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Women Attacked By Pit Bulls

July 16, 1987

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (AP) _ A pit bull terrier charged across a street and attacked a 71-year-old woman, who fought the dog off with a pitchfork despite suffering injuries, DeKalb County Police said.

Mary Merelino was taken Wednesday to DeKalb General Hospital, where she received about 100 stitches before being released, a hospital spokeswoman said.

In two other attacks that took place Wednesday in California, no people were injured but two dogs were shot. In a third incident, a man shot a neighbor’s dog while it was being walked.

Mrs. Merelino was standing at her mailbox when the dog charged, knocking her down and biting her legs, throat and torso, according to DeKalb police spokesman Chuck Johnson. The dog dragged Mrs. Merelino across her driveway as she fought to break the animal’s grip.

″Mrs. Merelino fought back and managed to reach her carport where she got a pitchfork and fought the dog off,″ Johnson said.

She locked herself in her car but got out when she realized she needed medical attention. She fought the dog off again and got inside her house, where she telephoned for help, Johnson said. He said the ordeal lasted about 40 minutes.

The pit bull, one of two owned by Herbert O’Berry, apparently broke its chain in O’Berry’s yard, Johnson said. He said the dog was picked up by DeKalb County animal control officers, who found the other dog secured by a chain.

Johnson said O’Berry was charged with violations of a vicious animal ordinance passed by the DeKalb County Commission in April.

In Los Angeles, a highway patrol officer found a dog lying near the Simi Valley Freeway. When an animal-control officer arrived and tried to leash the dog, it charged. The officer killed the animal with four shots.

″He didn’t want to shoot the animal,″ California Highway Patrol Officer Kenn Rosenberg said. ″But pit bull or not, 75 pounds coming at you like that is going to be scary.″

In Hacienda Heights, Calif., Helen Oldfied, 62, escaped into her home before two snarling dogs could catch up with her, said sheriff’s spokesman James Woodruff.

When two deputies attempted to detain the dogs they charged, Woodruff said. One deputy ran to his patrol car and fired two rounds, hitting one dog in the chest.

The dog’s owner, Alice Acevez, heard the commotion and called off the other animal. She was cited for various animal-control violations, Woodruff said.

In Newport Beach, police arrested a man for investigation of shooting and wounding his neighbor’s pit bull-German Rottweiler mix as the owner walked his dog down an alley.

John Howard Algie, 50, was free on a $10,000 bond after being booked for investigation of felony cruelty to animals, police spokesman Kent Stoddard said.

When asked why he shot the dog, police reports say, Algie replied, ″Natural reaction because of a pit bull, I guess.″

″The dog’s a wimp,″ owner Cory Flynn said. ″He never hurt anybody. I raised him up from a baby, and I taught him to be good.″

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