‘Vicious’ pit bulls euthanized

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 5, 2007

COURTLAND—Four dogs that participated in mauling a man in Newsoms in May were put to sleep last week.

The pit bulls, owned by Marcus Terrell Doles, 23, of Thomaston Road in Newsoms, were declared vicious in a court hearing last month.

Three other pit bulls owned by Doles were declared dangerous and remained in police custody at the animal shelter this week.

In order to retrieve his remaining dogs, Doles must post a bond and meet certain requirements regarding fencing his property and otherwise protecting his neighbors, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jack Randall, who handled the case in Southampton General District Court.

Randall said the vicious dogs had been kept alive at animal shelters in Southampton and Franklin for a few days past the Sept. 21 deadline so that county officials could be sure no appeal was intended to the judge’s order that they be destroyed.

&uot;The vicious dogs were euthanized under court order,&uot; said Detective Cpl. Richard Morris, a spokesman for the Southampton Sheriff’s Department.

Morris said the county’s animal warden, Deputy J.T. Cooke, had not yet heard from Doles about the remaining dogs. The state statute that allowed the dogs to be pronounced dangerous requires that Cooke approve of any plan aimed at bringing them back home, Randal said.

Doles also faces a felony charge of owning a vicious dog, for which he will stand trial Nov. 15 in Southampton Circuit Court.

The court-ordered actions and the pending trial spring from a vicious attack in which Lawrence Murphy was pressure-washing property he owns next door to Doles. The dogs came from the next yard over and attacked the 53-year-old man, according to police reports at the time of the incident. Doles stepped in to pull the dogs off the victim.

Murphy was bitten multiple times on the neck, arm and leg, and he ultimately was flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for treatment.

Witnesses testified in court last month that Doles’ dogs had bitten other people at least twice prior to the mailing in May. The dogs also had menaced neighbors by snarling at them and chasing them.