Woman in court today over dog issues

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 12:51 PM
Last updated 7:06 PM
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A woman who was caring for dogs that police say mauled a 2-year-old Augusta boy over the weekend will be in a Belvedere courtroom today involving some other dogs she looked after at a Belvedere residence.

Shirley Barnes  Preston Sparks/Staff
Preston Sparks/Staff
Shirley Barnes

Magistrate Judge Roger Edmonds said Shirley Barnes will go before his court at 2 p.m. today in a case to determine whether 24 dogs seized Thursday from a home on Audubon Circle should be returned to Ms. Barnes. Judge Edmonds said the dogs were part of a refuge group Ms. Barnes runs called Hearts for Animals.

“She was doing this with people living on both sides of her and a Methodist church behind her…They had 24 we had to pick up because they were barking and yelping all day and all night,” he said, adding that the odor from the back yard also was causing a nuisance in violation of a county ordinance.

Judge Edmonds said Ms. Barnes has some past cases of inoculation violations that date back to June involving dogs at the Belvedere site. He said her son, Richard, had been cited at the Belvedere property on four counts of an animal nuisance violation, but that he didn’t appear in court last week, prompting officials to pick him and the animals up Thursday afternoon.

The weekend attack in Augusta at a home on Belair Road left Damien Chavous in critical condition. Authorities say the child somehow got over a fence and into the yard where he was attacked by four dogs. Family members have said the child was playing unattended for about 10 minutes on his family’s deck before they noticed he was in the other yard.

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O_O
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O_O 07/14/09 - 12:31 pm
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This, IMO, is a woman who

This, IMO, is a woman who needs to re-prioritize things. Taking on this many animals as a private citizen in an urban/suburban area seems like an irrational and untenable decision. A farm might make sense, but not the areas mentioned during the past week associated with Ms. Barnes' passion. If should have been obvious to her that packs of dogs kept in a standard yard with a standard backyard fence constitutes a real danger to the neighbors. Guess she is beginning to get the picture now. Passion is one thing, but not anticipating problems and dealing with them correctly before someone is hurt begins to seem more like obsession.

tdp
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tdp 07/14/09 - 12:34 pm
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A two year old has NO

A two year old has NO BUSINESS playing alone for any length of time. Also, if the parents say it was only 10 minutes, you can bet it was at least twice as long. People tend to underestimate thes things, especially when culpability is involved. I still believe the dogs involved in the attacks should be destroyed to prevent this from happening in the future. I wish this poor child a speedy recovery.

gunter7879
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gunter7879 07/14/09 - 12:55 pm
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I just want to add that my

I just want to add that my own dog was in our backyard and our neighbor's dogs were able to grab it by the collar and bring my dog's head over the fence. Thankfully her collar caught on the fence and I heard it and came running and got her before they dragged her over completely. She ended up with multiple lacerations and her ear torn off. She is only 8 lbs and they were bulldogs. Yet my neighbor's dogs were in their yards so nothing was done about it. I also have two small children and feared for their safety, so we had to build a 6 foot privacy fence after we learned that they were also known to jump the 4 foot fences and attack other dogs in our neighborhood. Aggressive dogs should be put down. End of story.

TheGeorgian
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TheGeorgian 07/14/09 - 01:01 pm
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I'm a dog lover and have a

I'm a dog lover and have a large dog but I agree totally with gunter7879. Aggressive dogs need be euthanized.

FlyersFan77
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FlyersFan77 07/14/09 - 01:04 pm
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Ms. Barnes needs to get a

Ms. Barnes needs to get a property that she can properly maintain, that will comfortably house the numerous animals she takes in. Residential area's are not, in general, the right place for rescue groups. If she doesn't have a license, and is unoffically a rescue group, she needs to look in the mirror and acknowledge that she is, in fact, a horder. But my real question is: why do so many feel the need to destroy the dogs? They did not go into the toddler's backyard. The fault lies neatly at the feet of the adults who were supposed to be caring for this baby. If he had been in the house, with the adults, he wouldn't have wandered away and climbed that fence (if that is indeed what happened here). I feel for the mother, I really do, as no mother should have to watch her child suffer. But she needs to assume responsibility for not watching her child properly, therefore putting him in harms way. The dogs are just victims of her negligence as well.

truthisstillhere
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truthisstillhere 07/14/09 - 01:32 pm
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i think it unfair to say that

i think it unfair to say that these dogs are necessarily vicious......no one was in that yard to see what that little boy may have done to the dogs to set them off.......they may not have just attacked because he came over the fence......perhaps he started pulling tails, hitting them, or something else.....no one was there and unfortunately the dogs can't say.......perhaps it was one of the dogs that started and as natural instinct some of the other may have jumped in........in my experience truly vicious dogs would jump a 4ft fence just to get to someone, yet these dogs never jumped the fence or dug a hole out of the yard to get to the boy before, and from all accounts the child was left unattended in the yard previously......a natural reaction does not make a dog vicious

Native007
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Native007 07/14/09 - 01:42 pm
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Super sad story about the

Super sad story about the child. I also need to disagree with killing all aggressive dogs.. There are circumstances that we do not get to read. Yet if there is an act of violence like on the child or like in the previous posts where neighboring dogs pulled another one over the fense, that is different.

struggling parent
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struggling parent 07/14/09 - 05:27 pm
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She had to get rid of dogs in

She had to get rid of dogs in Columbia County... methink she moved them to SC to see how many she can keep and get away with it. I still say she needs to be charged for the mauling as well.

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