Mayor defends pit-bull shooting
MOUNT VERNON — The mayor defended police officers’ decision to shoot dead a pit bull that had attacked a would-be good Samaritan who mistakenly thought the dog was attacking a 12-year-old boy.
“If the police did not shoot the dog, the victim would have suffered even more severe injury,” Mayor Ernest Davis said Monday.
“Witnesses reported that the dog was savagely working his way up the victim’s arm,” the mayor added.
Police also said Monday afternoon that they’ve previously had contact with the dog and its owner, Jamal McDowell, who has been issued various violations of city ordinances in relation to animal control.
The would-be good Samaritan, Jason McCrae, 29, was badly bitten on the arm and was taken to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, officials said.
Police shot dead the 5-year-old dog named Mike. The dog was the 12-year-old’s family pet and was jumping on the boy to play when the incident began, said the boy’s uncle, Lance McDowell.
The attack happened about 12:30 p.m. Monday in the 300 block of Union Avenue, which is around the corner from the boy’s home.
Neighbors said they heard screaming during the attack and were unable to stop the dog from attacking McCrae.
When police arrived, the dog refused to follow commands to release the victim and “was shot three times before the victim was released from its grip,” according to a release from Davis’ office.
McDowell, who did not see the attack, said the owner tried to stop Mike. He said Mike was playful, not vicious. He said Mike was trying to protect his owner and was acting territorial.
“It was all a misunderstanding,” McDowell said of the attack.
McDowell said he understood why police shot Mike, but said they could have used a tranquilizer.
He said he thought the boy and his father would be “destroyed” that Mike was killed. The boy’s brother, Malcom Easley, 19, agreed with McDowell.
“He’s going to be upset for a while,” Easley said.
Easley said the dog was part of the family. He said Mike would run loose and play with other children on the block without problems.