Dog Dragged

Photo special to the DPA After being adopted from a Lenior City Pit Bull Rescue, Boss was allegedly dragged behind a car in McMinn County. Now charges are pending on the owner.

Injured dog's owners may face charges
Jeremy Belk Staff Writer

It was a scene from a tragic comedy but there was nothing funny when Boss, the pit bull dog, was dragged for a mile behind his master's vehicle.

Now charges could be pending against the owner.

Boss is now recovering from his wounds in Lenoir City, where the agency that adopted him out is located.

Leslie and James Woody run Break the Chain Pit Bull Rescue, a non-profit organization, to help pit bull dogs find a good home. The Woodys have been rescuing pit bulls since November 2008. So far this year they have saved 18 animals and found new homes for them.

"Most pit bull owners are very proud," James Woody said. "This has been the only problem we have had so far."

Woody said Boss was adopted in March to a McMinn County couple. Break the Chain did an extensive background check on the couple and nothing out of the ordinary showed up. However, after several missed appointments for follow-up meetings after the adoption, the Woodys learned that Boss had been dragged behind a vehicle for over a mile and not taken to see a vet.

The name of the man and his girlfriend who adopted Boss are not included here because no charges have been filed as of this morning. However, Woody said he had talked to the district attorney in McMinn County as well as detectives with the McMinn County Sheriff's Department and warrants for animal cruelty could be pending. The McMinn County Sheriff's Department main office was closed today for Good Friday so a report could not be obtained.

Woody said Boss was neutered just before he was adopted. The man adopting Boss was told to bring him back in a few days so the stitches could be removed. However, the owner never showed up with the dog.

Woody said two additional follow-up visits were missed by the owner, who sent the rescue organization a photo of Boss.

After the missed visits, the Woodys said they tried to contact the owner but the number was disconnected. Woody got a new phone number for the owner and called, but his call was never returned until he tried to make contact from a different phone number. Woody alleges when he made contact with the owner he was told there had been an accident and Boss had jumped out of his vehicle. The owner allegedly said other than a scrape and a bump on the head Boss was fine.

Woody said a red flag went up at that time. Through their own investigation, the Woodys discovered Boss had not jumped from a car as they had been told originally, but the owner had tied the dog to the bumper while he was washing his vehicle. A family emergency forced the owner to jump in the car and drive off. He had allegedly forgotten to untie Boss.

Woody said Boss was run over by the car, then dragged about one-quarter mile along a driveway before the owner drove another mile on the road to a relative's home. The entire time Boss was tied to the car.

When the Woodys found out what had happened to Boss, they asked if he had been taken to a veterinarian. By that time, 18 days had passed from when Boss was dragged and the Woodys found out about his plight and intervened.

Woody said the owner had told him he was worried he may lose his job so he treated Boss himself. Woody said Boss's wounds had been rubbed down with alcohol. "I can't imagine the pain that dog went through for those 18 days," Woody said. Boss was taken from his new owners and to the Lenoir City Animal Clinic for treatment. Woody said Boss will have to have skin grafts on some of the larger scrape wounds. He added that the dog would never fully heal from the incident. He said the owner has since made a $500 deposit with the animal clinic to pay for a portion of Boss's treatment.

Woody said he hopes Boss will eventually find a good home with people who will love him and take proper care of him. He added this incident marks the only time Break the Chain has ever had a problem with an adoption.

"Thought we did all we could do - we did checks," Woody said. "It goes to show what seems like the best choice is not always right."

Woody said there is a fund at the Lenoir City Animal Clinic for Boss's medical care. The clinic can be contacted at (865) 986-5450.

Break the Chain Pit Bull Rescue can be found on the Internet at:

where more photos of Boss and other pit bull dogs can be found.