By John Tunison, The Grand Rapids Press
A 60-year-old Wyoming man was going into surgery this afternoon after two pit bulls attacked him Tuesday evening as he took the garbage out, leaving him with broken arms and numerous bite wounds. One wound on the arm of William Ward was to the bone, his brother said today.
Ward was taking his trash bin to the curb of 31st Street SW, west of Byron Center Avenue, when the unleashed dogs came at him.
He was heavily sedated Wednesday at Spectrum Health Butterworth hospital, awaiting surgery on his arms.
"The one thing he did say is that the dogs jumped him and hit him in the chest so hard it knocked him over backwards," said Jim Ward, his brother.
After the 6:50 p.m. attack began, William Ward's sister managed to grab an umbrella from inside the house they share and beat off the dogs.
"She came out with the umbrella and started stabbing and beating them," Jim Ward said from his brother's hospital room.
The dogs, owned by a resident just a short distance away from William Ward's house, were captured by Wyoming police and quarantined.
Wyoming police Capt. Brad Schutter said the dogs will be held until a determination is made whether to euthanize them.
He said the dogs were in a garage and managed to escape through a rear service door before attacking Ward. Neither dog had registration tags on them and one had a chain collar around its neck.
The owner was not home when the pit bulls escaped the garage.
Schutter said neighbors in the area have called animal control in the past about the dogs because they were running loose, but did not know how many times.
Meanwhile, Jim Ward wants the dogs euthanized.
"My brother certainly could have died," he said. "The next door neighbor and people across the street all have small children that are out playing a lot."
He believes the pit bull breed is dangerous.
Update April 6, 2011 - The following article is by Ursula Zerilli, The Grand Rapids Press:
Owner of pit bulls who attacked Wyoming man: 'I still don't feel they are a threat'
The owner of two pit bulls who attacked William Ward on Tuesday evening hopes to retrieve his pets from quarantine.
Joseph Honorable said that his 18-month-old pit bull, Jack, and 2-year-old pit bull, Millie, are not vicious and that he intends to apologize to Ward. Honorable said that he wasn't sure how the dogs escaped from his home at 2518 31st Street SW on Tuesday.
“I want to apologize and I hope he understands but it's up to him to accept my apology,” Honorable said. “I still don't feel like they are a threat, I can't imagine how this happened.”
Honorable described the pit bulls as normal pets, who liked to go on walks and play.
Police said William Ward was taking his trash out when the pit bulls attacked, puling him to the ground and breaking both of his arms.
Ward had surgery for his injuries Wednesday at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital.
Honorable said that he kept the dogs locked up and that they have never posed a problem before, but he said that they do jump on people. He said that he wasn't sure if police would allow him to have his dogs and that it would cost him more than $1000 to get them from quarantine.
Sheryl VanderMyde, who called police after witnessing the attack, said that she wouldn't feel comfortable if the dogs return to the neighborhood. She said that if they attacked once they could do it again.
“I was there watching (Ward) get attacked,” VanderMyde said. “ They were going at it and it was scary. I've got a kid and I don't want the dogs back here. I think they should be destroyed.”
Her son Austin, 12, witnessed the attack on Tuesday and felt bad that they couldn't help Ward fight off the pitbulls.
Maria Zuno, who lives next door to Ward, said that her children were playing outside when the attack happened. Her son, Able Zuno, 9, said that one of the dogs jumped on him, and then walked away.
“It kind of upsets me because if it happens again it could happen to a kid,” Zuno said. “The owner has to be more careful because there is usually a lot of kids playing outside around here.”
Christy Borgeld and her husband, Jim, jumped into their minvan to follow the dogs after the attack. They contained the pitbulls by offering the dogs antacid tablets as treats.
“When were trying to contain them, I was just looking at their eyes and I just felt bad that they may be euthanized, paying the price for an irresponsible owner,” Borgeld said. “I'm an animal lover but I don't want them around here.”
Honorable said that he was at work when the the dogs got loose.
“It's not my job to make the dogs seem beautiful and I'm sorry for what happened but there was no aggression,” he said.
Update April 10, 2011 - The following article is by Heidi Fenton, The Grand Rapids Press:
Wyoming man attacked by pit bulls transferred to rehab facility, still 'in a lot of pain'
William Ward, who was attacked by two of his neighbor’s pit bulls while taking out the trash, has been released from the hospital and is beginning his next steps of recovery, a relative said Sunday.
William Ward, 60, who underwent surgery last week for two broken arms resulting from the incident, was transferred Saturday from Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital to a local rehabilitation facility, said his sister, Joyce Ward.
“He’s a little bit better but in a lot of pain. There will be a lot of rehab coming,” she said. Joyce Ward declined to release any further information on his recovery.
On Tuesday evening, Ward was taking his trash bin to the curb of a 31st Street SW residence he shared with his sister when the unleashed pit bulls came at him from down the street.
Joyce Ward was on the phone alerting 911 dispatchers of stray dogs when she witnessed the attack on her brother. She ran out the door with an umbrella and was able to beat the dogs away, but not before he suffered injuries.
The dogs’ owner, Joseph Honorable, was not home when his dogs apparently escaped from a nearby garage, police said. Both animals,18-month-old Jack and 2-year-old Millie, have since been placed on a 10-day quarantine by Kent County Animal Control.
Update April 15, 2011 - The following article is by John Tunison, The Grand Rapids Press:
Owner of pit bulls who attacked Wyoming man arraigned this morning on felony
Joseph Honorable, the owner of two pit bulls that attacked and seriously injured a 60-year-old Wyoming man, was arraigned today on a felony.
charged with keeping a dangerous animal causing serious injury and being a habitual offender.
His two dogs escaped his garage on 31st Street SW in the early evening hours of April 5 and eventually attacked William Ward as he took a garbage bin to the curb.
Ward sustained two broken arms and bites.
Honorable was released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond after today's arraignment. A judge scheduled an April 27 probable cause hearing.
The pit bulls have been quarantined at the Kent County animal shelter since the incident.
Update April 17, 2011 - The following article is by John Tunison, The Grand Rapids Press:
Attorney of pit bull owner charged in attack on Wyoming man contends animals do not meet 'dangerous' definition
The attorney for Joseph Honorable, the 28-year-old man charged Friday after his pit bulls attacked a Wyoming man, contends the animals do not meet the definition of "dangerous" animals.
"My understanding is these dogs have not been involved previously in any violent incidents," said Chris Gibbons.
Honorable was arraigned Friday in Wyoming District Court on a charge of keeping a dangerous animal causing serious injury, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.
"I think at the end of the day (prosecutors) are going to have a hard time making their case," Gibbons said.
"It's not against the law to own pit bulls and I believe his dogs were licensed," he said.
Honorable's two pit bulls escaped a garage on 31st SW and, while on the loose, attacked 60-year-old William Ward as he took his garbage to the curb. Ward sustained two broken arms and bites.
The dogs remain in quarantine at the Kent County Animal Shelter. Gibbons said Honorable would like the animals back if possible.