‘He was busy biting my Dolly’: Dog killed in mauling

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

An 89-year-old Farmington Hills woman is surrounded by memories of her 10 pound dog that was mauled to death Monday by a German shepherd.

“Every inch of this house, she was right behind me,” Marie Clark said of Dolly, an 8-year-old Shih Tzu. “Every inch of this place reminds me of what I had.

“Now she’s dead.”

Dolly was mauled to death by the much bigger dog while out for a walk Monday around noon near Russett and Siena, according to Clark and Farmington Hills police.

“I was like ‘Dolly, let’s go for a walk, go home, have lunch and take a nap,’ ” Clark said. “I was walking alongside my house and on the street was a parked truck. I walked by, never thought anything of it.

“Then a huge, black and brown dog jumped out (the window) and took my dog and bit her.”

The dog belongs to a Harrison Township painter who was in the area working on a condo, according to Farmington Hills Police Assistant Chief Matt Koehn. The man left his dog in his truck while he was inside working.

“The German shepherd was able to jump out of the truck through an open window and charged toward the lady and her dog,” Koehn said. “(The owner) was doing work in the area so after this occurred he came out of the house and took his dog and took him back to the truck.”

Clark said she vividly remembers the large dog’s growls as she screamed for help during the attack.

“I was trying to pull that dog off of Dolly and he pushed into me and I fell into the street,” Clark said. “I got bruised up: My arm, my hands, my knees are all black and blue.”

The German shepherd never bit Clark, she said.

“He was busy biting my Dolly.”

Dolly died later at a local veterinarian, after surgery revealed devastating injuries, including a shattered pelvis and damage to her liver and intestines.

The unidentified painter was issued a “dog-at-large” ticket for failing to confine his dog, according to police. He was allowed to keep the animal because the man is not a Farmington Hills resident and his dog never bit Clark.

Farmington Hills residents who own potentially dangerous animals are subject to city ordinances requiring $1,000,000 insurance policies, posted warning signs, AKC-approved training and yearly registration, Koehn said. They also risk their animals being removed.

“But because the dog lives in another city, we don’t have jurisdiction,” Koehn said.

And since the dog never bit Clark, the attack is considered property damage.

“Unfortunately under state law, dogs are considered property. It was a dog attacking another dog,” Koehn said. “We’ve got a lot of dog lovers here so we feel terribly about it, but we have to operate under the laws and ordinances.”

City and state laws mean little to Clark, who spoke emotionally Friday about her loss.

“Why do big dogs go after little dogs? It’s just terrible,” Clark said. “(Dolly) was adorable and so sweet, she wouldn’t bark. She didn’t bother anybody. (She was) just a happy, sweet dog.”

Neighbors who knew Dolly from the pair’s walks four times each day are stunned by the loss as well, Clark said.

“The whole neighborhood is up in arms,” Clark said. “Everybody knows Dolly. They would talk to her and pet her.”

Clark’s five children want her to sue the German shepherd’s owner, she said.

“But I don’t like to sue,” she said. “I just want him to pay the (vet) bill. It’s close to $3,000.”

Clark spoke through tears Friday about the attack and its aftermath.

“Your life just changes in an instant, it’s horrible,” she said. “I was so mad I took the cross off the wall (and said to God) ‘Why did you take my little dog away?’ ”


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Twitter: @HollyPFournier