COVINGTON — Newton County’s Animal Control Board upheld dangerous dog designations for two pitbulls that have attacked and killed dozens of animals in the area of McGiboney and Salem roads.

Cheyenne Bexley, owner of the dogs, came before the board to appeal the dangerous dog designations that had been ordered by Newton County Animal Services for her dogs. Based on incident reports from Animal Services and testimony at the Monday hearing, the two male dogs killed at least one pet cat and a wild raccoon at a home on Russell Braden Road and a total of nine goats and 40 chickens at a home on Salem Road. The goats and chickens, which were in a fenced enclosure, were killed on two separate occasions. Three goats were killed in December 2020, and six goats and the chickens were killed on Oct. 7. A resident at the Russell Braden home said that the dogs came over a 4-foot tall fence to get access to his cat, and he chased them away with a pipe.

Newton County’s dangerous dog ordinance stipulates that a dangerous dog is one that inflicts a severe injury on a person without provocation; has chased a person or, without provocation, behaved in a manner that caused a person to reasonably believe that the dog posed an imminent threat of serious injury or death; or, while off the owner’s property, has seriously injured, killed, or more than once endangered the safety of a domestic animal.

The owner of a dangerous dog cannot keep the dog within 200 yards of certain public gathering places, must provide a secure enclosure for the dog that is approved by Animal Control, must post warning signs on the property, and must have the dog sterilized and microchipped. Bexley’s two dogs have not been neutered.

The law also states that more than one dangerous dog cannot be kept at the same residence. Bexley asked that, if the dangerous dog designation was not repealed, that she be allowed time to find a new home for one of the dogs. The dogs are currently being held by Newton County Animal Services.

Bexley said she had already been researching more secure enclosures for the dogs, including military grade crates, for her home on McGiboney Road. She said the dogs are able escape from the types of crates commonly available at stores. Bexley also said she had explored electric fencing and other options to keep the dogs from roaming but had not found a solution that she felt would be sufficient. She said she suspects someone in her home has intentionally let the dogs out of the house.

“I don’t want to put the blame on anyone else; I’m completely responsible,” she said.

The owner of the goats that were killed said Bexley’s lack of responsiblity is putting everyone else in the neighborhood at risk and that the dogs should be put down.

Bexley has received six citations for allowing the dogs to run at large since December 2020 and four for not having the dogs vaccinated against rabies. The running at large citations were expected to be heard in Newton Magistrate Court this week. Bexley told the hearing board that she mistakenly thought the dogs had been vaccinated for rabies in 2020 when they were picked up by Rockdale County Animal Care and Control.

Bexley can appeal the dangerous dog designations in Probate Court.

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