On June 11, nine-year-old Perrin Petell was with his mother about 9:30 p.m. on the upstairs porch area they shared with other residents of a multi-family building at Edward and Malcolm Avenues in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Perrin opened the door to a common hallway and a neighbor’s three Pit Bulls suddenly burst through, attacking the boy and then dragging him down a flight of stairs onto the lawn, where they continued to maul and bite him.
Jessyca Petell, Perrin’s mother told WNYT.com that the three dogs lived in the apartment above hers at 73 Edward Avenue, and she watched helplessly as they came barreling down the stairs, latched onto her little boy and wouldn't let go.
The 29-year-old mother was still visibly shaken the day after the attack as she clutched her mother and grandmother's hands – describing to WYNT News the terror she felt.
Jessyca described how Perrin was screaming and calling to her, “Mommy, help me. They’re hurting me. Help me!” Eventually--although Jessyca doesn't remember how--she was able to pull her son away from the dogs, she told WNYT.com. Later reports indicate that the owners of the dogs heard the attack and ran down and may have helped get the dogs to release the child.
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"It was just so horrific - if you ask me to describe my worst nightmare, this wouldn't come close," she said. "They were so relentless and vicious.”
Jessyca’s father, Hugh Powers, said she was just opening up the door to get into the apartment when the dogs came down the stairs, pinned the boy against the door and dragged him out onto the lawn."They should be shot. They'll do it again," he responded angrily when asked what should happen to the dogs.
"When I got in there, there was blood all over him," said the victim's grandmother, Cheryl Powers, “It should have never happened.”
Perrin received over 30 puncture wounds to his face and head and part of his scalp was torn off. He was transported to Berkshire Medical Center. On Tuesday bandages covered the wounds all over his body and his head was wrapped. The Pit Bulls tore a golf-ball sized chunk out of his head, the family said. Doctors at Berkshire Medical Center had packed the wound with gauze because it is so deep, according to reports. Tuesday night family members were moving the Petell family out of that building.
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Neighbors told WNYT this isn't the first time these dogs have attacked. Police stated they have been called to this address over “dog issues” before.
Authorities reported that the dogs’ owners are Adam Pollack and Lori Rohde, both 42 years old. Neither the owners of the dogs nor the landlord wanted to talk to the media about what happened.
Officials stated that the three Pit Bulls--an adult male, a 6-month-old male, and a pregnant female--are being quarantined for ten days at the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter in Pittsfield. while an investigation is being conducted. Control Officer Joseph Chague told the Berkshire Eagle on Wednesday that all three have up-to-date rabies shots, said police.
On Thursday, June 14, the Berkshire Eagle reported that Pittsfield Police Chief Michael J. Wynn issued an order deeming three dogs to be "vicious animals.” The judge gave the owners 10 days to appeal the decision or "dispose" of the dogs, the report says. If appealed, the case would go to Central Berkshire District Court for review by a judge or clerk magistrate.
If the chief's order is upheld, the dogs would be "restrained, removed or disposed of as necessary," which could consist of a plan other than euthanasia. But the Pit Bulls would likely have "limited shelter options" because of the vicious animal designation, said Captain Mullin.
The Eagle reports that in 2007, Pollock was charged with multiple felony counts, including assault to rape, in connection with a domestic incident. Charges in that case were dropped but it allegedly ended when Pollock was attacked by his own Pit Bull Terrier. That dog was shot by police to stop the attack, according to reports.
Perell’s father, Anthony Petell, said he would like to see the law changed to allow for criminal prosecution in cases like this. The Police Chief says the investigation is ongoing.