Manslaughter Charges Filed
UPDATE 10/01/08: Prosecutors have upgraded charges against the owners of two pit bulls that mauled a 90-year-old Staten Island man who later died. Dog owners, James McNair and Kim DiPrima, were indicted on charges of manslaughter, assault and failing to keep the dogs restrained.
07/05/08: Pit Bull Owner Charged
Staten Island, NY - After two pit bulls brutally attacked an elderly man, a spokesman for the Staten Island district attorney’s office, William J. Smith, said the dog owner is facing multiple charges. James McNair, 28, faces second-degree assault charges in addition to an earlier charge of having unleashed dogs without collars or tags.
The victim, Henry S. Piotrowski, 90, was attacked on July 1st about 11 a.m. in his backyard on John Street, which is adjacent to Mr. McNair’s backyard in the Elm Park neighborhood. It was not until a neighbor, Reginald Bell, ran at the dogs with a butcher knife that they stopped. It is reported that Piotrowski suffered not only one amputation, but three. He remains in critical condition.
Mr. McNair is a registered sex offender. He was released from state prison in 2004 after serving a sentence for third-degree rape. Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly called the attack on Mr. Piotrowski "a horrendous situation." Then he said what many law enforcement officers have known for twenty years: "In some areas [the dogs] are being used as weapons."
Twenty years and counting; hardly a new phenomenon.
Law enforcement officials, animal control officers, animal rights groups and legislators have known since the mid 1980's that pit bulls and criminals have been inextricably linked and that pit bulls were being used as weapons then and continue to be today. The 1987 Sports Illustrated cover article, "The Pit Bull, Friend or Killer?" by EM Swift spells it out clearly.
"San Diego investigators also were told that local members of motorcycle gangs were stashing their drugs beneath the doghouses of their pit bulls. ''Street dope dealers and street gangs have gone to pit bulls,'' says Budd Johnson, an inspector for the U.S. Marshals Service who is based in San Diego. Law enforcement officials are seeing the same thing all over the country, and the pit bull populations in urban areas have mushroomed as a result. There have also been instances when pit bulls were used in armed robberies, in effect taking the place of a weapon, and one case in which a 16-year-old girl was raped by a man who allegedly threatened her with his two pit bulls."
07/03/08: 2008 Dog Bite Fatality: Henry Piotrowski, 90-Years Old, Killed by Two Pit Bulls