The pit bull that mauled a Dayton man to death on Tuesday morning resided at a home that has been the source of a previous animal complaints and at least one dog bite.
Dayton police responded to an alley near 345 Middle St. in northwest Dayton after receiving a frantic 911 call about a man yelling for help as he was being attacked by a dog.
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Police arrived at the scene to discover the dog still attacking the 60-year-old victim, Maurice Brown. An officer shot and killed the pit bull, but Brown was pronounced dead at Miami Valley Hospital.
Detectives said they are trying to identify the people who owned and cared for the dog, what may have transpired and if criminal charges are warranted.
Someone at that address has been cited twice for failing to register his dogs, and a young girl was attacked by a pit bull in the yard of the home, resulting in her needing 50 stitches, according to county records and a police report.
One neighbor told this newspaper they had recently seen at least one of the dogs kept at the home act aggressively, and two neighbors said they have been concerned about the way the dogs were confined.
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“I was wondering when something like this was going to happen, because he’s been tethered for years,” said neighbor Joe Ross, who does not know the owners of the home. “I never see him walking the dogs or doing anything like that.”
Dog mauling incidents tend to be horrific, such as in the case of the Klonda Richey, a Dayton resident who was killed by two of her neighbor’s dogs in 2014, said Dayton Prosecutor Stephanie Cook. Richey had sought help from local officials numerous times before her death.
The case sparked an outcry for new laws to protect Ohioans from vicious dogs and to punish owners who act irresponsibly and do not properly control their animals.
RELATED: A child was attacked by a dog at the same address in 2011
Cook said criminal charges can be filed against people who live and care for dogs, even if the dogs are not registered in their names.
Dogs must be restrained or confined by a leash, a tether, an adequate fence, a secure enclosure or supervision that would prevent escape, Cook said.
At 4:43 a.m. Tuesday, a northwest Dayton resident called 911 after hearing a man scream out for help.
“Near Riverview Avenue there’s a man outside yelling ‘Jesus help me. Help me,’” the caller said to the police dispatcher. “Sounds like he’s in pain. He’s yelling at the top of his lungs. All the dogs are barking.”
When Dayton officers arrived, the dog was attacking Brown in the alley near 345 Middle St.
The dog returned to the yard but could not be safely confined, and so an officer shot and killed the animal, Dayton police Lt. Andrew Booher.
Brown was transported to the hospital but died.
“The injuries were pretty severe,” Booher said. “This isn’t something that ordinarily happens.”
Three other dogs outside the home were rounded up and removed by Animal Resource Officers to be quarantined, officials said.
Police told this news organization it appears the dog broke loose from its chain.
The property owner is in a nursing home, Booher said.
Montgomery County has no records of any licensed dogs registered at that address.
However, the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center issued citations in 2008 and 2012 to a resident at 345 Middle St. for not having a license for two dogs, both listed as male pit bulls (one brown, one white and brown).
One citation was later dismissed in Dayton Municipal Court, and the other was withdrawn.
In January 2015, an animal resource officer responded to the address after receiving an anonymous complaint regarding the welfare of a dog.
The officer checked and found two healthy dogs inside the home.
In December 2011, a 9-year-old girl was bitten in the yard of 345 Middle St., reportedly by a black Labrador and pit bull mix, a police report states. The girl suffered injuries to her left calf, upper arm and upper leg, wounds that required 50 stitches and a rabies shot.
The man identified as the dog’s owner by the injured girl’s mother lived on the 1000 block of Riverview Avenue. He told police he got rid of the dog by leaving it near a shelter after the attack.
One neighbor, who did not wish to be named, said the dogs kept at the home have acted aggressively toward other residents, including very recently. One male neighbor said he does not go near that home because he’s worried about the dogs.
Lt. Booher said police will work with the Animal Resource Center to determine if the dog responsible or any of the others have caused problems and acted aggressively in the past.
He said police will try to determine if the owner, or caretakers, followed the laws requiring dogs to be properly confined, controlled and cared for and treated. He said police have identified a few people of interest.
“The main thing to get a hold of the people who are associated with the dogs and interview them, and find out who is responsible for these animals,” Booher said. “Then we’ll look at any potential charges.”
Last year, there were 169 reported bites from dogs whose owners resided in Dayton, according to Public Health — Dayton & Montgomery County.
So far this year, public health has recorded 56 bites from dogs whose owners live in the city.
In Montgomery County, there have been 245 reported dog bites so far this year. About 60 of the bites involved pit bulls, which was far more than any other type of dog identified, public health records show.
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