A routine Sunday morning walk with their Yorkshire Terriers turned into a scene out of a horror movie for a Mount Vernon couple.
DeAnna Young and her husband, Eric Coleman, took their two dogs, Biggie and China, out for a walk around their neighborhood. Innocently enough, they turned down a commercial street full of garages and warehouses, but when they got to the end of the block, they noticed a Rottweiler standing at the gate of a garage at 210 South Fourth Avenue.
Young said to herself, “Oh God, let’s hope that gate’s closed because if not, I’m in trouble.”
She was in trouble. The dog pushed the gate open and five other Rottweiler-mix mutts ran out. Young took Biggie and ran to the other side of the street.
“I backed myself up against a door and I just held onto my dog for dear life,” said Young. “I kicked at them, told them to stop but they were all around me, they were in a frenzy and at some point I just had to let go, there were too many of them.”
While the dogs ran after Biggie, they did not attack Young’s husband, who had been carrying China.
"She had to let him go," said Coleman. "It was devestating. They mauled on him like he was a bowl of dogfood. I've never seen anything like it before."
Tearfully, Young watched as the dogs savagely attacked Biggie. She escaped unharmed, but Biggie did not stand a chance. While Young does not blame the pack of dogs, she does think the owner should have been more careful to make sure the gate was locked.
“You have to be accountable and when you have that type of situation with that many dogs you have to take as many precautions as humanly possible,” said Young. “I almost wonder did the City of Mount Vernon know if there were that many dogs there? What is the law? What’s the procedure? What should be done?”
According to Mount Vernon Police Sgt. Greg Addison, although a police garage is located down the street, cops were not aware that so many dogs lived at the South Fourth Avenue address. Nor had authorities received prior dog complaints at the address.
“They weren’t registered. Had they been properly registered we would have known,” said Sgt. Addison.
Shortly after the attack, police removed the dogs from the garage and brought them to the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter. They slapped the dog’s owner with 18 summonses, six counts each of having an unleashed dog, having an unregistered dog, and not providing enough clean water. The last charge is a violation of a state Agriculture and Markets law and is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison, if convicted.
Alesha Forbes, a garage employee, spoke for the dogs’ owner. She said both she and the owner are very sorry this happened.
“I open the garage every morning. So Sunday morning, I opened the gate a crack and slipped through to unlock the door and turn on the lights,” explained Forbes. “The dogs must have slipped through the small space in the gate. We are so very sorry, but it was an accident.”
Forbes said five of the dogs Rottweiler-Wheaton Terrier mixes that are usually friendly and very playful. She said the dogs all have their shots and that this is the first time they have ever attacked anyone.
In a phone conversation, the dogs’ owner told NBCNewYork that he did not know the dogs had to be licensed. He said on Monday he applied for licenses and hopes to be able to retrieve his dogs soon.
But Young fears what could happen if the dogs return.
“Just keep in mind, that could have been a child,” Young warned. “A mother could have let her child walk ahead of her, the child could have made a noise and that could have sparked him them to attack.”