Local Resident and Puppy Attacked by Pit Bull on Clinton Street (Updated)

Photo: WABC.

Photo: WABC.

A Lower East Side couple has gone public with news of a pit bull attack on Clinton Street Tuesday night. Christine Mancuso and Tim Bremer say they were walking Barnaby, their 5-month-old puppy, near Rivington Street when the mauling happened. After Bremer jumped in to intervene, the pit bull bit him repeatedly.  More details from Channel 7:

Mancuso and Bremer talked to Channel 7 about the incident:
“Grabs hold of his paw and I dive over him to get him out of it,” said Bremer, the dog’s owner. “My hands were just pretty much inside the pit bull.” During the commotion Bremer says the pit bull’s owner stood by helpless as he pried Barnaby’s injured leg away and chased the terrified pup down the street. “He just bolted all the way back home and I just ran after him and finally caught up with him. By that time the owners of the other dog had gone away,” Bremer said. “Thankfully the dog didn’t break any of Bremer’s fingers, but we have had to go get rabies shots because we don’t know who the owner is,” said Christine Mancuso, the pet owner. Barnaby now has three fractures in his front paw and isn’t capable of walking for at least a month. Meanwhile, Bremer suffered 23 puncture wounds to his hands and the medical and vet bills between the two are mounting. “This dog is still out there and so it’s scary,” Mancuso said.
The couple hopes the pit bull’s owner comes forward. Bremer and Mancuso told Channel 4 that they contacted police, but were told it’s “a civil matter” and they could not become involved. Manny Gomez, a security expert and former NYPD officer consulted by the television station, agreed with that assessment. “There wasn’t any reckless behavior. The dog was on a leash, the owner clearly had control of the dog and tried to maintain control of the dog during this attack,” he said. “So I don’t see anything criminal here. Civilly, yes. There’s absolutely a civil suit.”
pit bull screen grab
(Screen grab from security camera video; the tape is posted on Channel 7’s website).

UPDATE 12/20: Last night we heard from Christine Mancuso, who asked us to publish the photo you see below of the pit bull’s owner. Mancuso is hoping someone will recognize her. She also wanted to, “warn other residents to stay away from this woman and her dog if they see her walking on the street.”

“Since the incident,” Mancuso said,  “I have been very apprehensive to possibly come across that dog again–and also extremely worried that someone else will face the same fate as we did.”

DOG OWNER

In the comments following WABC’s story, a number of readers sounded off on the issue of pit bulls. Mancuso asked us to publish the following statement in response to those comments:

I had two main goals by going to the media: first and foremost, to find the responsible dog owner; second, to shed light on where we as a community should be focusing our anger–which I wholeheartedly believe should not be the pit bulls themselves. I learned the hard way in NYC, if your dog is attacked or even killed, you will have absolutely no recourse with the police or the city. The police will refuse to get involved because they will claim it is a civil matter. The health department will refuse to even take a report unless a human was bit. City officials, and their agencies and police, will ultimately shrug at dog attack victims saying “it’s not our problem.” If you really want to point a finger at who is responsible for victimizing innocent pet owners or bite victims, it should be at our law makers and police force who turn a blind eye. There are 600,000 dogs in NYC alone. Any of these dogs, regardless of the breed, has the potential to cause significant damage to another human or pet. This is a huge public safety concern. And yet, when an incident such as the one we encountered happens, the city fails us. No one will help you, no one will listen, and you are left on your own to track down the responsible parties and seek justice. Putting bans on pit bulls and other stereotypically “dangerous” dogs is not going to solve anything. It’s not going to pay medical or vet bills for victims, it’s not going to track down iressponsible owners who flee the scene, it’s not going to hold dog owners accountable for their pet’s actions. You are welcome to have whatever opinion regarding pit bulls as you please. Personally, I love pit bulls and have had numerous positive experiences with the breed. I’ve been bit by many dogs over the years, none which were pit bulls. Do I think this particular pit bull is a menace to society? Yes. Do I hold all pit bulls responsible? No. Who am I angry at? I am angry at irresponsible dog owners, such as this woman, who give a bad name to pit bulls and other stigma-ridden breeds. This woman is the problem. And even more so, I am angry at the system that leaves me to defend myself in the aftermath of this terrifying and heartbreaking tragedy. Dog owners and all citizens alike should be focusing their attention at those who are truly responsible. Those who have the ability to actually protect us when attacks happen, yet fail to do so.

If you have information about the pit bull owner, you can email Mancuso here: helpoutbarnaby@gmail.com.