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Police seek owner in Paonia dog attack

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The Paonia Police Department is looking for the owner of a dog that attacked and injured another dog within town limits.

The afternoon of July 19 a man, described as a "young hippie type" with a Staffordshire terrier weighing about 50 pounds and wearing a black collar and on a leash, were walking through town when Dexter, a Doberman pincer owned by Paonia resident Mario Mara went out to greet them as they passed their home near the corner of Third Street and Grand Avenue.

According to Mara, the dog's owner held his dog between his legs and warned Mara to get his dog. Mara said he grabbed Dexter by the collar and led him to the porch. When he reached the porch he heard the man yell "Oh, God! Oh, God." He turned to see the terrier jump on the porch and attack his dog. Mara said the Staffordshire terrier wouldn't let go of his dog and he, a male friend and the other dog's owner had to pull it off.

The Doberman had puncture wounds around his ribcage and a pulled muscle, according to Mara.

The attack was unprovoked, he said. "The dog is vicious." What really stuck with Mara, he said, is that when the fight was over, he was holding the terrier's collar, but there was no leash attached to it.

The Doberman took off after the attack and was later caught at Town Park, but the man and the terrier didn't stick around, said Mara.

Dexter was taken to North Fork Veterinary Clinic for treatment and is expected to fully recover.

Staffordshire terriers are often referred to as pit bulls, but Mara said he doesn't want to make it about the breed. Contrary to statements made on social media in response to the incident, the Town of Paonia does not have a ban on pit bull breeds. However, dogs are required to be restrained on a leash no longer than 10 feet in length while on public property, and under control of the handler at all times.

Paonia Police Chief Neil Ferguson said he'd like to talk to the dog owner, but believes he's a transient. Anyone with information is asked to contact Paonia Police Department at 527-4822.

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