FORT SMITH, Ark. — On Tuesday, Kimberly McCormick's world came crashing down.
Her rescue cat, Alfredo - an indoor cat - found a way underneath her home through a small hole that had become uncovered in the days prior. By Tuesday he was dead.
"I found him deceased, just absolutely mangled, covered in blood in my neighbor's garage," McCormick described the scene she witnessed. "The door was open and he was off in a little corner and he was dead. Covered in bite wounds, blood everywhere, fur ripped out, legs broken, back broken."
McCormick fought back tears while recounting the story to 5NEWS. She says just hours before finding Alfredo, she saw a loose dog running through her backyard, its face streaked with blood.
Cassandra Boggs is McCormick's neighbor and owns the home where Alfredo was found. She says McCormick posted about the white pitbull on a resident Facebook group for missing and lost pets.
The owner claimed to have the dog back in their possession, but by the next day, it was back on the loose with two other dogs.
"I don't really believe in bad animals, just bad situations, and this is a bad situation," Boggs said about the three loose dogs.
Boggs spent the better part of an hour chasing down the dogs, a witness to them terrorizing pets around Fort Smith.
"I watched him chase a small dog and kill at least five cats," Boggs said. "They were not easy deaths, and they weren't quick."
Boggs and other concerned pet owners and residents contacted Fort Smith Animal Control. The department was able to locate the owner and the three dogs.
Fort Smith Police Captain Wes Milam told 5NEWS, "The two owners of the animals were cited for various violations." Milam continued by saying the dogs are now classified as 'vicious' due to the killing of other domesticated animals.
All three dogs were taken by Fort Smith Animal Control to Fort Smith Animal Haven. The dogs will be held for a 10-day quarantine to watch for signs of rabies and other diseases, according to the department.
Additionally, the dogs will remain at the shelter for a period of 45 days. During that time, the owner can appeal the designation of 'vicious' and must complete a stringent set of rules which will be evaluated by animal control wardens.
During that time, the dogs' temperament will be evaluated at the shelter.
"A behaviorist comes in and assesses the behavior of the dogs to determine if there is a high risk for repeat behavior or a low risk of repeat behavior," Capt. Milam explained of the next steps in the process.
After 45 days, if the appeal is lost and the dogs' behavior is found to be at high risk of repeat behavior, euthanization is a possible option. However, Capt. Milam stresses this is the last resort for a situation such as this.
"The least of which and the most, absolute last resort, would be euthanasia. But again, I'll repeat, we have not scheduled these animals to be destroyed," Milam stated.
McCormick, Boggs, and Milam all told 5NEWS that more responsible pet ownership is the best way to avoid situations like this.
Providing adequate barriers to keep pets contained, keeping up with vaccinations, and training are all ways to help animals not get loose and be at risk of attacking others.
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