Pit bull dodges doggy death row for mauling Chihuahua

New York Post – by Lia Eustachewich

A Staten Island pit bull who fatally mauled a Chihuahua in May has dodged doggy death row.

Caesar’s owners sued to stop the pooch from being euthanized after he killed Charlie the Chihuahua. In an agreement hammered out Wednesday with the city, Caesar will be allowed to live as long as he undergoes training to “modify his aggressive behavior.” He is currently being housed at a retraining facility in New Jersey.  

Caesar’s owners, Douglas and Kristina Panattieri, agreed to foot the costs of housing and training, which could run them as much as $15,000.

As part of the agreement, the couple also must be trained on how to “control and manage” Caesar, who will only be released to them if he passes two trainers’ tests.

When he does get out, the 7-year-old dog also will have to wear a muzzle and leash whenever he’s in public, and only Kristina or Douglas will be allowed to handle him, according to the agreement.

CaesarPhoto: Facebook

Douglas said he and his wife are thrilled.

“He’s getting another chance, although we believe he was never a dangerous dog toward people or children,” he said. “We’re going to do everything we can to get him better and get him trained. The trainer is one of the best in the country.”

The Panattieris also plan to build a fence around their back yard so the dog can’t escape. They are prohibited from walking him within one block of an elementary, middle or high school between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

As part of the agreement, the Panattieris had to admit that Caesar killed Charlie the Chihuahua and left his owner, Eugene Charles, with 18 bite wounds.

“[Caesar’s] suffered a lot, and we’ve suffered,” said Douglas. “Everyone has done some suffering, especially the owners of the other dog. Our hearts go out to them as well. We just want to move on and move forward and have Caesar home with us.”

The pit bull has been in the custody of New York City Animal Care and Control since the fatal attack.

While locked up, he’s suffered pneumonia and recently had surgery to remove a potentially cancerous tumor on his leg.

Caesar will be allowed to immediately return home if he’s found to only have three months left to live, the agreement says.

The dog could wind up back on death row if there are any new allegations of him biting or acting aggressive and the city Health Department deems them to have merit.

Caesar was previously accused of killing a Maltese, attacking a woman in 2005 and killing that woman’s cat on a separate occasion — incidents that Douglas maintains have been misconstrued.

“The facts and circumstances are he never goes to bite people or children. He’s very good with children and people,” he said. “When you get to the facts, it changes the perspective.”

The Panattieris filed suit against the city in Manhattan Supreme Court to stop Caesar from being put to sleep and also one in Brooklyn federal court that claimed their constitutional rights were violated because he was seized.


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