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Panel Votes to Euthanize 'Vicious' Dog

Barrington police hold a vicious-dog hearing Monday morning after a boxer/pitbull mix maimed a cockapoo and injured its owner last July.

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.”

LaCross agreed.

“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.

kyle October 31, 2011 at 06:29 PM
"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." Locking jaws are a myth. German Sheppard’s and Rottweilers have more jaw pressure then pitbulls.
debbie bell October 31, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Typical pit bull promoter comment, with zero empathy for a dead victim dog. Pit bull promoters are very good at repeating misleading verbiage. Pit bulls are THE breed type most likely to continue attacking, bite hold and then not let go. Recently pit bulls have SUFFERED/died while being burned with a gas torch, impaled with a pitchfork thru the skull, repeatedly stabbed, shot, run over with vehicles/police cars, all in attempts to get the pit bull's clenched teeth open to free the victim dog/human or to stop the pit bull's attack Pit bulls cannot help themselves; clenched teeth and "gameness" are breed instincts, created by humans. These behaviors were what made pit bulls THE best dog for dog fights, and still the choice of dog fighters world wide. Pit bull websites recommend that pit bull owners acquire and PRACTICE using a break stick (google break stick) with which to pry open their pit bulls clenched (locked) jaws to free the victim. While pit bulls do not have metal ratchets in their jaw structure, empirical evidence (and break sticks) prove that this tragic breed type were specifically created by human breedings to lock onto their opponents/ victims. Dog fighters actually use the word LOCK. Pit bulls suffer and die because of this pyscopathic breed trait. Now that dog fighting is illegal, no one needs these breed instincts. Let fighting dog instincts gradually become extinct thru free mandatory spay/neuter microchipping of pits/pit mixes. Everybody wins.
kyle November 01, 2011 at 03:01 PM
I agree that this dog should have been euthanized. It obviously was not raised in the proper enviornment. Debbie, typical anit-pitbull comment. Anit Pitbull poeple are very good at turning the original American dog into monsters that can not be stopped. Go to any shelter and ask if you need a "Break Stick" when you adopt a Pit Bull. Actually, why don't you call up the head of the RISPCA and ask him. YOU DO NOT! The dogs that were killed for these traits are the one that have been taught by their OWNER to act upon them. Do not blame the breed, blame the owner.
therapydr November 02, 2011 at 12:05 AM
What disturbs me and lurks me the most about this whole article is the fact that the town of Barrington still has Duffy employed. Thats sad.
Rorey Grey November 02, 2011 at 09:15 PM
I was peripherally involved with this case and so can shed some light onto this. The dog was a boxer mix and it is unknown as to whether there was any pit bull in the dog at all. The possible mis-identification came from a statement given by the owner of the cockapoo shortly after the attack, wherein a very shaken, frightened and justifiably angry Smith said she assumed it was a pit bull, as she had heard that was how such dogs attack. She later said the dog looked like a boxer. Make your own judgments about pit bulls, the responsibility of our media to check facts, etc. The long and short of it is that another pet and it's loving owner have paid the price for some else's lack of repsonsiblity. Dogs need to be under the control of their owners, period. My sympathy goes out to Smith. No one should have to experience what she did.

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