BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Held hostage in his own neighborhood. A Brunswick County man says he can’t walk down his street because of a neighbor’s pit bull. Joe Trull says he’s called Brunswick County Animal Control and the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, but they haven’t helped.
The 76-year-old Trull is a heart patient. To stay healthy, he walks at least 30 minutes a day in his neighborhood near southport.
“I’m trying to enjoy what years I’ve got left, and so I do walk a lot, exercise a lot,” Trull said.
But these days, he has to carry an iron rod with him. Trull said a neighbor has a pit bull that isn’t always kept on a leash.
“The last time he come out, he was that close to my leg when I seen him,” Trull said. “He sneaks up on you. When I heard him, he was that close. I turned around. He started to jump, and I hit him ‘side the head with an iron rod.”
Trull said he’s contacted animal control and the sheriff’s office several times to no avail.
“The first time I called, a deputy came out,” Trull said. “He said, ‘If I don’t see it, I can’t do nothing.’ Well, the dog ain’t going to stand there and wait for an hour for the sheriff to get a deputy here.”
We contacted Brunswick County Animal Services. Director David Swain told us he sent an animal control officer out to Trull’s neighborhood on Friday. The officer gave the owners of the pit bull a warning, but to do something more, officers need proof that the dog is out.
Swain said they sporadically drive through the neighborhood. In fact, they had an officer out there again Tuesday, reminding residents about the leash law.But again, they need to see the dog or a photo of the dog running loose.
“I am not gonna carry a camera with me all the time,” Trull said. “I carry an iron rod with me now to hit the dog with.”
So we tried to speak with the pit bull’s owners. They denied having a dog, and even called the sheriff’s office on us. We heard a dog barking, but to be fair, we couldn’t see it. Still animal control verified there was a dog in the home as of Friday.
We also contacted the sheriff’s office, which said it’s an animal control issue unless the dog bites someone.
Trull is concerned if he is actually attacked, he might not be able to call 911.
“Me being a disabled American veteran, I should have the rights to walk this street that I pay tax on for 30 years without having to fight a dog,” he said.
According to Brunswick County’s animal control ordinance, an animal considered “at large” has to be impounded three times, or the owner cited three times before the animal is declared a public nuisance. After that happens, if the animal is caught running free again, animal control can initiate action to take custody of the animal.
Trull says he does not understand why something more can’t be done, especially after a pit bull in Waxhaw recently killed a five-year-old girl.
Animal control said it’s even set traps for the dog, but they need proof. It’s proof Trull hopes does not come down to a dog bite or something worse.