A city man had to stab and club to death a pit bull that got loose in his home and was attacking his dogs on Saturday.
The incident has Brian A. King, of Nellis Street, wondering whether more should be done about aggressive breeds of dogs in Watertown and has the dog’s owners wondering whether killing 6-year-old Roscoe was necessary.
“My children are grown. I have grandkids. These are my babies, everyone knows that,” he said. “When I fell ... He’s in my home. What’s he going to do in here?”
Mac, Mr. King’s miniature dachshund, was still at the veterinarian’s office Monday and is expected to make a full recovery after a procedure to drain fluids from his hind quarters. Mitch, a Yorkshire terrier, was frightened but otherwise unharmed, Mr. King said.
The incident began after 7 a.m. on Saturday. Gayle A. Underhill-Plumb, who lives nearby on Brainard Street, said that the cinnamon-colored pit bull was trying to get under her fence. The police said they wouldn’t come just for a stray dog, she said, and dog-control officials weren’t on duty yet. She tried to poke it away with her daughter’s ski; her own dog, a young goldendoodle named Timber, was barking from the fenced-in yard.
Another woman, who Ms. Underhill-Plumb said was a paid dog walker, started walking up Brainard Street with a client’s dog. The pit bull ran up to the woman and her dog; the woman snatched the dog into her arms. Ms. Underhill-Plumb then came over with her ski, which apparently dissuaded the dog from approaching the dog walker anymore.
Just then, Mr. King, who hadn’t seen the incident to his left, was fastening one of his dogs to a run on the lawn of his home. The two women shouted to him, warning him that a pit bull was on the loose. Mr. King grabbed Mac, the dachshund, as the pit bull approached. The pit bull chased Mr. King around his pickup truck; Mr. King made a run for the front door but tripped on the threshold. The dog got into his house and was biting the dachshund in its hind quarters.
“You could hear the little dog just wailing,” Ms. Underhill-Plumb said.
Mr. King, a civilian police officer on Fort Drum, didn’t hesitate to act. He grabbed a kitchen knife from a nearby table and stabbed the dog. When that didn’t stop the dog, he began to hit it with a golf club. The dachshund was still clamped in the pit bull’s jaws when the pit bull died, he said. He felt no remorse about killing the dog, he said.
“This dog wouldn’t let us go,” he said in an interview at his ranch-style home Monday, sitting in a recliner chair as he stroked Mitch. Mac should be out of the vet’s office today, Mr. King said.
Kimberly N. Lashure lives on Academy Street with her three children, her boyfriend and, until they buried him Saturday among six friends and candles and tears in Brownville, Roscoe, the family’s pet.
She said that it wasn’t in Roscoe’s nature to attack and that he played fine with her children.
“He’s just a typical, everyday family dog,” she said. “There was nothing that I had seen that was aggressive.”
She said that on Saturday morning, the dog was attached to a new harness in the backyard. He had developed a rash on his neck, so they took his collar off.
Somehow, Roscoe got loose. The family searched around the neighborhood for him, calling his name, worried. When Ms. Lashure arrived at Mr. King’s home, an animal control officer informed her that the dog had been killed.
“I would just ask, Why did he have to be killed?” she said. “I don’t understand that. That’s the question that I have. If you had to hurt him and we had to take him to the vet — if we had to amputate a leg — at least the dog would still be living.”
Ms. Lashure will appear in court on March 29 on charges of damage to property, having a dog at large and having a dog without its proper tags on. Police didn’t charge Mr. King in the incident.
A police officer told her that he shot her dog, she said. Watertown city police could not be reached for comment Monday.
Mr. King, meanwhile, said he’s considering speaking about the issue in front of the City Council. In January, the city passed a law banning dogs on city property as special events. That law was passed after an American bulldog attacked 2-year-old Indigo Mullin at the farmer’s market on Washington Street in August.
“I don’t think this is very productive for our community,” said Mr. King, whom Roscoe did not bite. “I’ve got to do something because the next attack could be on a child or an elderly couple.”
On a warm Monday, the corner of Nellis and Brainard streets was a nexus of children on bikes and families walking dogs. A couple walking down Brainard Street with two children in a stroller chatted for a moment with Ms. Underhill-Plumb about the incident. The man said with a laugh, “Now we’re thinking about moving.”
Ms. Underhill-Plumb protested, calling it a “fluke.”
Dog owners should be steadfast in looking after their companions, she said. She noted that Roscoe had no collar on.
“You have to take every precaution you can,” she said.