An afternoon walk turned into a violent, life-threatening encounter for two employees of the Department of Human Resources in Wedowee and another Wedowee resident last Wednesday.
A pack of five dogs attacked two pedestrians near 520 Hillcrest Avenue in Wedowee around 2:30 Wednesday afternoon. A third victim, who is believed to be the owner of at least one of the dogs, joined the fray after the attack was underway, and also suffered injuries.
The two DHR employees were severely injured and transported to UAB Hospital after initially being treated at Tanner East Alabama in Wedowee. The third victim was treated in Wedowee and released.
A Wedowee police officer was the first on the scene after the department received a call about the attack. The officer used pepper spray on the dogs, and a good Samaritan was using a weedeater to try to break up the attack.
One of the dogs broke away from the pack and turned toward the officer, who shot the dog and killed it before it could attack him. That gunshot was enough to startle the remaining dogs and cause them to end their attack on the other victims.
The remaining four dogs were later found and put down, and then sent to Montgomery for rabies testing. Those tests came back negative.
Wedowee police chief Robert Taylor said he has not been able to definitively determine a cause for the attack. He has not been able to interview the victims as they were still hospitalized and recovering as of Monday afternoon.
“I think everybody’s confused about it right now,” Taylor said Monday. “It just really doesn’t make sense. I hope we do figure out why it happened, and that won’t happen until we talk to the victims. And they may not even know what triggered it.”
The belief is that the dogs were not strays, but pets, at least one of which belonged to the third victim.
“We don’t have a stray dog problem here,” Taylor said. “This is a first for us, and I hope it’s the last.”
Wedowee does not have a leash law because, according to Taylor, a city cannot have a leash law if it does not have an animal control officer.
The names of the victims had not been released as of Monday afternoon.
“We ask that everyone please keep the victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers,” Taylor said in a press release last Thursday.