By Hannah Mackenzie
WAYNESVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — A neighborhood dispute over dogs in Haywood County culminated on May 28.
Multiple dogs were removed from a property on Brandywine Road in the Shadow Woods neighborhood of Waynesville.
Neighbors said the issues span years, and they are frustrated that it took the death of a dog for the county’s animal services to step in.
Property owner, Andrew Horton, said he does not live at the Brandywine Road home. According to Horton, he uses the home as a kennel, where he was creating a new breed. He said his kennel manager was not at the property when the attack happened.
“I’m trying to design these dogs to be useful in wolf territory, so they need to be robust, they need to be hardy,” Horton said. “It’s basically a bulldog/wolfhound combination so there’s Anatolian shepherd, American bulldog, German shepherd, Alaskan malamute, there’s a little collie in there, there’s Dogo Argentino, and there’s a little husky in there.”
Horton calls the breed, ‘Dogo Lobero.’
“They’re guardian dogs, so if there’s a predator like a coyote or a stray coming in causing trouble, they’re meant to neutralize the nuisance,” Horton said. “There’s no neglect; all the dogs are well fed, well cared for, they have insulated houses that they can use as they wish.”
Robb Bock, president of the Shadow Woods Homeowner’s Association, described a very different scene.
“From the early stages of when he started collecting dogs and breeding dogs, it was pretty apparent that there were problems with the welfare and health of the dogs,” Bock said. “When you come up here and look and see what’s going on and see the condition of those dogs, it’s really revealing.”
Bock said the HOA has gone back and forth with Horton for about three years. Numerous noise complaints eventually lead to a conviction for Horton in May. He was fined and issued probation. According to Bock, Horton told the magistrate he would get the dogs off the property within 30 days of his May 10 court date.
“Many of the neighbors have been living in fear, because we don’t know what to do,” said Jim Falvo, Horton’s next-door neighbor.
Falvo heard the dogs fighting on Sunday. It’s not abnormal, he said, but when he and other neighbors went to check it out, he noticed one was dead. He took video with his cellphone.
“It shouldn’t have come to this this should not have happened,” Falvo said. “[Horton] shouldn’t be raising dogs he shouldn’t be allowed to.”
Sunday’s incident appeared to be the final straw. Haywood County sheriff’s deputies and animal control officers responded to the scene. Over the next two days, 10 dogs were taken from the property. Howard Martin, executive director of animal services said Horton voluntarily surrendered the dogs.
“There’s no hoarding,” Martin said. “He’s been cited for leash law violations under our county ordinance, and he’s been cited for any kind of neglect on an ordinance, but as far as all out cruelty of state statutes, no there’s not any cruel situation.”
Martin declined to share how many times animal control officers have been to the property. Within the last year, the sheriff’s office has been called out 104 times.
Horton chalks it up to bad blood between neighbors; Falvo and Bock don’t see it that way.
“The noise is a nuisance, but the greater concern is for the animals,” Bock said.
Of the 10 dogs surrendered to the county, Martin said one was given back to Horton’s wife. As for the other nine, he said they will be evaluated to determine whether they can be adopted. If not, they will likely be euthanized.
“Those dogs are bred for livestock protection so they’re bred to be aggressive,” Martin said.
Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.