Raleigh’s dangerous dog board hasn’t met since 2007

ccampbell@newsobserver.comMarch 17, 2014 

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When the dangerous dog appeal board last met in 2007, 87-year-old Dorothy Murray, left, explained how she was approached by two Rottweilers in her neighborhood as Raleigh Police Attorney Dawn S. Bryant, right, takes notes. The three-person board determined that the dogs are dangerous.

2007 FILE PHOTO BY JULI LEONARD — jleonard@newsobserver.com

— Nala the dog’s last shot at innocence won’t come in front of a judge.

She’s been declared a dangerous dog after animal control investigated a violent attack at the Oakwood Dog Park in November. Her owner, Embrosha Morgan, has filed an appeal to the next authority up the line: a three-member city-appointed board that hasn’t held a meeting in almost seven years.

Morgan’s filing has sent the Raleigh city clerk’s office scrambling to figure out who’s still on the dangerous dog appeals board after its long dormancy. Only one board member from the last hearing – in 2007 – is still eligible to serve.

That’s Lawrence Wray, the former assistant city manager who was in the news last year for the embattled nonprofit he leads, the Raleigh Business and Technology Center. Police are still investigating possible fraud at the city-funded business incubator, which was ousted from a city-owned building following a scathing audit.

Retired Raleigh animal control supervisor Joe Blomquist was appointed to join Wray in 2012, but the board hasn’t met since then. Mary Callie is also listed as a board member.

Given the board’s infrequent hearings, Mayor Nancy McFarlane suggested that the council might want to appoint new members. And Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin said she’d like more time to consider who should serve.

“Thank God we don’t have these things often,” City Clerk Gail Smith said.

Smith said the entire issue might be avoidable if Morgan reaches a settlement with the dog that Nala reportedly attacked. If Nala doesn’t lose the dangerous dog label, she’ll have to be leashed and muzzled whenever she’s outside Morgan’s property.

While animal control officers routinely use the dangerous dog designation, most owners don’t appeal, or they make an agreement with the victim of the dog attack to pay for veterinarian bills or other costs.

But in her appeal, Morgan argues that the other dog’s owner is responsible for the injuries.

“The unfortunate incident that occured between Nala and Lokey did not cause the injury to Lokey,” Morgan wrote.

Morgan admits that her dog bit Lokey, but she blames Lokey’s owner – who’s not named in the appeal – for pulling the dog away and causing further injury. “You should never pull dogs away who are still locked,” Morgan wrote. “Nala is a good puppy.”

The city council will get a report on the dangerous dog appeals board’s membership next month, and any hearing will have to wait until then.

Campbell: 919-829-4802; Twitter: @RaleighReporter

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