Rock, the 4-year-old pit bull who reportedly attacked a man in northwest Austin earlier this month, will be put down after the Austin City Council found him to be a dangerous dog Monday during a public meeting. The council voted 6-1 with Jeremy Carolan dissenting to euthanize the dog during a dangerous dog appeal put forward by Sonia Smith, his owner.
Rock reportedly jumped on a man walking near the 600 block of Sixth Avenue on July 1 and tried to bite him, according to police reports. Police Officer April Klein, who responded to the call, told the council Monday the man suffered a scratch near his eye and eventually sought medical care. The victim told police he had to push, punch and fight off the dog to get him away.
Rock had previously twice attacked mail carriers in 2013 and 2014, and allegedly ran after a father and his 6-year-old daughter walking to Sumner Elementary School in December 2014. The dog allegedly grabbed onto the student’s backpack before the father scared him away.
In the other incidents, mail carriers had to swing their bags or use mace to get Rock to leave them alone. In one incident, Rock grabbed the mail carrier’s bag and wouldn’t let go.
Smith tearfully told the council the dog was really friendly and just playing around.
“He doesn’t know that he’s as big as he is and scary,” she said. “I HAVE HIM AROUND CHILDREN A LOT.”
Though Smith said she would be willing to put electric fencing on her property and take other measures to keep Rock on her property, the council believed the dog posed too great a danger to residents.
“The evidence is pretty overwhelming, when it’s made aggressive contact with four people, that the public is in danger of your dog,” Council member Steve King said.
Carolan had questioned whether the city could keep Rock while Smith made changes to her property, but the council voted to put the dog down instead.
Mayor Tom Stiehm said though the council deals with dangerous dog complaints on a regular basis, it’s always difficult to approve euthanizing a dog.
“It’s something we don’t take lightly,” he said. “We take this very seriously.”