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Turkey Creek resident hopes for decisive action after attack by aggressive dogs

The dogs are seen outside the residence on April 6, 2022

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Bj Wiesen is frustrated at the slow pace of the responses from her neighborhood homeowners’ association and Alachua County Animal Resources & Care following a vicious attack on her neighbor’s dog in the White Oaks section of the Turkey Creek neighborhood in the City of Alachua last December.

At about 8:25 p.m. on December 8, 2021, a resident of White Oaks was walking his dog, a golden retriever named Missy, when two dogs ran out of a nearby yard and began attacking Missy, grabbing Missy’s head and ears in their jaws. Hearing the screaming, Wiesen ran out of her house and began trying to pull the dogs off of Missy. While she was trying to pull their jaws apart, Wiesen’s hands were badly injured, and she ended up having to go to the emergency room with bites on both hands and one thumbnail torn off. Another neighbor came running with a shovel and hit the dogs, distracting them long enough for Wiesen to pull them away from Missy. Meanwhile, another neighbor who had just driven onto the street called 911.

Missy’s injuries were frightening, with quite a bit of blood, but her owners reported that she has recovered from the injuries.

Missy, just after the attack

Wiesen says that an Alachua Police Department officer arrived quickly, but the dogs had already returned to their own property, and the officer filled out a report for Alachua County Animal Resources & Care. She said a report from Alachua County Animal Resources & Care initially concluded that “there were no substantial injuries to require an aggressive dog investigation.” She and her husband visited Animal Resources & Care on December 16 and were given a stack of affidavits, which she distributed to neighbors who filled them out and had them notarized.

Multiple neighbors provided affidavits about incidents with the dogs

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Wiesen gave us copies of the affidavits. One neighbor wrote that she had previously stopped walking her dogs in that area because those same dogs had “charged” her “aggressively” in the past. That neighbor described the dogs as “extremely aggressive, untrained, wild, and dangerous.”

The affidavit from Missy’s owner says the aggressive dogs were at the corner of their own property when he walked by, and they ran toward his dog, grabbing her by her ear. He said that after he began screaming for help, two neighbors helped pull the dogs off, and then the owners “came to retrieve their dogs.” He was also bitten during the attack.

An affidavit from the next-door neighbor of the aggressive dogs’ owner filed an affidavit saying she had seen one of the dogs attack a smaller dog that was being walked on the road. That person said she had told the owner at that time that the electric fence would not keep the dogs on the property, but the dogs’ owner said the fence installer told her it would. The neighbor said she has seen both dogs leave their property and run through her back yard. 

The wife of the man who came out with a shovel wrote that the dogs were “relentless in their attack” and that their owner “did not have control of her dogs nor could she provide any means of getting her dogs to retreat.” She said she had seen the dogs behaving aggressively in their front yard several times, and “If the dogs are allowed to return to their home, this will happen again and the next time it may end even more tragically.”

Another neighbor described an incident from February 2021 in which the dogs ran out of their yard and began circling her dog. She said her dog was on the ground at one point, “trying to fend off one of the dogs. Luckily, no one was hurt and my kids moved away from the dogs to a nearby yard.” That neighbor sent an email to the Turkey Creek management company about the incident.

Yet another neighbor described an incident in which one of the dogs broke through the electric fence but was stunned by the electric shock long enough for him and his dogs to get away. He said the dog’s owner came out and brought both dogs inside after the incident.

Another described an incident at the neighborhood pool in January of 2021, where the same dogs were playing with two children behind a fence. She wrote that when she walked by with her dogs, the other dogs became aggressive and started charging the fence, and the children were unable to control the dogs. She wrote that she reported the incident to the homeowners’ association and hasn’t seen the dogs at the pool since that incident.

The dogs are variously described in the affidavits as mutt mixes, Staffordshire Terriers, and lab mixes.

One dog has been labeled “aggressive” since the attack

Wiesen said Alachua Resources & Care told her they had declared one of the dogs to be an “aggressive dog,” which gave the owners 2 weeks to ensure that the dogs were confined to a fenced area. The owners have built a fence, but the dogs were seen outside on April 6. Animal Resources & Care told Wiesen that the 14 days were not up yet, so they couldn’t do anything. Wiesen said she hasn’t seen the dogs outside since that date.

Turkey Creek’s Master Declaration states that “Any pet causing or creating a nuisance or unreasonable disturbance on the Community Area or any Neighborhood Area shall be permanently removed frau[sic] the Premises upon three (3) days written notice from the Master Association Board to the Owner of the Unit containing such pet and the decision of the Master Association Board shall be final.” The Association rules were modified in February of 2021 to remove the language about permanently removing the pet from the premises and instead state that nuisance pets should be reported to Alachua Animal Control Services, but the Master Declaration itself has not been amended.

The current version of the rules (adopted in February 2022) adds, “If Alachua Animal Control Services does not remedy the nuisance, the members/homeowners may file a complaint of the nuisance with the Association Manager.”

Issue is on the agenda at homeowners’ association meeting this Tuesday

A discussion of the issue at the Turkey Creek Master Owners Association Board of Directors meeting on January 25, 2022, resulted in the board asking the association management company, Leland Management, to draft a policy indicating steps to take in processing violations. The minutes of the February 22 meeting do not mention the issue, and although the minutes from the March 22 meeting have not been posted, the issue was not on the agenda. 

The issue is, however, on the agenda for the April 26 board meeting, and Wiesen is hoping for some sort of official action that will put the dogs’ owners on notice that the dogs will be removed from Turkey Creek if they leave the yard again. She encourages residents of Turkey Creek to contact the board and/or attend the meeting, which is at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26, at the Turkey Creek Clubhouse.

  • Come out with a fireman’s axe instead of a shovel. Or a big kitchen knife.

  • I had the same issue in my neighborhood, animal control did NOTHING. All the affidavits in the world didn’t help. My advice to the people in this neighborhood is to carry a firearm and protect yourselves. Local government will not.

  • Thanks for posting this for our Turkey Creek Community. Residents should attend the Turkey Creek Master Owners Association Board meeting on Tuesday, April 26th at 6:30pm and express concern and support for responsible Bylaw policy.

  • The two most rude people on Earth — smokers and dog owners. The best way to deal with a dangerous, vicious dog is to shoot it. Two warning shots of a 12 gauge double ought buck round into the skull would probably have a palliative effect in tranquilizing the dog. Failing that, more serious measures would be appropriate.

  • Hire an attorney and sue their homeowners insurance
    Policy. In Florida, it’s strict liability when it comes to
    Dogs…they are always supposed to be under your control.

  • The best way to prove the dogs are dangerous or off-property is to video it. Wear a GoPro or carry a camera. A video is the only thing the law will believe.

  • I believe I’ve encountered these dogs before. I can say from personal experience, that they have never once been aggressive towards my family at all. Also they are not staffordshire terrier mixes. However, I can not speak on how the interact with other animals. With that being said I believe that the dog owners should be held personally responsible for the misaps from their animals. They should have to show proof that the fence is in working order as of today’s date. With all of the other allegations I believe that these animals should also, always be required to be kept on a leash when they’re outside, due to their defensive behavior. The fence should always be a backup areangement to prevent the dogs from escaping. If this doesn’t work and the owners cannot control their animals then more animal control measures should be taken into effect.

  • It is just too bad when you are shooting at an aggressive dog and “miss” hitting the dog owners car, or house

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