Friday October 19, 2012

DALTON -- Police say that haven’t ruled out that two dogs in last week’s attack on a 45-year-old man escaped during an attempted break-in of their owner’s home.

"It’s still very much an open investigation," said Dalton Police Chief Jeffrey E. Coe. "We have not ruled out that it was part of a breaking and entering."

Sean Latura, the victim of the dog attack, has a criminal history going back at least 17 years, according to court records. He has a 2009 breaking and entering conviction for which he was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

No charges have been filed in the current case by police as of Thursday.

According to police, Latura was attacked by two dogs, one described as a mutt, the other as a pit bull-type dog, that got out from an apartment on Gertrude Street in Dalton the afternoon of Oct. 11. One of the dogs was shot and killed by police, while the second was taken to a local shelter for state-mandated observation.

Coe said the dogs had been secured in the home earlier in the day by their owner, 29-year-old Molly Montemagni.

It was originally reported that Latura lived at the same apartment building as the dogs’ owner, but according to Coe, he does not reside there.

"We don’t have a current address for him," said the chief.

Coe said police have been unable to interview Latura, who remains at Berkshire Medical Center. Coe said that when they called Latura at the hospital, they were told by staff that Latura was unable to take phone calls.

Latura suffered bites to the eye and face as well as to his arm and leg.

Coe said the investigation into the dog attack itself has been completed and that Mont emagni was fined $55 because her dogs weren’t licensed in Dalton. That’s the maximum the owner could have been fined, according to Coe. The leash law fine didn’t apply because the dogs were inside the apartment before the attack.

Dalton Animal Control Officer Michael L. McClay, in cooperation with the staff of the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter, determined that Clout, the male mutt who has been in quarantine since the attack, is not dangerous. But a permanent muzzle order was put into effect, meaning the dog has to wear a muzzle whenever it goes outside.

Catie, a female pit bull-type dog, was killed by officers at the scene because of her aggression.

Clout will be released back to Montemagni after the quarantine ends on Oct. 22.

Both dogs were up to date on their vaccinations, said the chief.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6249.
On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx