A local parent is concerned about stray animals and requesting fencing around the Waterville Community Elementary School playground after her daughter was bit by a stray dog this week.
Parent Lacy Green said fencing could have prevented the incident.
“The playgrounds are not fenced in. I think that is the biggest issue. Yes, Animal control is a big deal and it needs to be a priority instead of an option, but I feel had the playground been fenced in that never would have happened,” Green said.
Principal Charlene Cofer said Green’s daughter Emerson and another child were swinging when the dog came into the playground and jumped up toward their feet and bit them.
“When we first heard there was a dog incident, we made an announcement for all the students to come back inside,” Cofer said.
Both students were treated by the school nurse and parents were called.
“Emerson just had a really bad scratch. The other girl had two painful bites,” according to Green.
Both children returned to school the following day.
“She’s fine. She was mostly just terrified. She was scared of dogs in the first place and then yesterday and today, she said, ‘I hope we don’t go outside and play today,’” Green said in a Cleveland Daily Banner interview Friday. “Which is pretty sad for a 5-year-old to say that, because she’s scared.”
Cofer said the school has received suggestions from energy management supervisor Johnny Mull and safety coordinator Scotty Hernandez about ways to prevent something similar from happening in the future.
Cofer said the school is also discussing awareness events for the students on what to do when they see a stray animal.
Green said she appreciated what the principal and school have done to help in the situation.
Although the animal control contract had expired between the county and the city, animal control was contacted when the dog was first spotted, Green said.
Animal Control did not respond to the scene. However, the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office did.
“Not having that service (animal control) it kind of hinders us,” Major John Collins of BCSO law enforcement operations said.
Collins said BCSO reached out to the Bradley Veterinarian Clinic to have the dog quarantined for 10 days.
In cases where a domestic animal is deemed to be vicious or biting, BCSO has been reaching out to local animal rescue groups and animal hospitals.
Collins said they try to find the owner of the animal when possible.
The sheriff’s office has received many calls about stray animals since the end of the animal contract .
“We refer them to get online and see if there is an animal rescue service,” Collins said.
Regardless of what animal control decision is made between the city of Cleveland and Bradley County, Green said she wants the playgrounds fenced.
“Whether they have the funds or not let the PTO (raise funds). I am definitely on board for raising money for that. I don’t care if I have to go door to door asking for donations I think that is something that needs to happen,” Green said.
WCES’ preschool playground does have a fence around it the others do not.
“They do get stray dogs a lot but this is the first time anything like this has ever happened,” Green said.
Green said she wants to keep this from happening again.
Green has signed up to be a part of the PTO. No official plans for a fence project fundraiser have been made at this point.