A boxer/pitbull mix that attacked and severely maimed a sickly Barrington cockapoo and injured its owner last July will be euthanized.
A three-person panel that conducted a vicious-dog hearing Monday morning at the Barrington Police Station came to that decision unanimously within minutes of taking testimony from the cockapoo’s owner and Barrington Animal Control Officer John Duffy. The boxer's owner did not show up.
One of the panelists, Joseph Warzycha, a special agent for the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said euthanasia is very rare. Panels generally choose other restrictions for vicious dogs, such as enclosure, muzzles and collars.
“I’ve done hundreds of hearings,” he said. “I think maybe we’ve decided to euthanize in three of them.”
The other members of the panel were Barrington Police Chief John LaCross and East Providence Police Officer Will Muggle. The dog is owned by a man who lived in East Providence at that time, Kevin Wong, of no known address.
“I feel like it is appropriate here,” said Warzycha of euthanasia. “I am not comfortable returning this dog to its owner.”
“He’s not responsible,” the chief said. “He hasn’t shown up here today and the dog has a history of being aggressive.”
The owner also has left the dog sit in a shelter since July, LaCross said. It took significant effort to even contact him about the hearing.
The attack on the cockapoo and Candace Smith, its owner, came within four doors of her home on Houghton Street on July 28. Smith said she was walking her 11-year-old dog, which suffered seizures and took insulin for diabetes and maybe had six months left to live, when the boxer/pitbull jumped through the open window of an SUV and attacked them.
Smith said she picked up her dog to try to protect it. The boxer jumped and snapped at them and managed to bite into the cockapoo’s legs and pull them to the ground.
The boxer pulled so hard that the cockapoo’s legs were pulled out of the hip joints and the bite marks penetrated to the bone, she said, citing a veterinarian at Harbor Animal Hospital in Barrington who treated her dog.
“It tore every muscle in the legs,” said Smith, who shed tears during part of her testimony. “There were no muscles to hold them into the joints. And she was too sick and too old.”
Smith said she chose euthanasia over at least four months of possible painful recuperation during the final six months of her dog's life.
The dog’s owner and his brother, who lives not far from Smith’s home, “ran quickly to her and pulled the boxer off her dog,” Smith said.
Wong had to pull open the mouth of his dog to get it off her cockapoo, she said. That’s when she guessed it was at least part pitbull.
Smith said she had walked past the dog locked in the SUV in the past. It jumped at the window to try to get to them, she said. This time the window was open while Wong and his brother were loading things into the back.
Smith said she was treated at the Rhode Island Hospital emergency room for damage to her back muscles and a rotor cuff that was reinjured.
Smith said Wong never contacted her after the attack.
“I would not have wanted him showing up at my door anyway,” she said.
Duffy said Wong told him he presumed that his dog had been euthanized already. He did not attend the hearing because he said he was working in New York City, Duffy said.
The boxer has been housed at an East Providence shelter since July. Wong had been issued a summons for improper restraint, said Duffy.
Smith said she spent more than $1,800 for treatment and the euthanasia of her dog. She also has replaced it with a puppy.