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A 7-year-old Shar Pei/Pit Bull mix named Vinny is in quarantine at the Beaver County Humane Society following a Tuesday night attack on his former owner who had come to reclaim him nearly four months after surrendering him.
Center Township Police Chief Barry Kramer said the incident is not a police matter, but that the dog bit the man in the left leg and punctured an artery. The wound necessitated the man being flown by helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment.
Township Fire Chief Bill Brucker said by the time he arrived on scene, the man had suffered substantial blood loss. Humane society staff had fashioned a makeshift tourniquet. “The staff did a phenomenal job of containing the bleeding,” Brucker said.
Brucker said the man was awake, aware and talking and in “as good as spirits as could be anticipated.”
According to a since-deleted Facebook post later released to the press, the humane society wrote the unnamed man had surrendered Vinny on Nov. 30 because he had fallen on hard times. Kramer said his information indicated the man’s landlord didn’t allow pets and he had since found a new place to live.
The incident happened shortly after 6 p.m.
The humane society wrote that the man said he had raised Vinny from a 4-week-old puppy.
Mike Romigh, the humane society’s sponsorship, events and social media management coordinator, said the “tragic” incident is under investigation. He said there are surveillance cameras around the building and officials are viewing footage now.
Romigh, who was not at the center at the time of the incident, said he saw the footage and that it did not appear that anything was wrong “until the point of the bite.” He said there were no other dogs around.
To his knowledge, no similar attacks have happened at the center. The humane society said Vinny had exhibited no behavioral issues in his time there.
Vinny was featured in the Jan. 29 installment of “Take Me Home Tuesday” on Capone the Wonder Dog’s Facebook page.
The page is penned by Brighton Township writer Wende Dikec and follows her Labrador Retriever Capone’s adventures, while also regularly highlighting the needy animals at the humane society. To Capone’s credit, nearly 90 percent of the animals featured get adopted.
Humane officials described Vinny as a “very sweet boy,” who likes butt scratches and needed an adult-only home with no other dogs. A volunteer dog walker gave a similar description of Vinny as having a “sweet” disposition.
Two women on Facebook, identifying themselves as the man’s nieces, vehemently defended their uncle on the site from people insinuating the man must have done something wrong. They said he loves animals and would never hurt them.
One said his wounds “were pretty bad and he will be in the hospital for a while.”
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