Sunday, February 28, 2016

Florida: 911 call released from dog attack

FLORIDA -- The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office has released the 911 call made during a vicious dog attack early Wednesday morning.

As soon as the operator answered the phone, a man told her, "There are some dogs attacking a homeless guy."

The call was received at 3:17 a.m.

Investigators said Timothy Zell, 60, had been sleeping on the sidewalk in front of Greater Motorsports in West Palm Beach when three pit bulls attacked him.

A passerby heard Zell screaming and called 911. The passerby told the operator he believed the dogs were killing the man.

"Do you know how many dogs are there?" the operator asked the man, who declined to give his name.

"I would say two or three of them," the caller said. "They're on him. They just keep biting him, and he's yelling and screaming."


Deputies arrived at the scene within five minutes. The caller spent those minutes begging the operator to get help there as fast as possible.

"He's screaming. He's screaming. They're killing him," he said. "They're going to kill him if you don't hurry up."

The first arriving deputy shot and killed one of the dogs. The other two were located later and euthanized.

Zell suffered extensive injuries, but deputies said he is expected to survive.

Investigators said the dogs escaped from a nearby home.

Their owner, Stephanie Swetland, will be fined but is not expected to face criminal charges.

Meanwhile, this article from CBS12 "Animal Control claims dog attack on homeless man could have been prevented" says people had been complaining about the dogs' aggressive behavior while running loose but that no one would go on record about it, leaving Animal Control unable to do anything:

Animal Care and Control says the brutal attack of a homeless man by three Pit Bulls could possibly have been prevented if only people would have spoken up before the attack. "The missing component from this case is the fact that even though these dogs had a history prior to this event, we were never able to get witness statements from any of the people involved," Animal Care and Control Director Dianne Sauve said.

Records dating back to 2015 reveal several calls from concerned neighbors about the dogs allegedly running loose and threatening people. But without that statement, the agency says it hands were tied and not able to make a case of dangerous dogs.

"People need to call us. They need to not be afraid. We'll work with them," Sauve said.

(WPBF West Palm Beach - ‎Feb 25, 2016)

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