Residents along River Park Drive in Great Falls can rest easy now that one of the dogs responsible for taking down a white-tailed deer and allegedly mauling several cats has been apprehended. After weeks of combing the area, Animal Control officers have located the German shepherd dubbed as the alpha animal in the attack by a resident who witnessed the incident.
Although there were two dogs at the time of the attack, the German shepherd and a black Lab mix, it was impossible to verify that the black Lab actually participated in the attack or in feasting on the carcass of the deer, according to Public Information Officer Sophia Grinnan.
The Lab mix has also been located, but since there was insufficient evidence of its participation, no charges were filed.
“The case was concluded on Feb. 21. They found all dogs involved, and there are no mysteries. All the dog’s shots were valid, and it was licensed,” said Grinnan.
Grinnan says that an analysis of the German shepherd shows it is not human-aggressive and is in fact “a friendly pet.”
However, in his dealings with neighbors after the initial attack, Ed Behrens, who photographed the deer attack that was the catalyst for county involvement, learned that a woman down the street from him was menaced by the two dogs on the day of the attack and held at bay in her automobile until the pair left.
A summons for having an unrestricted dog was issued to Debbie Cafferty, of 208 Carwood Road in Great Falls, for the German shepherd.
Residents credit the diligence of Animal Control officers for quickly tracking down the animals, which many felt were a menace to children as well as pets.
Residents reported seeing county trucks patrolling the area daily in the effort to find the dogs before any more damage was caused.
Officer Don Cook, with Animal Control, was regularly patrolling the area to catch the dogs. “He saw the shepherd and tracked it for about a quarter of a mile through the woods,” said Behrens.
Animal Control officers also made sure homeowners were kept up to date on the status of the investigation, according to Behrens.
Additionally, community involvement after learning of the dogs’ activities has impressed residents. “People are responding personally with their tips. I’ve had calls from people asking me about the dogs, wanting to make sure that they weren’t their dogs,” said Behrens.