Pit Bull Owner Disputes Neighbor's 'Vicious' Tale

TONY STINNETT, Courier Co-Editor

Pit Bull Owner Disputes Neighbor's 'Vicious' Tale

Ricky Mullins and his dog, Hank
Ricky Mullins was painted as a cruel pet owner of a vicious dog by neighbor Donna Falkenback after her Chihuahua was attacked and killed by his pet Pit Bull, Hank, last month.

Mullins says he was wrongly portrayed after being charged with dog at large, Oct. 19, and that he has not only shown remorse but attempted to make restitution with Falkenback, who has refused to work with him, on more than one occasion.

Mullins answered the charges in General Sessions Court, Nov. 2, and the charge of dog at large will be retired when the parties come to terms on reasonable restitution to recover Falkenback’s loss.

“I am a responsible pet owner, and I am very sorry for what happened,” Mullins said. “I have been to (Falkenback’s) house twice to try and resolve this matter and she would not come to the door.”

Mullins said he was shocked when he returned home on the afternoon of Oct. 19, and Falkenback came to his driveway alleging his Pit Bull, Hank, had attacked and killed her Chihuahua.

“I arrived at my home around 1 p.m. and (Falkenback) came to the entrance of my driveway and claimed (pointing at the dog) that Hank had attacked and killed her dog,” Mullins said. “I was surprised and asked if she was sure it was this dog (pointing at Hank)? She told me she was sure and that I would have to talk to the police because she had called them.”

Mullins said that conversation was the only one between Falkenback and him regarding the incident. He says her claims of lack of remorse and an unwillingness to even help clean her back porch were unfounded.

“She would not talk to me and I even asked the police officer to personally tell her I was very remorseful of what happened and I would, within reason, replace her pet,” Mullins said. “I have suffered from the loss of a pet and I know how it feels. The officer also can testify that Hank showed know signs of being aggressive when I let him loose while the officer was here. As far as (Falkenback) asking for me to clean her back porch, she never asked.”

Mullins said Hank had run free on the property during the three years he had owned him after purchasing the dog as a pet for his son. Since the incident Hank has been kept on a lease and now stays inside the Mullins’ home.

“I am aware of the nature of a Pit Bull and most of the time it depends on how they are raised,” Mullins said. “Hank has been around young children since he has been a puppy and he has been loved and cared for by friends and family members. I don’t know how this happened because he has never been aggressive. Hank was a gift purchased for my son three years ago and he has always been great with the children and family members, which made all of this even more shocking.”

Mullins said he was not certain it was Hank who had attacked Falkenback’s Chihuahua, but also could not prove it was not. In the meantime, he attempts to make restitution while making sure citizens realize he is a remorseful person who understands his neighbor’s loss.