Dog attack prompts review of laws in N.Y. Mills
Victim bitten 15 times; gets more than 115 stitches
Friday, Nov 10, 2006
By Rocco LaDuca
NEW YORK MILLS - Jack Burth did everything he could to protect his throat from a raging pit bull that attacked him Wednesday morning in New York Mills, the 69-year-old Sauquoit man said.
And if five more minutes had passed before "Boomer" was pulled away, the pit bull-Dalmatian mix might have killed him, he said.
"It was a nightmare, but I just thank God he got me instead of some kid," he said. "If it was a little kid ... he probably would have killed them."
As Burth recovered Thursday from dog bites that ripped muscle and cut to the bone of his leg and arms, he joined New York Mills Police Chief Bradley Frankland in calling for a limit on the kinds of dangerous dogs people can own in the village.
Frankland said he planned on talking to village officials about the local laws. He suggested stricter leash laws and a way to limit or record the number of dangerous dogs locally.
"We have to look at preventative measures now to see what we can do to address our village codes so we can protect our citizenry a little bit more without violating anyone's constitutional rights," he said.
Burth said he was bitten about 15 times, requiring more than 150 stitches. Doctors told him it would be between four to six weeks before he can return to work.
"There are so many good breeds of dogs that are friendly, so why does somebody have to get a rottweiler or pit bull? They're fighting dogs," Burth said. "Get a cocker spaniel or beagle, for God's sake."
John Ortel of Pleasant Street bought Boomer from a humane society about five weeks ago. Ortel's brother-in-law, Kenneth Roland, was walking the dog near their home around 10 a.m. when Burth spotted it from across the road and slowed his jog.
Boomer then pulled out from its collar and darted for Burth. It bumped Burth with its nose in what seemed to be a friendly gesture, until the dog then ripped Burth's sleeve off, he said.
Moments later, Burth was on the ground fighting to survive as he confronted Boomer's "scary, slobbering face."
"I first said, 'Come on, take it easy. Stop, stop.' But then I started yelling, 'For God's sake, help me,'" Burth said. "I knew he was trying to get my throat to kill me."
Minutes later, Ortel's wife came out and pulled the dog away. Shortly after police and a dog control officer arrived, Ortel agreed to have the dog euthanized, Frankland said. Ortel couldn't be reached Thursday.
Other than that, however, Frankland said he isn't aware at this time of any other penalty police can impose on Boomer's owner.