Montevallo dog attacks go to City Council

Published 9:45 am Tuesday, October 9, 2018

By NANCY WILSTACH / Special to the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – Residents of Arden subdivision sought help from the Montevallo City Council Monday night in the wake of a “terrifying” dog attack that occurred in the neighborhood Sept. 30.

Denzell “Zell” Rhine, 25, had been walking along Pineview Road when what is believed to be the third attack by the same dog in the same subdivision since Mother’s Day took place.

Rhine, knocked to the pavement by the dog, said it was biting and scratching him, and he was yelling for help when neighbors came out of their houses and knocked the dog away from him. “He was bleeding so badly there is still blood on the pavement in front of my house,” said Sietske Best the day after the attack.

At Monday’s meeting Anita Frederick told the council that the dog belongs to people who live two doors away from her.  She asked why the dog, accused of injuring three people so far, has not been picked up by animal control.

“We cannot pick up a dog without a court order,” said Police Chief Jeremy Littleton. “The owner is entitled to due process.
The dog’s owner, identified in court records as Nancy Hulsey of 400 Parkway Circle, has been summoned to city court on Nov. 14.

“Can’t you do something about trick-or-treat?” Frederick asked.  She pointed out that Arden is a very popular trick-or-treat destination for children from Montevallo and surrounding areas.

Bob Readal also spoke to the council Monday night.  He was attacked by what is believed to be the same dog in July while he was doing yard work. He was bitten on the ankle and knee and also required medical attention.

“There is legal action being taken,” Readal said.  “I talked today with an investigator for a Birmingham law firm.  The young man who was attacked recently plans to bring suit.”

Littleton said that would be a civil matter, and the police handle only criminal complaints.

The dog has been tentatively identified as a large yellow lab mix with a nearly white coat. A Montevallo Police report from a Mother’s Day dog attack on Parkway Circle describes a similar dog and lists the dog’s owner as living at 400 Parkway Circle, about two blocks from the Sept. 30 attack.

On Mother’s Day, Audrey Crippen, riding her bicycle and towing her toddler in an attachable stroller, was on Parkway, when “I felt a bump and first thought I had hit a mailbox.

“Then I realized the dog had sideswiped me. He turned and jumped toward me and grabbed my right leg above the knee on the outer thigh.”

Crippen called police and was treated at an urgent care center, where personnel notified the health department, standard procedure for dog bites.

She said the dog is one of two large yellow-white dogs at the house; the male dog that attacked her normally is kept inside the house, while a female dog, who seems calm, is almost always tied in the carport.

Littleton said Monday night that the officers who responded in May to the Parkway Circle address apparently saw only the more docile female dog. He said that the owner has assured the police that the other dog is being quarantined at the home and has proof of rabies vaccination.

Rhine said the Sept. 30 attack was “terrifying.  It was a white dog, and it looked like a wolf.  Whenever I go to sleep, I see that dog again. I never had anything like this ever in my life.”

The court case arose from Rhine’s being attacked.

Mayor Hollie Cost, who also lives in Arden subdivision, said Monday that she has met with the police, rescue personnel and animal control about the animal and acknowledged that the city does have a leash law.