In what was once considered a quiet and peaceful neighborhood in Rochester Hills, residents have become concerned for their own safety as they take walks, as well as the safety of their children, grandchildren and pets as they play.
According to reports, TWO PIT BULLS that have been terrorizing the neighborhood jumped over a resident's fence and attacked the dogs there, resulting in the death of an 8-month-old Pekinese puppy named Lacey.
Katherine Torchia said she let her Pekinese dogs out into her fenced backyard. Minutes later, she heard barking and looked out to see what was happening. There were two pit bulls at her fence. She ran outside, accompanied by her 13-year-old son, and attempted to pick up their little dogs as quickly as they could.
"Just as we got to them, one of the pit bulls jumped our fence and then the other one followed," she said. The pit bulls proceeded to attack the little dogs, grabbing them in their mouths and shaking them. "I had just picked up 8-month-old Lacey when the larger male grabbed her out of my hands. He shook her very hard over and over."
Eventually, she and her son were able to retrieve the dogs and get them inside, but not before Lacey was severely injured.
A call was made to 911 and Katherine left to take Lacey to an animal hospital.
Katherine's husband, Don, waited for the animal control officer to arrive. In the meantime, the pit bulls jumped back over the fence and took off into the neighborhood."I found them accosting another neighbor's dog," Don said. "The animal control officer arrived, rounded them up and impounded them overnight."
To Don's dismay, the dogs were back in the neighborhood the following day.
Unfortunately, Lacey did not return home. The veterinarian at Long Lake Animal Hospital treated her for shock. He said she had severe puncture wounds on her back and had little to no movement in her hindquarters. Radiographs indicated her spine had been severed.
"This injury would have caused considerable pain as well as complete posterior paralysis to Lacey," said veterinarian Richard Havas. "She would not have been able to recover from her injuries, so she was humanely euthanized."
The Torchias were devastated. Don said they had looked for more than a year for a Pekinese puppy.
"My wife worked and sold things on eBay so we could afford to purchase Lacey," he said. "We called her 'Pretty Baby.' She would come to that name. She was adorable."
Don spoke during the public comment period at a recent City Council meeting. He briefly shared the story of Lacey and asked what measures could be taken to prevent something like this from happening again.
Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett contacted city attorney John Staran the next day regarding the matter.
Staran said it appears the pit bull owners may have violated a number of city ordinances, which are misdemeanors each punishable by a $500 fine or up to 90 days in jail.
The Rochester Hills Code of Ordinances states that a dog is not to run at large unless under the immediate control of its owner or an immediate member of the family. It also states that a dog is not to destroy property or to habitually trespass in a damaging way on property of people other than the owner, and no owner at any time shall allow any dog to attack, molest or bite a person or any other animal.
Staran is evaluating ordinances in other communities, some of which have very stringent rules regarding dogs of a violent or vicious nature.
Discussion regarding the current ordinance and ordinances adopted by other communities is scheduled to take place at today's council meeting.