Vinny / submitted photo
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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.”

Posts from Facebook:

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Post by the Beaver County Humane Society to Facebook that was later deleted
Lori Boone
Lori Boone (DeLauter) has more than 20 years of experience in investigative and community journalism. She’s won more than a dozen regional, state and national journalism awards.

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InJusticeIcanreadSpeakTheTruthTooRavenRealdeal Recent comment authors
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Icanread
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Icanread

That dog looks 90% pit bull to me. I don’t believe for a second this dog hasn’t bitten someone before. Who will come forward and tell the truth?

Realdeal
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Realdeal

I agree he looks more pit bull than anything.

Mel0554
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Mel0554

An animal is an animal. Because he is a Pit does not mean anything. This dog could have had behaviour issue being put in the shelter and then moved around from cage to cage, people coming to look at him. I think that is scary for an animal.

Realdeal
Guest
Realdeal

Not saying pit bulls are mean I’ve had plenty there a wonderful dog he must of done something to the dog in the past for it to attack him

Icanread
Guest
Icanread

Repeated behaviors and tendencies can be inherited. It’s proven through gene research. You breed a dog for a certain purpose (hunting/herding, etc.), that’s what they tend to do.

BeaverCountyGal
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BeaverCountyGal

Yep, he sure does look like a pit bull. And??? So what? I was raised to fear pit bulls. In fact, as a child I thought a pit bull was the size of an elephant based on how my family talked about them. I was shocked to see one (again, I was a little kid) and see that they are normal sized dogs. I wasn’t allowed around them and anyone who had them was harshly judged. Then I grew up and made up my own mind.

My point is that pit bulls aren’t naturally vicious. You hear more about pit bull attacks because they can do more damage and the media LOVES pit bull attacks, but I can guarantee you that my little ten pound yapper is more likely to bite than a pit bull.

Raven
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Raven

Acquired characteristics during a lifetime are not passed along in genes. The “selection” of dominant traits used for survival become more available over successive generations, since they have species preservation utility. “Breeding”those selected traits in is another matter and unrelated.

Icanread
Guest
Icanread

Not even true. Have you ever had a sheep dog? They’ll herd anything- kids, other dogs, other animals.

Raven
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Raven

i have had many dogs. I never had one that bit — especially the owner — unless triggered or provoked. Something is missing here, maybe related to the “hard times.” With each new puppy, you get a fresh new dog, so don’t blame it on the genes. Biting is learned behavior, whether it is an obnoxious yip yip or a German Shepherd, doberman or pit bull.

SpeakTheTruthToo
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SpeakTheTruthToo

I once adopted a border collie mix from a shelter. I owned him for 5 months. In that 5 months, he bit me and my grandfather unprovoked within a week of each other. He was put down by animal control, but shame on the shelter for adopting out a dog that obviously had issues.

InJustice
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InJustice

The trigger may have been something as simple as being afraid or confused. The dog may have seen another dog in the area and panicked, since he wasn’t comfortable around other dogs.

SpeakTheTruthToo
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SpeakTheTruthToo

WOW! Sad situation all around. There are no winners in this.