Family pet or vicious beast?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2005

An Ironton woman whose dog was confiscated this past spring says her dog is not vicious, but that it - and she - are being discriminated against.

Selena Ellis, 43, of 1412 S. Ninth St., was arrested in late May and charged with aggravated menacing and obstruction of justice.

Neighbors complained to the police that Noz, Ellis' pit bull, was tied up in her yard on a leash long enough to reach the sidewalk and that he was lunging at passersby.

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Authorities allege that when Dog Warden George Wilson came to collect the dog, Ellis allegedly threatened to shoot Wilson and turn her dog loose on him - a charge Ellis denies.

Ellis said none of the statements made about her dog are true. She said she is the victim of a vendetta started by a couple of angry neighbors who do not like her. She said she is also the victim of an unfounded mistrust of pit bulls and that she is being unfairly singled out by city officials while other dog owners are overlooked.

"There are other dogs running loose in the city. Is anything being done about them?" she asked. "My dog has not done anything. It hasn't bit anybody."

Her husband, Robert Ellis, agreed. He said Noz is being held in the Lawrence County Dog Pound solely because of his breed, and breed is not an indicator of a dog's potential for meanness.

"Ban the deed, not the dog," he said.

The couple's other two dogs, a rottweiler and an Australian Shepherd are also being housed at the pound pending the outcome of a court appearance in Ironton Municipal Court later this month in connection with the charges against her.

Ellis said she wants all three of her dogs returned to her.