ONG Responds To Story Of Couple Who Lost Dogs After Worker Bitten

Wednesday, April 13th 2011, 3:27 pm
By: News 9

Jacqueline Sit, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A spokesperson for ONG is defending the utility worker bitten by dogs when he jumped a fence to modify a couple's meter.

Stephen Hughes and Ashley Smith say they did not hear the worker knock on their door Monday, April 4. They say when the ONG contractor unexpectedly jumped the fence, their four dogs did what they were trained to do and protected the couple from a stranger.

Read original story: ONG Worker Bitten By Dog, All Pets Removed From OKC Couple's Home

After the dog attack, animal welfare ticketed the couple and took their dogs to an animal shelter, where they'll be quarantined for 10 days.

ONG spokesperson Don Sherry says before jumping the fence, the contractor made several attempts to contact the couple and make sure the yard was clear.

"He had rattled the gate to see if dogs were there and what their reaction would be," said Sherry. "After doing both of those things and attempting to get a response and making noises to determine whether any pets were present, he went into the yard and started working on the meter."

Sherry says the contractor was not attacked by the dogs until after he started working on the meter. The worker told ONG when he was on the ground with the dogs around him, he feared for his life. Sherry says animal welfare impounded the dogs because the contractor was bitten and the pet owners could not provide up-to-date vaccination information.

"I'm a pet owner. I'm a fervent animal lover. We don't blame the dogs in instances like this. When there is an unfortunate situation, there is an element of human responsibility. We try our best to avoid these situations and I think it's fair to say pet owners have responsibility in these situations as well," Sherry said.

Sherry added customers who are concerned can call ONG and notify them about when their dogs are out in their yards, and if they're easily agitated. That way, an employee can proceed carefully when going to read a customer's meter.

The worker, who's recovering from the dog attack, is an employee of Utility Partners of America, a contractor for ONG. A UPA project manager says the company does not want to comment on the matter.