Pit bull leaps to rescue
on Sat, Nov. 08, 2003
BY HECTOR FLORIN
Anthony Romaro got the scare of his life Wednesday night when two Akita dogs, each weighing about 100 pounds, attacked him near his best friend's home in Coral Springs.
But another kind of dog -- a type also known for vicious attacks -- may have saved the boy from more serious injuries.
Witnesses said a 2-year-old pit bull named Missy played the part of hero during the attack.
Missy, witnesses say, pulled the two Akitas -- Cella and Baci -- off Anthony after several struggles during a 15-minute span.
Anthony, a 7-year-old Hunt Elementary School second-grader, is recovering after surgery at Coral Springs Medical Center. The dogs ripped much of Anthony's left ear and bit his skull before Missy fought them off of him, said Anthony's mother, Stephanie McGuire.
''He's doing better today,'' McGuire said on Friday.
Missy suffered scrapes and cuts on the shoulders and buttocks, received a few stitches, and is back home.
''Missy saved the day,'' said her owner, Scott , who asked that The Herald not publish his last name. ``She just went out there and broke the fight up.''
Coral Springs police cited Sandra Ashley, the owner of the Akitas, for not putting a leash on the dogs, not attaching dog tags, not having proper rabies vaccinations and for biting Anthony. The fines are more than $800.
McGuire, who is friends with Ashley, hasn't decided whether to press charges.
The two Akitas are at the Broward County Animal Care and Regulation Division as Coral Springs police complete a dangerous-dog investigation, said animal care spokesman Allan Siegel.
Whether or not Anthony antagonized the dogs, and how the dogs got loose, are among the issues police are investigating.
If the Akitas are found to be dangerous, one of three things could happen, Siegel said. The owner may keep the dogs if she meets certain requirements, such as muzzling them when she leaves the home, and putting a dangerous-dog sign on the property. She may also appeal the decision, or surrender the dogs and have them euthanized.
Police and witnesses said Anthony and some friends were outside Ashley's home when the dogs escaped just before 7 p.m. Wednesday.
''The dogs got out of the house,'' said Sgt. Rich Nicorvo of the Coral Springs Police Department. ``They bit him pretty bad.''
Scott, the pit bull's owner who lives next door, was drinking coffee outside his house when the attack started. He handed another witness a metal pipe to get the Akitas off Anthony.
The unidentified person used the pipe to hit the dogs, but they continued attacking.
''They were really mauling him,'' said Scott, whose son, James, is Anthony's best friend.
Scott then let Missy out of the house to break up the fight. Police did not document any information about the pit bull.
Akitas have been known to attack humans. Last month, doctors euthanized an Akita owned by Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor after the dog bit 15-year-old Jonathon Raof on the arms and legs.
The Akita Club of America Web site states the dogs have ''complex'' personalities and, while intelligent and loyal, can ''exhibit aggressive tendencies,'' though not necessarily toward people.
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