Panel spares dog accused in attack, imposes restrictions

A community panel voted at a hearing at Portsmouth Town Hall on Monday to impose several restrictions to the owner of a dog accused of killing another dog.

The panel was made up of a representative from the Portsmouth Police Department, a representative from the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and a member of the community.

On March 31, Caroline Miller was walking her dog, a Lhasa apso named Oscar, when it was attacked by an American bulldog, named Tyson.

"I wrestled with the dog. He kept circling around and he wouldn't leave and I'm screaming at the top of my lungs trying to protect my dog's body," Miller said. "I felt so powerless. I leaped on the dog's back, and pulled his ear as hard as I could. I bit the dog."

Teresa Young, the bulldog's owner, said the dog darted out of the house unintentionally while she was letting another dog in. She testified that Tyson has never had a problem with other animals before.

The panel deemed Tyson vicious, but voted not to euthanize the dog. Miller said she was happy with the decision.

"I don't see anything gained by two dogs losing their lives," she said.

Young said she's going to be more careful than ever with Tyson.

"From now on, if anybody rings the bell, that dog's going in a kennel. It's never going to get a chance," she said.

Young will have to get vicious dog insurance, place a microchip under the dog's skin for tracking purposes and muzzle the dog when it's off her property.

Once Young meets the requirements, she'll be able to get the dog back.

The dog is being held at the Robert Potter League for Animals in Middletown.