BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Some homeowners in Baton Rouge want the parish to put down a dog they claim is terrorizing their neighborhood. Many of them said the pit mix has attacked them more than once.
The dog is locked up at East Baton Rouge Animal Control, and now its owner is fighting to keep it alive.
Several lifelong residents of the Highland Park area said the dog, Jack, is putting their lives in danger. They said his owners, Gina Dipietro and
Bonnie Blalock, are doing a bad job of keeping him in their backyard.
"I have two incidents where I got bitten from Jack repeatedly," Rose Mazerack said.
Rose Mazerack lives next door to Jack's owners. She said the dog attacked her in December 2012 when she was walking to her mailbox. She said it happened again this summer when she was getting out of her truck.
"This time it bit me here (arm), here (arm), went up my sleeve and got here. That's not far from my neck," Mazerack explained.
Dale Carter, who lives around the corner, said he was attacked by Jack and another small dog that also belongs to the couple in July while he was out for a walk.
"I had a cell phone in my hand and the big one bit my arm and the little one bit me above the ankle," Carter said.
Carter said he had to be treated by a doctor.
"[The doctor] had to put three stitches in it just to pull the flesh back together," Carter said.
Carter and Mazerack are only two of several neighbors who have reported Jack to EBR Animal Control.
According to records obtained by 9News, at least 19 people reported they were attacked by Jack since 2012. After receiving more complaints this summer, agents picked up the dog and put him under observation.
In August, EBR Animal Control classified Jack as a "dangerous dog." That meant his owners had to take certain steps to get him back. That included getting liability insurance, placing signs on their front door and gate warning people that they have a dangerous dog, and making sure Jack wears a muzzle. But Jack's case was not over.
"Animal control came out on August 25 and gave us a letter stating we had 24 hours to turn Jack back over to the shelter or they would seek warrants for our arrests," Dipietro said.
Their neighbors, still worried the measures were not enough, have petitioned to parish leaders to have the dog labeled "vicious," meaning it would have to be put down.
Jack's owners said they have not had a fair chance to appeal. They want their dog back.
"He's our family. We made a commitment to him, and we want him back," Dipietro said.
But those who claim they were assaulted by Jack said releasing him would be too risky.
"It's like playing Wheel of Fortune. There's a thing that's $10,000 or bankrupt and you don't land on it but if you land on it you either get $10,000 which means Jack doesn't bite me, or a bankrupt which means he gets to me and he bites me," Mazerack explained.
"All I'm concerned about is the safety of the people in our neighborhood," Carter said.
A hearing is scheduled for next Monday, September 14, at 8:30 a.m. The dog will remain at parish animal control until then.