Monday, July 19, 2010

Pit Bull Owner Gets Jail Time After Dog Attacks Boy

By Donna Willis, NBC Columbus

A Columbus man accused of not controlling his pit bull as it attacked a boy changes his plea to guilty Monday. NBC 4 reported with an update to a story we've been following since May.
Donald Moore's pit bull bit a 12-year-old boy in the neck Sunday, May 9.
Moore's dog broke loose and attacked the boy while he was walking with his grandmother across South Powell Avenue near the Hilltop.
The charge against Moore was failure to confine a vicious dog. Moore also did not have vicious dog insurance.
The charge is a first-degree misdemeanor.
He was sentenced to 180 days in jail at Franklin County Municipal Court. He already has served 70 days.
Moore was not fined but required to pay all court costs.

Update July 22, 2010 9:48am - The following article is by Denise Yost, NBC Columbus:

Pit Bull Owners Indicted In Dog Attacks

Couple Accused Of Lying To Insurance Company

Two people are indicted in connection with two pit bull attacks.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien announced that Donald C. Moore, Jr. and Stephanie Shahan, Moore's girlfriend, were named in the eight-count indictment.
The first incident occurred on Oct. 5, 2009, in which Moore's pit bull attacked Lori Velasco-Tapia. The second incident occurred on May 9, when the dog attacked a 12-year-old boy in the Hilltop area.
The boy was taken to Children's Hospital and the dog was euthanized by animal control.
The indictment also alleges that the defendants lied to their insurance company in order to obtain an insurance policy on the dog and that Moore threatened one of the victim's family members.
Moore pleaded guilty in court earlier this week to a misdemeanor failure to confine case where his dog got loose and attacked another dog on Feb. 23, 2010.
Moore was sentenced to six months in jail for the February incident.

Update July 22, 2010 7:54pm - The following article is by John Futty, The Columbus Dispatch:

Pit bull that attacked boy had cocaine in system, indictment alleges

Owner, charged with girlfriend, has pleaded guilty in unrelated attack by same dog 

A man indicted today on a charge of felonious assault in two attacks by his pit bull also faces an animal-cruelty charge because authorities say he drugged the dog with cocaine.
A Franklin County grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against Donald L. Moore Jr., 34, who pleaded guilty earlier this week in Environmental Court in an unrelated attack involving the same dog.
Moore's girlfriend, Stephanie Shahan, 23, also was indicted today. Each is charged with one count of felonious assault, two counts of failure to confine a vicious dog, one count of assault and one count of insurance fraud.
The couple, whose most recent address was on S. Powell Avenue, lied to their insurance company to obtain an insurance policy on the dog, according to the indictment.
Moore also faces one count of witness intimidation, alleging that he threatened a witness in the case. The animal-cruelty count is based on an allegation that Moore gave the pit bull, who was named "Caine," cocaine.
The dog was euthanized after it attacked 12-year-old Ryan Fuller on S. Powell Avenue on May 9. The boy was rescued by family members and neighbors, including one who stabbed the dog to get him off the boy.
Ryan, who suffered severe bite wounds to his neck, underwent surgery at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Tests on the dog after it was put down showed the drug in its system, authorities said.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien told WTVN ((610 AM) Radio today that it's not uncommon for dogs used in dog-fighting to be given cocaine to "rev them up" before a fight.
According to the indictment, the dog also attacked Lori Velasco-Tapia on Oct. 5. The indictment mentions both victims.
The case in which Moore pleaded guilty to failure to confine a vicious dog was filed after Moore's pit bull, while roaming free, attacked a Rottweiler mix that was being walked by its owner on Wrexham Avenue in February. The owner, Chuck Zilich, said he used his dog's leash to choke the pit bull and tie it up until animal-control officers arrived.
Judge Harland Hale sentenced Moore to six months in jail Monday after Moore pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to confine a vicious dog.

Update July 6, 2011 - The following article is by John Futty, The Columbus Dispatch:
Boy recounts being mauled by pit bull

If convicted, owner could get 19 years

The 12-year-old boy could hear his flesh tear "like paper ripping" as a pit bull bit into his neck and dragged him to the ground on a Hilltop lawn last year.
"I thought I was going to die," Ryan Fuller told a Franklin County jury today as he testified against the dog's owner.
Ryan, now 13, turned to show jurors the puffy, pink scar that runs along the left side of his neck as a constant reminder of the near-fatal injuries he sustained when the dog attacked him on May 9, 2010, in front of 319 S. Powell Ave.
Donald Moore, 35, is on trial in Common Pleas Court on two counts each of felonious assault and failure to confine a vicious dog in connection with two attacks by his pit bull.
Seven months before mauling the boy, the dog also attacked Lori Tapia, 41, in front of 40 S. Eureka Ave. Scars were visible on her face when she testified about the incident on Tuesday.
After the state rested its case this afternoon, defense attorneys tried unsuccessfully to persuade Judge Laurel Beatty to dismiss the case, arguing that no evidence was presented to establish that it was Moore who failed to properly confine the dog.
The defense will begin calling its witnesses on Thursday.
Ryan, an incoming eighth-grader at Wedgewood Middle School, was calm and composed as he was questioned by Assistant Prosecutor Nancy Moore and cross-examined by defense attorney Crysta Pennington.
He said he was walking from the home of his grandmother, who lived in the duplex next to Donald Moore's residence, to his family's house directly across the street when the pit bull, named Caine, broke free from a leash tethered to a stake in the front lawn and jumped on him.
The dog scratched the top of his head and bit him on the back and behind his left ear before sinking its jaws into the boy's neck and dragging him from the lawn onto the sidewalk. Donald Moore and the boy's parents were among several people who tried but failed to get the dog to release the boy.
A neighbor, Tony Marcum, testified that he rushed into his house, got a butcher knife and stabbed the dog to end the attack. The dog was later euthanized.
Ryan recalled asking his father if he was going to die before paramedics rushed him to Nationwide Children's Hospital in critical condition. He spent several hours in surgery and required weeks of physical therapy to help him properly move his neck.
Nerve damage left him with a slight drooping of his left eyelid. The left side of his face no longer sweats, he testified.
The attack of Lori Tapia stemmed from a fight between Donald Moore and Tapia's teen son, testimony showed. Vicki Turner, who was walking with them in front of Moore's house on Oct. 5, 2009, when the fight started, testified that Moore's girlfriend let the dog out of the house and that Moore told the dog, "Attack, attack."
The girlfriend, Stephanie Shahan, pleaded guilty last month to one count each of felonious assault, failure to confine a vicious dog and misdemeanor assault. She is awaiting sentencing and isn't expected to testify in Moore's trial.
Moore pleaded guilty last year to a misdemeanor count of failing to confine a vicious dog after the same pit bull was roaming free on Feb. 23, 2010, and attacked a Rottweiler mix that was being walked by its owner on Wrexham Avenue. Moore was sentenced to six months in jail for that incident, but the dog was returned to him.
If he's convicted of all the charges he currently faces, the maximum prison sentence would be 19 years.
State law defines pit bulls as vicious dogs and includes strict requirements for how they must be confined by their owners. The General Assembly is debating a bill that would remove the vicious label from the breed.

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