Friday, May 21, 2010

McKees Rocks Man Loses Finger In Pit Bull Attack

MCKEES ROCKS (KDKA) ― A man in McKees Rocks says a pit bull bit off his finger.

"He circled around to this side of me and lunged at my face and I pushed his mouth away from my face and that's when he clamped down on my finger and bit it off," Tom Allen said.

He was walking in an alley to look at a vacant building when the pit bull jumped a fence and attacked him.

"When the dog jumped over the fence at me I started screaming, 'Get the dog! Get the dog!'" he said.

No one got the dog and it got a big chunk of Allen's finger.

"I noticed that the end of my finger was gone and the actual fingertip was lying here in the alley," he said.

For McKees Rocks Police Chief Bob Cifrulak, enough is enough.

"People are being attacked by dogs," he said.

Four pit bull attacks in six weeks required four people to be hospitalized.

"It's imperative that when people walk the streets they can't walk the streets in fear simply because somebody is walking an aggressive dog," Cifrulak said.

The problem is not restricted to McKees Rocks. A person was attacked by a pit bull in Jeannette.

The problem is so great that recently enacted dog laws are being called some of the most aggressive in the country.

Once a dog is declared a nuisance, the owner must pay a yearly $500 registration fee, get a special dog cage, signage and insurance. The dog has to be neutered and can't be given away or sold.

"It kind of leaves them with the only other choice as to euthanize the dog," Cifrulak said.

Owners of the dogs lash out when confronted with the laws as they did in McKees Rocks when KDKA's Marty Griffin asked them about the attack on Tom Allen.

Dog's owner: "He was swinging a knife – he provoked my dog."

"Should people be careful with their dogs folks?"

"I think you should be careful."

For Tom Allen, it has been a painful, frightening experience. Surgeons could not reattach his finger. The slightest dog bark sets him off. His concern now is for the safety of others around out-of-control dogs.

"If you had a loaded gun you wouldn't leave it lying around in the backyard for somebody to pick up and mean dogs are like loaded guns – they're going to do damage," he said.

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