ANDERSON — Donald “Donnie” Ellis said he left his home after his dog killed a neighbor’s Chihuahua on Aug. 12, not out of fear his dog would be taken by authorities, but because there is a warrant for his arrest out of Anderson City Court.
He said he is waiting to get the warrant dismissed before talking to Anderson Animal Control officers, but his neighbor lied about the dog attacks.
Barbara Johnson said two of her dogs were killed by a three-legged Rottweiler owned by Ellis. Johnson and Ellis are neighbors in the 500 block of Ellenhurst Drive.
She said Bailee, a 3-year-old Yorkie and dachshund mix, was killed in 2020 and Parker, a Chihuahua, was killed last week. Johnson also accuses Ellis’ dog of seriously injuring her miniature pinscher named Bella in 2019.
“I can’t believe Donnie said I lied,” Johnson said.
Johnson maintains Ellis’ dog attacked and killed her dogs on her property.
Tammy Holloway, who lives across the street from both Johnson and Ellis, said Johnson was telling the truth. She said Ellis’ dog killed her Chihuahua, Shiloh, in her front yard while her dog was on a leash in 2017.
Holloway said she is in a wheelchair and Ellis’ dog charged her several times while she was holding Shiloh. Then he took hold of the smaller dog.
“It was really traumatic for me because he was my legal companion,” said Holloway.
She said Ellis’ son was caring for the dog for his father when the attack happened.
Both Holloway and Johnson said they reported the attacks to authorities, but were told nothing could be done. Holloway said she witnessed Ellis’ dog attack Johnson’s dog in 2020 and witnessed most of the aftermath when Johnson’s dog was attacked last week.
Ellis denies his dog killed Holloway’s Chihuahua and blames the death of Johnson’s dog Bailee on another dog he had at the time. He had that animal put down after Bailee was killed. He said Johnson’s dogs torment his dogs by barking at them.
“My dog only killed one dog and that was the other day,” he said.
Johnson said Ellis has been told repeatedly that the wrong dog was destroyed in 2020. She said Ellis’ other dog grabbed Bailee at first, but Holloway’s son ran across the street and kicked the dog, causing it to release Bailee and run away.
Johnson said Bailee was injured by the other dog, but not critically. Johnson said the Rottweiler then grabbed Bailee and caused the injuries that eventually killed her.
“She did nothing wrong.” Ellis said of his Rottweiler and German Shepherd mix. “She’s protective of my family and she was on her own property. They aren’t going to put my dog down, I can promise you that. I’m not going to have her where they can get to her if it comes down to that.”
Ellis said no one has heard his side of the story, but they will understand once he explained what happened. He said first he has to have his warrant for a misdemeanor charge of driving while suspended dismissed.
“It ain’t like I’m a felon or anything,” he said. “I just missed a court date.”
Ellis said he even questioned if Johnson’s first dog actually died, saying the vet said the dog was released to Johnson after receiving stitches and there were no internal injuries.
“Maybe if she took better care of her dogs none of this would have happened,” he said.
Johnson said both of the dogs killed by Ellis’ Rottweiler are buried in her backyard.
Ellis said he also has a witness to what happened when Parker died. He said his brother-in-law was in his front yard when Johnson’s dog Parker came into his yard.
“Her dogs were chasing him,” said Ellis. “He acts like a tough guy, but he’s a little scared of dogs. I knew the dogs wouldn’t bite him, it hasn’t bitten nobody, but he didn’t know that because he hasn’t been out to my house that much.”
Ellis said his brother-in-law ran for his front door and as he ran in, Parker followed his brother-in-law into his house. Ellis said his dog immediately attacked the smaller dog.
“I got it out of her mouth because I heard him yell, but it ended up dying anyway,” said Ellis.
Holloway said she is afraid Ellis’ dog could attack a child and said the dog is a danger to the community. She said she doesn’t understand why it has taken so long for anything to be done about the situation.
Kris Ockomon, director of Anderson’s Animal Control, said there is an investigation into the dog attacks and his department is “treating this very seriously.”
Ockomon said Anderson requires all dogs to be on a leash if they are not in a restrained or fenced area, even if the animal remains on the person’s property. He said the decision to issue a citation for the violation is discretionary. He stressed that each case is different, but he has the authority to take possession of a dog if he feels it is dangerous.
Anderson Police Department Public Information Officer Caleb McKnight said this month animal control officers are attending area crime watch meetings to talk with residents about Animal Control policies and procedures.
“I recommend people to come out and ask those tough questions,” McKnight said.
He said people can attend crime watch meetings outside of the neighborhood where they live in order to receive the information available and ask questions.
Ellis said his neighbors have lied to authorities because they want his dog put down.
“My dog ain’t never hurt nobody since then,” he said. “Ever since I put my other dog down, I keep my dog in my house at all times, unless I take her out back. If I take her out the back I put her on a cable and I stay out there. I don’t let my dog out there by herself anymore because I don’t want nothing to happen.
“Her dogs are running wild through here all the time,” he added. “I know it sounds bad and I feel bad about it, but there is a leash law. She should have had her dogs on a leash.”
Ellis said he is in the process of moving out of the neighborhood, but did not say where he planned to move.