- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

STANFORD, Ky. (AP) - The owner of seven Presa Canario dogs that managed to escape their kennels and maul a Lincoln County woman, leaving her with severe injuries, said he believes someone let the dogs out of their kennels.

Chris Pope was arrested Tuesday at a Danville residence and taken to the Lincoln County jail, where he is charged with harboring vicious animals and animal cruelty.

Sheriff Curt Folger told The Advocate-Messenger (https://bit.ly/1VKS2aZ ) that Loretta Stevens sustained “very, very, very severe” injuries to one arm and puncture wounds to her legs in the Monday attack.

According to Folger, the Presa Canario dogs were able to escape their kennel by chewing through the bottom of the fence.

Witnesses said Stevens, 46, had gone out to her garden when she was attacked by the dogs. Her own dogs reportedly fought back until law enforcement arrived.

Dan Turcea, director of Boyle County animal control, said that six dogs were captured and were being held at the Lincoln County Animal Shelter. Turcea said one dog was shot and killed.

Speaking from jail, Pope told WLEX-TV (https://bit.ly/1DaFZ0s) his dogs are not vicious and would not attack someone without reason.

He also said the Lincoln County sheriff had inspected and approved the dogs’ kennels.

“I had chains on the cage. I had it inspected,” Pope said. “The Lincoln county sheriff came out he looked out it they all approved of the kennels.”

But Folger disagreed, saying “from the appearance of the kennels, he did not take my advice.”

In April, Pope’s dogs were seized by animal control and he was charged with multiple misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. The dogs were held at the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society after they were removed from Pope’s custody.

Pope pleaded guilty July 2 to 12 reduced counts of mistreatment of a dog or cat under a county ordinance and was fined. The dogs were returned to Pope last week.

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Information from: WLEX-TV, https://www.wlextv.com


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