Owner of dog that killed Chihuahua pleads guilty
YOUNGSTOWN — The owner of a dog that killed a neighbor’s Chihuahua Aug. 27 on Alameda Avenue, and injured the Chihuahua owner’s thumb, has pleaded guilty to three minor misdemeanor charges.
Tim Mezakowski, 37, of Alameda Avenue, pleaded guilty in Youngstown Municipal Court to failure to register a dog, failure to confine a dog and failure to vaccinate the dog.
Magistrate Meghan Brundege ordered Mezakowski to pay court costs of $70 and $5 fines on each offense, totaling $85. Mezakowski pleaded guilty during his Friday arraignment. An investigator from the Mahoning County Dog Warden’s Office filed the charges.
A call Monday to the dog warden’s office to ask whether additional action will be taken against Mezakowski’s dog, such as asking the court to declare it vicious, was not returned.
But Mezakowski and the owner of the Chihuahua said Monday there is a meeting planned for today for the dog warden’s office to talk to Mezakowski about the possibility that the dog warden’s office will seek a vicious-dog designation for his dog.
Mezakowski said Monday he thinks the reason his dog bit the Chihuahua is because his dog thought the Chihuahua was a chipmunk or groundhog. He said his dog chases chipmunks and groundhogs in the side yard of his home all the time.
Mezakowski said the day of the incident that his wife took their dog outside but went back inside for a couple of minutes, and, during that time, the attack happened.
He said the issue that the dog warden’s office cares about is that his dog bit the owner on the thumb, but Mezakowski said that is because the owner, Shanise Clark, put her hand down in front of his
dog to stop it from attacking her dog.
“My dog went and looked at that other dog as prey,” Mezakowski said. He said Clark had her dog on a retractable leash, “which meant her dog was too far away from her.” He said he did not see what happened.
“My dog is social with other dogs,” he said.
He said it has never bitten anyone. He got the dog from a shelter last September and did not know that the dog’s license was expiring early this year and that the dog needed to be vaccinated again.
Clark was told about the retractable leash remark, and she said the real issue is that the “dog came across the street on my property and attacked my dog. Whether I have a retractable leash or not, that doesn’t make it OK to come across the street and attack my dog. That dog was not on a leash.”
Mezakowski said after his dog grabbed Clark’s dog the first time, it let the Chihuahua go. He said his dog “went to grab the dog again, and (Clark) stuck her hand out to stop (his dog), and that’s how she got bit. She was bit on the hand. My dog did not attack her. My dog did not go after her.”
He said his dog was loose for about two minutes. He said his dog is considered an “unknown mix,” but not a pit-bull mix, and does not bark or stand up if a person comes to his door or comes into his yard. He said his dog goes to places where lots of people are, and it “don’t bother anybody. She’ll just lay there, let people pet her.”
According to a Youngstown police report, the attack took place in the 200 block of Alameda at about 2:19 p.m. Aug. 27. The report stated that the Chihuahua’s owner, Clark, let the dog, Jazzy, 4, out in the front yard when the pit bull mix from across the street crossed and started to attack. The pit bull mix was not restrained on a leash or restraint, police said.
Clark tried to separate the two dogs and was bitten on the thumb by the neighbor’s dog, and Jazzy did not survive. A Youngstown police officer observed two puncture wounds on Clark’s thumb consistent with a bite, the report states. Clark was treated by ambulance personnel but declined to be taken to the hospital.
Mezakowski told police he and his family own the pit bull mix. Police told him to quarantine their dog until contacted by the dog warden’s office.
Clark told The Vindicator she and Jazzy were walking back to their home when Clark saw the neighbor’s dog “running toward (Jazzy) full force, and I tried to grab her up with her leash, and the dog snatches her in his mouth and starts violently shaking her.”
Clark said she “stuck my hand in the way. He bit my thumb and he released my thumb and he picked (Jazzy) up and did it again, and I started screaming, and he did it again, and then threw her in the neighbor’s yard.”
Jazzy weighed four pounds.
Clark paid $350 to have Jazzy cremated, and she expects more costs to treat her for the dog bite, including rabies shots she has received.