MAMARONECK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A dangerous pit bull will no longer terrorize a Westchester community, after a controversial decision by a judge on Tuesday.
As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reports, the Mamaroneck Village Court judge ruled the pit bull a dangerous animal, and ordered owners David Rigano and his wife to surrender the animal to a shelter.
As Rigano and his wife left court, they had very little to say. They did not answer whether they thought the decision would satisfy their neighbors.
One of those neighbors is Josephine Catalfamo, 75. She was walking her French breed named Ane on Florence Street, when Rigano’s pit bull got out and attacked the 11-pound dog. The pit bull would not let go.
“I was punching him. I said, ‘No!’ I wanted him to release the dog. I was trying to, I said, ‘No, please, let her go!’” she said.
But by the time the pit bull’s owner came out and pulled the dogs apart, it was too late. Ane died as a result of the attack.
The pit bull also tore off the tip of one of Catalfamo’s left fingertips, and punctured another. She said she had to take pain killers and that she had trouble sleeping afterward.
The pit bull had wounded another dog weeks before.
But following the judge’s order Tuesday, the pit bull was taken to a Long Island animal shelter, where it will be either confined for life, or humanely put down.
“I have two grandchildren, and I’m relieved that the dog is not going to get loose again,” said Cynthia Apicella.
Residents are glad the pit bull is gone from the block, but some want to ensure it can never come back.
“I think they should have put the dog to sleep,” another neighbor said.
Now, a debate is brewing over specifically banning pit bulls in Mamaroneck, but the mayor says such a law would violate New York State code.
“You cannot enact a law, BSL – which stands for breed-specific legislation – that points to one type of dog – whether it be a pit bull, German shepherd, or any other type of dog,” said Mamaroneck Mayor Norman Rosenblum.
Rigano pleaded guilty to a violation and faces a maximum $1,500 fine