Candice Barrett said cried themselves to sleep Monday night, attended school.
They were distraught, Candice Barrett said. It just broke their hearts.
The Barretts called the York County Animal Control office after Angels death. The on-call officer told them there was nothing he could do because he didnt witness the assault.
When the officer asked if the Barretts or anyone else saw the dogs attack Angel, they told him the Rottweilers appeared bloody and beaten. Rocky Barrett took pictures showing that one of the dogs ears appeared to have been bitten. Another one has blood on its neck.
The officer didnt contain the animals, because animal control officers do not usually contain animals or issue tickets unless theres a witness to the event, said Steven Stuber, director for York County Animal Control.
We need to witness it or have somebody stand up in court to say, I saw it, Stuber said.
He said Mondays incident was an ongoing investigation.
On Tuesday, the Barretts followed the advice of a York County Sheriffs deputys and consulted Magistrate Bob Davenport. Davenport was unable to comment, saying it was an ongoing case, but he did say warrants were possible.
The investigation begins just days after York County Council on Oct. 1 agreed to a proposal placing limits on the tethering of animals.
According to the proposal, dog owners will have to keep their dogs on a trolley system, which would enable the dogs to roam more freely, and keep their dogs confined when they're away.
The proposal doesnt ban tethering in the county. Dog owners can still tether their dogs as long as they are present and the tether is at least 10 feet long with a swivel at both ends. Tethering still will be allowed if the dog is restrained by other means, such as a fence.