A citizen with dogs he considers “my children” asked the Graham City Council this week to begin a “dialogue” over his concerns that some dog owners are encouraging their pit bulls to be mean and possibly attack passers-by.
Mickey Cheek of Allen Street said he was a dog lover who walked his animals regularly and was concerned over recent “attacks” by pit bulls in the Pomeroy Street area.
“They came right up to the street after us, which I consider an attack,” he said.
Cheek admitted when these incidents occur, “my stomach is in my throat” from fear. He said he had asked a police officer about carrying a pellet gun for protection, but was told “if I fired a pellet gun in the city limits, I’d be arrested.”
Cheek said he felt there should be special licenses for pit bulls or required training for the owners.
“I saw one person wearing a devil mask” in an attempt to excite a pit bull into a frenzy, he said.
“These people think they can control the dogs (with voice commands),” but if the dogs get into a frenzy, they can’t be stopped.
“If they clamp down on a small dog (such as Cheek owns), they won’t let go. One bite and they’re gone.”
Cheek said other neighbors are “scared to walk their dogs” in the area. He said some people carry sticks, but “I don’t want those dogs to get close enough to me that I can hit them with a stick.” He added, “I hate to pick on any one breed, but nine times out of 10, when some child is attacked, it’s a pit bull.”
Mayor Jerry Peterman said the city could “not go after one breed,” even though he still had memories of a small child being attacked on Banks Street in the past. He told Cheek his best weapon would be a cellphone.
“When a dog comes out at you, call the police,” he said.
“We have a vicious-dog policy,” he added, “but that’s after-the-fact” of an attack.
Mayor Pro Tem Jimmy Linens said he also had observed dogs running off leash at the Thursday summer music events in downtown Graham. Some months ago, councilman Lee Kimrey also asked staff to look into laws about dog tethering. All these issues, the mayor said, should be addressed.