There are two different stories from two different dog owners about how a tussle between Alexis, a Pomeranian mix, and Peshie, a pit bull mix, started on the evening of July 1 at 18 Fiore St.
What’s not in dispute is that by the end, Alexis was dead and Peshie was quarantined.
The incident has left the two neighbors at odds over how the encounter began and one of the owners exploring the possibility of civil litigation.
The dog mauling took place four days after Jocelyn G. Winfrey, 53, died from injuries following a June 20 attack. The two dogs involved in that attack, American bulldog mixes, were euthanized last week. The fatal attack on Winfrey prompted a city local alder to consider a possible ban of to address “vicious” dogs.
Alexis’ owner, Narcisa Ortiz, alleges Peshie killed Alexis after the larger dog jumped over a fence from its owner’s property at 1628 Quinnipiac Ave. toward her backyard at 18 Fiore St. while she was replacing an item on her above-ground pool in preparation for a party.
Peshie’s owner, Jennifer Delucia, alleges that her dog only engaged Alexis after the smaller canine went under Ortiz’s fence and provoked the bigger dog. Delucia said Peshie then followed Alexis to Ortiz’s yard. Delucia said the small dog had a habit of going into her yard.
The New Haven police report draws no definitive conclusions about the incident. According to the report, police were dispatched to Ortiz’s address at 5:18 p.m. for an animal complaint. The report includes versions of the events described by both dog owners, including that Peshie held Alexis by the neck for at least two minutes while shaking his head. The incident report was obtained by the New Haven Register through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The only immediate outcome of the incident was Delucia being issued an infraction for allowing a dog to roam. No other charges were filed. Police confirmed Tuesday that the investigation into the incident is closed. Based on the police report, there was no indication Pershie was aggressive toward people during the incident.
Delucia said she plans to challenge the $92 infraction, while Ortiz said she’s collecting evidence for a possible civil action against Delucia for damages and emotional distress. Ortiz alleges Peshie damaged items on her property during the attack.
Peshie was placed in quarantine at the city Animal Control Shelter following the incident but was released last week, Animal Control Officer Joseph Manganiello said Monday. By order from the agency, Peshie is not allowed in public without a muzzle, which Delucia said she’s hoping to overturn.
Ortiz, who has two other dogs, said she was near the pool with all three dogs on July 1 when Peshie jumped over a 2-foot-high wire fence that borders Ortiz’s property. Ortiz said she has tried before to erect a higher fence, but she stopped because Delucia complained it was “ugly.” Ortiz alleges Peshie had jumped the fence once before the July 1 incident.
“The pit bull jumped and grabbed the chubbiest dog, Alexis, so when the pit bull came, I grabbed my two other dogs ... and put them in a storage shed,” Ortiz said in Spanish.
A video of the attack recorded by Ortiz and a friend shows the pit bull biting the smaller Pomeranian, holding the dog down while blood is visible near the smaller dog’s hindquarters. Ortiz can be heard screaming, “stop.” Seconds later, the video cuts to Delucia calling Ortiz expletives as she enters Ortiz’s property near her driveway. The police report also includes this detail, calling it a “verbal altercation” with Ortiz.
“Your dog came on my property and my dog killed your dog because you’re a stupid (expletive) that can’t control your dog,” Delucia said toward Ortiz in the video as family members appear to try to calm her. Near the end of the same video, Ortiz can be heard weeping.
Delucia said Tuesday she reacted that way because Ortiz allegedly threw stones at Peshie and she doesn’t take back what she said. She added that Peshie is incapable of jumping over the fence.
“I’m sorry your dog died, but what do you want me to do?” Delucia said Tuesday. Both women said there have been issues in the past between the two involving fencing and the dogs.
Delucia Monday said the Pomeranian mix had bitten her son prior to this month’s incident. Delucia described Peshie as a friendly dog that usually gets along with other dogs. According to the report, Delucia told police that Alexis came into her yard by going under the fence, prompting a fight with Peshie near the fence that eventually made its way back to Ortiz’s property.
A second video, which is a recording of a cellphone video take by Ortiz’s friend, appears to show Peshie biting Alexis near the neck, jerking his head from side to side while dragging the smaller dog, which appears to be alive. The video shows Peshie being sprayed with a water hose by Ortiz as she tries to remove the dog, which the police report also confirms. Peshie’s owners can be heard telling the dog to stop and are seen trying to take the dog off the smaller dog using a pole.
The two videos were provided to the Register by Ortiz. The videos were also turned over to police during the investigation, according to the report. Due to the graphic nature of the videos, the Register is choosing not to publish them.
Manganiello said Peshie’s vaccinations were up to date when he was taken into quarantine. The incident on July 1 was about “which dog was wandering on which property,” he said.
Pershie’s reaction doesn’t necessarily mean he poses a danger toward people, however.
“A lot of dogs have a lot of aggression, which doesn’t make them aggressive (toward others), they’re just territorial and just don’t like other dogs,” Manganiello said.
Manganiello said his office gets about one or two calls per week about dog-related incidents, but most are usually minor. He added he recommends do owners keep control of their animals, either through a leash or a space that can contain them.
The incident, ultimately, is about dog owners keeping control of their pets, Manganiello said.
“Both dogs kind of had free-range, which isn’t a good thing to do,” Manganiello said. “That’s how all these incidents occurred, people not having control.”