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Authorities discussing charges in fatal dog attack

AP Wire • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:53 PM

The Lapeer County prosecutor's office will review evidence during meetings with animal control officers, Metamora Township police and county sheriff's officials and "see what we got," said assistant prosecutor Mike Hodges.

A decision on charges could be made by the end of the week, Hodges told The Associated Press Tuesday.

Craig Sytsma was attacked Wednesday in Metamora Township, about 45 miles northwest of Detroit. He later died from his wounds. Sytsma lived in Livonia, near Detroit, and worked not far from where he was jogging.

It was the third attack by dogs from the same home in the past two years.

Hodges described the two cane corsos that attacked Sytsma as being about 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall.

"They are not huge, but they are quite aggressive," he said. "I've never seen an adult mauling like this."

The dogs had escaped from their yard. Officials have said two previous biting cases involved dogs from the same property.

Police have not released the names of the owners. Hodges said it appears they were breeding dogs at the property.

A message was left Tuesday with their attorney.

The dogs involved in the attack, a third adult and multiple puppies were removed from the owners' property. A hearing is scheduled for Friday on whether the dogs can be destroyed, Hodges said.

"Based on our understanding, these are still dangerous," Hodges said of the puppies.

Detroit-area attorney Glenn Saltsman said he has two clients who were bit by dogs while walking near the property.

One man "said he thought the dogs were going to kill him," Saltsman said. "The adult dog big him in the leg."

The other, April Smith, was attacked in May 2012 as she and her sister walked their dog.

"The same corso charged from the house and just nailed her from behind," Saltsman said. "Bit her pretty good in the calf."

Police investigated both incidents and turned the cases over to animal control officials. The owners were ticketed, but the dogs never were removed, according to Saltsman.

Smith sued the owners and reached a $20,000 settlement that has not yet been paid. Saltsman said he has not yet filed a suit in last November's attack.

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