In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Angie Seymour and her husband were awakened by their two inside dogs barking at something outside their home in the Magnolia Park neighborhood off DeRenne Avenue.
“We jumped out of bed to see why they were barking,” she recalled. “At first we thought it might be a fox because one has been spotted around here.”
When they went outside, they saw something in their neighbor’s yard and realized — to their horror — that it was their cat S’mores, a sweet calico kitty they had adopted four years ago.
S’mores was an inside/outside cat, but never ventured far from the Seymour’s carport. Angie remembered how S’mores didn’t want to come in the night before, but Angie figured S’mores could take care of herself.
“She knew how to get on top of the car and how to jump over the fence to get into the backyard, so I let her stay out.”
The night they heard the commotion and saw S’mores, Angie and her husband figured dogs must have attacked the cat and dragged her into the nearby yard. They ran over to find their kitty injured, but not bloody. Angie was able to pick up S’mores and comfort her before she died in her arms.
S’mores was the latest feline victim of two dogs that had been terrorizing animals in the Magnolia Park/Blueberry Hill area. In the last week, four cats were killed and/or injured by the pair of dogs that usually roam at night. Angie had heard about the incidents, but didn’t think the dogs would come as far over in the neighborhood where she and her family live.
What she didn’t find out until the next day was that roughly three hours before the dogs attacked S’mores, they were hunting a few blocks away and ambushed an orange tabby known as Mr. Red Kitty.
The orange cat was a neighborhood stray that Steven Bartz had been taking care of and feeding for 10 years. Around 11 p.m., Steven heard screeching and yowls, ran outside and saw two dogs attacking Mr. Red Kitty.
“I chased the dogs down Brogdon [street] and lost them,” he said. Steven raced back to Mr. Red Kitty, scooped him up and drove to the emergency veterinary clinic. Sadly, the orange tabby died two minutes after Steven rushed him inside.
Like other residents, Steven believes the dogs acquired a taste for blood and were hunting for cats.
The killings were reported and Chatham County Animal Services seized the dogs late afternoon Thursday. A dangerous dog hearing is scheduled for early October.
In a situation like this, owners are cited for having dogs at large and are summoned to appear in Chatham County Recorders’ Court, according to Animal Services Officer Larry Rountree.
Obviously, paperwork and court appearances take time, but Rountree said if reports by cat owners are filed and Animal Services has proof (such as a video) that the dogs live in the neighborhood, the canines can be seized immediately.
Many Magnolia Park/Blueberry Hill residents were concerned about the cats, their dogs, children and themselves. Some stopped walking their dogs in the evening for fear they would encounter the loose dogs.
Angie understands those sentiments. Since the death of S’mores, she did not take her two dogs out because she was afraid of another attack.
Before the dogs were caught Thursday, Steven Bartz, who wanted justice for Mr. Red Kitty and the other cats that were killed or injured, said, “Those dogs have to be caught.”
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