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Dog attacks elderly St. George Island woman

A dog’s attacking of a 77-year-old St. George Island woman, out for an early evening stroll, has alarmed the family and stepped up calls for residents and visitors to be sure to keep their dogs on a leash.

On Sunday afternoon, May 8, at about 5 p.m., Linda Plymel was out walking near her home at 312 Gibson Street when she was charged by a medium-size dog and bitten on her left arm, both above and below her elbow.

“Her sleeve was all tore off and her arm was bleeding pretty bad,” said her husband, Derell.

“She said it came out of nowhere,” said her daughter, Nancy Campagna. “If the owners had not come out and got the dog off of her she was afraid it was going to kill her.

“If she would have fallen down, I was afraid it would have gone to her neck,” she said.

Campagna, a registered nurse, accompanied her mom and dad to Weems Memorial Hospital, where they stitched up the bites, gave her a tetanus shot and prescribed antibiotics.

At the same time, Kenny Reeder, an animal control officer, visited the dog’s owner, Kevin Hauesser, who lives nearby.

Fonda Davis, director of the county’s animal control department, said Hauesser told the officer that the dog, a mixed breed bulldog and Labrador Retriever, normally does not run loose.

“He had friends over and he let the dog loose to play with the friends,” Davis said. “And it broke away.”

Hauesser was given a citation for $450 for the “unprovoked, biting, wounding or attacking” of a person. No citation was issued for running at large or for being a dangerous dog.

Davis said that with the county’s passage last year of a more restrictive animal control ordinance, which requires that all animals off of an owner’s premises must be secured with a leash no longer than six feet, the department has issued several citations regarding unprovoked attacks.

Because the dog was current with its rabies vaccination, its owner was asked to self-quarantine the animal for 21 days, and he agreed.

“We want to see owners take responsibility and follow the laws, which is to have their dogs on a leash,” said Campagna. “We have two dogs and we love our dogs, but even at their small size, we keep them on a leash.”

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