An East Elmhurst family is mourning their best friend after he was mortally wounded in an unprovoked attack last Friday by a pit bull terrier that was running around with no leash.
The mauling occurred about 5 p.m. on 31st Avenue near 72nd Street in East Elmhurst, according to Paola Racelis, a friend of Francisco and Maria Gonzalez, whose 10-year-old beagle, Nico, was killed.
The attack went on for several minutes, with much of it posted on Facebook. During some of it, the pit bull is seen with its jaws clamped on Nico’s ear as people beat on its back with poles and posts. One man soaks the vicious dog with a garden hose. Police arrive but are no more successful than the civilians in getting the bloodthirsty black animal to relent. Eventually it throws Nico to the street, grabs him by the throat and thrashes him about.
Firefighters also arrive on the scene.
As Nico lies still, his killer prances around. When the beagle gets up, his attacker again grabs him, this time around the groin area. Eventually it lets go as a cop hits him with a baseball bat. It runs onto the sidewalk in front of what is apparently its home and is then let into the courtyard, where it lies down as a woman who appears to be its owner yells.
Nico is tended to by his owners in the street. He is able to stand, but internal bleeding caused by the pit bull’s biting of his throat proves fatal. A vet tells the Gonzalezes there is nothing he can do and Nico had to be euthanized, Racelis said.
“I want people to know that the pitbull who attacked Nico is still out there,” she said in an email. “A lot of neighbors and myself have seen the dog off leash again after the attack. This dog is dangerous and the owner needs to pay. The owner (Judith) did not even apologize to Maria and Francisco after the incident.”
Racelis said the police said they could not do anything because it was a dog-on-dog attack; that could not immediately be confirmed. She wonders if a child could be the dog’s next victim. She wants the laws changed to protect people’s pets and that the pit bull’s owner needs “to be held liable for everything.”
Racelis set up a GoFundMe page, “Rest in Peace Nico,” to assist the Gonzalezes in their time of sorrow. It had raised $1,130 by late Wednesday afternoon, with a goal of $2,000.
“Nico was loved by everyone in their neighborhood,” she said on the page. “His family described him as loving, relaxed, friendly and unique. He loved everyone around him and wanted to be everyone’s friend.”