Dog attacks kids, teacher at school playground

CONYERS - Four young children and their teacher were attacked and bitten Monday by a large dog who entered the playground at Barksdale Elementary School.

Sometime about 4 p.m., a large male Rottweiler-mixed breed dog approached a group of students as they were playing. The owner of the dog unsuccessfully tried to call the animal away, according to the incident report filed by Rockdale County Sheriff's Office Deputy Robert E. Wilson.

"The dog became very aggressive and began attacking the students and faculty," Wilson said. "(A faculty member) told me the teachers were trying to get the children inside and keep the dog away."

Four children and a teacher were bitten before all the students could get inside the school. The dog's owner was then able to get the animal into her vehicle.

An 8-year-old boy was bitten on both legs and both arms and was transported by ambulance to Rockdale Medical Center. The father of an 8-year-old girl took her to RMC, where she was treated for bites on her left leg and arm.

A 7-year-old boy was bitten on the arm and a 7-year-old girl was bitten on her back. The two children were released to their mothers.

The teacher was also bitten on her arm and sought treatment at Concentra, according to the incident report.

Rockdale Animal Control workers arrived on the scene, where they took the dog into custody and issued the owner a Magistrate Court citation. The owner of the dog said the dog's medical records are up-to-date and he had never been aggressive before the incident.

Wilson said the Rottweiler's owner told him that she had the dog on a leash at her residence on Channing Drive when he pulled loose.

When she couldn't find the dog in her neighborhood, she drove to Barksdale Elementary School on Oglesby Bridge Road to see if it wandered there.

She told the officer that at the school she tried to get the dog to return to her vehicle but the animal would not come to her.

"She said that he just started grabbing at the children and she was trying to get him to stop and get in the car," Wilson reported.

The woman also told Wilson that when the dog first ran off she called Rockdale Animal Control asking for assistance, but they declined to help, according to the report.

Holly Lafontaine, deputy director of public affairs with Rockdale County, said animal control officers were acting within the scope of their job.

"We get a number of calls every day where someone will say, 'My dog is lost, please help me find him.' We do not do that unless the person says that dog was potentially dangerous and would be a concern," she said. "The owner apparently did not identify herself or say that her dog could have been dangerous."

Lafontaine added that Holly Bowie, director of legal affairs and community compliance, which oversees Animal Control, said the dog will be deemed a dangerous dog.

The Rottweiler will remain in quarantine at Animal Control for 10 days. If the owner surrenders him, the dog will be euthanized, Lafontaine said.

However, if the owner wants him back, she will first have to show proof that she has complied with the state statute and local ordinance governing dangerous dogs. Included in those regulations are stipulations that she pay an annual registration fee, post a sign and purchase an insurance policy or surety bond in the amount of at least $100,000.

Aimee Jones can be reached at aimee.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.