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EARLIER: Captured pit bull could be attacking animal in Waddy

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Two sisters capture a pit bull while it is attacking a family pet, and officials are looking for its owner.

By Lisa King

Two women from Waddy heroically saved a beloved family pet Thursday and in the process may have captured the creature that has mutilated several animals on nearby farms.

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The suspect in custody is an adult male pit bull that was seen attacking livestock before it jumped a defenseless dog and ultimately was succumbed to two undaunted sisters.

The pit bull is a suspect in animal mutilations that killed several animals in late November and early December and a cow’s ears were ripped off in an attack as recently as Jan. 6.

“We are going to keep this dog contained, to see if the attacks continue or if they stop,” Shelby County Animal Control Director Rusty Newton said. He said authorities don’t know who owns the pit bull.

The heroes here are Peggy and Judy Tipton who managed to save their mother’s pet, Speckles, and seize control of the pit bull while their mother watched it all from the window. Here’s how the story unfolded.

Magistrate Tony Carriss, who lives near Mount Eden and has been active in trying to locate the attacking animal, said that on Thursday, a member of the Tipton family that lives on Kings Highway in Waddy came home from school and heard two of the family’s horses causing a commotion.

When she approached the barn, she saw that a white dog was attacking one of the horses in its stomach, Carriss said.

The horse kept kicking and finally kicked down a gate. Then the dog saw the girl, and the dog ran across the farm to the girls’ grandparents’ house, where it started to attack a small dog that was chained outside.

Carriss said that another relative, Peggy Tipton, drove up and saw what was going on and jumped in to help the small dog by hitting the pit bull with a PVC pipe, which had no effect. Then her sister, Judy Tipton, arrived and joined the fray, getting a stick in the pit bull’s mouth to make it let go of the other dog, which it did.

The sisters’ mother, Elizabeth Tipton, 86, said she was looking out her window when the pit bull ran into her yard and attacked her small, 12-year-old dog.

“That dog just came out of nowhere and grabbed poor Speckles by the neck, and she wasn’t able to do anything to protect herself,” Tipton said.

But the Tipton sisters were able to spring Speckles without fear, their mother said.

“My girls were raised on a farm, and they know how to handle animals,” she said. “And they thought a lot of Speckles.”

After getting Speckles free, the two women got a chain around the pit bull’s neck and called 911, their mother said.

“Speckles is OK now; she’s just sore,” Tipton said.

Newton said the horses are OK, too, with no broken skin, but Speckles had blood on her neck.

He said the attacks were similar to the others that occurred between Nov. 28 and Dec. 6 in that the animals attacked were penned up.

But he couldn’t determine any additional similarities because Thursday’s attacks did not progress as far as the prior attacks, when several goats were mutilated, with the ears and faces torn off. The cow whose ears were mutilated was attacked on Ditto Road, which is the area of the original attacks.

A large crowd turned out in December for a town meeting at the Waddy Ruritan Club to discuss the situation, where the consensus was that it was a dog that was terrorizing the area.

Newton said the dog in custody at the Shelby County Animal Shelter is extremely aggressive toward animals but so far has shown no aggression toward people.

When asked if he thought it was possible that if just one dog could have been responsible for the attacks or if it had to have been a pack, he said it was “entirely possible” for just one animal to have caused all the prior carnage.

He said efforts are under way to locate the owner of the animal that is described as being in good condition, not malnourished, an indication that it is probably a domestic dog as opposed to a stray.

The dog is a male pit bull, with a brown spot on its right ear.

Newton is asking anyone with any information about the dog to contact him (633-1220) or Animal Control Supervisor Bradley King (633-0009).