Puppy owners raising awareness following attack
A 5-month old puppy is recovering after itâ??s owners say he was attacked by two large dogs on Sunday at the Bay Hill apartment complex.
The alleged attack happened around 11 a.m. The owners of Otto, a 5-month old lab mix say they were letting him outside to go to the bathroom, and say that he got curious about two larger dogs walking by. Ottoâ??s owner, Ivor Christiansen, says the other dogs appeared to be pit bull-mixes, and had leashes.
Christiansen says he was watching Otto from the doorway of his building, just a few feet away, when he saw Otto run towards the other dogs. Otto was not wearing a leash.
â??By the time I got around the parked cars, I realized that he was running back towards me being chased by the two large dogs,â?? said Christiansen.
The owner of the two larger dogs wanted to remain anonymous. She says that Otto ran at her dogs and got in their faces.
The owner says one of her dogs is a boxer-mix named Rex, and that the other, Violet, is a mix that was adopted from the humane society. She says neither look anything like pit bulls.
The owner says her mother had been walking the dogs at the time of the alleged attack.
â??He (Otto) ran up into my dogs faces,â?? the owner of the other dogs said. â??Not saying the other dog was trying to attack my dog but animals are animals and thatâ??s why you keep your dogs on a leash.â??
Christiansen says the woman walking them couldnâ??t control them, and that they were dragging her with them to get to Otto.
â??The larger of the two had clamped down onto his neck,â?? said Christiansen. â??And when I realized this dog wasnâ??t going to let go, I started punching and doing everything I could to get this dog off of my puppy.
â??My dog reacted,â?? the owner of the other dogs said. â??Iâ??m not saying itâ??s right but he did react. My dog would have been removed and it would have been a small minor bite had the guy not jumped on my dog and punched him over 20 times.â??
Christiansen says that Violet, the third dog involved, also made a move to bite Otto but says another neighbor assisted with restraining her.
Christiansen says the attack lasted around seven minutes and that several neighbors had also come to help. He says they even tried pouring water on the animal several times to get him off.
After a struggle, they were able to get the boxer-mix to release itâ??s jaw from Ottoâ??s neck.
â??He grabbed onto the puppyâ??s ear,â?? said Christiansen. â??And I thought okay, I can deal with an ear thatâ??s better than his neckâ?¦so I threw another punch at the nose, the lady pulled her dog off, and we separated them.â??
â??Once he stopped beating on my dog my mom pulled up on his leash and grabbed the bottom of his jaw and he released,â?? the other owner said.
She says Rex, the dog that bit Otto, is suffering some injuries to his eye and his head.
Otto has a severe cut to his neck and several bite marks. Christiansen suffered some hand injuries along with other cuts and bruises during the struggle.
â??She just grabbed her dogs and just left,â?? said Christiansen. â??Someone had called 911. I remember someone saying the police are on their way you need to stay here and she just took off.â??
But the owner of the other dogs says that someone told her mother that dispatch was instructing her to leave the area immediately with Rex and Violet.
Some neighbors say they are worried for their own dogs safety after the incident.
â??I end up taking her on walks around the civic center instead of around here anymore,â?? said Katie Bush, a dog owner and resident at the apartment complex.
Christiansen admits he was in the wrong for not having Otto on a leash and says he will be keeping him on one from now on.
He also adds that he and his girlfriend, Therese Murguia are worried that these dogs could be a danger to other dogs, dog owners, and children. They donâ??t blame the dogs or the breeds, but say that itâ??s the owners responsibility to make sure they are in control of their animal.
â??The responsibility lies solely on the owner,â?? said Christiansen. â??If you have an animal that has the potential for that sort of behavior you need to plan ahead for it, you need to train them from the get go.â??
â??How you train your animal is important to the community,â?? said Murguia.
But the owner of Rex and Violet says the situation could have been avoided had Otto been on a leash.
Murguia has created a donation site to help with Ottoâ??s vet bills, Christiansenâ??s medical bills, and to try and start a non-profit organization to help educate owners on where they can get help with training their dogs.
Traverse City Police say that there is a vicious dog ordinance for the city. For more information on it, click here.
Investigators say that after talking with the city attorney, that there will not be any criminal charges filed against the owner of Rex and Violet because it is unclear whether or not the dogs were provoked by Otto who was running towards them during the incident, and because Otto was not on a leash.
Murguia and Christiansen say they are looking into pressing civil charges against the owner.
The Bay Hill apartment complex believes the owner lives in the complex with the two dogs.
Managers there say there are waiting on a police report to look into the situation because they say they have a pet policy that prohibits pure-bred pets with vicious tendencies.