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Aggressive dog and one person in custody following Cocke County deadly animal attacks

Charles Owensby was taken into custody around 6 a.m. along with an aggressive dog.
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 2:21 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2021 at 6:51 PM EDT
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COCKE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - Officers with the Cocke County Sherriff’s Department used SWAT officers to execute a search warrant on Charles Owensby, 69, Wednesday morning, according to officers with the Cocke County Sheriff’s Department.

Owensby is listed as the original complainant on a Cocke County Sheriff’s Office incident report after the body of Tony Ahrens was found near his property on Jimtown Road on April 1.

Officers also said “an aggressive dog was taken into custody.” DNA was collected from two other dogs that were not Owensby’s but resided on the property.

Officers also located a shallow grave at the property containing a deceased dog which they collected more DNA from.

According to the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office, Charles Owensby was arrested on drug charges and remains in custody. The sheriff’s office confirmed to WVLT that Owensby’s arrest was not connected with any animal attacks.

The report described Ahrens as having lacerations on his entire body and flesh missing on his left arm. An autopsy was performed to determine what type of animal may have been responsible for Ahren’s death.

The second victim, 29-year-old Amber Miller, was attacked in the same area on July 12. According to the report, officials were told by witnesses that Miller was found at 522 Jimtown Road asking for help. Three dogs were spotted around Miller licking the wounds where she had been attacked, the report said.

Over the years, Owensby has accumulated several charges ranging from aggravated domestic assault to aggravated assault with a weapon but most have been dismissed. One aggravated domestic assault charge is pending from a 2018 case.

According to a 2014 report from the Newport Police Department, Owensby allegedly hit Charles Olden in the face with a gun. Reports stated Owensby allegedly told his dog to attack Olden and tried running Olden over with his car. Newport Police said Owensby also served time for a felony conviction of stealing stolen property.

Cocke County officials confirmed they have identified a person of interest in the investigation into the two separate animal attacks along Jimtown Road.

“At this time we do not have any evidence that indicates that there is a wild animal, domestic animal, or pack of animals that is frequenting the Jim Town area attacking people,” officers said. “We however are asking people to be cautious in the area as we wait on forensic reports that take a month or so.”

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