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Queens Chronicle

Owner Of Vicious Pit Bulls Charged With Assault, Menacing

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2002 12:00 am

Owners of dogs that are trained to viciously attack or fight had better keep their animals restrained or face charges from local law enforcement officials.

Two recent cases involving dogs attacking innocent passersby have resulted in arrests of their owners.

Sergeant Thomas Cea of the 106th Precinct was forced to shoot a pit bull that charged him while he was responding to a call in South Ozone Park at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 29th.

Twelve-year-old Chewenne Britton had been savagely bitten on her leg by a neighbor’s pit bull as she was walking past 117-31 132nd Street. A nearby homeowner came to her aid and called the police.

Sources say that members of that community had ongoing problems with the dog’s owner, who had more than one animal trained to attack.

Sergeant Cea, who was named “cop of the month” for his actions, wounded the pit bull, which was then taken to the city’s Center for Animal Care and Control on Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn, where it was later euthanized. Police said the dog’s owner was charged with assault and menacing.

That was not the only dog-related arrest to take place in South Queens recently. The community of Arverne in Rockaway was the site of a violent dog mauling on December 26th.

Wilfredo Velez, 47, a homeless man, served more than 20 days in jail after his unleashed dog and four others took part in an attack on Lev Liberman, a 74-year-old retired engineer who was walking on the boardwalk.

The pack of dogs, which included two Rottweilers, two pit bulls and a shepherd mix, bit Liberman’s face, ripped off his ears and destroyed muscles in his legs and arms. After repeated surgery, he remained unconscious for weeks and is currently recovering at Staten Island University Hospital.

Marlene Filsaime, 51, was also attacked by the Rockaway dogs in December when she tried to go to Liberman’s aid.

Two weeks ago, another arrest was made in the vicious mauling. Anthony Job, 50, of Shore Front Parkway in Rockaway, was charged with failure to control his dogs.

Although Job lived in an apartment building, he kept his two Rottweilers in a nearby vacant lot that is often used by homeless people.

The five animals involved in the mauling remain at the CACC’s Brooklyn shelter and will not be destroyed until the investigation is completed.

Gail Buchwald, of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said that organized pit bull fights and the gambling that accompanies them are still a big problem.

“Pit bull rings are usually run by very young kids,” she said. “By the time they are teens, they are owning, breeding and fighting their own dogs.”

The ASPCA is mandated by the city to enforce animal protection laws. Organized dog fights and training dogs to take part in them is illegal.

According to the city Department of Health, last year there were more than 5,500 reported dog bites.

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