PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – The owner of three dogs blamed for attacking multiple people along Cowpen Lake Point Road in Hawthorne had been warned in 2016 that her dogs might injure someone, according to documents obtained by News4Jax on Tuesday.
Since that time, victims said, Putnam County Animal Control has done very little to prevent the dogs from repeat attacks.
According to nearly 90 pages of documents, despite reported attacks, the dogs were never labeled as dangerous animals.
The documents included a letter dated October 2016, in which an elderly woman warned the dogs' owner that the loose dogs might back someone after she was nearly attacked and had to call someone for help.
News4Jax has also obtained copies of two Putnam County quarantine agreements from two separate attacks involving the same dogs that sent two people to the hospital. The agreements were signed by the dogs' owner. In both attacks, Putnam County Animal Control did not deem the dogs to be dangerous animals, nor were they euthanized.
"I thought they would do something after the dogs bit me," said Bill Hanssen, who told News4Jax that he was previously attacked by the dogs.
A Putnam County animal ordinance reads, "A dog is to be classified as a dangerous animal after it has severely injured someone, aggressively bitten or attacked someone."
The ordinance goes on to say that if a dangerous dog commits another attack, the owner can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor and the animal can be quarantined for ten days, then euthanized."
News4Jax reached out to the county administrator to find out why Animal Control allowed the dogs to remain with the owner, but the administrator was unavailable for comment.
On Monday, the Putnam County Animal Control director said he had no comment.
After News4Jax's first report aired Monday evening, a woman came forward, saying her 7-year-old was attacked by two dogs in another area of Putnam County. She said those dogs were never removed from the owner and she also feels the laws were not enforced.