Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Authorities: Two of three pit bulls in Schenectady attack euthanized

By Paul Nelson, Times Union

Two of three pit bulls that attacked a 58-year-old woman as she walked along a narrow city street early Monday have been euthanized, according to authorities.
The adult male and female dogs were put down Tuesday at the Animal Protective Foundation in Scotia, according to people with knowledge of the investigation. The third animal was transported to the Montgomery County SPCA in Amsterdam where it will be checked for rabies and quarantined for 10 days before also being euthanized.
In what a Schenectady animal control officer described as one of the worst dog attacks he has seen in his two decades on the job, the three dogs pounced on the woman, whose name has not been released. The incident began shortly before 1 a.m. Monday as the victim walked on the sidewalk along the 300 block of Hulett Street between Schenectady and Albany streets in the city's Hamilton Hill neighborhood.
The victim remained Wednesday at Albany Medical Center Hospital. Her condition could not immediately be determined.
Emilia Falcon, who lives with her children next door to where the woman was attacked, recalled being awakened by the victim's desperate cries for help.
"They were dragging and dragging her and tearing at her head," she said Wednesday, pointing to the overgrown grass on the front lawn of 348 Hulett St., where the incident happened. "It was very ugly and sad to see."
Falcon said she didn't have her cell phone to call for help.
Babette Anderson said she dialed 9-1-1 after also being awakened by the victim's screams. She dashed onto her porch but soon darted back inside to call police.
Anderson, who lives adjacent to the site of the attack, described seeing the dogs "on the ground biting her all over her head. She was just screaming and saying, 'Stop, somebody help me, please.' "
Both Anderson and Falcon said they didn't know the victim but have seen her walking around the neighborhood. Once police were able to get the dogs off the woman, Falcon said, she was disoriented, with blood dripping from her face. Her arms appeared to be mangled.
Police had to use a Taser on one of the pit bulls and captured the other two with a pole used by animal control officers, authorities said.
Police are continuing their investigation but, as of Wednesday afternoon, the owner of the dogs did not face criminal charges. The owner, who police have not identified, was cited for a dangerous dog violation under the city ordinance.
If found guilty of the violation, the dog owner could be fined.
The owner told police he had the animals inside a gate that someone opened.
At the home identified by neighbors as the place where the pit bulls had been kept, a man who answered the door said his buddy, who owned the animals, was not home.

Update August 24, 2011 - The following article is by Steven Cook, Daily Gazette:

Woman mauled by pit bulls expected to survive; owner of dogs ticketed

A 58-year-old woman attacked and mauled by three pit bulls early Monday is expected to survive, police said today.
The woman, whose identity wasn’t released, was attacked on the sidewalk by the dogs at about 3:30 a.m. Monday on Hulett Street.
Officers responded, using a Taser to subdue the dog that appeared to be the most aggressive, getting it off the woman. The two other dogs then retreated, police said.
The woman suffered multiple injuries to her face, ears and arms. She was treated at the scene by city fire department EMS personnel and taken to Albany Medical Center for treatment.
The owner of the dogs was identified as 21-year-old Jasmine L. Tirado, of 347 Hulett St. She came out of her house to get the dogs, police said.
She soon surrendered the dogs to the city’s animal control officer. Two of the dogs have since been euthanized, the third is expected to be after an observation period, police said.
Samples from the dogs are expected to be sent for rabies testing.
Tirado was issued an appearance ticket, accused of having one unlicensed dog, along with three appearance tickets for harboring dangerous dogs.
She is to appear in city court on those charges Sept. 1

Update August 25, 2011 - The following article is from WRGB:

Pit bull attack survivor describes ordeal

58-year-old Shirleen Lucas says no one came out to help her as three dogs attacked her on Hulett Street early Monday morning. She says once the dogs were on her, they stayed on until police arrived with tasers.
"It seemed like an eternity," she told CBS6 News in her living room Wednesday night. "I was screaming. I screamed so loud and so hard and at one point I wasn't screaming anymore, I was just fighting."
She says she punched one of the dogs and described one of them dragging her by the hair at one point. Lucas says the dogs bit her arms and legs, tore away part of her scalp and bit off part of each ear.

"The plastic surgeon (is) very optimistic I should say, about repairing my ears back to normal - both of them."
Lucas was released from Albany Medical Center Wednesday afternoon.
According to police, the owner of the dogs is 21-year-old Jasmine Tirado of Hulett Street. She was given one ticket for having an unlicensed dog and three tickets for harboring dangerous dogs. She is due in court September 12th. A woman who answered to the name Jasmine told CBS6 News she had nothing to say.
"I was walking down the street and (the dogs) saw me," says Lucas. "They looked up and saw me and they perked up and they started running toward me and I ran in this yard, I don't know whose yard it was. I don't know why they didn't hear me screaming and hollering in the yard, but the minute I got into the ambulance they came to the door."
According to Marguerite Pearson of the Animal Protective Foundation in Scotia, two of the dogs were brought there and were described by staff as being vicious and lunging at the cages they were in. Pearson is hopeful this case will not worsen pit bulls' already bad reputation.
"Here in Schenectady County, about half the dogs we take in are pit bulls," says Pearson, "and so many of them are wonderful dogs and we do an assessment to make sure they're going to be good compannions. We have to be really diligent in that becasue if people don't trust us to adopt out safe dogs, so many wonderful animals, some that happen to be pit bulls, are never going to find homes."
Lucas' daughter, Darcelle Lucas, said she believes someone wanted the dogs to attack her mother in a sort of canine street mugging. Lucas says she lost two bracelets and twenty dollars in the attack. Lucas says she was on her way home from a store. She says it was around 12:30 a.m. Police said it happened around 3:30 a.m.
"My blouse was drenched in blood, says Lucas. "They had to cut it off of me. Had to cut my skirt off. My skirt was full of blood."
Lucas says her family is helping in her healing, some of whom came in from out of state. On Wednesday evening her granddaughter came to visit with a gift - a cross she had decorated for someone she is happy to see alive.

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