A rural Springville man was charged with a misdemeanor after his dog that had not been immunized against rabies bit a REMC lineman last November. His case is finally closed after he appeared in court Wednesday to plead guilty and be sentenced.
Mark A. Barker, 54, who resides in Blue Sky North, was charged with harboring a non-immunized dog that caused injury, a Class B misdemeanor.
The dog bite incident was investigated by Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Terry Wade after a call came into the sheriff’s department back on November 8, 2017.
Barker’s dog was reported to have bitten the lineman when two linemen were on a service call at the residence to check on a possible theft of utilities.
While there, they encountered dogs in the yard they said were friendly at first, but when Barker came out and began yelling at the linemen, a black dog then bit one of the men in the upper thigh, puncturing jeans and leaving a puncture wound. The two linemen then traveled to a clinic for medical treatment for the wound.
During the investigation, Deputy Wade went to Barker’s residence on more than one occasion, and spoke with Barker and other family members, as well as a veterinary clinic where he was told the dogs received care.
Wade took photos of the dogs at the residence and both linemen identified the same dog as the one who bit.
Wade reported that records showed the dog that allegedly bit the lineman had not received any vaccines since 2009 and was not immunized for rabies at the time of the incident.
The case was filed against Barker in January and he was summoned to appear in court in February. He was supposed to be in court again in mid-May, but when he failed to appear, a warrant was issued.
He was then arrested by Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Alan Jackson. His bond was first set at $5,000 surety with ten percent cash allowed, but when Barker appeared in court on May 21, the court approved Barker’s release on his own recognizance and ordered him to be in court again on June 13. He has appeared as required at all hearings since that time.
In mid-July, Barker signed a negotiated plea agreement along with his public defender, David Hunter, and Greene County Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Stone.
After a continuance or two, a change of plea and sentencing hearing was conducted this Wednesday, September 26 when Barker entered a plea of guilty to the misdemeanor.
The court accepted the terms of the agreement and Barker was sentenced to 60 days in the Greene County Jail. He was given credit for one day served and the other 59 days were suspended.
Barker will serve on unsupervised probation for one year and must provide proof of immunizations for all animals on his property plus pay a fine plus court costs.