Roaming and evidently lost dogs are a normal occurrence in our local area, but through a dangerous interaction with an animal's neurotic behavior we are reminded of the potential danger of a normal day encounter and sometimes seemingly harmless animals.
Christy Springston and her family live on a quiet, country road where the roads aren't paved and the forests aren't tamed.
"That's why we moved to the country. To be able to be out here where the kids could play and we could be away from everything," Springston said.
People who live in her area allow their dogs to roam freely and Springston said she wouldn't have it any other way.
"I don't expect there to be a leash law, that's why people move to the country. We have four dogs, and three of them go where they want to go, but they're friendly," Springston said.
Springston had few concerns about the animals that ran up and down her road, and even when she saw a strange dog one Wednesday afternoon on the way into town she didn't think she had anything to worry about.
"I didn't think much of it. There was some work being done and I thought it might just be one of the worker's dogs and he would come to get it," Springston explained. "On our way home the dog was still there like somebody had dropped it off and it was waiting for the owner to come back."
The next day when Christy's two older children, Brendon, 10, and Charlotte, six, arrived home from school they called her at work to say the dog had made his way up to their backyard.
"I told them just to leave it alone and I would be home in a few minutes," Springston said.
When Springston arrived home and examined the animal she could see an indent in the hair around the dog's neck where it appeared a collar had been, and the dog seemed harmless and even friendly.
"I sat down on a chair on the porch and the dog came over and put his paw on me like he was wanting to play ... I was actually thinking he might be a good little dog to keep around, he didn't show any aggression or anything," Springston said.
After playing awhile in the yard and cooking on the grill Springston went inside to sweep the floor, followed by her youngest son Driver, two.
"I was in the kitchen and Driver was in the kitchen. He came around me and was heading for the sliding glass doors. The next thing I know I heard him scream," Springston described.
As she turned around to investigate the heart stopping scream of her youngest child she witnessed a sight that caused instant panic and anger.
"The dog had pulled him out of the kitchen and on to the back porch and was standing over him as Driver was face down. I got Driver up and put a rag on his face because the dog had put about a quarter size hole in his face," Springston said.
The ordeal was not over yet and as Springston attempted to take Driver to the hospital the dog once again began causing problems.
"I opened the door to the car and went back in to get Driver and the dog jumped in the car. When he jumped in the car he wasn't showing any aggression, he jumped in my front seat and then he jumped in my back seat like he was loading up," Springston said.
When the dog refused to get out of the car Springston grabbed a bat from the back seat and began hitting the dog in an attempt to force the dog out. At this time she stopped to call Fulton County Police Chief Albert Roork to inform him of the situation and request his help.
"The dog was growling at me by this time. Once I got the dog out, I drove off and the dog chased me down the road," Springston said.
When Fulton County Deputy Rhonda Long arrived at the house the dog was still at the residence and Long described the dog as friendly and calm.
"He let me pet him and seemed very friendly even somewhat shy. He loaded in the car like he got into a car every day," Long said.
When Long and the dog arrived at the veterinarian's office and Long reached towards the dog with a leash to get him out of the patrol car, the dog became violent and began to bark insensibly.
"When I lifted the leash up he went ballistic and just became a completely different dog," Long described.
Four tranquilizers, four times the normal dose, were given to the dog by veterinarian Kathy Mills but the dog showed no signs of calming down. Soon after Chief Roork arrived on the scene the dog was taken to a remote area and shot.
"I just did what had to be done to ensure that the dog wouldn't hurt anyone else," Roork said.
Springston's next question was whether the dog had rabies or other diseases.
"I wanted to know if there was going to be anything wrong but if you can't find the owner you don't know how to find out," Springston said. "I hope the owners realize when they dropped this dog off in the middle of the country thinking that somebody else was going to take care of him, that he seriously injured a little boy."
Luckily for Driver and his family, it was determined after the head of the animal was examined that it did not have rabies. The only sign of harm in Driver as he plays with his siblings is the stitches on his right cheek.
"As soon as it's fully healed they'll talk about the last surgery, so he has to go through this torture again. I'm just happy he's OK and not scared of dogs," Springston said.
Springston also said that she doesn't know what the answer to the problem is but she does know one thing: "We need a pound, another option for people, so if there's a dog that's causing a nuisance we can call and someone will come and get it so we don't have to worry about our kids being bit and our garbage being got into," Springston said.