PDT Staff Writer
According to information from the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, Emmabelle Easter of Crowe Hollow Road, Lucasville was attacked by a pack of dogs March 10 and had to be life flighted to a regional hospital for treatment.
Sgt. Darren Fike of the Sheriff’s Office was one of the officers to respond to the scene.
"On March 10, 2013, I was dispatched to the 650 block of Crowe Hollow Road in Lucasville in reference to a dog bite complaint. Dispatch advised that a elderly female had been attacked by dogs," Fike said.
Fike said while en route to the scene, he passed the Scioto County Dog Warden. Once at the scene, Scioto Squad Two was in the process preparing Easter for transport to a landing zone at Northwest High School where she would be flown to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington, W.Va. for treatment.
While at the scene, Fike said he witnessed "several dogs in the roadway licking the blood from the street."
While at the school awaiting transport, Fike was able to see the extent of Easter’s wounds and speak with her.
"I entered the squad to see Emmabelle Easter, a 74-year-old female, laying on the cot with her face and head covered in blood. A squad member pulled up the blanket covering her legs and on her right shin was about an 8-inch gash ripped open with flesh showing," Fike said. "The squad advised me that her right arm looked just as bad, but it was already dressed. I looked at the back of her head and you could see from her left ear, to the middle of her head, to the crown of her head, the skin had been ripped off her."
Fike asked Easter what had happened, she replied that she was walking down the road and dogs attacked her, knocking her to the ground and biting her.
Fike said, she was flown away shortly after the conversation.
"I left the LZ (landing zone) and went back to Crowe Hollow Road. Deputy (George) Antonaros arrived about the same time. There was several people out in the roadway mad about what had taken place. I heard from several citizens that have grandkids and kids that live in the area," Fike said.
He said two of the witnesses to the incident were Michael and Julia Stapleton.
"They advised me that they seen the attack and that Vernon Delay’s dogs knocked Emmabelle down as she was trying to take a walk and that several mixed breed dogs jumped on her biting at her, tearing her skin and was trying to eat her flesh. Michael drove his truck over to Emma(bell) and started kicking the dogs to protect Emmabelle, but a lot of damage had already been done," Fike said.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Times, Michael Stapleton, a neighbor of Delay, said the dogs were vicious in nature.
"It made me mad, knowing that had happened. These people should be more conscientious of how their dogs are, it’s been like this for years," Michael Stapleton said. "It makes you mad more than anything else. Not only me, but my neighbors in the immediate area almost have to carry a gun just to go check our mailbox."
Stapleton said when his granddaughters come to visit and play outside, he carries a loaded gun with him.
"Call me paranoid, or over protective or whatever but when they are outside in the yard in the summer, I’m sitting on my front porch with a loaded gun guarding them to keep them dogs out of my yard," Michael Stapleton said.
Fike said Antonaros and Dog Warden Dwayne MeHaffey went to Delay’s Crowe Hollow residence to speak with him about the dogs.
"We pulled in the driveway and the smell of dog feces could take your breath away. I looked around the scene (and saw) all kinds of trash in the yard along with a bottle used to cook meth with that a dog has used as a chew toy," Fike said.
He said while at the scene, several dogs were running around. The owner said he had seen the attack and tried to break it up.
"We advised him that the dog warden was taking the shepherd-looking dog and that he needed to sign a release letting us take the other dogs that attacked this lady. Vernon signed the paper but lied to us by hiding other big dogs in his house," Fike said. "Two brown dogs were to be taken as well, but had fled to the woods and were unable to be caught. We tried for several hours to find them."
Fike said Vernon was cited by the dog warden for letting the dogs run at large.
According to Portsmouth Municipal Court records, Delay has had several charges filed against him concerning dogs. The charges date back to 1998 when he was charged with a minor misdemeanor for failure to confine.
He was again charged with a minor misdemeanor in July of 2009 for failure to confine. He was also charged with a minor misdemeanor for this last incident March 10 for failure to confine and failure to register the dogs. The case is set for arraignment on March 26 at 9 a.m. in Portsmouth Municipal Court.
"We have some of those dogs here (the Scioto County Dog Pound). We have a total of five (dogs) and seven little puppies. The ones we feel that were involved with the biting, they will be quarantined for 10 days, then they will be vet checked for Rabies," said Ron Henthorn, a Scioto County Dog Warden. "Three of the dogs were picked up the day of the attack have already been here for 10 days, they are going tomorrow to get vet checked. We picked up two more (dogs) today and they will have to be quarantined for 10 days."
Henthorn said the Pound knows there were multiple dogs involved in the incident.
"We were not there during the attack, so we don’t know exactly which ones. We can only go by what the neighbors have said that they saw," Henthorn said.
When asked if the dogs are vicious in nature, Henthorn said, "A few of them are, very much so. They had to be handled with poles, we could not take them by hand."
Henthorn said after the dogs are vet checked, they will come back to the pound.
"I’m not sure if we are waiting on a court order to have them euthanized or if we’ve already gotten that. I believe they are going to be euthanized," Henthorn said. "From what we understand these dogs have a history of biting. We have also cited this person before this (latest attack) happened last year for failure to confine. This has been an ongoing issue."
He acknowledged the fate of the dogs in now in the hands of the court.
According to officials with St. Mary’s Medical Center, Easter has been treated and released.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.