Parsippany Pit Bull Owner Charged
UPDATE: 04/05/08: Ricardo Cotto, the owner of the pit bull that attacked five people in Parsippany, will be charged with keeping a potentially dangerous dog and will have to go to court before the animal is released from the pound. After the dog is released, a judge will determine its future.
The dog, a 1-year old female named Canela, bit 5 people, including a police officer during a recent rampage. Cotto is stressed out about the ordeal. He says he did not know the dog had gotten out until he saw a crowd gathered in front of his house. Now he wants to "straighten" things out:
"This is on the Internet and everything has got to be straightened out because everybody's saying these bad things," says Cotto.
He declined further comment until he talked with an attorney, except to say that Canela lives in a house with five kids, is well-trained and never bit anyone before. Such cliché circumstance only adds to the snap! quality that makes pit bulls so infamous -- one second they are calm, the next a biting frenzy.
04/04/08: Parsippany Pit Bull Rampage
Parsippany, NJ - Five people, including a police officer, were bitten when a 50-pound pit bull went on a rampage and attacked pedestrians near the Lake Hiawatha branch of the public library. Police Chief Michael Peckerman doubts people will need stitches but they "were pretty shaken up."
The names of the victims are still unavailable, but Lt. Rich Pantina identified the dog's owner as Ricardo Cotto of Hiawatha Boulevard. Any charges will be lodged after consultation with the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, Peckerman said, adding the dog is believed to have had its shots.
The incident began when a security guard ran inside the library yelling that police should be called because a dog was attacking people. Two sisters, estimated to be in their 20s, were bitten on their arms as they walked outside. A man, approximately the same age, was bitten as he sought to distract the animal.
Another man, believed to be in his 40s, was bitten on the leg when he sought to keep the dog away from his 13-year-old daughter as the two were leaving their car to enter their home. Capt. Paul Philipps, who had been in the library and since run outside, said he could not get a clear shot at the dog amid the frenzy.
After the attacks, the dog retreated to Cotto's home, where the owner was confronted by Philipps and officer Dan Cicala. At that point, the unleashed dog attacked again. He lunged at Cicala, clamping down on his right forearm. Cicala, who is also boxer, was able to shake the dog off. He, returned to headquarters and was placed on medical leave.