Michigan Owners of Two Dogs That Mauled Jogger Charged With Murder

Michigan Owners of Two Dogs That Mauled Jogger Charged With Murder

In Michigan, the owners of two dogs that mauled a jogger to death on a country Michigan road have been being charged with murder, stated the Lapeer Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday evening. Sebastiano Quagliata, age 45, and Valbona Lucaj, age 44, are set to appear in court on Friday on charges of second-degree murder and owning a dangerous animal which caused death.

Craig Sytsma, age 46, of Livonia, Mich., was taking a jog after he got off work on July 23 when a pair of Cane Corso dogs attacked him in Metamora Township. That is about 45 miles to the northwest of Detroit. Sytsma later passed away from the wounds he received.

On top of the murder charges, federal authorities have also stated that Quagliata and Lucaj are allegedly Albanians who are dwelling in the United States illegally. It was reported in one media source that they were facing pending deportation at the time of the dog attack and it is unknown if their citizenship status will affect their trial.

Michigan State Police explained that the attack had been the third reported by the dogs in the prior two years. The pair have apparently been breeding canines on their property.

Another hearing that was also scheduled to occur on Friday to decide whether the two dogs that were involved in the fatal attack, along with a third adult canine and numerous puppies, would be euthanized has been put on hold. All the animals were taken from the couple’s home a few days after the attack happened.

Assistant Prosecutor of Lapeer County Mike Hodges explained that he had spoken to animal control experts and that with the bloodline now, they cannot be trusted. They have to seize the animals, put them down or try to adopt them out. If they are adopted out, then everyone is nervous that they will be back again. Hodges added that the two Cane Corso dogs involved in the attack were about 2 1/2 feet tall.

The assistant prosecutor stated that the dogs were not big, but they were rather aggressive. He stated that he had never seen an adult mauling like Sytsma’s before. It was reported that the two dogs had a history of getting out of their kennel and had bitten other people on at least two occasions before.

A Detroit region attorney told the media that he had two clients who had been bitten by dogs while walking close to Quagliata and Lucaj’s property. A male client declared he believed the dogs were going to kill him after he was bit in the leg. A female client was attacked in May of 2012 while she and her sister were walking their dog. She brought a suit against the two owners and came to a $20,000 settlement that has not been paid yet. The lawyer stated that the very same Corso ran from the home and nailed her from behind. It bit her in the calf.

Local police reportedly looked into each of the events before they turned the two cases over to animal control. The owners were ticketed yet the dogs were never taken out of the home.

The American Kennel Club describes a Cane Corso as being a large boned and muscular type dog, traditionally kept as a property watchdog which hunted for wild hog. In the present time they are known to be caring to owners and are reported to bond closely with families and children. The athletic breed needs lots of exercise but is allegedly easy to be trained.

In Michigan, the owners of two dogs that mauled a jogger to death on a country Michigan road have been being charged with murder, stated the Lapeer Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday evening. Sebastiano Quagliata, age 45, and Valbona Lucaj, age 44, are set to appear in court on Friday on charges of second-degree murder and owning a dangerous animal which caused death.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

ABC News

CBS News

NBC News

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