OAKWOOD - At last report, Hall County Animal Control is searching for the owner of a dog that attacked a man and his dog in the Oakwood area early Wednesday morning.
The man who was attacked, Brian Tarver, described the dog as a pit bull. He said it "came out of virtually nowhere" as he and his 14-year-old mixed breed dog were taking a morning walk on Flat Creek Road near McEver.
"It clamped down onto my dog, and I managed to get my hand inside the dog's mouth and pry its jaws open so my dog could get away," said Tarver.
He said that's when the dog bit him. Tarver said he grabbed the dog's muzzle and held on, so that it couldn't bite.
"I had its head bent back and was really in a quandary. I didn't want to let the dog go, but I wasn't sure what to do - I was laying on top of the dog."
Tarver estimated it was about 15 minutes before a trash truck drove by and the driver called Oakwood Police. He said just after that, two other men who were in the area stopped and helped him hold the dog.
He said the ordeal continued when Oakwood Police arrived and determined the incident was out of their jurisdiction and called the Hall County Sheriff's Office. Tarver said once a deputy arrived, they managed to hog-tie the dog, but he said by that time, the dog was dead.
"I'm not sure [if it died] from being smothered or a broken neck, but I literally was laying on top of the dog with a headlock...for about 35 minutes," said Tarver.
Hall County Animal Services Director Mike Ledford confirmed that one of his Animal Control officers arrived at the scene and took possession of the attacking dog's body. He said because both Tarver and Tarver's pet were bitten, the dead animal's body will be tested for rabies.
"It's usually a 48 to 72 hour turnaround from the time it's shipped to the time we get results," said Ledford.
Ledford said the investigation into the incident is ongoing, so he could not provide details on the death of the dog. He did not confirm the breed of the dog.
Tarver said his dog was undergoing surgery for wounds to her back at around 10 a.m. Wednesday. He said she was expected to be okay. Tarver said he was bitten on his hands and on his left elbow.
More than worrying about his own injuries, however, Tarver said he is concerned about the number of stray dogs that he sees in the county.
"I know you can't blame a breed, although it just seems funny that it seems to be a lot of times when you hear about an attack, it's a pit bull," said Tarver. "Just basically, [my concern] is the dogs that are running loose, not only that people own, but strays. I'd like to see some more animal control officers in Hall County."
And, said Tarver, he wants Hall County residents to be diligent about reporting loose animals when they see them.
"This happened near a school bus stop," he said. "An hour later and there would have been school children there."