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Dog lovers: Loose pit bulls are terrorizing Midwood • Brooklyn Paper

Dog lovers: Loose pit bulls are terrorizing Midwood

Midwood residents say stray pit bulls have been on the loose. One resident says the dogs emerged from the back of this empty house on E. 17th Street before pouncing on her pooch.
Photo by Bess Adler

Dog lovers in Midwood say a pack of stray pit bulls have killed one pooch and viciously mauled another in Midwood — yet teams of city Animal Care and Control specialists can’t seem to track the two hellish hounds down.

Rescue unit members have been unable to locate the apparently ownerless canines — witnesses to the attacks say one of the dogs is a solid tan color, the other striped — despite scouring the Long Island Rail Road tracks near Brooklyn College and following up on tips from alarmed neighbors, a city spokesman said.

“We have been to the area several times, but we haven’t seen [them],” city spokesman Richard Gentles said. “We are going to continue to monitor the situation.”

The city has received six complaints about the dogs since April. Cops were also alerted, but police say the four-legged assailants are the responsibility of animal rescuers.

“We’re not going to be driving around looking for dogs,” said an NYPD spokesman. “If there’s a dog out there that may injure someone, then we’ll try and have Animal Care and Control pick it up.”

That’s little comfort to Natalie Reif, who says her tail-wagger Rosie was jumped by the hounds as she walked the small King Charles Cavalier along Ocean Avenue between Avenues H and I just before the holidays. Reis said the growling dogs emerged from under a fence lining an empty lot. One of them, she claims, grabbed Rosie by the ear and swung her around until her beloved pet fell unconscious.

“She looked like some sort of stuffed doll!” said Reif, who had to have Rosie put down after the assault left her comatose.

Another resident says the rampaging dogs attacked her cockapoo, Bunbury, on two separate occasions since March, biting and bloodying the dog badly enough to give it an infection.

Fortunately Bunbury survived the assaults — after its 79-year-old owner spent more than $500 in veterinarian fees. Now, the senior, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says she carries a cane around with her to protect both herself and her four-legged friend from future dog attacks.

“What’s to stop these animals from mistaking a child for a dog?” she asked.

Experts say pit bulls, which some breed for dog fighting, are not inherently dangerous, but their loyalty and toughness make them particularly susceptible to cruel owners who can raise them to be vicious.

“Anything with teeth can be dangerous,” said Kristen Collins, who works to rehabilitate dogs seized from fighting operations with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “But pit bulls are very strong dogs — they’re agile and muscular and they can be very tenacious. Because of what we’ve made them do, they can be more readily aggressive to other dogs sometimes.”

Collins said that if the two dogs being sought are indeed pit bulls, they are probably not used for dog fighting, even though she noted dog fighting is prevalent in Brooklyn.

“It’s highly unlikely a dog fighter would let a dog go, because the dogs are an investment,” she said.

Residents say they will continue to fret over the safety of their dogs — and themselves — until the two terrors are caught.

“It’s very difficult to get the memory [of our dogs being attacked] out of our minds,” said Reis. “It’s a nightmare we can’t forget.”

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

Cockapoo Bunbury was attacked twice by the stray pit bulls — the second time bad enough to contract an infection — and was lucky to survive, says the pooch’s owner.

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