Judge to Decide Fate of Dangerous Dog
Carmel Town Justice Thomas Jacobellis will decide whether a pit bull terrier that attacked a 14 year old Carmel girl waiting for her school bus, in addition to both her parents, will live or be euthanized.
The judge scheduled a hearing for Friday at 9:30 a.m. at Carmel Town Court to hear testimony in the case. That came during 5 p.m. arraignment proceedings Tuesday of the dog’s owner, Ndumiso Shabane.
Shabane pleaded not guilty to one charge of harboring a dangerous animal and allowing a dog to roam free. He was released in his own recognizance.
Judge Jacobellis’ major concern was the dog ordering that it be turned over to the Dykeman Animal Control in Mahopac, muzzled and placed in quarantine at a local veterinarian’s office since Carmel has no location to harbor dangerous dogs until the court rules on the animal’s future.
Last Thursday morning the victim, Tina Dellolio, received the fright of her life when mauled by her neighbor’s pit bull at 6:45 a.m. when waiting for her school bus near her St. Michael’s Terrace residence.
Carmel Police said as the victim ran home to seek help, her parents were also attacked.
An ambulance transported the family to Putnam Hospital Center where they were treated and released.
In court, Carmel Town Attorney Joseph Charbonneau told the judge that the dog “bit the girl so severely that she has been unable to attend school since the attack nor has she been ambulatory. This is the type of dog that no one should have to live next to.”
Shabane testified that the dog had been removed from the neighborhood and was currently residing with a friend in Patterson.
Charbonneau told the court that the dog “shouldn’t be living with anyone. This is a dangerous dog that must be confined.”
Judge Jacobellis agreed and advised the dog’s owner that since the animal had been deemed as a menace to society, he could agree to have the dog put down or go ahead with the hearing: “I want you to understand that any costs incurred with boarding the dog will be borne by you.”
Shabane with tears streaming down his face, told the court that the dog is “my family dog. He is not dangerous but got excited.”
Judge Jacobellis listened intently before deciding that the dog would be quarantined until Friday’s hearing.
Outside the courtroom, Shabane told the Courier that he was “too upset” to talk about the situation. “I am very confused right now,” he said.
The victims of the attack were not in the courtroom and attempts to reach them have been unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, James O’Neill, president-emeritus of the Stephen Driscoll Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, criticized the county for failing to have a location where seized dogs could be harbored.
The Putnam Humane Society in Carmel will not accept dogs deemed dangerous by a court.
O’Neill plans to meet with county officials in the hope of urging them to create a holding area for dogs and other animals judged to be unsafe and perilous.
“I love animals as much as the next guy and have adopted many dogs and cats over the years from a variety of shelters. Realism must set in and people have to understand that some dogs are not suitable for family neighborhoods—and I am not indicting pit bulls—but people have to abide by the laws of the land. Dogs should not be permitted to roam free,” said O’Neill.