Owner charged after dog bites woman

Published: Friday, August 08, 2014 @ 3:09 PM
Updated: Friday, August 08, 2014 @ 3:09 PM

The owner of the pit bull who bit a woman in Hamilton Thursday morning has been charged, according to officials.

Butler County Assistant Dog Warden Supervisor Kurt Merbs said that Aaron Sapp, of 307 N. Eighth St., was charged with two counts of failure to license a dog and one count of failure to confine a dangerous dog, as a result of his male pit bull, Ace, biting passerby Pamela Middlebrooks twice on the thigh.

A young man, reportedly not Sapp, was holding Ace on Thursday morning when the dog jumped out of his arms and bit Middlebrooks from behind, while she was out for her daily walk in the 700 block of South Second Street. Ace didn’t have a collar or a leash, Middlebrooks said later.

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Merbs said that it took a while to locate Sapp, as the attack occurred outside of 724 S. Second St., where Sapp was reportedly staying.

“The owner had taken the dog and moved him to the North End, and was staying there (at 724 S. Second St.) when the dog attacked,” he said.

Sapp was charged with two counts for failure to license a dog, as both Ace and a female pit bull were unlicensed. Merbs said he was called to South Tenth Street Thursday night around 10 p.m. to pick up the female pit bull, who was reported loose on the street.

“They said she was aggressive, but I was able to put a leash on her and bring her to the shelter,” Merbs said. He retrieved four pit bull puppies found at the South Second Street residence that will be reunited with their mother, as they are too young to be separated. Two additional puppies had died at the residence, he said.

Sapp was allowed to keep Ace, so long as he complies with the rules and restrictions of owning a “dangerous dog,” Merbs said. He has 10 days to appeal the verdict, and otherwise has 30 days to get the dog neutered and micro-chipped, place signs around the property stating “Beware of dog,” maintain Ace in a locked enclosure, and register with the Butler County Auditor’s Office that he has a dangerous dog, with the purchase of a $50 dog tag.

“If he fails to comply in 30 days, we will show up and issue him tickets,” Merbs said.

In a separate incident, also around 11 a.m., two assistant dog wardens and two Hamilton police officers were chasing a loose pit bull in the area of Twinbrook Drive. Officials were able to catch that pit bull, which is now secured at a local shelter, according to Merbs.

“Almost every call I did (Thursday) was for a pit bull,” he said.

Merbs added that for first-time dog owners, he would not recommend any breed of pit bulls.

“I would recommend them for experienced dog owners,” he said. “They’re high-energy dogs, definitely not for lazy people to own.”

A pit bull’s level of aggression comes down to both natural temperament and training, he said.

“You can get a pit bull that is aggressive just by being bred that way, as with any dog. But if they’re stuck on a chain their whole life and don’t socialize, that will have a lot to do with it,” he said.

Sapp and residents at 724 South Second St. could not be reached for comment.