Five adult dogs and seven puppies of mixed breed were taken from their owner in Hidden Valley by Pinal County Animal Care and Control after the dogs attacked the owner’s neighbor, Dennis Johnson, twice.
Two of the adult dogs had gunshot wounds inflicted by Johnson, who said he was forced to shoot the dogs for protection.
The first incident occurred Oct. 16 when Johnson said he was walking his dog Baby on his property in Hidden Valley Estates.
Baby is Johnson’s service animal.
“When we walked into the yard, the pack was waiting for us,” Johnson said.
He said Baby, who got between him and the dogs, was attacked first.
Then the dogs attacked Johnson, he said.
He shot one dog with a .22-caliber rifle to protect himself.
Baby suffered lacerations, puncture wounds and a tear in her abdomen that is still healing.
Johnson said it was not the first time the pack had gotten onto his 1.3-acre property, which he said is fenced.
“The day before they chased my wife back into the house when she went to feed our horse,” Johnson said.
Johnson called Pinal County Animal Care and Control, which offered to put out traps.
He said he declined the offer because he already had put traps out.
Since the pack had been a problem for him several times before, Johnson went to his neighbor’s house Oct. 25 to photograph the dogs from across the street.
That was when the second attack occurred.
“Luckily, they grabbed my pant leg,” Johnson said.
However, he said he still had to shoot one with a handgun for protection.
That was when he called the police and animal control.
Joe Pyritz, public information officer for Pinal County, said the county had been attempting to work with the dogs’ owner.
Pyritz said the owner needed a kennel permit to own that many dogs and they were getting out from the property.
“This was a last resort thing for us,” Pyritz said. “He forced Animal Control and Care’s hand in this.”
Pyritz said the county issued the owner several citations, but they always went unpaid.With the exception of the three dogs with gunshot wounds, all the dogs – including the puppies — were in good health and will be tested for temperament, Pyritz said.
“The puppies were in great shape, too,” Pyritz said.
The case is being reviewed by the Pinal County Attorney’s Office.