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Posted on Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 6:34 p.m.

Charges filed against owner of dogs that attacked Pittsfield Township woman

By Lee Higgins

Washtenaw County prosecutors today filed two misdemeanor charges against a Pittsfield Township man who owns two American Bulldogs that attacked and seriously injured one of his neighbors last month and killed her two Chihuahuas.

David M. Goodart, 52, is charged with two counts of having a stray dog, the 14A-1 District Court clerk's office confirmed Thursday afternoon.


The yard on Maple Drive in Pittsfield Township where the dog attack victim was found by neighbors and her family.

Melanie Maxwell |

He is accused of allowing the dogs to get loose and attack his neighbor, 45-year-old Dora Castro at about 3:50 p.m. Dec. 27 on Maple Drive. Castro suffered a broken ankle and received numerous stitches to her face and hands after the attack. Her dogs, 3-year-old Pancho and 10-month-old Thalia, died from their injuries.

Her family members said she was walking down her driveway holding her dogs when the other two dogs managed to get through a chain link fence and attack her. Witnesses rushed to her aid and were able to get the dogs to back off.

Goodart consented to have the dogs euthanized that night at the Humane Society of Huron Valley. He could not be reached for comment today.

Pittsfield Township Deputy Police Chief Gordy Schick said police do not expect to comment until after Goodart is arraigned in court. A date for that arraignment has not been set.

Last week, the victim's family members declined an interview with, saying they're planning to hire an attorney to explore possible legal action against the dogs' owner.

Having a stray dog is a misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by up to three months in jail.

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at


Billy Bob Schwartz

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

One big problem with many breeds of dogs is the vicious greed of breeders, who will spawn pups as fast as they can, regardless of temperament or anything else of the parents. This leads to problems with more docile breeds, too, but is especially deadly in the breeding of pit bulls and their kin. Many German Shepherds, for example, are vicious, but the breed itself is not so much that way if breeding is selective and professional. The constant drive for the cheap buck is a major culprit in all this.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 11:20 p.m.

How tragic that the owner's irresponsibility resulted in the trauma that this woman suffered and the dogs being euthanized. This is on the extreme end of the spectrum which includes dog owners that won't pick up after their dog and leaving them out in the backyard to disturb the rest of the neighborhood with their barking. If you can't invest the time, don't own a pet.

Go Blue

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

Wow, I'm just so totally impressed with the compassionate comments that abound here! As usual, its all about the money, and how much of a money grab someone should get by suing. Sad state imho. This is about two people and the horror that has happened in their lives. Both are suffering in some way. When did we lose site of that? Back in the day, it was come out with your guns drawn. Nowadays, its come out with your attorney hired.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

She is going to need the money to recover because of job loss and time loss from having to take days off to go to the doctor and therapy sessions. Once you have exhausted days off? You eat it. So, I am all for money for time and suffering.

4 Fingers

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money!


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

Sorry and a buck will get you a cup of coffee!


Sat, Jan 14, 2012 : 1:24 a.m.

Mcd's has great coffee for $ 1.06

Billy Bob Schwartz

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

If you are a senior, many places will sell you a small coffee for less than a buck. I think they hope you will bring the grandkids next time. I know one company that does that everywhere there are redheaded clowns.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

So mentioning a fast food restaurant gets your comment banned? Sucks in this department. So look up a fast food and get your buck there.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

Where in the heck are you finding coffee for a dollar?


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

This is such a tragic story. It is terrible that Ms Castro's dogs were killed and that she was injured. I do believe that Mr. Goodart is truly sorry for this, as was stated in another publication's article. But ultimately he is liable for his dog's getting out of the enclosure. People need to think long and hard about the type of dog they choose and possible consequences. If your dogs are fenced, check the fences frequently. As an owner of three dogs I feel for everyone in this terrible situation.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

Pit bulls were bred to kill. There is no way that standard dog control procedures are enough to control those dogs. Many dogs escape from fenced areas, but they aren't all bred to kill. That's why the use of both a fence and a chain/collar system should be required for pit bulls.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

robert your are right they are not pitbulls. but they have the same temperment as a pit bull. i would say they fall in the 80-100% pit bull group. just look at them.

Robert Granville

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

Besides... this story doesn't involve pit bulls.

Robert Granville

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

No... if you knew their history you'd know they were not bred to kill. They were bred to control livestock.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

i am going to get nailed on this so let it be. pit bulls and American bulldogs are the same. They are the worst dog you can have. They do not like other dogs. They get say they get along with people but not other dogs. i think they should be banned as a breed. So go ahead and start nailing me. But it is what i think.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

fixing a dog won't prevent this at all.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

Agreed. Which is why Ypsilanti Township board members voted to have every single pit bull and bull breed fixed. So stuff like this won't happen again.

Robert Granville

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

Ignorance... pure and simple.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

Mort, You are right, you are going to get nailed. Technically, they are different breeds. But you are correct, they are the worst dogs you can own. Owners should be charged as if they neglected a loaded weapon.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

Petey in the Our Gang movies was a pit bull. But the risk is greater in my opinion because you can't be sure of the way the dog was trained in many cases. I think they require a special type of owner and environment.

Steve Pepple

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

A comment that contained a personal attack against another commenter has been removed. Please make your point without name calling.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 2:15 a.m.

Criminal charges cannot be filed because the owner acted without intent, the dogs escaped through a fenced enclosure. Washtenaw County Prosecutor can only charge Mr. Goodart with a misdemeanor because that is the maximum allowed under the law based on the legal facts and information provided by police. Ms. Castro can also file charges most likely under Michigan's dog bite statute. If Mr. Goodart knew his fence was in disrepair or if he had prior knowledge the dogs were capable of making their way through the fence a claim of negligence is also possible. Assuming Mr. Goodart has homeowner's insurance and possibly an umbrella policy any judgment awarded could potentially be covered by insurance proceeds. Either way it is a sad state of affairs for both neighbors. This is a very unfortunate accident. I am quite sure Mr. Goodart did not intend for his two dogs to make their way through the fence to attack Ms. Castro or her two chihuahuas. The only thing he can really do is apologize and likely pay for her medical expenses, lost wages, and any other compensatory damages available. But a terrible accident happened. Ms. Castro suffered damages and loss of property as did Mr. Goodart. Hopefully time, forgiveness and money can heal the damage caused. Both are next door neighbors and owning a house in this economy is a bitter pill to swallow if you don't like the person who lives next door.


Sat, Jan 14, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.

Im glad you refered to the dogs as property. Im a dog owner and lover, but they are what they are, just dogs. Its the human casualty thats most important.

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

Thanks for the legal summary. What about if Ms. Castro wanted to sue for pain and suffering beyond just filing suit under the Michigan's dog bite statute? I mean, it is plausible that the killing of her two beloved chihuahuas and her personal injuries have left her in weakened stated? Perhaps even with PTSD unable to work any longer?

no flamers!

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

Thank you for your sanity and well-reasoned legal summary.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:09 a.m.

I am surprised like most other people posting comments that only misdemeanors are being charged. But after reading the article and thinking about further criminal charges, I'm not sure what else you charge the owner with. If you were a prospector, what further criminal charges would you give to the owner?


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

harboring a vicious animal? that's a charge?


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

Sorry for the misspelling...I wasn't paying attention.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 2:21 a.m.

How about reckless endangerment, harboring a vicious animal for starters. Prosecutor, not "prospector"


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

Suing for a dog mauling isn't the lucrative lotto that many people think it is. Mr. Goodart bought a foreclosed home in 2009 for approx $85,000. IF, and I do mean IF, Ms.Castro were to collect $85K, was it worth it? <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;i=1&amp;on=goodart&amp;appid=0&amp;actSn=3723&amp;actSna=MAPLE+DR&amp;unit=193</a>

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 6:16 p.m.

a2citizen , I still think the deep pocket liability could end at the limits of homeowners insurance personal liability coverage, whatever that is . It could (possibly) be a fair amount more than 85G's


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

Interesting... If you follow the link you see that &quot;Goodart, Thomas Leroy&quot; is the home owner, but &quot;Goodart, David M.&quot; purchased the foreclosed property. So, who does she sue? Both, I would guess.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

Craig, The deep pockets liability ends at 85k. My experience that people who own pitbulls are not in the top 1%. p.s. I'm not a lawyer either, but I know two people that were on the wrong end of a dog leash.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

I'm no lawyer, but are not the &quot;deep pockets&quot; the liability portion of his homeowners insurance policy?


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 12:46 a.m.

At least there were charges filed for this. Maybe because it was Pittsfield Township (township officials seem more proactive than where I live) there was a better response. It's very sad that this woman was injured and her dogs killed, but I hope something comes from this.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 12:39 a.m.

Having a stray dog? I thought they belonged to him. Glad to hear the family of Mrs. Castro is hiring an attorney. I doubt that Mrs. Castro has fully recovered herself, and certainly hasn't due to the loss of her 2 pets. Misdemeanor charges, would not work for me.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

&quot;Two counts of having a stray dog&quot;? Wow, what a joke, shame on the WCSD. Hopefully the (former) owner gets nailed with some serious civil penalties.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:11 a.m.

What does WCSD have to do with this? The incident happened in Pittsfield Township, and the prosecutor's office has the final say on what charges are filed, not the investigating police agency. &quot;Stray dog&quot; charges are indeed a joke. Of course, this is the same prosecutor who more often than not declines to file charges when police officers are assaulted, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised that mauled pedestrians and dead dogs don't get his attention.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 12:04 a.m.

Two misdemeanor stray dog charges? That is all? Two chihuahuas were killed and their owner mauled and Brian Mackie's office could not bring more serious charges? Hopefully Mrs. Castro can try to sock it to Goodart's homeowner's liabiliy insurance carrier.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:20 p.m.

I too am appalled by this charge. Dogs are considered property under law. So if your property is destroyed by someone else then it should be a higher charge. Also, the guys property attacked her as well. So, wouldn't that be considered malice? I am a little worried about these charges. I have heard of people going to prison for viscous property.