NORTH SMITHFIELD – The rescue greyhound from Saint Paul Street that was attacked by a neighbor’s pit bull has died as a result of its injuries, family members have confirmed.
Mike Calo said the dog, Lady, succumbed Friday afternoon in an East Greenwich veterinary hospital, one week after the mauling.
He said the cause of death was heart failure due to complications resulting from the attack.
“I would like to thank the staff of the Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in their heroic attempt at saving her from her devastating injuries,” Calo told The Call in an e-mail. “We have no further comments at this time.”
Calo’s 82-year-old aunt was walking Lady in her yard at 175 St. Paul St. on Sept. 13 when a neighbor’s pit bull came after the dog and bit her repeatedly. The elderly woman was also knocked to the ground and bitten on the hands when she tried to protect the greyhound. She was treated at Landmark Medical Center and released.
Lady underwent multiple surgeries for a series of deep bite wounds but her condition was never described as anything better than critical after the attack.
The breed lineage of the other dog has been a matter of some dispute since the attack. The owners maintain the aggressor canine was a mixed-breed with some pit bull in its makeup. The police seemed to back up that assessment by referring to the animal as a “mixed breed canine” in official statements.
But Calo says he has checked records on the animal and insists it was a pit bull.
Police identified the owner of the animal as William Figuerido of 155 St. Paul St. They say he obtained the animal from the North Kingstown Animal Shelter just weeks before the attack and brought him back there afterwards because he no longer wanted the dog. North Kingtown authorities, however, later ordered the dog transferred to the local pound, saying the animal should have been quarantined in a shelter located in the town where the attack occurred.
The 10-day rabies quarantine was apparently ordered by Animal Control Officer Scott Goodwin as precaution, because the animal is believed to have been vaccinated.
Efforts to reach Goodwin Monday were not successful. But Dr. E.J. Finocchio, director of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says “there are a couple of possible scenarios” for what could happen to the dog now.
He said either North Smithfield, as the current owner of the dog, or the woman who was attacked, could ask state authorities to hold a hearing to determine whether the dog is vicious. If the town requests the hearing, the woman would have to testify or the hearing would be inconclusive, leaving it up to the town to decide what to do with the animal.
Euthanasia would be an option, given that the animal’s track record makes it an unlikely candidate for adoption.
The fatal attack is just the latest in a string of violent incidents tied to pit bulls in the Blackstone Valley. In early July, the North Smithfield police shot and killed a pit bull that attacked five people at a party on Eddie Dowling Highway.
A pit bull attacked two leashed dogs and their owner in the Manville section of Lincoln on Aug. 22, killing one of the pets and wounding the other.
All this comes on the heels of a new law passed by the General Assembly prohibiting communities from passing “breed specific” legislation to outlaw pit bulls. The law has been challenged by a pit bull owner in Pawtucket, which had been enforcing a ban on pit bulls for several years. Pawtucket is fighting the challenge, arguing that the state law cannot be applied retroactively.
Follow Russ Olivo on Twitter @russolivo