DAWSONVILLE — Carly Sharec and her nearly 9-year-old miniature Schnauzer, Bowser, were out for their morning walk about 8:30 a.m. Saturday when a pack of three dogs attacked them, sending both to the hospital.
“I picked him up and tried to get back to the house,” said Sharec, a Dawsonville resident. “I was trying to get away … and they finally ripped him from my arms and we went flying to the ground.”
Luckily, she said, neighbor James Grogan, the city’s mayor, heard her screams and chased the three dogs away.
“I thought [Bowser’s leg] had been ripped off, because they were going after him. If James had not have gotten there when he did, they would have killed him,” Sharec said Tuesday morning, a day after her pup had surgery intended to repair muscle damage in his backside.
“This was my absolute worst nightmare. He is my baby,” said Sharec, who is a former reporter at The Times of Gainesville and editor of The Paper of Flowery Branch.
Dawsonville officials have made contact with the owners of the three dogs.
“We had to determine where the dogs lived first,” said Dawsonville City Manager David Headley. “The three dogs have been quarantined by city animal control at our kennels for the required 10 days.”
While Sharec described her injuries — a few bites to her hand and forearm — as superficial, Bowser has a long recovery ahead.
“His muscle in his back leg is completely ripped through. They’re thinking that the fibers in the muscle will grow back together and he’ll get some motion and be doing pretty good as far as that goes,” she said.
“It’ll be a few weeks before we know any permanent nerve damage, if he’ll be able to fully use the leg again. Fortunately, there was no internal damage.”
Sharec, who has visible bruising on her arm and hand around the bite marks, said the attack was unprovoked.
“It was weird, because the pit bull, the one that started it, he wasn’t even growling,” she said. “He didn’t come up in a menacing way. He just walked casually up to us and started jumping on me.”
Grogan described the attack as vicious.
“This is a very serious thing. They had her on the ground when I heard the screams and got over to her,” he said.
The city’s animal control officers are investigating the case, Headley said.
“What happens next will be dependent on how animal control officers classify the dogs,” he said. “The city will make the determination based on the state guidelines about vicious dogs to classify the animals.”
Sharec said the dogs were found Monday in a fenced yard off Robinson Road, behind Gold Creek Foods and less than a half mile from her house.
A 10-day quarantine is required in situations in which a dog bite is reported, according to Dawsonville’s animal control ordinance.
“I don’t know if they got out or if they were running loose,” she said. “I think people need to be aware that you can’t let your dogs run loose, even if you think your dog is very well-trained or you know your dog, because they’re animals.
“You don’t know how they might respond to certain situations.”
She wants to urge caution to residents living in the area.
“I see a lot of people that run up and down that road, some with their dogs, so people need to be aware to appropriately pen your animals. And if you’re unable to do that, you shouldn’t be a pet owner,” she said.