Opp, AL (WSFA) - Family dogs turned on the ones they love during a horrifying ordeal in Opp that's left two women injured and the owners wondering why their pets would go on the attack.
Eric Pickron is still trying to wrap his mind around what happened inside his home on Hattaway Road Tuesday morning. Pickron, a long haul trucker, was on the road when he got a call from his hysterical wife, Kristina. She told him that their three American bulldogs had attacked her and their daughter-in-law, Ceara Schofield. It happened when Schofield was chasing after her Pomeranian and ventured near the bulldogs.
"Ceara's little dog had gotten out of the room where they stay and she was screaming and chasing it down the hallway. My female bulldog just had puppies and my dogs were just on edge and they were startled," Pickron said.
"She was attacked initially by the two males dogs and then by the female dog and had been knocked to the ground. the owner of the dogs went to her aid and attempted to get her out of the room and in the process, she was also attacked by the dogs," said Opp Police Chief Mike McDonald.
"My wife was trying to get the dogs off of Ceara and they turned on my wife and grabbed her. Then she just laid on top of Ceara to try to shelter her as much as she could. When she got her up, they quit," Pickron added.
The women managed to get themselves to a hospital with their bite wounds. Schofield suffered dozens of injuries to her arms, neck, legs and head. Pickron also suffered puncture wounds to her arms and legs.
Due to the seriousness of her injuries, Schofield was airlifted to Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan where's she undergone surgeries on her arms. His wife, Kristina, is out of the hospital and recovering at home. All three bulldogs were put down after the attack, leaving the family members to heal physically and emotionally.
"Two of them I've had for six years, one of them I've had for five years. They were raised up around my kids. My daughter-in-law and son lived here at the house with us so they knew the dogs. They've been around them. They weren't vicious dogs. They've never done anything like this before. They've never growled or tried to attack anyone," Pickron said. "This was just a horrible accident that happened and we're sorry that it happened. Our main focus right now is Ceara's health and her recovery."
Chief McDonald said that should a dangerous dog try to confront you, don't look it in the eye and don't turn your back on the dog and try your best not to let it knock you off your feet. Try to remain on your feet to fend it off. He says his officers have not responded to any previous incidents at the Pickron household involving their dogs.
"We're hoping that they'll recuperate and that they'll get better very quickly. This is something that's a national type thing. We hear about dog attacks on children. We hear about dog attacks on adults and we hear stories where dogs will attack their owners. It's a matter of knowing what kind of dog you want, what kind of dog you can handle and trying to stay ahead of the dog in terms of who is going to control the situation," he told WSFA.
After losing their three bulldogs, the Pickrons plan to keep a puppy from their bulldog's recent litter.
The incident in Covington County comes on the heels of the death of a four-year-old girl in Tallassee who was brutally mauled by two neighborhood dogs as she was playing outside last week.
One of the dogs in that attack, a white shepherd mix, has been put down. Investigators say the owner surrendered his rights to the dog after evidence showed it was one of the animals that killed the child. No decision has been made about the second dog, a lab mix. Authorities are still waiting on forensic test results in the case. No decision has been made at this point whether criminal charges will be filed.