I-TEAM: Parish tracked nearly 100 dog bite investigations in last year, records show
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Weeks after a young girl was killed in a dog attack, the WAFB I-TEAM is tracking how many times the parish has been warned about dangerous animals in the last year.
East Baton Rouge Animal Control and East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s deputies were on the scene along Hoo Shoo Too Road on Friday, Jan. 6, not long after the unthinkable happened. Sadie Davila, 7, was mauled to death by a pitt bull.
Arrest documents reveal Sadie was playing outside when the dog attacked and even after a family member tried to step in, it was too late for the young girl.
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Days later, another dog attack happened and a deputy was hurt at the Hub Apartments on Highland Road while trying to track someone down over a protective order. Officials with the EBRSO say a pack of dogs charged as the deputies tried to make an arrest. Deputies there on the scene say the dogs snapped at them and one of them even tried to bite one of the deputies’ legs.
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“In light of recent events when we’ve heard about a dog attacking our community, you can imagine that there was some concern obviously when these animals came out,” said Casey Rayborn Hicks, EBRSO spokeswoman.
According to numbers obtained by the WAFB I-TEAM, EBR Animal Control responded to 1,991 stray animal reports and took on 91 bite investigations in 2022. Those same numbers also reveal that EBR Animal Control also recorded 363 dangerous animal reports in the last year. Attorney Samuel Ward represents the Davila family and he says what happened to Sadie was 100 percent preventable.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked the attorney if the numbers are shocking for him.
“No sir,” Ward said. “The reason that’s not shocking to me is because the national numbers across the country support precisely what you just said. Stray animals have become a problem. Negligent owners have become a problem.”
Ward says the reality is, animals are a product of their environment and if owners do not take the necessary steps to keep their pets or those around them safe, unfortunately, tragedy can happen. He also wants to make sure that more is being done when those calls flood into the parish.
“This is an animal that was allowed to roam free after multiple phone calls. There was no leash, no fence, and no barrier. There was nothing to prevent that animal from moving anywhere along Hoo Shoo Too Road or anywhere else that he didn’t want to go,” said Ward. “I know for a fact that animal control had been called perhaps about this particular animal and for certain about other animals roaming free, roaming at large on that street and in this neighborhood in the very vicinity, if not, the same home that this young lady was attacked.”
Ward says he believes the tragic situation will be eye-opening for the community.
“While this is a tragedy, it can be used for good and that good is to educate animal owners, not just for dogs but animal owners of any type to be responsible,” Ward added.
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