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Man says owner of dogs that killed his pet has been cited by animal control before

Man says owner hopes to get off because he works for 'powerful commissioner'

CUTLER BAY, Fla. – A man whose dog was fatally attacked by a pack of dogs this week at his parent's home in Cutler Bay said the dogs' owner told animal control that he will fight any citations they give him because he works for a "powerful commissioner."

Jim Walker emailed Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis Moss after the attack to make sure that the dogs' owner, David Harris, didn't receive any special treatment.

"One reason I am writing you is that the owner of the dog is David L. Harris, who we understand is on your staff," Walker wrote. "Animal control indicated that they gave him a number of citations and told us that he indicated he would fight them because he worked for a powerful commissioner. Disregarding the tastelessness of that statement, his dogs present a clear and present danger to the neighborhood."

A neighbor's surveillance camera caught the pack trying to jump the fence of the home on Jamaica Drive Tuesday morning. The biggest one was the first to make it over the fence. 

Ronald Walker said the dogs immediately latched onto his dog, Rusty, and wouldn't let go. 

"Blood was coming out of his ears, his nose," Walker said. "He lost both of his canine teeth, the big ones in the front. He was skinned all over and had lacerations on both sides and a deep hole. I suspect it was an artery."

Local 10 News reporter Sanela Sabovic spoke to Harris on Thursday, who said he is remorseful about the attack.

"I'm sorry for what happened," Harris said. "The lightning came, Ma'am, and the dogs ran out with the thunder and lightning."

Although neighbors claim that Harris owns pit bulls or pit bull-mixes, he said his dogs are American bulldogs.

Animal control officers confirmed that Harris owns terrier-mixed breed dogs, and said the largest one appears to be an American bulldog-terrier mix.

Regardless, Jim Walker said Harris' dogs have attacked another dog in the neighborhood by breaking into another neighbor's backyard and said that some neighbors have small children, who are at risk of being killed by the dogs.

"Our immediate neighbor has a very young daughter who plays in the back yard and this could easily have resulted in the death of a child," Walker said in the email. "At least three families have complained directly to animal control."

Moss responded to Walker's email, expressing his remorse at Walker losing his pet and assuring him that no employee of his would receive special treatment.

"I want to first of all say that I am very sorry about the tragic death of your pet. I know from personal experience how devastating  that can be. I have a smaller dog that was attacked by a neighbor's bulldog and nearly killed," Moss wrote in part. "I want to be clear that no one on my staff should be treated any different in these circumstances and none of my staff should feel that the rules don't apply to them because they work for me. My office will continue to investigate this incident, and will take whatever appropriate actions are warranted."

Harris told Local 10 News that he was cited for the attack, but that his dogs were not taken away. He would not disclose where they were currently staying.

Animal control said Harris was issued eight civil violations totaling $1,970.


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