Reports of an incident Friday July 7 at a local pet training business that resulted injuries bad enough to send one of the victims to UT Hospital via helicopter ambulance came to our attention several days ago. After checking with numerous local law enforcement agencies Monday and Tuesday it became clear that no report related to the incident had been filed. The incident occurred at Rescue Training at 4668 Highway 70N near Creston Road.
Rescue Training location on Highway 70-N
The business, operated by Anna Lynch, posted information about the incident on their Facebook page Sunday July 9 saying, “I know there may be rumors or talk about an incident that happened Friday. I'm here to clear things up for anyone that has heard or is going to hear. Yes, something did happen at the office. Yes, we were taken to the ER via ambulance. But I am doing okay now. The other involved was airlifted to another location to receive proper treatment. They're now home resting and recovering. The event was a complete accident and it wasn't anything we could have predicted. Everything was done to the best of our abilities and for that we're thankful everyone's alright. No limbs were lost and we're both doing okay now.”
When contacted Wednesday by phone, Lynch said she couldn't identify the other victim but said she was an employee of the business and the medical bills would be covered under the business' workman's compensation insurance. In addition, Lynch said the dogs “didn't belong to anyone” and they were strays.
“It was a situation that got a little bit out of hand, but everybody is recovering and well,” said Lynch. She could not explain why there were no law enforcement reports and indicated the county animal control was there.
The next call went to the animal control office and officer Ken Threet said that another animal control officer had responded but all they had done as he understood it was to transport the animals following the incident because two or three of the animals Lynch was working with came from the Cumberland County Animal Shelter. “The lady takes dogs in and tries to socialize them and I think two of them got into an altercation,” said Threet. He added they only had to transport the dogs that belonged to the shelter. According to Threet they didn't do a report because they had only been asked by the shelter Manager Andrea Gaskins to transport the dogs back to the shelter.
Threet said the incident was “kept in house” and he didn't think the sheriff's office was called. Threet stressed that he was not at the scene of the incident and his information was second hand. Threet did say that because the animals had been vaccinated they would not have been turned over to the Health Department. Also Threet also said there would not be a bite report because the dogs didn't viciously attack a person but “(The victims) were trying to break up a fight between the two dogs and got bit in the process.”
After several days trying to reach her, we spoke to the animal shelter manager Andrea Gaskins briefly on July 14, a week after the incident. Gaskins stated that she had not called anyone, contradicting information from animal control about how they got involved and when asked about the dogs involved, their names or what happened to them after they were returned to the shelter and the other inconsistencies in the information Gaskins only suggested either contacting Miss Lynch or county attorney Randall Boston.
After being unable to reach the shelter manager by Thursday calls were made to county mayor Kenneth Carey and the county attorney Randy Boston Thursday afternoon. After speaking to Mr. Boston Thursday evening and Mr. Carey Friday morning, neither man said they had heard anything about the incident previously.
County Mayor Carey called back and gave a statement saying that the dog involved was “fostered out through one of the organizations we work with so I don't think the county's got any liability at all.” Carey went on to describe the incident saying there was a chain link fence between the dogs “and they got to playing with each other and as they were playing, one bit the other on the lip and (the dogs) tried to fight through the fence.” Carey continued saying that the ladies were trying to pull the dog backwards and she fell and a chair fell on the woman and the dog and the dog bit the woman on the wrist.
Carey said that the facility where the dog and the incident happened is a licensed facility with a certified trainer all the proper insurance.
So far the victim of the more serious injury has not been identified.