Three of the Thompsons' pet rabbits, kept outside in a metal cage, were killed Sunday night by Stroker, a 7-month-old dog owned by Anthony and Lori Schuerings, the Thompsons' next-door neighbors, police said. Two other rabbits were mutilated, but were expected to live, according to Lynn Thompson.
Stroker was taken to Broward County Animal Control on Monday and released 20 minutes later.
Meanwhile, Mike Thompson brought his pit bulls, Bam-Bam and Pebbles, home Monday amid a throng of reporters and photographers. The police hold on them had been lifted, and Thompson arrived at the animal control center about 3 p.m. to bring them home.
Thompson insists his pets did not injure Louise Johnson, 44, of Lauderhill on July 10 as she was making her rounds.
Thompson was excited to see Bam-Bam for the first time in 12 days. Hugging and kissing the dog, Thompson promised to take the muzzle off of him as soon as they arrived home.
Neither of the dogs had rabies, said William Sulser, acting director of Animal Control.
Johnson identified Bam-Bam as the dog that bit her nearly 50 times while she was inside her Jeep. She told police that Pebbles, a mixed-breed German shepherd, also jumped into the Jeep, but she did not remember that dog biting her.
The attack left her with deep gashes in her right arm and leg and bite marks on her other leg and arm.
Johnson was hospitalized for a week and now has scars on her legs and arms. She filed a $5 million lawsuit against the Thompsons two days after the attack.
Her doctor, Howard Robinson, said she may need another skin graft on her right leg. She is not expected to return to work for some time, said Postmaster Merio Claudio.
Claudio sent a special delivery letter to the Thompsons on Monday, telling them the Post Office will not deliver mail to their home now that their pit bulls have returned.
"Until we get a written letter from them that they will absolutely confine the dog or rent a post office box, we will not deliver mail to the Thompsons," he said.
Mike Thompson said he did not see the original attack on his pet rabbits Sunday, but he caught Stroker when the dog returned to the rabbit cage Monday morning. "He tore the cage to pieces. Of my 14 rabbits, three are dead and two are recovering."
Thompson said he tried to scare the dog away by firing a handgun filled with blanks, police said. He then put the dog in his garage until a Broward Sheriff's Office deputy arrived, said Matt Weissing, sheriff's spokesman.
The Schuerings did not dispute that their dog killed the rabbits. Lori Schuerings, however, said the rabbits constantly were loose. The Schuerings were charged with breaking the county's leash law.
"My hunting dogs got the scent of them, and that's what happens," he said. "It seems we're getting a little feud started."
The Thompsons have said they think the Schuerings' mixed breed pit bull attacked Johnson.
Yeah, no. It was YOUR dog.
Schuering joined with other residents in the area in calling for Bam-Bam to be taken away permanently.
"I don't want that dog in my neighborhood. I just hope that dog don't come in my yard because I'll shoot it."
On the day of the attack on Johnson, Lynn Thompson had said she would not allow Bam-Bam back in the house with her three young children. On Monday, however, she was thrilled to have her pit bull and mixed breed German shepherd home.
"Our dogs our home, and our kids are happy. I can go to sleep tonight," she said.
(Sun Sentinel - July 23, 1985)