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Woman says dog chased children

A Spotsylvania grandmother said the pit bull that attacked and killed another dog Sunday also chased three children in the neighborhood.

Mendy Cook, who lives a few houses away from the where the attack took place, said her 12-year-old stepdaughter and her 11-year-old granddaughter were riding their bikes with a 5-year-old boy in the neighborhood, when it happened.

Cook was in the home that morning when she heard her granddaughter screaming at the top of her lungs at the front door. Her stepdaughter was hiding in an unlocked car, she said.

When she asked them what was wrong, they told her they were chased down by a pit bull that had just killed another dog.

Both girls told Cook that they were riding their bikes when they saw the pit bull run out of the front door of the owner’s house. They said the pit bull ran straight to a big dog and nipped at it before turning its attention to a smaller, white dog.

Deputies were called at 11:45 a.m. to Hastings Court in the Lancaster Gate subdivision, which is near Massaponax Church Road, for reports of a pit bull attacking another dog, said Capt. Jeff Pearce of the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office.

The neighbor attempted to keep the pit bull away by picking her dog up in her arms and calling for help, but the pit bull jumped out and grabbed the dog from her and killed it, Pearce said.

The two girls told Cook that after the pit bull grabbed the dog from its owner’s arms, it dragged it to a nearby ditch and just attacked it.

“They said they saw white fur and blood everywhere and then the dog came after [the 11-year-old],” Cook said.

She said luckily both girls and the 5-year-old boy were able to get away.

“It was pretty gruesome and it traumatized the kids,” Cook said. She said she has seen the pit bull before chained to a tree in the yard, but never loose.

Deputies and Animal Control officers responded and took the pit bull, Pearce said. The dog will remain in quarantine until a Jan. 26 hearing in which a judge will determine if the dog is dangerous.

Animal Control Chief William Tydings confirmed Monday morning that the dog is a pit bull and is current on his rabies shots.

Technically, a pit bull is a generic term used to describe dogs with similar physical characteristics: medium-sized, solidly built with short hair. A pit bull is considered one of several breeds including the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Bull Terrier or a mix of terrier breeds.

He said the dog that was killed was a Maltese, a toy-sized dog typically with a mantle of silky white hair.

Tydings said the investigation is ongoing.

No one has been charged.

Tydings said his department investigates all dog complaints.

“We handle every case on its own merit, whether it be a pit bull, a Rottweiler or a lab,” Tydings said.

According to the county’s dangerous Dog Registry, there are currently eight dogs listed as dangerous in Spotsylvania County. One is a pit bull, the others include a Great Dane, American Bulldog, a husky, a Bullmastiff, two German Shepherds and a pointer.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419