Burke County residents say neighbor’s dogs killed their pets

Residents in the Morris Village of Burke County say some of their pets have been killed by vicious dogs that have been free to roam the neighborhood.
Residents in the Morris Village of Burke County say some of their pets have been killed by vicious dogs that have been free to roam the neighborhood.

WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF)- Residents in the Morris Village of Burke County say some of their pets have been killed by vicious dogs that have been free to roam the neighborhood.

Irene Heddinger says she and her family live in fear of her neighbor’s dogs. She says they escape all the time.

“My little girl is seven years old, and she’s autistic,” Heddinger said. “Animals are how she deals with life. They killed her entire flock of chickens. They tried to kill her ducks. We intervened in that, thank goodness. They’ve killed several of her cats.”

Now, Heddinger ‘s across-the-street neighbors are mourning after three of their small dogs were killed. They say they were brutally attacked by the same pit bulls.

The Burke County Sheriff’s office says the case is under criminal investigation.

“The little dogs were pretty much disemboweled,” Heddinger  said. “I mean that was horrible.”

Heddinger  says she and her neighbors have tried talking to the dogs’ owner about them and called the police several times.

“But so far, nothing’s happened,” she said.

But this time, the dogs were caught on camera trying to get in the pen where the little dogs were killed. Neighbors say the dogs have a distinct look. They say no other neighborhood dogs look like them.

If the investigation rules that the dog is legally “vicious,” the owner will be notified and held to strict rules. For example, the dog must be kept in an enclosure at all times, warning signs must be posted, the dog must be microchipped, and the owner must have $50,000 insurance placed on the dog. On a second offense, a vicious dog can be euthanized.

“They’ll chase kids, and that’s what we’re expecting here before long is a child to die or either an adult,” Heddinger  said. “I mean somebody’s going to die because of these dogs.”

Even though neighbors say the dog has killed more than a handful of animals, technically, this would be the dogs’ first offense if it is found to be vicious in accordance with Georgia law.

We reached out to the dogs’ owner, but they did not want to do an interview. The Burke County Sheriff’s Office has submitted a stricter set of animal ordinances to the county’s Board of Commissioners, but no decisions have been made.

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