July 25, 2021


affection for others

No dangerous animal permit for family whose dogs killed child

The Garner police chief has denied a couple a permit to get their two dogs back after they fatally attacked a 7-year-old girl and injured her mother last month.

Joseph and Amanda White had applied May 17 for a dangerous dog permit that would notify local authorities they had dangerous animals in their possession, but Garner Police Chief Joe Binns said the dogs, Blitzen and Athena, posed too great a risk.

“We believe that the dogs are just too dangerous to be allowed to be returned to their owners,” Binns stated in a news release Monday. “After reviewing all the information, the attack appeared to occur without warning or provocation. Allowing the dogs to be released would create a substantial and unnecessary danger to the public.”

Heather Trevaskis and her daughter, Jayden Belle Henderson, 7, were looking after their neighbors’ dogs last month while the owners were out of town when one or both dogs attacked them in the neighbors’ backyard. They were taken by ambulance to WakeMed, but the girl did not survive, The News & Observer previously reported.

Joseph and Amanda White wrote in their permit application that they would meet secure closure requirements, make sure the animals were licensed with Garner, pay all fines, provide a certificate of insurance and keep the animals under the control of a responsible adult.

They also said they will post a “dangerous animal” sign, have dangerous animal microchips implanted, pay a $500 permit fee and keep the dogs on a leash and muzzled while outside.

In a letter to the owners, Binns said the applications lacked certificates of insurance for liability coverage for dog attacks and a receipt to show payment of permit fees. But even if the application had those items, Binns said he would deny the permit.

People in the Vandora Pines subdivision opposed Athena and Blitzen returning, Binns stated. Some shared stories of the dogs acting aggressively, he stated. The neighbors said they would feel threatened no matter what restrictions were placed on the dogs, described in the permit application as “Amstaff dogo argentino” and “Amstaff plot hound” mixes.

The president of the subdivision also contacted Binns and said the community’s rules state no pets with vicious tendencies can live in Vandora Pines.

The dogs will continue to be held at the Wake County Animal Shelter for 60 days after being seized April 27. They will then be euthanized, Binns wrote.

The town does not have a specific process to appeal the decision, according to the ordinance. There is an appeals process when appealing fines and the designation of a pet as a dangerous animal, however, Binns wrote.

If the owners want to appeal Binns’ denial, they will have to go to court, Binns stated.

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Ashad Hajela reports on public safety for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He studied journalism at New York University.