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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington family continues to grieve a week after losing their dog. The Romano family says a neighbor’s pit bull forced its way into their backyard and killed their Jack Russell. The family says the dog has attacked before and now they want authorities to hold the owner responsible.

“Lucy was my constant companion,” said Melanie Romero. “We lost a family member for sure.”

Romano says on November 1, she came home and discovered a circle of blood in her backyard.

“The neighbor next door told me there had been a lot of commotion earlier. He thought I had a dog visiting because there was a black pit (bull) in my backyard,” said Romano.

Another neighbor told Romano that John, another neighbor, had ran out of his home calling for his pit bulls earlier in the day. Romano says she tried to get in touch with her neighbor John Tooker; hours later he returned home with Lucy’s remains in the back of his jeep.

“I saw her face. I smelled death in his (Tooker) car when he opened his door,” Romano said. “I was very upset.”

Romano says Tooker told her that he took Lucy, who was still alive, because he did not want the Romano kids to see the dog in that condition. Romano says Tooker did not even take the dog to the veterinarian instead he went to class. She wants her neighbor to be held responsible for his dog’s actions.

The Wilmington Police Department says there are no charges filed against Tooker since there are no eyewitnesses to the attack. New Hanover County Animal Control has stepped in, recovering two pit bulls from Tooker’s home. Animal control says the dogs have been deemed dangerous due to a prior incident. The recent attack means the dogs may soon be euthanized.

“It is unfortunate but we do see repeat offenders in these situations,” said Jean McNeil, Animal Control Services Manager. “It is one of the most discouraging things we deal with.”

Tooker says he is sorry for the Romano’s loss, calling the incident a freak accident. He plans on appealing to animal control in order to save his pit bulls from being euthanized. Tooker says animal control recovered two of his dogs but only one was involved.

Romano believes Tooker should not be allowed to own any animals but according to the county Tooker would be allowed to own other pets even if the board denies his appeal involving the pit bulls that were recovered.

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83 Comments on "Family dog killed by pit bull"

2015 years 10 months ago

pitbulls can be nice and calm for years until one day they turn,then they want to kill,will it be your child or pet next

2015 years 10 months ago

John apparently knew his dogs were dangerous, or he wouldn’t have gone to such lengths to have cement floors and a privacy fence with a roof over it. These dogs were waiting for an opening to get out, and they found it.

They could have just as easily attacked a child, instead of another dog. Just because they get along with John’s children doesn’t mean others are safe. Eventually, they might have even turned on John or his kids. It’s happened to others.

If John’s vet’s office was closed, he could have taken the dog to another vet’s office or the animal hospital. But he chose to leave a suffering, dying little dog in his car while he went to a class. That’s what really bothers people about this is that he just let this small dog suffer and die in the back of his car while he just went to class. How can anyone be so heartless to do that? How would John feel if he, himself, was injured, torn apart and bleeding, and left to die in agony in the back of someone’s car?

I have no sympathy for John. He got this dog knowing it’s a dangerous breed. And when the inevitable finally happened, he didn’t man up and take the responsibility for that small dog like he should have. He could have been that dog’s answer to dying a peaceful, painless death. Instead, he was the poor animal’s worst nightmare.

God didn’t tell us not to judge others. He said not to judge others UNTIL we remove the speck in our own eyes so that we can judge clearly. It’s necessary for us to judge others in order to be able to judge good from evil. John is probably not evil, but he did a bad thing. He needs to man up and take responsibility for it. If anyone ever deserved jail time for cruelty to animals, it’s John.

2015 years 10 months ago

Ceasar would be the first to tell you what a dangerous breed a Rotty is, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Ceasar is a professional. You said it yourself, “When in correct and knowledgeable hands, they are a great breed!” But there are many people who buy the Rotty as a “status symbol”. They’re not professionals, and they don’t know what they’re doing. In their hands, Rottys are a dangerous, violent breed.

2015 years 10 months ago

This man should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, which I’m sorry to say isn’t strict enough for animal cruelty cases.

He could have taken the little dog to the animal hospital if the vet’s office was closed, instead of allowing it to die an inhumane death. He should never be allowed to have an animal again…ever. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case.

What a heartless S.O.B.

2015 years 10 months ago

“Romano says Tooker told her that he took Lucy, who was still alive, because he did not want the Romano kids to see the dog in that condition. Romano says Tooker did not even take the dog to the veterinarian instead he went to class. She wants her neighbor to be held responsible for his dog’s actions.”

Personally, I don’t think Tooker was concerned about his kids seeing the little dog in that condition. He could have made the kids stay in the house, and they never would have seen the extent of little Lucy’s injuries. I believe Tooker needed time…to think about what to tell the owner, and how to talk his way out of a lawsuit. He wasn’t man enough to deal with the situation head on up front, so he was trying to think of a good story to get himself out of trouble.

Character, not circumstances, makes the man. Tooker’s character was revealed in this situation. He’s going to have to live with that result the rest of his life.


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