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A dog that attacked a woman in Guntersville is still missing after it disappeared from the Marshall County Animal Shelter under mysterious, if not criminal, circumstances.

The dog — a pit bull mix named Havoc — was at the shelter awaiting his fate to be determined by Guntersville Judge Shannon Mitchell. Following a court hearing last Wednesday, after the dog’s owner and others testified in favor of the animal not being euthanized, Havoc was apparently stolen from the shelter. According to Marshall County Animal Control Supervisor Kevin Hooks, part of the fence where the dog was being held had been cut sometime Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. 

While the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office investigates the break-in at the shelter and attempts to locate the dog, investigators with the Guntersville Police Department have been looking into the original attack that occurred on Sept. 17 when Teri Angel entered the home of Guntersville resident Valina Jackson, the dog’s owner. 

The attack

“I never knew that pain existed, that a person could still be alive and feel that,” Angel said of the attack.  

More than a month later, Angel said she still experiences intense pain and is permanently scarred from when she was attacked by Havoc. 

According to her, she went to visit Jackson to check on her and her brother, who reportedly has cancer. When she arrived, she was immediately greeted by the dog. Friendly at first, Havoc tried to play with her by bringing her a toy, Angel said. Then it happened without warning; the dog wrapped its jaws around the top of Angles head and tore off a chunk of her scalp.

“He got the top of my head and just shook until the right side of my head, the scalp came off,” Angel said. 

Angel said the dog also bit into her arm and left deep scratches on her thighs after it chased her to another room. Following the attack, Angel was taken by a friend to Marshall Medical Center North and then to a hospital in Huntsville where they tended her wounds the best they could before sending her home.

Jackson said she remembers that day and the attack differently. According to her, Angel came into her home uninvited. From there, though the dog reacted friendly at first, she said Angel must have done something, most likely inadvertently, to hurt or make the dog defensive.

 “I don’t know if she put her elbow on his body parts or hurt him, but he made like a hurt sound,” Jackson said. “I turned around, and he did bite her one time on her scalp.”

Jackson said she offered to call an ambulance for Angel, but she refused and had a friend pick her up instead. Since the attack, Jackson said has given Angel her insurance information and tried to help her however she could. That is, until the police and lawyers got involved. 

Emily’s Law

Following the attack, Jackson said she cooperated with animal control and did as she was told. 

“I get a call from the health department, and they’re saying they’ve checked his [the dog’s] records … and all we need to do is a wellness check and he’ll be fine. Quarantine 10 days at home,” Jackson said. “I do that, I get it to the health department, [they] close the case, everything’s fine. About three days later, I get a subpoena on my door from the police department.” 

After hearing about the dog attack, prosecutor for the City of Guntersville Kelsey Yoste said she filed a petition based on Emily’s Law to ask the City to determine whether or not Havoc should be put down.

“It’s not charging anybody with anything,” Yoste said. “The law says if a serious injury occurred and the dog is found to be vicious, then the dog has to be euthanized.”

Signed by Gov. Kay Ivey in March 2018, Emily’s Law was named after 24-year-old Emily Colvin, who was killed in early December 2017 by a pack of dogs near her home in Jackson County.

According to Jackson, Judge Mitchell — who was unable to be reached for comment — called in Hooks as an expert witness to evaluate the dog to see if he was vicious and needed to be euthanized. Hooks reportedly gave the dog multiple tests that included giving the dog chicken and abruptly taking it out of its mouth, taking  away the dog’s toys, and pretending to attack or crowd his owner, all in an attempt to provoke the dog into showing aggression. 

According to Jackson, who said she was present for the tests, and as Hooks reportedly testified in court, the dog passed the evaluations. 

“He said that because the dog passed four tests … he did not deem the dog dangerous,” Angel said. “Kevin Hooks said this — if I had died, he still would not deem this dog dangerous.”

Jackson contends that since the attack occurred inside her home, which she said Angel entered without warning, and since Angel’s injuries were not life threatening, Emily’s law should not apply. 

Angel said regardless of how or why she was in the house, the dog attacked her unprovoked and inflicted traumatic injuries that will affect her for the rest of her life.

“I could have died,” Angel said.

“If he wanted to kill [her], he would have killed [her],” Jackson said.

Hooks declined to comment further on the case saying that it has yet to be adjudicated and whatever decision is handed down may be appealed. Investigator with GPD John East said  he plans to present whatever evidence he’s found regarding the attack at the next grand jury trial to determine whether or not a full trial is warranted. Marshall County Sheriff’s Assistant Chief Deputy Steve Guthrie said they intend to follow the investigation of the missing dog where it may lead and bring any foul play to justice.

As to the dogs whereabouts, both women have their suspicions and blame the other for potentially having something to do with it going missing.

(2) comments

Tcrizzo73

I am the friend that took Terinto the hospital. When I got to Valinas house after Teri had sent me a message to come get her was horrifying. When I seen Teri she was in shock. She needed a ambulance called but Valina dis not want her to call because she didn't want her dog to be in trouble or herself. This was not the first time the dog has bitten he attacked a girl and bit the tip of her finger off an lied and told it was a fluffy white dog for fear of Valina. Also Valina had told me her dog Havoc had bitten several others. She knew how tje dog behaved but never took action to keep this attack from happening. She told me she knew she should have went to door and opened it for Teri instead of saying come in like she did. Those where her own words to me. When I called to tell her updates of Teri she would say don't tell it was Havoc and mad excuse after excuse even to the point of blaming Teri. She was never worried about Teri only herself. This could have been prevented by the owner but she allowed it to happen in my opinion it was deliberate.

Valina38

For your info I offered a ambulance but she declined. You have been here many times. Did my dog ever bite you or make you feel as if he would. You did my hair climbing all over me so stop Tammy. You need to vaccinate your animal because she bites almost everyone. Im just wondering why you haven't been court?

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