By Jennifer Emert, WALB
Albany Animal Control officers are investigating a dog attack that left a Wescott Lane man with stitches.
The dog's owner claims that man attacked one of his dogs first. The dog is in quarantine as officials sort it out. They say these matters often end up in civil court.
Walter Braswell claims he was simply in his front yard when the dogs rushed out of his neighbor's house and attacked him. The dog's owner John Sowell, says it was Braswell's screaming, and actions against the dogs that caused his dog to bite.
It's the last thing Walter Braswell thought would happen in his front yard. "I was shocked and surprised for the first time in my life I've ever been bitten by a dog, even playfully I've never been bitten by a dog."
Braswell was bent over picking up paper in front of his truck when he claims this dog and two smaller dogs charged out of his neighbor's door at him. You can see the scuff marks he made across the hood of the car trying to get away from the dog.
"I didn't even realize I'd done this it happened so fast."
Before Braswell could get in one of the vehicles, a Brindle Pit bull named Duke approached again. "I threw my arm up, I was here, I threw my arm up... and that's when he bit me here," he said.
The dog's owner, John Sowell, tells another story. He claims he went outside with the dogs and it was Braswell who attacked, kicking one of his Dachshunds.
"My little dog started barking and running out there, but she runs automatically, just to the grass there, just barking at anything that moves, and he chose to come up to the dog and kick her across the yard," said Sowell.
He says Duke was reacting to Braswell, who also kicked and swung at the dog. "Then he went to swing at him, hit my dog in the eye, then he jumped just screaming all erratically," said Sowell.
Animal Control is holding Duke in quarantine and says your dog is your responsibility. They have some tips if you're approached by a dog.
"Do not run from a dog," said Animal Control Superintendent Sherman Capers. "His instincts, if you take off running, he's going to run after you. If he does run after you, I recommend you lay very still and don't hit at the dog or anything like that, because you provoke him."
If you're bitten you should seek medical attention immediately. In this case, the owner says the dog is up to date on his rabies shots, but animal control will keep the dog under observation as a precaution.
Animal Control did say when they get in contact with John Sowell he likely will be cited. Albany's leash law doesn't necessarily require a dog to be on a leash at all times. If they're in their yard and under voice control, that's acceptable.