On the Web: www.glenwildanimalrescue.org
A pit bull that attacked an Effingham County child last year is expected to be the subject of a court hearing Wednesday — but not if the dog’s court-appointed attorney has his way.
Mickey Kicklighter, assigned to represent the dog known as Kno, is hoping last-ditch efforts to raise money to transfer the dog to a sanctuary in New York succeed.
Kno attacked Wesley Frye last July, and the child was severely injured. Frye was taken to Memorial University Medical Center and was treated for several days in the pediatric intensive care unit.
The dog, owned by Larry and Julie Long, has been classified as a dangerous dog and under a state law that went into effect last year, a court hearing to determine the dog’s fate must be held.
Kno has been lodged at the Effingham County Animal Shelter. Kicklighter is hoping to raise $1,700 and the travel costs to send Kno to Glen Wild Animal Rescue.
Liz Keller, the founder and director of Glen Wild Animal Rescue, has set up online donations through PayPal to cover the costs of transferring Kno from the Effingham County Animal Shelter to her sanctuary.
"It’s a tough situation because what happened to the young boy is horrible," Keller said. "But at the same time, the dog has been incarcerated for a whole year, which is
Keller warned that it can be dangerous for children to try to hug a dog and that people also struggle with understanding a dog’s behavior.
"We don’t understand dog behavior sometimes. We get warnings and don’t pay attention to them," she said. "We really have to understand dog behavior and we have to keep our children safe."
Kicklighter reached out to Keller after her refuge was recommended to him.
"I told her my problem, and she asked, many, many questions," Kicklighter said. "She wanted a lot of information."
More e-mails and phone calls followed and Keller eventually told Kicklighter she would take the dog, he said. The restrictions placed on Kno include the dog cannot be around children and cannot be adopted by another person.
"That’s how she came up with the fee for his vet bills and his feed bills for the rest of his life," he said.
Donations have been coming in, Keller acknowledged. But there has been backlash for her efforts to spare Kno’s life and she has received calls from people who said they will no longer support her sanctuary because they don’t like pit bulls.
"It’s sad, because it’s not about that," she said. "It’s about being compassionate and trying to help resolve the situation."
The county has sought to have the dog euthanized, and the Judge William Woodrum has scheduled a hearing on Kno for Wednesday. Kicklighter hopes the time before the judge won’t be long, since his goal is to present an order to the court and have the dog sent to upstate New York.
"That’s what I would like," he said.