Pit Bulls Attack: Family Pets and Owners Were in Harm's Way on Monday

Monday was the latest incident in which pit bulls managed to get loose from the yard at Amberidge Trail and River Valley Road.

Two pit bulls that terrorized a Sandy Springs neighborhood, Monday afternoon, and seriously wounded two dogs are at Fulton County Animal Services, according to Dan Goerke, whose dog was attacked.

Goerke and his 23-year-old son, James, were practically at their front door after walking Zoey, in Amberidge subdivision, when two pit bulls started running towards the family pet.

“He had her on the leash and I said ‘Get her into the house,’ ” said Goerke. “And before I could finish that sentence they were on Zoey. They were so vicious about it and just attacked her.”

As they latched onto the German shepherd hound, Goerke repeatedly kicked one of the pit bulls in an attempt to get them to release her. 

At the same time, he noticed a Sandy Springs Police car.  An officer got out and tasered one of the pit bulls, Goerke said.

“It stunned the pit bull for just a few seconds and it started to get back up to attack Zoey again,” he recalled.  “It was just about then that the officer told us to get inside.”

Goerke and his son went inside. Wounded Zoey ran to the door, scratching to get inside too.

“And we were able to keep the pit bulls from coming in the house…Somehow the officer got them to go away.  I don’t know what happened,” Goerke said.

Four-year-old Zoey went under anesthesia on Monday evening, as medical staff at Georgia Veterinary Specialists applied sutures, Goerke said.

“They said she was in stable condition. She was in a slight state of shock. Her temperature was up but they expected her to be okay,” he said. 

Monday was only the latest incident of the pit bulls that managed to get loose from the yard at Amberidge Trail and River Valley Road.

It is believed the home is rented by music producer Rodney Jerkins, and the dogs are often left alone. However, Sandy Springs Patch has not confirmed that information.

“I could hear them barking for like eight, 10 hours, like something’s wrong, “ recalled David Davis, who lives across the street.  “I went over and checked the dogs.  They seemed friendly. They seemed upset.”

That was about a month and a half ago. 

Sandy Springs Police and City Councilman Chip Collins were notified about ongoing concerns and fears of the dogs, Davis said.

At one point the tenant had three pit bulls according to neighbors.

Two months ago, David Bailey, president of the Amberidge Homeowners Association, was running through the subdivision when the three loose canines ran towards him.

They did not attack.  Still, Bailey said, “I’m 6’5” and they were intimidating to me.”

He continued running and later learned the dogs attacked a woman in the neighborhood.

The dogs’ owner was taken to environmental court over the incident, according to Bailey.

The owner installed secure kennels in the yard and said the dogs would only be let out when under supervision, Bailey recalled.

“Since then nothing has happened,” he said. 

That is until Monday afternoon. 

Jodi Jackson was jogging, unaware, on the sidewalk of River Valley Road at about 3 p.m. with one and half-year-old Cooper, her black Labrador retriever. A neighbor, who she had never met before, urged her to come behind their fence.

“That’s when the cop came over with his loud megaphone and said, “You need to get inside,’ “ Jackson said.  “So I stepped into the fence.”

Suddenly, the pit bulls came charging her way covered in blood. 

“I was like, ‘Holy Cow,’ “ she said. “It was pretty scary. It’s very unfortunate because I know the tenants have been talked to many times and unfortunately they’re not doing anything.”

Jackson went inside her neighbor’s home and waited for a friend to come pick her up.

That home was spared, but the pit bulls chewed through another fence in the neighborhood and severely injured a family pet that was also treated at Georgia Veterinary Specialists on Monday night, said Dan Goerke, and was expected to survive.

On Monday night, Goerke called Animal Services to confirm the pit bulls were in their custody.  He was told there would be a hearing and it would be advised that the dogs would be put down.  Animal Services also confirmed that the dogs would not be released before the hearing.

Sheela Na Gig February 18, 2011 at 03:50 PM
People, if you have a gun and you see a pit roaming on your property, shoot it. These victims will hopefully sue this guy and his landlord. This is the only way to get the message across, since town leaders often cave to a bunch of pit bull owner saying, its our right, we don't care about public welfare.
Liz Henderson February 22, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Sheela, what you are suggesting is illegal. And you are absolutely incorrect about what the majority of pit bull owners will say. I am the founder of Atlanta Pit Bull Parents and this incident is extremely upsetting as it reflects badly on all of us. It is our opinion that these dogs should be confiscated and put down and the owner should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Responsible pit bull owners will never allow their dogs to leave a securely fenced yard without being on leash and would NEVER allow a human-aggressive dog to even go outside without being on leash. This particular owner is not representative of the majority of pit bull owners. Pit bull type dogs are one of the most common types of dogs in Georgia. Responsible owners keep them leashed or behind tall fences and take their dogs to obedience training. The legal system has for too long only given the irresponsible owners a slap on the wrist while killing the dogs. This does nothing to make the jerks stop getting more dogs and start to contain them properly. To finally see a decrease in these incidents, the owners must be more severely punished so they and their friends will think twice before getting dogs for the purpose of terrorizing their neighborhoods.
Nancy Mack February 22, 2011 at 10:16 PM
Sheela doesn't have the sense she was born with does she?.................
Liz Henderson February 22, 2011 at 11:17 PM
I just learned that the dogs did not actually bite a person, so I want to retract my statement that they should be put down. This does not lessen the horror experienced by the other dogs and their owners and my heart goes out to them. The owner of the pit bulls is clearly not responsible enough to own any dog, much less a power breed. He neglected them by leaving them outside in cold weather, he did not protect them from each other by letting them freely mingle and he put his whole neighborhood at risk by letting them roam. This is not the type of pit bull owner that my group represents. www.atlantapitbullparents.com
Sheela Na Gig February 23, 2011 at 10:11 PM
Where I live, it is not illegal to shoot a pit bull on my own property if I think I, my family, or my pets are in danger. And yes, pit bull owners have been given a slap on the wrist which is why they keep putting us, our families, our pets and their own dogs in harm's way. Until law enforcement gets a grip, it is up to citizens to make sure they keep themselves and their communities safe. You cannot trust a marauding pit bull, and the most responsible thing you can do is SHOOT them whenever you have a legal opportunity.
John Moseley June 19, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Since the pit bull did not attack a person, legally (even by the fullest extent of the law) one cannot put down a family pet. Sheela: don't you dare give that advice. You are not the law. You have no legal right whatsoever. You may call animal control. Speaking of, this guy is clearly not responsible to have any type of animal. I am the proud owner of a purebred pit bull. When my dog is outside, she is on a leash. She never "roams around". She has never even barked at another dog, or person. I accomplished this by treating her correctly, taking her to obedience school, socializing her constantly at dog parks, etc., and socializing her around and letting her play with other people. I give her numerous outlets for her energy (taking her swimming at the hooch, etc.) She is a therapy dog and works with people with mental illness. Pit bulls have the strongest bite force out of any dog, the one that comes close in comparison is a rottie. Dogs are a direct reflection of their owners and nothing more. Believe what you want about a particular breed, but it comes down to irresponsible people.
John Moseley June 19, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Shay November 29, 2012 at 03:23 AM
ignorance.... SHUT up about the BREED.... DOGS ARE ONLY A REFLECTION OF THEIR OWNER... Plain and Simple....A German Sheppard Dog, a doberman, or a rottweiler could have done the same thing, but I bet it wouldnt be making a headline. These DOGS are the victums....


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