PLATTSBURGH — Jim Duvall said he will likely have to euthanize Frankee, his pitbull-Labrador retriever mix that killed a poodle on April 16.
Terri Cioppa of Peru was walking her small dog, named Jean Claude, past the Peru Community Church Fellowship Hall when the larger animal yanked free from a person who had caught him and was awaiting the dog-control officer.
Frankee attacked and killed Jean Claude even as two woman kicked him, trying to save the poodle.
“This whole thing, everybody is kind of a loser in this situation,” Duvall said by phone. “There’s no good way to look at it.”
Judge James Kirby deemed Frankee a dangerous dog and required that he be restrained on a leash and supervised by an adult 21 years or older whenever he is on public premises, in accordance with New York State’s Agriculture and Market Law. Kirby could not be reached for further details.
As of Tuesday, Frankee was confined at Elmore SPCA.
“Even the folks at the SPCA said he shows no dog aggression or human aggression,” Duvall said. “He had gotten a hold of a cat before, but he’s never killed another animal.”
Duvall said he was at work when Frankee got loose.
“I had a friend over, and her 4-year-old accidentally let my dog out and didn’t tell anybody because he didn’t want to get in trouble.”
Tenants aren’t allowed to install fences on the lots in the Conwell Mobile Home Park where he lives, he said, and his landlady won’t allow Frankee to return.
Despite the past cat aggression, he said, his dog had never attacked another canine.
Duvall said his mother has a small poodle similar in size to Cioppa’s, and the two had gotten along well in the two years he has owned Frankee.
Duvall said his children, ages 2 and 5, have been asking where Frankee is, and he told them he’s not coming back because he did something bad.
Pitbulls have a bad reputation, he said, but the dogs aren’t inherently violent or unfriendly.
“I’d ask people to get to know the dog or the owner before they start pointing fingers or throwing out accusations or different things,” Duvall said. “Everybody thinks I’m such a bad person because I own a pitbull.”
Last week, Duvall was issued six citations, all Town Law violations stemming from the incident.
They include dog running at large; failure to license a dog; failure to affix proper identification on a dog; and dog causing damage to personal property. Another citation holds Duvall liable for any costs incurred from the damages, Peru Town Supervisor Peter Glushko said.
There is a mandatory $25 minimum fine for each citation, and one carries a $50 fine, he said.
Duvall was acquitted of the citation of a dog harassing a person.
He said this was likely because Cioppa did not wish to testify in court.
THANK YOU MESSAGE
A message from Cioppa thanking “all who showed kindness during the loss of Jean Claude” appeared on the LED sign the town has in Little AuSable Park, Glushko said.
“She asked me if it would be all right if I could put something up,” he said. “She had a outpouring of sympathy that was unbelievable. She was very touched by that.”
“I’ve pretty much come to terms with the whole thing now,” Duvall said. “The first few days were pretty hard.”
“It’s a shame that it happened, and it greatly affected the owner of the dog who was killed,” Glushko said. “She’s still working on getting over it.”
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