It was close to 7 p.m. on Oct. 8. Coleman took Teddy outside to relieve himself for the final time that day. She said that when they exited their Third Street apartment in Mount Clemens, Teddy would go directly to the same spot near the side of Dickinson Street, adjacent to an alleyway.
Suddenly, their routine went tragically askew.
Coleman said a large dog, a bull mastiff, appeared and charged directly toward Teddy.
“He picked him up, shook him and then dropped him. Then he smelled him ... looked at me for a while, and I didn’t dare go touch him (Teddy) in case he (the Bull mastiff) was watching to see what I was going to do, and then he walked away,” said Coleman.
When deputies from the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office arrived shortly thereafter, she informed them that the dog that had attacked and killed 15-year-old Teddy belongs to a couple who reside in the area near her building.
The couple reportedly own two Bull mastiffs, and she alleged that neither were kept chained up or leashed outside and there was no enclosed fence around their yard.
According to the crime report, the couple were given a misdemeanor citation for dog at large/vicious dog, and in court agreed to cover Teddy’s cremation expenses, post "Beware of dog" signs and put up fence.
“They felt really bad about what happened and came by to apologize … and even offered to get me a new dog,” said Coleman. “I may get another dog someday, just not now.”
That’s because she says the loss is akin to losing a child.
Coleman and her son, Collin Coleman, bought Teddy when he was just 3 months old. The woman who sold the tiny puppy to them had met several people who were interested in buying the Shih Tzu, but she “had a feeling” about Makeytric Coleman.
“She said she knew just looking at me that Teddy was meant to be with me,” said Coleman, who moved her family to Mount Clemens from Detroit three years ago. “She said she knew I would take care of him.”
Coleman described Teddy as a family-oriented dog who mostly loved to keep to himself.
“He left people and other dogs alone,” she said. “He never bothered anybody. He was a sweetheart.”
In recent years, Teddy had one of his eyes removed following a longtime eye condition, and just a week before his death was at the veterinarian’s office because he had begun to develop allergies.
“I never thought something like this would happen,” said Coleman. “I see a lot of people walking their dogs around here, and I see a lot of small dogs. And I know there are people around here with small children too. You need to watch out for them. You don’t know if there is a loose dog in your neighborhood.”
Coleman wants to spread awareness about the attack and is confused as to why the Bull mastiff was returned to its owners days later. She assumed the dog would have been euthanized since it attacked and killed her dog.
Macomb County Animal Control Officer Jeff Randazzo said the dog was quarantined for observation, which is standard in this type of case. The animal is supervised for any signs of illness, such as rabies, that would have triggered the violent behavior.
If the dog is found healthy after 10 days in quarantine, and only if the dog is properly licensed, it is then returned to the owners.
Randazzo said that in these instances, his office urges owners to enroll their pet in an obedience school such as the AKC Good Canine Citizen Program, which the county participates in.
“If your dog has aggression issues or if the dog has a high prey drive toward small dogs, that needs to be addressed,” he said.
Collin Coleman, 23, is still mourning the loss of Teddy, whom he calls his best friend.
“Regardless of how bad things were for me, he accepted me for who I am,” he said.
“I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through,” Makeytric Coleman said. “It was a horrible experience.”
(C&G News - Jan 19, 2017)