Pit bullterrier's owner asked to waive appeal
By JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK, Times Staff Writer
BROOKSVILLE -- Hernando County officials worked all day Monday to quickly shorten the life of the pit bullterrier that mauled and killed a Spring Hill man late last week.
The dog, named Almond, killed Alfred Makuc at the Four Paws kennel, which Makuc owned and operated. Because it had not been reported as a dangerous dog before, the owner would have 10 days to appeal the dog's death sentence.
Animal Services officers found the dog's owner, John Durante of Wappingers Falls, N.Y., and asked county lawyers to expedite the matter. Almond remained in solitary confinement while lawyers tried to reach Durante, a truck driver.
"We're talking to Mr. Durante about waiving his right to appeal," said senior assistant county attorney Kurt Hitzemann.
The county would then take custody of the dog and "dispose of the dog," code enforcement and animal services director Frank McDowell III said.
If Durante refuses the county's proposal, Hitzemann said, the county would have to send a formal notice of its intent to euthanize the dog. After Durante receives the letter, he said, the 10-day clock for appeals would begin.
Hitzemann said he expected Durante to accept the county's offer.
Makuc, 72, suffered multiple bite wounds after checking the dog. He died after being taken to Oak Hill Hospital. He had worked with dogs since the early 1960s.
Animal services officers had to sedate the dog to take it into custody. It took the weekend to find the owner, who delivered the dog to the kennel on Feb. 1.
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