N. GA woman recovering after vicious dog attack, owner to court - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

North Georgia woman recovering after vicious dog attack, owner cited to court

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WALKER COUNTY, GA.  (WRCB)  -- A North Georgia woman survived a vicious dog attack Friday night, but it will likely take her a long time to recover.

Martha 'Sissy' McGill is in fair condition Tuesday afternoon at Erlanger.  Police say two of her neighbors dogs attacked her Friday night.

The dogs have since been put down and their owner cited to court.

The Animal Control Director in Walker County called the attack highly unusual.  The victim and dog owner are neighbors and relatives.   

According to authorities McGill was familiar with the dogs.  The dog owner, Tommie Strickland, says she can't understand why her pets attacked.

"It scared me to death," says Strickland.  "Sissy is the most gentle person in the world, I wouldn't have anything happen to her." 

McGill has lived next to Tommie Strickland for many years and the relatives often visit each other.

Police say McGill was coming back from a walk Friday night when Strickland's dogs attacked her.

"For some reason the dog jumped the fence," Strickland says.  "He and the one that was loose attacked Sissy."   

Sheila Long lives on the same property as McGill and found her after the attack.

"When I saw her I screamed," Long says.  "I said call 911 she's been mauled."   

The shepherd mix dogs had already retreated by the time Long arrived.  McGill's clothes had been ripped from her body.

"I yelled for someone to bring me a blanket because her clothes were gone," Long says.    

McGill suffered lacerations all over her body, especially on her arms and legs.  She was taken to Erlanger where she went into surgery.  

"It was so dark she must have decided to come back up our driveway," says Strickland.  "That's not the path she usually takes." 

Strickland has many dogs on her property and says they stay contained in her home, on a leash or behind a fence.  But she admits one of the dogs who attacked McGill was allowed to roam free.

"He was our protection at night," Strickland says.  "We've had people up here trying to steal stuff." 

Strickland says she kept the second dog fenced in, and didn't know it got loose Friday night.

"I have cried," she says.  "I have prayed for Sissy." 

Strickland surrendered both dogs to animal control officers and they've since been euthanized.

Tuesday family members say McGill's condition has improved, "I think she's gonna be alright," Long says.  "She's gonna have a long road."

Walker County has a containment ordinance stating owners are responsible to keep animals on their property.

Officials say Strickland has been cited to state court because part of the attack happened outside her property line.

Strickland also received a second citation because the dog's rabies vaccinations were not current.   

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