MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

March 21, 2013

Pit bull’s owner avoids charges after 2 women mauled

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The owner of a pit bull that attacked and critically injured two women in north Tulsa will not face charges, an animal control official said Thursday.

“The animal was not at large, so no violations,” Tulsa Animal Welfare manager Jean Letcher said. “The only action that Tulsa Animal Welfare will be taking will be writing citations for harboring an unneutered dog and no pet license.”

Authorities declined to release the owner’s name, citing the lack of charges.

The women – Irene Parker, 78, and Beverly Wright, 43 – remained hospitalized Thursday at St. John Medical Center but had been upgraded to fair condition, according to the hospital’s spokeswoman Joy McGill.

Police said the two were leaving religious literature at a home when the owner opened the door to answer their knock and the dog came out. The house has a “Beware of Dog” sign in a window.

Mike Harrell, who was working about a block away, drove to the scene after hearing the women’s screams and shot and killed the dog.

“This blood-curdling scream happened. I don’t know why, but I immediately jumped in my truck and drove over there,” said Harrell, 28, who grabbed his gun from the truck when he arrived.

He said the dog was on one of the women and the other was lying motionless nearby, preventing him from trying to shoot the animal from the fence. Harrell said his experience working on a ranch taught him not to enter an enclosed area with an enraged animal.

“It was like working cattle: Don’t get in the pen with the bull; have something between you,” he said. “If you mess with the bull, you get the horns.”

Harrell said he tried to distract the dog by shaking the fence and yelling, then ran to a gate, where he continued to yell until the animal turned and charged him.

“Right when I closed the gate the dog jumped up on the fence,” he said. “It hit the fence and literally turns as it was stepping down and that’s when I shot.”

Harrell, who said he has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, killed the dog with a single shot to the back of its head from his .40-caliber pistol.

“Thank goodness for having concealed carry and being able to be in the right place at the right time,” Harrell said.

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