By S. Alexander Gerould, Observer Today
A pit bull in the Village of Westfield will be euthanized after it allegedly bit a local resident.
At a hearing presided over by Village of Westfield Justice Jeff Thomas, Liong Shi, 21, of Westfield, agreed to have his dog put down after it attacked Rick Mathews outside of Mathews' Westfield jewelry business.
"It's a tough decision to have to euthanize someone's dog," Thomas said. "In your (Shi) words, you've said this is a dangerous dog, and I have to protect the public."
According to a Westfield Police Department report, the alleged incident took place on Saturday, June 17, around 12:30 p.m. Mathews, the report said, was walking out of the backdoor of his Main Street business when Shi's pit bull allegedly charged out of a nearby open door and attacked him.
"I said hello (to Shi) and as he opened the door, the dog in question blew out the door and immediately jumped on me and bit me on the hand," Mathews said at the hearing.
Mathews said after a while he was able to push the dog's head away, while someone else grabbed the dog's legs.
Shi was charged with having a dangerous dog and for having a dog at large. Meanwhile, the bite, Mathews said, left a puncture wound on his left hand, but caused no serious damage. Mathews was treated at Westfield Memorial Hospital and released.
Thomas asked Shi if the dog had ever been in trouble before, to which Shi said no. However, Shi said if the dog were to get loose, it may attack people, adding he will not be able to keep the dog tied up in the back of his family's Chinese restaurant.
"I can't really keep him back there," Shi said.
Prior to the date the dog is euthanized, Thomas ordered that the dog must wear a muzzle at all times when it is out in public and must be on a safe leash with someone who is able to control the animal. He also suggested walking the dog during non-busy hours when there would be less people in the area.
Shi is scheduled to reappear in court on July 12 so Thomas can be updated on the case's progress.