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Killer dog attacked in past, owner could face charges

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A dog that mauled a 46-year-old Michigan man to death earlier this week has attacked in the past, the victim said Friday, July 25.

April Smith, of Oxford, Mich., told USA TODAY she was bitten in 2012 by one of two Cane Corsos that attacked and killed 46-year-old Craig Sytsma, of Livonia, Wednesday night while he was jogging in Metamora Township.

When Smith heard of the attacks, she said she became sick, knowing the owner still had possession of the animal.

"It's just crazy to me," Smith, who sued the dog's owner after she was attacked, said. "Animal control should have done something. It should have never gone this far." "When I was attacked, I didn't even see it running up to us until it was directly behind me with its teeth out and growling viciously. We were about three houses past the yard the dog lives in, so he ran 50 yards to catch up to us. He tore my leg in three different places and I had to get medical attention. There was a lot of bloodshed and it was very severe. I had bruising for months and had to endure physical therapy. This caused me a lot pain."

Police say no charges have been filed in Sytsma's attack. As of this report, the dogs are quarantined at the Lapeer County Animal Shelter pending an investigation of their 45-year-old owner.

Meanwhile, a push to destroy the dogs is under way. According to Lapeer County Sheriff's Detective Jason Parks, the 3-year-old dogs were brought to the shelter by the owner. Parks said if the owner relinquishes the animals, they would destroyed. That still does not close the lid on possible criminal charges.

According Michigan law, a dog owner can be charged with manslaughter if the animal kills a human. As of report, the Lapeer County Prosecutor's Office is reviewing the case.

About Cane Corsos

The Cane Corso, otherwise known as an Italian mastiff, is known for its strong, muscular stature and athletic ability to hunt and attack. A close relative of the Neapolitan mastiff, the Cane Corso is also known for being unpredictable around strangers if not properly socialized as puppies. For this reason, experts do not recommend the breed to novice dog owners. The average Cane Corso weighs between 100 and 110 pounds and typically stand 23 1/2 to 27 1/2 inches at the shoulder.

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