Saturday, June 5, 2010

Milan police repeatedly taser pit bull that attacked small dog

MICHIGAN -- A Milan man could be cited for violating the city's animal ordinance after police say his pit bull got loose and mauled a neighbor’s dog, which later died.

Officers were called to the 600 block of Allen Road on May 12 when a neighbor saw the pit bull roaming free at about 2 p.m., reports said. Police arrived just as Marilyn Gilson let out her black Cairn Terrier and saw the pit bull bolt toward them across the street.

The pit bull bit Gilson’s dog, “Tyler,” on the back and violently shook the 14-pound animal back and forth as Gilson tried to separate them.

Gilson’s husband, Michael, was checking e-mail and said he heard screams outside.

“That dog charged right over, grabbed hold of his neck and shook side to side. The police were there but it was just too late,” he said.

An officer ordered Marilyn Gilson back and fired his taser gun, but one probe missed, reports said.

He reloaded and fired again, subduing the pit bull long enough for Gilson to pick Tyler up.

Reports said the officer fired his taser two more times as the dog tried to go after Gilson and her pet on the porch. The dog eventually ran behind a home across the street.

Tyler was bleeding from wounds on his back and mouth and was rushed to the nearest veterinarian, Gilson said. The dog was bandaged and stabilized, but his wounds were so severe he was taken to the Animal Emergency Clinic in Ann Arbor.

Veterinarians said he suffered a collapsed lung, three broken ribs, and lost his canine teeth, according to reports. After exploratory surgery, Gilson said veterinarians gave them a bleak prognosis and Tyler, 10, was euthanized.

Gilson said his two 6-year-old grandchildren were with them during the incident, and one witnessed the attack.

Police spoke with the pit bull’s owner, who said he let “Hooch” out to urinate and must have fallen asleep, reports said.

The owner - identified as Terry Bell - said it was the third time his dog bit another dog, but was the first incident in five years.

[Based on this information, I think a Reckless Endangerment charge would have been appropriate.]

He could not explain how the dog got out of the back yard and was informed that city ordinance requires dogs to be leashed outdoors. An animal control officer with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department was called, and Bell signed over his rights. Hooch was euthanized.

Bell could not be reached for comment.

Milan police forwarded the report to the city prosecutor for review, and a decision is pending.
Gilson said the neighbor apologized in person, which they appreciated - but he and his wife are left with a $1,700 veterinarian bill and the pain of losing their pet.

“It’s just like losing a family member,” Gilson said. “We grew really close to him and it’s just quiet around here now.”

( - June 4, 2010)