Last Thursday—Jan. 14—two pit bulls that had previously wandered onto the property of Charles Terrell on County Road 305 in Bunnell wandered there again, attacked a Shetland pony Terrell had just bought, mauled the small horse and finally killed it. Terrell, seeing the dogs would not desist, shot them both. One of the pit bulls died immediately. The second died not long afterward.
The dogs were both in the care of Duane Weeks, 35, who lives nearby with his family. Weeks is the son of Kimberle Weeks, the former elections supervisor.
Terrell, 62, called the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office soon after the incident at 5800 County Road 305. “Upon my arrival,” Agricultural and Ranch Deputy Steve Williams wrote in an incident report, “I observed a black and white pit bull dog lying in the road at the intersection of County Road 305 and Quarter
Horse Lane. The dog was covered in blood but was still alive. I also observed laying on the ground in Mr. Terrell’s pasture another Pitbull dog, brown in color. This dog appeared to be deceased.”
Terrell had bought the Pony, called Remy, less than two weeks earlier, so younger children who visit could ride it, as they could not bigger horses. Terrell has several horses, two dogs (that were in the house at the time of the attack) and a chicken coop that the pit bulls also attacked but could not breach.
Remy’s mouth and nostril area had been torn away by the dogs, according to the deputy.
“It was extremely painful to have to watch that happen, and to see what he had to go through before he passed away,” Terrell’s daughter Kristen said. “It’ll be something I’ll never be able to forget.”
Terrell told the deputy he saw both dogs attacking the pony on the ground. After yelling at the dogs to leave the pony alone, he took several shots at the dogs. He told the deputy that the dogs had been on his property a few days earlier. He’d called Weeks to come fetch them. No harm was done then.
When the deputy informed Weeks of the dog attack on Thursday, Weeks came to Terrell’s property and “was very apologetic to Mr. Terrell,” according to the incident report. Weeks said he was the owner of the brown dog but that the other dog wasn’t his. Weeks, according to the incident report, told the deputy that “the other dog just showed up and started hanging around his house.”
Terrell disputed the claim, saying both dogs belonged to Weeks.
The black pit bull had belonged to Craig Miles, a 33-year-old resident of Lancewood Street in Bunnell. Miles, according to Flagler County Humane Society records, had adopted the pit bull in November. But Miles told the deputy that he was going through a divorce and could no longer keep the dog, so he was about to take it back to the Humane Society when his friend, Duane Weeks, asked if he could have him, according to the incident report. Miles said he gave the dog to Weeks the first week of December.
A statement by the former dog owner contradicts Weeks’s claim that the black pit bull had just wandered onto his property. “He agreed to take care of the animal until I had a place to bring the dog,” Miles said in a statement, adding that he had “plenty” of witnesses to corroborate his statement.
Weeks agreed to pay $1,000 in restitution to Terrell. Because of that, the sheriff’s office closed its investigation, with no further action to be taken. “There’ll be no criminal charges filed, no further investigation, and our involvement in this matter is now over,” a sheriff’s spokesman said.
The Humane Society said its investigation is still ongoing, though Weeks has been cited for letting animals run at large (a first offense), and required to pay a $40 fine. (On the citation, Weeks mistakenly wrote the date of the incident as Dec. 14, 2016, as opposed to Jan. 14).
Duane Weeks, a convicted felon with a violent past, was charged with two third-degree felonies and a misdemeanor last June following a confrontation with a 25-year-old woman. He was again charged with domestic battery in September. One of the felonies and the misdemeanor were dropped in preparation for a possible plea agreement scheduled for Feb. 8. His mother, Kimberle Weeks, is under indictment for 12 felony counts, a case that is slowly making its way toward a trial.