A couple's Chihuahua-mix is dead and their Yorkie is clinging to life after both dogs were apparently attacked by their neighbor's pit bull Friday.
And the couple said this isn't the first time the pit bull has gotten aggressive. It's a sad case. The owners of the two smaller dogs treated those pets, as many of us do, like their own children.
Scott Curtiss can barely speak he's so distraught, and his neighbor, George Robey, whose pit bull named Tebow killed Curtiss' dog, said he's sorry for what was a tragic accident.
"This is Mr. Wiggles," said Curtiss tearfully. The miniature Yorkie is clinging to life at the Sebring Animal Hospital.
"A miniature Yorkie," he said as tears ran down his face. "A little, tiny fella."
Mr. Wiggles' brother, Mr. Gizmo, was a pug-Chihuahua mix. To say Curtiss and his wife, Mary Nasci, were devoted to their dogs would be an understatement.
"We cooked their breakfast. We cooked their dinner. They didn't eat dog food. They were children," said Curtiss. "They weren't just dogs."
Mary was walking the two dogs past Robey's house Friday.
"Right at that corner where it turns down right there," said Curtiss as he pointed next door. "The pit bull comes out that driveway right there."
Robey's front door was open, but the screen door was shut.
"He looked out there and saw them and right through the screen door," said Robey. "He [the pit bull] just knocked the whole door open."
"When she saw that dog coming, she grabbed Mr. Gizmo and Mr. Wiggles and put them up in her arms and that dog jumped up and grabbed him out of her arms," said Curtiss.
Luckily Mary was not hurt, but Mr. Gizmo was killed and Mr. Wiggles may not make it.
"He's in bad shape, real bad shape," said Curtiss. "I mean, come on, he didn't weigh 4 pounds and you got an almost 100 pound dog jumping on a 4-pound dog, in his mouth, shaking him?"
The doctor believes their dog is suffering and recommends putting him down. Curtiss said it's too hard.
To lose these dogs is crushing for him. He's still mourning the loss of his 25-year-old daughter.
"I had a daughter die of cancer, and that's when I got Mr. Gizmo to take her place," he said.
"Unexpected, unintentional," explained Robey, who called this is all a terrible accident. "It was really unfortunate, and I'm sorry for it."
But his dog almost got the two little dogs in an earlier incident a few months ago. This time, he could be charged with violation of the County's leash law.
"No, he wasn't on a leash, but he wasn't out here loose. He was in the house," said Robey.
"In this case, since the animal was surrendered by the owner, he was signed over to the County. Now the County has possession of it," said Gloria Rybinski, who is the Public Information Officer for Highlands County Board of Commissioners. "What's going to happen is we hold him for three days in what we call a quarantine, kind of to give the owner the chance if he wants to change his mind. And then after three days, what we do is we humanely euthanize the dog."
"Mr. Wiggles, I hope you make it, but I don't have Gizmo no more, and he was the best dog you ever wanted to meet," Curtiss said.
The county said Tebow the pit bull was held in quarantine for three days. Tuesday would have made it that third day, and he could be put down Wednesday. Robey could still face charges as soon as the sheriff's office completes its investigation.
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