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Tag: dekalb county

Residents create a memorial at site where pit bull was found hanging from bridge

Concerned and frightened residents of an Atlanta suburb have created a memorial to a pit bull found hanged from a bridge nearly two months ago.

They’ve covered the guardrail on the overpass with stuffed animals and reward signs in hopes the dog’s killer will be brought to justice.

Volunteers met at the bridge along Kelly Lake Road Saturday and attached hundreds of stuffed animals — mostly dogs — to the handrails.

Police in DeKalb County continue to investigate the case, and a $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to a suspect, according to WSB-TV in Atlanta.

A woman walking her 2-year-old son to day care found the dog hanging by a chain from the bridge on May 20.

Many residents believe the killer lives in their neighborhood.

“You don’t have to be a dog lover or even have pets to understand what a vicious crime this was committed right here across the street from where people live, right next door,” explained Johanna Falber, who organized the event.

Falber said the group has been posting reward signs on the bridge, but someone keeps removing them.

“It’s about a vicious killer that’s out here somewhere, that keeps ripping down our signs so they’re not caught,” Falbert said. “We want attention. We want this to stop. We want that dog killer found.”

Police described the dog as a brown and white, female pit bull.

Anyone with information about the dog or the crime can call the police tip line at 404-294-2645.

Survivor: One-eyed dog keeps looking forward

kennedyIn December 2008, Robert Kennedy spotted a blue towel in the weeds of  Murphey Candler Park in DeKalb County, outside of Atlanta.

Upon closer inspection, he found a dog underneath it, one whose head had been badly beaten. An investigation would later determine the dog, named Austin at the time, had been bashed in the head twice with a sledgehammer. His owner, Joe Waters would later be arrested.

The case led to international headlines, and an outpouring of support.

Today, Murphy, as he was renamed — after the park — belongs officially to Kennedy. The 9-year-old Australian shepherd mix has only one eye, and a dented head, but he’s managed to teach Kennedy volumes.

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution put it, “Murphy is far more focused on what lies ahead, not what is behind him.”

“I hope if I ever have any challenges, I can recover like him,” Kennedy said. “I take my cues from Murphy, and he has forgotten all about it.”

Kennedy, who found Murphy on his 60th birthday, took him to the closest veterinarian he could find. Stephen Pope, the medical director at VCA Pets Are People Too in Dunwoody, performed surgery to repair the skull and jaw fractures and to remove the damaged left eye. Eight days and $10,000 worth of care later, Murphy was released into Kennedy’s custody.

The dog suffered no long-term neurological damage and behaves much like any other dog, compensating only with the occasional cocked head to use his good eye. Under Kennedy’s care, Murphy’s weight has gone from 38 to 53 pounds.

Kennedy set up a trust fund for the dog’s care after offers to help poured in from 30 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. He raised $38,000 — money that will last throughout Murphy’s life and then go to nonprofit pet rescue groups.

The dog’s previous owner was convicted of a felony and two misdemeanors. He says he thought his pet had been poisoned and was attempting to mercifully kill it. He was sentenced to one year in jail.

Immediately after the ruling, a prosecutor presented Kennedy with notarized papers, declaring Murphy was his.

“He couldn’t be happier with life,” Kennedy said. “My wish for everybody is to have room in their heart to take a dog into their home and know that kind of happiness.”

(Photo: Vino Wong /Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Man who spray-painted dog found not guilty

A contractor who spray-painted a dog who barked at him was found not guilty of animal cruelty by a DeKalb County State Court jury yesterday.

Dario Harris maintained he was afraid of the black lab mix, named Bear — and worried that, even though the dog was in a fenced backyard, it could have jumped the fence and attacked him, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Harris was marking utility lines with fluorescent orange paint outside Jeffrey Tompkins’ Stone Mountain home.

In an interview before the trial, Harris said he loves dogs and “was just trying to protect myself.”

“You have to look at what’s reasonable under the circumstances,” said Harris’ attorney, Gerald Griggs. “The jury got to hear his actual intentions that day.  There were two dogs, both weighing over 60 pounds, jumping at a fence. You don’t know if they were nice dogs or mean dogs. He did not intend to injure Bear in any form or fashion. He was just scared.”

Harris wants to pay the veterinary bill, Griggs added.

Solicitor Robert James said he was disappointed in the verdict. “This is not going to change the way we do things in DeKalb County,” he said. “We take animal abuse very seriously, it’s wrong, and we’re going to continue to stand up for pet owners and animals, continue to hold people accountable.”

Contractor charged with spray painting dog

A Georgia prosecutor says he intends to aggressively prosecute a contractor who allegedly sprayed fluorescent orange paint on a barking black lab mix that was in a fenced backyard.

“To spray paint a dog in the eye makes no sense,” DeKalb County Solicitor Robert James told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution yesterday. “It was gratuitous. The animal was behind a fence. Its really something we take serious and were going to try to make this thing right. We’re going to take this very seriously.”

Dario Harris appeared in DeKalb County State Court Tuesday on two counts of animal cruelty, a charge that could mean as much as 12 months in jail.

Harris was dispatched in March to mark gas lines in preparation for scheduled digging along the residential street. A homeowner, Jeffrey Tompkins, heard his dog, Bear, barking and then saw a truck driving away. A few minutes later, he found his dog rubbing her eyes with her front paws.

Tompkins said there were “seven individual spray marks” low on the fence about the height of the dog’s eyes.

“It wasn’t like he just sprayed one time across [ the fence],” Tompkins said in an interview Wednesday. “He [Harris] went up to the fence. He had no reason to go in the backyard.”

Harris said he “reacted to the dog coming to the gate and scaring me. It wasn’t anything intentional. I wasn’t out to do any harm. I was just doing my job.”

A vet flushed Bear’s eyes and provided antibiotics, and Harris said he would repay Tompkins for those expenses.

“This is making me out to be a criminal,” Harris said. “I’m not.”