Prosecutor: Murder suspect’s dogs saw ‘child as meal’

7 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Crowd remembers boy mauled by pit bulls.

DETROIT (AP) — The owner of pit bulls that dragged a 4-year-old Detroit boy from his mother and killed him was charged with second-degree murder, a prosecutor announced Monday, describing the attack as a “harrowing example” of reckless ownership. The Detroit Free Press and WDIV-TV report the candlelight vigil was held Saturday evening for Xavier Strickland on the city’s west side, near where he was dragged away Wednesday by the dogs.Days after pit bulls fatally mauled 4-year-old Xavier Strickland, dozens of people turned the Detroit scene into a human shrine — praying, singing hymns, and sharing stories about a boy who touched many lives. The ordinance would have required owners to spay or neuter their dogs, license their dogs and obtain $100,000 worth of liability insurance for each dog.

Three were killed; a fourth was seized and euthanized. “We get calls every day at our office about injuries caused by dogs with dangerous owners,” attorney Mark Bernstein said. “But this affects our region more profoundly — it’s the death of a child.” Lodge Service Drive and Baylis holds horrific memories for Xavier’s mother, Lucille Strickland, who frantically tried to save her son after four pit bulls viciously attacked him Wednesday as she was walking him to Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. As recently as 2006, Watson and other council members acted after a spate of deaths that included that of Cassidy Jeter, a 6-year-old Hamtramck child killed by two pit bull terriers as she walked home with her brother.

People who fear pit bulls and abhor the danger they present point to veterinarians’ comments that the dogs are trained mostly to use their massive jaws to fight, to do damage. A pit bull or any other large or ferocious dog, stops being a pet when it is roaming loose and makes people have to wait to get into their cars to go to work as one neighbor told the Free Press after Xavier’s death.

City Council President Brenda Jones said the council would “take a fresh look into existing laws to determine what may be needed to provide a safer environment and protection from vicious animals.” “We’ve got a ton of them in Detroit, but I just don’t see the pet aspect,” he said. “The only thing we’re going to get out of this, if the prosecutor decides to follow through on manslaughter charges, is someone will wind up doing a little time. And a civil lawsuit might get the family some money.” “Unfortunately, until we get an ordinance that can stop this kind of thing, I don’t know what we can do,” Beckham said. “They are almost like lethal weapons on the loose, and we have too many incidents like this. The city’s eight-member animal control department, a fraction of the size it once was, will soon be moving from law enforcement jurisdiction to the city’s health department.

Even if the city council attempts to write an ordinance, its members will have to deal with a state legislature that thinks it should decide what’s safe on the streets of Detroit. Prohibit some dogs, regulate others, anything as long as Lansing decides what local officials should do rather than local officials deciding what’s best for their residents. The city must do something before residents choose to do something for themselves, like using the guns that Police Chief James Craig has encouraged residents to get to protect their homes or deciding to use some well-placed poison. But until we decide that children and families are more important than dangerous dogs, someone else is going to die — and eventually someone will sue the city.

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