Saturday, February 4, 2017

Massachusetts: Yarmouth terrier in critical condition after pit bull attack

MASSACHUSETTS -- The owner of a pit bull that attacked a small terrier mix this week surrendered ownership of the dog to the town of Yarmouth on Friday.

The 2½-year-old pit bull, named Aries, is in a 10-day quarantine, said Karl von Hone, director of the town Division of Natural Resources.

Officials will evaluate the temperament of Aries, who is light brown and weighs about 60 pounds, and determine what action to take, he said. Euthanasia is a possibility, but  it will depend on the result of the evaluation, he said.

The 3-year-old, 12-pound terrier mix, named Doc, was in critical condition at Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists in Bourne on Friday night, according to his owner, Janyce Lovico. He had swelling on the brain and other injuries, and veterinarians were unsure if he would be able to stand.

“Hopefully he’s a fighter,” she said.

Lovico’s daughter, Christine Lovico, was out for a walk with Doc on Wednesday night when they were attacked on Marion Road.

Christine said she heard the pit bull advancing and tried to protect Doc, but Aries grabbed him and started shaking him.

“He was shaking him and didn’t let go,” she said.

A neighbor ran outside and shined a light on Aries, causing him to drop Doc momentarily, but he attacked again, tearing Christine’s clothing and biting her hand.

Aries and another pit bull named Cali are registered to Alexandra Collias at 2 Roberta Drive, according to Yarmouth’s dog license database. Collias is also the registered owner of the home, according to Yarmouth assessors records.

Police raided the house in April as part of an investigation into the Nauti-Block street gang. Christian Chapman, an alleged gang member, was living there but is currently in jail on charges related to an August shooting outside Pufferbellies nightclub in Hyannis.

The second pit bull is still living at the house, and an animal control officer determined that dog could stay there, von Hone said.

The Division of Natural Resources issued a citation to Collias for failure to restrain Aries, he said.

A woman who answered the door at 2 Roberta Drive on Friday said she was sorry the attack happened but declined to identify herself or comment further. A dog could be heard barking in the background.

Janyce Lovico said she wanted to see the owner penalized further and ideally would like to be compensated for Doc’s medical expenses, which already have mounted to about $6,000.

“I’d like to see the owner get more than just a citation for having the dog off leash,” she said.

She and her daughter said they hoped the pit bull would not be put down, but they also feared he could attack another person or animal.

“I hate the idea that the dog might be destroyed, just because we’re animal lovers,” Christine Lovico said.

But, she said, he ran after Doc from about a block-and-a-half away.

“That kind of aggression is very scary,” she said.

It is not Aries’ fault that he is aggressive, she said, adding that if he is placed in another home, he should be given to someone who can control him. There are other pit bulls in her neighborhood that are always locked up or on leads, and they don’t worry her, she said.

“It’s not a witch hunt against pit bulls by any stretch of the imagination,” she said.

Seriously? Sometimes it's better to not say anything. What happens when they give this dog to someone else and it gets loose and attacks someone??

As Doc lay in the veterinarian’s office hooked up to multiple tubes, Janyce said she hoped her little dog, whom she found more than a year ago abandoned and tied to a pole, would make it through this next rough patch in his life.

“He is the sweetest thing,” she said. “All he wants to do is be wherever you are.”

(Cape Cod Times - Feb 3, 2017)