Bradley Co. man shoots dog he says was trying to attack neighbors' children on trampoline

Garrey and Angela Epperson's three children were playing on their trampoline Tuesday when they say a stray dog came over and tried to attack the kids. (Image: WTVC)

A Bradley County man likely saved the lives of the children living next door.

He says a possibly rabid dog tried to attack them while they were playing outside.

Garry and Angela Epperson's three children were playing on their trampoline Tuesday when the parents say a stray dog came over and tried to attack the kids.

The mesh case around the trampoline was the only thing keeping the dog back - that is, until their neighbor got involved.

Garry was at work when his wife called him, saying a dog was trying to attack their kids while they jumped on the trampoline.

Garry says he didn't know who to call for help - the police? An animal shelter?

His wife had already called 911, but Garry called in a trusted neighbor to check out the situation.

Justin Miller says Epperson called him in a panic, so he rushed over, shotgun in hand.

He says a large black dog was biting at the kids' feet underneath the trampoline and drooling, possibly foaming at the mouth.

"Trying to grab their feet, bite their feet, and barking - I'm yelling at it, kids are screaming and crying, mom's over here scared to death."

It was when the dog refused to leave that Miller decided to take action.

"It wouldn't leave the kids alone. It wasn’t leaving the yard. I tried to poke it, it was too busy running around chasing after the kids, I mean I wasn’t going to wait for anyone to show up,” he said.

Miller shot the dog five times before it fell to the ground.

"I shot it. It just slowly walked. Shot it right here again, it was still standing I don't know if I'm missing it or hitting it. It did yelp once, but I can't let it suffer, so I ended it right here and it just fell over by the gas can."

It was moments later when the sheriff's office showed up, and the Eppersons had a potentially diseased dog in their yard.

"They are to call the Bradley County Sheriff's Department," says Amanda Morgan with the Bradley County SPCA. "From that point, our facility is then dispatched to assist with that situation and pick up the animal."

Morgan says the SPCA is the only group in Bradley County that deals with situations like this, as there is no animal control.

"We are actually a facility that will handle injured animals, aggressive animals, very sick animals, animals that perhaps the person has been incapacitated - the owner has, and we're called," says Morgan.

"From what I knew, from the phone call, the information I received before I got over here, there's already been a kid bit and already hurt, so I wasn't going to be the second victim, nor anyone else," says Miller.

Bradley County has talked about creating an animal control in the past, but that has not yet happened.

The SPCA also says they can't check the dog's remains for rabies because it was shot in the head.

Depending on where you're located, Amanda Morgan says the SPCA tries to have someone at such situations in under 45 minutes.

Depend on us to update our story as we learn more.

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