Sure, rowdy dogs chew up furniture all the time. But cars? It still sounds absurd to the owner of a pit bull mix who did exactly that.
"I didn't think there would actually be bumpers missing from the car," Michael Emerling said with a smile and slight air of disbelief as he discussed his dog Winston, who's been held for the last two weeks at the McKamey Animal Center.
On March 14, Winston left four cars -- two of them Chattanooga police patrol vehicles -- with flat tires and at least one missing bumper because of his aggression.
Mr. Emerling and his mother, Nancy Emerling, said they planned to take Winston home Thursday after a court hearing and felt lucky that he'd have a chance to go through court-ordered obedience training.
Chattanooga City Judge Sherry Paty said she will drop the citation for Winston being a "potentially dangerous dog" after six months if training is successful and no other problems occur.
Winston has been a "model prisoner" at McKamey, their lawyer said.
"Actually, he'd been a model pet up until that Sunday," Mr. Emerling noted, still baffled by Winston's actions.
So what made Winston go wild, chewing through two fences to break free and forcing police officers to try to subdue him with pepper spray and, when that didn't work, a Taser?
No one is exactly sure, but Ms. Emerling said it could have been the blue lights of a police car in the parking lot next to Mann's Welding Co. on Workman Road where the attack began.
Whatever it was, attorney Jim Anderson said, it made Winston tear out of captivity like a "prisoner in a World War II German death camp."
"The obedience training is going to be more like anger management," Mr. Anderson joked.
Emotions were a little more serious just minutes before at the court hearing, where Judge Paty cringed at other possible outcomes of the incident.
"If it were a person or a child (attacked), it could have been devastating," Judge Paty said. "I don't even want the remote possibility of that happening."
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