South Side dog attack puts mail carrier in hospital

By joe gorman


One man was wheeled out of Youngstown Municipal Court just before his arraignment Thursday after being cited on charges of obstructing justice after his dog mauled a letter carrier.

The carrier is hospitalized in intensive care, officials said.

Another man in a separate case, accused of choking a dog on a West Side street, was discovered to be a missing person from Bakersfield, Calif., after his arrest.

Both incidents took place about the same time Wednesday afternoon in different parts of town.

About 2:40 p.m. on the South Side, officers were called to the 700 block of Winona Drive when an assistant dog warden and paramedics called for help after a letter carrier, Shawn Miller, suffered a bite from his lower jaw to his eye, reports said.

While there, the dog’s owner, Robert Baldowski, 60, was rude to emergency workers, according to reports.

Reports said Baldowski would not give information to police, and he also said Miller was at fault for provoking his dog, a Rottweiler-Doberman mix.

Baldowski said he served in the Vietnam War and did not care that the letter carrier was injured, reports said.

Reports said the dog was chained but broke loose and bit Miller as he prepared to pepper spray it. Miller was taken to the intensive-care unit at St. Elizabeth Health Center, according to reports.

Dog Warden Dave Nelson said postal inspectors were at the house Thursday and interviewing witnesses, and there is a chance Baldowski might face federal charges. Nelson said during his tenure on the job he has seen only three other attacks on carriers that have been this vicious.

Baldowski told police he had no permit for the dog and the dog had no shots. He continued to be uncooperative, and police arrested him on charges of obstruction of official business after warning him several times about his behavior, but as he was about to be put into a squad car, he complained of being ill.

Officers instead cited him and gave him a court date of 10 a.m. Thursday, but before court started, he slumped in his wheelchair and was later treated on the floor by paramedics before being taken to St. Elizabeth.

Reports said Baldowski was ordered to quarantine the dog for 10 days. He could take the dog outside on a leash, but he could not leave the dog outside. Nelson said his office is waiting before filing charges to see if Baldowski could be charged in federal court or with a felony in municipal court.

David Van Allen of the U.S. Postal Service in Cleveland said Miller was still in the hospital late Thursday. He said there have been 10 recorded dog bites and two more incidents involving dogs in Youngstown this year, but Miller’s is the worst case.

Van Allen said Miller has been working for the postal service since 2012 and was assigned to the Cornersburg office, which delivers mail to the East Side. He said Cornersburg leads the city in dog-bite incidents with four.

Meanwhile, also Wednesday, about 3:10 p.m. on the West Side, Jacob Tyree Sanders, 20, was arrested on charges of animal cruelty and obstructing official business. There, another dog warden was called for a report of a man on Belle Vista Avenue hanging a dog. At least two employees of a gas station at the corner of Belle Vista and Mahoning avenues also witnessed Sanders abusing the animal, reports said.

Nelson, who was on this call along with Mill Creek MetroParks police, said Sanders first tried to put the dog over his shoulder, then he held the dog up in the air by its collar and started choking it.

“He said, ‘This is how I train my dog,’” Nelson said. “He said the dog wouldn’t listen and that’s why he [choked] it.”

When officers tried to handcuff him, he pulled away, and once he was cuffed it took two officers to put him in a cruiser because he refused to get inside, reports said.

A records check showed Sanders is reported missing from Bakersfield, Calif. He is expected to be arraigned today in municipal court.

Reports said the small mixed-breed dog ran away as officers dealt with Sanders. They tried to coax it back to them, but the dog ran into Calvary Cemetery and could not be found.

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