By SUZANNE MOORE
---- — PERU — A loose dog that attacked and killed a smaller canine Tuesday could be euthanized.
The sudden incident on Elm Street in front of Peru Community Church Fellowship Hall left onlookers who witnessed it horrified and deeply saddened for Terri Cioppa, whose dog, Jean Claude, died.
“She walked the dog every day,” said Ann Wilke, who had entered the hall shortly before the attack. “Sometimes, she carried him.”
Peru Town Supervisor Peter Glushko didn’t release the name of either dog’s owner nor details surrounding the incident, as the case was being prepared for court.
“The dog is in a holding facility,” Town of Peru Dog Control Officer Kelly Allen said, “... and the owner will be charged.”
A dangerous-dog case, she said, it falls under Agriculture and Markets law.
“It goes straight to a hearing,” Allen said. “Everything has to happen within five days of the incident.
“The dog can be ordered to be put down or confined for the rest of its life.”
The dog, a large black animal with white on its chest, had been loose, said Sarah Davis, who saw it as she dropped her son, Cooper, off at Peru Nursery School that morning.
”It was roaming around the preschool, went inside,” she said. “I just took it by the collar and tied on a little jump rope.
“He was fine, though, with the kids.”
She was waiting outside the Fellowship Hall for the dog control officer to come pick it up when Wilke arrived there for an exercise class.
The dog was perfectly friendly, Wilke said.
“I petted him. Everybody was greeting the dog and petting him.”
The animal was well cared for, she observed.
“He had a brand-new blue collar.”
“Obviously, someone loves this dog,” Davis said, saying it looked very healthy.
KICKED AND KICKED
Davis and another woman greeted Cioppa as she walked past them with Jean Claude, a kind of small poodle, on a leash. The stray didn’t seem to notice them, Davis said, but then abruptly lunged and yanked the jump rope free.
Davis and her friend ran after it, and kicked and kicked it, but it was too late. A man rushed Jean Claude to a veterinarian, and Davis tied the bigger dog up again.
It showed no aggression at all, she said, though it was limping.
She thought it had been injured by their barrage of kicks.
Deputy Dog Control Officer Mark Hrycyk picked it up soon afterwards.
Wednesday, Davis gave a statement for the court proceedings.
Allen didn’t yet know when the owner would appear in Town Court. The case is not a criminal or civil one, she said — Ag and Markets dictates what happens when a dog is deemed dangerous.
“If there’s any injury to a person or an animal, the owner can be ordered to pay medical bills (and other costs),” she noted.
And should the town justice agree to confinement rather than euthanization, there are specific regulations that dictate just how that would happen.
Should the ruling go against the dog, the owner would have 30 days to appeal, Allen said.
“The dangerous-dog law has changed within the last year,” she said, saying she and other officials had put in many hours preparing the case. “We have to make sure we do everything right.”
’IT’S JUST SAD’
A relative who answered Cioppa’s phone on Wednesday said she is grief-stricken over Jean Claude’s death.
“I just can’t imagine,” said Davis, thinking about the woman’s loss.
“I’m sad for everybody,” she added. “It’s just sad because (the loose dog) shouldn’t have been out there.”
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