BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) – There have been five reported dog attacks on people since late September, according to a news release obtained by Region 8 News from Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson. According to the release, a fifth person was bitten Friday afternoon near 21st Street in Blytheville. The two dogs believed to have been involved in Friday's incident have been captured.
Thompson said several dogs in the area have been living underneath occupied homes due to the availability of food and a warm place to sleep at night. However, two of the bite reports were taken in the early morning hours on September 28th.
"To our east, my nephew lives there, and he has two children and so they come over and visit me from time to time," said Kenneth King, longtime resident of Blytheville.
"There's always a danger because they not only come here, they travel up and down the street. They have friends on either end of Carolyn, and as they're walking along, they've been chased by dogs before," said King. "Anytime you get chased by a dog, you never know what the dog might do, and if the dog has got rabies or something and you're bitten, then everybody knows what's going to happen after that."
On October 19th, two more reports of dog attacks came into police. Thompson stated in the release that the attacks were more aggressive, with the injuries being significant enough to require medical attention. Six dogs were found running loose the next day, with five being captured. One animal, considered aggressive and vicious by Blytheville Animal Control, escaped officers.
"My wife and I were talking about it just the other day, and for quite a while now, dogs have been roaming up and down the street and when we see the dogs coming, we go to the yard because you never know what a dog might do," said King. "I got the fence and sometimes I close the fence."
King said he's seen several dogs when he gets in his truck to go to work in the morning.
"There's usually three four or five in a pack and they'll go across in front of the car and sometimes you got to stop and some of them appear to be aggressive dogs," said King. "I don't know dogs. I know they're big dogs. A lot of them will come up above my knees."
Region 8 News interviewed a number of residents who live on and near 21st Street. Each of them has noticed an uptick in the amount of stray, vicious dogs.
"The cops shot one of them, and she was hurt for a while. She was sitting over there in the middle of the field when he came and talked to me, and he couldn't get a good shot at it," said Leroy Newbern.
Newbern said one of his friends heard the child scream Friday when he was attacked by a dog.
"He was looking at how he was going to put the trimming around his house, and he had his back turned, and he heard a distress sound, and turned around and saw these two dogs on this kid, and this kid was fighting the dogs pretty good," said Newbern. "The kid had fought the dog off and the dog seen him so they run off and went up under a house behind a club."
Newbern said he walks around his neighborhood often, and has had close calls with aggressive dogs.
"It's always been like that, but nowadays when a dog bites somebody, it tastes blood. They get very vicious," said Newbern. "They charged me before but I just reached down and say come on, but they never do come."
Residents who spot vicious and aggressive animals are urged to contact the Blytheville Police Department at (870)762-0405.