Authorities ID pit bull owner in park attack

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Washington Township — Investigators have identified a woman who allegedly fled the scene after her pit bull attacked a man and his smaller dog at a local park, according to the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.

Tim Smith

The 58-year-old woman from Leonard visited the sheriff’s office Thursday accompanied by an attorney, officials said in a press release. She faces misdemeanor charges for having a vicious dog which caused injuries but her name will not be released until she is formally charged.

She is accused of leaving Gilcher Park around 1:10 p.m. Jan. 6 after her 60-pound pit bull named Bella attacked 67-year-old Tim Smith’s small Havanese mix. Smith, of Washington Township, also was injured after he lifted his dog in an attempt to protect it. The larger dog jumped on the man and dragged him off his feet, officials said.

The sheriff’s office received “numerous” tips about the woman’s identity before she arrived at the station Thursday, officials said.

“She was identified beforehand and our detectives were trying to arrange for an interview with her,” Lt. John Michalke said. “There was some difficulty getting connected to her.”

The woman told investigators her dog broke its collar and attacked Smith’s dog. She said she attempted to restrain Bella but it became “a wrestling match” and she became exhausted. She retrieved her vehicle and was able to get her dog inside, she told authorities.

The woman stated she wanted to help the injured victims but fled the scene after Smith indicated he wanted to file a report. She feared her dog would be taken and destroyed, she said.

Bella the dog is up-to-date on her shots, the woman told authorities.

Smith earlier this month spoke to The Detroit News about injuries to his hands, his fear of possibly contracting rabies and the condition of his dog, named Charlie Brown.

Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown bore 13 puncture wounds, veterinarian workers determined, and appeared to have inflammation around his hind area and shoulder. Smith had bites on both hands, for which he received stitches.

Smith’s wife, Sera, told The News on Friday that her family had no comment on the woman’s identification.

Bella the dog currently is back home with the woman, officials said. The Oakland County Animal Control has been notified about the incident because the woman and her dog reside within that county.

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