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Posted on Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 11:51 a.m.

Witness to dog mauling: 'I'm glad nobody else got hurt'

By Lee Higgins

Previous story: 2 small dogs killed and owner hurt after mauling by American Bulldogs that escaped from yard

Waleed Issa yelled at two children to step back Tuesday as they ran toward their mother who was lying in her neighbor's yard in Pittsfield Township, bleeding as two American Bulldogs stood just a few feet away.

The woman, identified by family members as 45-year-old Dora Castro, had blood on her face and arm and was holding two Chihuahas that were bleeding, Issa said.

"Her kids started running out and I told them to step back because they could get killed," he said.


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

Melanie Maxwell |

Issa, 21, who lives near Castro, gave the account of the dog attack on Wednesday morning.

Castro suffered serious injuries and her Chihuahuas died after the mauling by the dogs that Issa estimated weighed at least 100 pounds.

"It was sad," Issa said. "I'm glad nobody else got hurt."

Issa was among many people who rushed to Castro's aid after the 3:50 p.m. attack on Maple Drive.

Issa's mother dialed 911. Issa kept his distance from the dogs, standing 20 feet away. Another neighbor approached the large white dogs with an umbrella, Issa said, attempting to shoo them away.

The dogs became more aggressive, Issa said. They stepped toward Castro and started barking, he said. Then, a man drove up in a truck, got out and used a large stick to shoo the dogs away, Issa said.

Castro was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, where she received numerous stiches to her face and hands, said her daughter, 27-year-old Angelica Sierra.

Castro also suffered a broken ankle, Sierra said. She was expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon. The American Bulldogs were seized and taken to the Humane Society of Huron Valley, where they were euthanized Tuesday night, officials said.

Sierra said her mother was holding the dogs, 3-year-old Pancho and 10-month-old Thalia, in her hands and was walking down the driveway when she was attacked. She was planning to get in her car and drive to the bank, Sierra said. Castro told Sierra that the dogs managed to get through a chain link fence in the neighbor's yard and attack her. Issa said that after firefighters arrived on scene, the dogs' owner whistled and made a motion and the dogs went back to the house.

A man who answered the door this morning at that home declined comment. Pittsfield Township police are investigating.

Lloyd Quicksey, 67, who lives in the neighborhood and often walks his dog past the house where the American Bulldogs lived, said the dogs didn't show any signs of aggression. Quicksey said they've been at the home for at least five years and the owner always keeps them behind the fence. He said the dogs didn't bark at his dog.

"I've had no problems with them," he said. "No issues with them. They didn't do no aggressive talking."

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



Tue, Jan 3, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

So sad for all concerned. Where I live people let their Chihuahuas run loose, though we have a leash law. The Chihuahuas are very aggressive and chase other dogs down the street. It is just a matter of time before they chase the wrong dog. Not what happened in this case but I hope it will make some other owners pay attention and realize it is not okay to let your dog run loose just because it is small. Best way to break up a dog fight is to pick up the back legs of the dog and pull or rotate away from the other dog. This keeps your hands away from their mouth and throws them off balance.

A2 Cat

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:41 a.m.

I can't believe anyone hasn't commented on the fact that the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners has not yet reached a contract deal with the Humane Society of Huron Valley to provide animal control within our county at a reasonable (i.e. not $250,000) rate; currently they are contracting with the MI Humane Society of Westland (ahem, not our county!), also voted the WORST shelter in MI!!! Compared to our local shelter, HSHV (voted, ahem, BEST shelter in MI with an unbelievable save rate of over 80%), contracting with such a low performing entity is utterly unacceptable. If this tragic incident isn't enough evidence that our community demands above and beyond what is provided by the 1919 (!) dog law, then I don't know what is... Bottom line: by whatever means necessary, we need to support our local Humane Society of Huron Valley, which protects our citizens against dangerous animals and provides homes to all the deserving ones.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

No political statement needed here! To say that THIS incident has ANYTHING to do with funding of HVHV is ludicrous!


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 3:15 a.m.

All dog owners should take note that their dogs are capable of attacking others. The "my dog wouldn't do that" syndrome prevails in Ann Arbor....a dog respond differently to others than it responds to its owner.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 5:32 p.m.

I'm pretty sure I know how my dog would respond to you.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 11:32 p.m.

Its so simple; if your dogs are violent you must keep them locked up. Other wise the owner should be charged as if they themselves had committed the same crime. And let me make it clear, I have no problem with using dogs as tools of home defense, but if your dogs are vicious you must keep track of them same as you would a gun you use for protection.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

uh, no. You must have control of your dogs. Its the law. If your dogs are dangerous/"violent" - they should be immediately put down. Its that simple.

Atticus F.

Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

The politically correct thing to do now a days is to call a pit bull an 'American Bulldog' after it attacks somebody. Same with people who move into apartment buildings that don't allow pit bull. The owners usually say "he's an Americn bulldog (or Stafforshire terrier), not a pit bull". The popularity of gangster rap in the 90's has morphed into a group of know-it-all, quasi hipsters who own 'american bulldogs/staffshire terriers/ pit bulls', and who routinely degrade anybody who dares suggest that these dogs might be dangerous. If I had a quarter for every time I heard a pit bull owner say "my dog would never hurt anybody", or "that child was mauled because the owners weren't repsonsible dog owners".


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

pitbulls and american bulldogs are distinctly different breeds, although sharing some general physical and tempermental characteristics. I've worked with both and ,although the case described here is a statistical aberration , it is nonetheless true that both of these breeds ...if bent on mischief-- are perhaps more capable, (via both physical and temperment hardwiring) than many other breeds of doing real damage to both humans and other animals. A ban on multiple such animals in households, esp in residential areas ( given incremental possibilities for harm with even a mini 'pack' ) , might not be a bad idea , short of the outright banning many would clearly like to see.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 6:07 p.m.

If you are keeping dogs inside a fence and are not exercising them properly, you are likely going to see their aggressiveness heighten. Their entire world exists inside of a fence-that creates all kinds of problems. People if you don't have a dog that you can walk the neighborhood with, aren't going to exercise, or don't trust in EVERY situation, then you shouldnt own that dog and maybe shouldn't own ANY dog. That being said, thank goodness for the man who stopped those children from approaching a deadly situation. It's terrible that this woman her dogs were injured, I hope they can all recover quickly.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 5:01 p.m.

Amazes me how many people are comfortable having dogs around children. Dogs are unpredictable. Period. Doesn't matter the breed. Don't ever ever leave your children with them unattended and better yet, don't have one at all around children. We always hear how the dog was never aggressive before the attack or the bite. They are animals and are unpredictable. Dog owners think they know what their dog is thinking and how they are going to behave. This proves it's not true. Just a nip will make a scare on a child's face that they will live with for a lifetime. Are you really willing to risk that or far worse?


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

I'm not trying to deflect blame from the owners. My dog (a Lab mutt) has escaped my fenced yard several times (seeking the food my neighbor leaves in his yard for squirrels), each time with me learning how to better secure her. I use a cable, but even that failed once. I have trained her well in many other ways, though, and she is well socialized. Still, I have learned not to leave her out in the yard unsupervised for extended amounts of time--this story is a caution of what can go wrong. If one knows one's dog to be dangerous, then that sort of diligence is necessary. But most dogs can be dangerous. The average fences that so many houses have that are four feet high, can be cleared by most dogs if they have the motivation. Six feet high fences can be cleared by many dogs as well. In the last three months, walking my dog in Ypsilanti, I have had three instances where dogs got free and rushed up to us (twenty pound terrier, a pit bull, and what I think were two young bulldogs). In each case I was able to keep the dogs from fighting by yelling at them. But if it had been the wrong dog, bad things would have happened. Dog owners, be diligent.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:35 p.m.

Not that I doubt it. "My dog (a Lab mutt) has escaped my fenced yard several times (seeking the food my neighbor leaves in his yard for squirrels)" Your Lab has a strange appetite!


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 3:11 p.m.

Labs are very social animals. Bulls are not. I'd be laughing if yours came into my yard because all it wants to do is play. My in laws have two. Play play.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

I'm so sorry for this woman. Regarding the breed of the attacking dogs, I once shopped for German Shepherd dogs and learned that one could select for a high-drive GSD, the kind used for police and military work, or for dogs with more moderate temperaments. I haven't done any broader research, but if this holds for all dog breeds, then the breeders of these dogs are potentially partly to blame (assuming the dogs owners didn't intentionally pick aggressive dogs). Is it that this high-drive temperament can be orchestrated in the breeding process, or do breeders just pick the high-drive seeming puppies and reserve them for police/military/defense purposes? If the former, then perhaps American Bulldogs are being bred in a similar fashion, with some versions of the breed being aggressive and some not. I feel that there are some very irresponsible breeders out there, and I wonder if we could do a better--or much better--job of regulating dog breeding. What could be done to improve this? Irresponsible dog breeding happens all over the place, too. In Ann Arbor, my friend's neighbors intentionally bred sibling pit bulls, with the intention of making money off of selling them--and they did. The dogs were not taken care of well, either.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 9:02 a.m.

Re: American Bulldog breed – This breed tolerates children and can do very well with them, provided they are socialized early and understand their limits. The more exposure to good training practices, other dogs, and people, the more likely the success at being controlled both inside and outside of their environment. Early training and socialization both in the home and outside of the home is essential for this breed. - American Bulldogs weigh between 60 to 120 lbs. and are 20 to 28 in. at the withers, but have been known to greatly exceed these dimensions. (from Wikipedia) " THE MORE LIKELY the success at being controlled"-?? One American Bulldog breeder calls his website: "Double Barreled Bulldogs." Seems not only the breed but some owners and breeders are potentially dangerous. LOVE dogs, friends & family members have had them for generations. But owning potentially dangerous breeds isn't something I approve of. After witnessing a Pit Bull on a leash frightening every person who came within 20 feet last summer, I called AAPD for information on what to do in case of dog attack. I told them what I'd seen and how the owners (a couple) had the dog barely under control. I asked what to do if such a dog attacked me or others. (And explained that I am always legally armed.) I was told: Do anything necessary to stop the attack. To owners of dangerous breeds: you are risking the lives of others, your dogs' and possibly even your own if you take a too casual attitude toward making your dogs safe. Having an improperly raised dangerous dog, even on private property, is like pointing a gun randomly at anyone who comes within sight distance. It is you who are responsible for doing anything necessary to stop dog attacks.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 5:35 p.m.

"I asked what to do if such a dog attacked me or others. (And explained that I am always legally armed.) I was told: Do anything necessary to stop the attack." Another great reason to be legally armed as well as very familiar with a firearm. Yet the majority of our society insists the guns kill/injure people when in cases like this that is clearly not the case. If people are allowed to own animals like this, then people should be allowed to be legally armed and trained in firearms.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 12:56 a.m.

Well it is refreshing to see that an overwhelming majority of the comments are condemning the owners. No sympathies here for the owners of the Bulldogs!


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 3:10 p.m.

None from me. I am glad Ypsi Township is forcing the sterilization of all Bull dogs and Pit Bulls as well. This is just another nail in the coffin for a very dangerous animal that should not be near any neighborhood. IMO


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 10:15 p.m.

I blew a gasket when I got to the end of the article and read, "Issa said that after firefighters arrived on scene, the dogs' owner whistled and made a motion and the dogs went back to the house". WHAT IS THAT ALL ABOUT? The owner must have been aware of something going on BEFORE the firefighters arrived. Many years ago, when I was hanging reminder tags for Recycle Ann Arbor, I was in a similar situation when two Rotweillers bounced against the screen door and charged me. It was not until I was told that I needed to back away from the house to the sidewalk that the owner called off her dogs. Neighbors were horrified but unable to do anything to help for fear for their own safety. I hope the owner of these dogs is charged with some kind of criminal offense and gets sued into oblivion. Absolutely unacceptable that this situation should ever occur. And, yes, thank GOD, Issa was able to prevent the kids from becoming additional victims.

John of Saline

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 9:45 p.m.

It would have been interesting to have Juliana Keeping report this story.

W. Issa

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 9:36 p.m.

Im glad I was able to help out... It was such a tragic event...


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

I am glad to hear you were not also a victim in this senseless tragedy.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 11:48 p.m.

Thanks to the whole Issa clan!


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 10:18 p.m.

Thank GOD for good people like you!


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 9:14 p.m.

The owner of the dogs may face civil legal consequences under Michigan's strict liability dog-bite statute. There could also be local ordinances involved and the police are investigating. It is a sad story all around.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

The dogs need to be euthanized immediately.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 8:51 p.m.

They were, it says so in the article.

Ron Granger

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 6:58 p.m.

"Issa said that after firefighters arrived on scene, the dogs' owner whistled and made a motion and the dogs went back to the house." What took so long? Why did he wait?


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 8:07 p.m.

Unbelievable! Wait for the fire department to show and THEN whistle your dogs into the house?


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 7:52 p.m.

Exactly! The owner should have immediately put the dogs inside and they also should have been the first to respond to the woman and call 911...almost seems like they didn't care...


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

This story is so very sad. I to hope Mrs. Castro recovers fully and glad that the children are OK. I had a neighbors dog attack me and my puppy. (we were not injured the first time) The second time my puppy was injured, cracked ribs were painful. I then attacked the dog with a large heavy branch. (the owner stood there and watched) I had a few words for him, then took my puppy to the Vet. I took both Vet bills to the owner. For some reason, unknown to me, he no longer has the dog. I'm so sorry for Dora, for the loss of her dogs. In my home, animals are family.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 6:27 p.m., I think it is about time you identified the dog owners by name. When animals are on the receiving end you mention the humans involved.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 6:18 p.m.

It doesn't sound like the owners intentionally put their neighbors at risk. Charging the owners with manslaughter seems harsh. They must feel terrible. I hope the victim recovers from her wounds, but the mauling of her pets will be difficult to get over. I can speak from experience about that.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.

Dog owners are an incredible lot. Uh....she's got bites all over her face and arms. Hundreds of stitches likely. I think she has a right to sue or and the dog owners are accountable. You want to own a dog, you're responsible.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

When I see DTE or who ever getting near my fence? I let the dogs out and let them go after who ever is in my backyard. My backyard is fare game. DTE does let us know they are coming. Otherwise, they are toast. Why? I had someone come into my yard and steal a bike right near the backdoor. Go figure.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 8:40 p.m.

That would be hard to prove. DTE has left the gate to my backyard open on more then one occasion, they now have to call ahead or jump the fence to read the meter since the gate is now locked 24/7


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 8:25 p.m.

If you have dangerous property then you need to make sure that chain linked fence is safe and secure. I know of two dogs down the street that got loose and went after a child. It was put down. Come my own? I will make sure you never own another dog. Good luck.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 8:17 p.m.

Yeah negligence maybe but manslaughter? You do realize someone has to actually die for them to charged with that right?


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 7:54 p.m.

They are indeed responsible, but these are animals with will of their own - not robots. The lady did not die, I am sure she will sue them into oblivion, but the calls for manslaughter are simply an ill thought out over reaction.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 7:51 p.m.

It doesn't matter what their "intent" happened under their watch. They are responsible for the actions of their animals.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 5:36 p.m.

I live just a few streets over from here and walk my dogs regularly through the neighborhood but hardly ever on Maple because I have a routine route that I like. I have on occasion walked through there just to change the routine up but never had any problems. I am glad that there were people around to help this woman and to keep those kids safe. I am sure like a lot of people, dog owners and non dog owners alike, I am wondering where was or what was the owner of these two dogs doing while all this was going on. When my dogs are outside in our fenced in back if they are barking a lot I check on them. Usually they are chasing the squirrels that are running in the trees or along the fence but I make sure that something hasn't happened and they have gotten out somehow. Also if it's after dark I don't want them bothering the neighbors. I hope the Castros all the best and a speedy recovery to Mrs. Castro. As for the owner of the other dogs I hope he is punished to the full extent of the law. It's dog owners like this that give the rest of us a bad name.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

I hope the victim recovers quickly. The mauling dogs owner needs to be charged with attempted manslaughter. He is guilty of putting animals into the public that were untrained and capable of killing, which they did. I had a American Staffordshire Bulldog and his socialization and training began when I rescued him at 5 weeks and he learned to interact with manners with all other animals from our cat on up to my horses. The dogs are just that, dogs...the owner must be made to step up and accept the responsibility of the dogs actions and face the consequences of his neglect in animal training. I am not assessing blame, just stating pure fact.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

I guess because Ms. Castro survived, people don't see the issue here. Had there not been an intervention and she tried to move, the dogs would have most likely continued the attack and possibly killed I'm not a lawyer but when you allow anything to become a weapon of destruction, albeit untrained dogs or a car with a drunk driver...and someone dies...there has to be accountability...and American Staffordshires are still considered part of the Pit Bull community.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

There is no "attempted manslaughter" in an unintentional homicide; clearly the owner did not order the attack. This incident is likely covered by the relevant homeowner's insurance policy. Some personal injury attorney is likely to have a field day with this case.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 8:37 p.m.

American Staffordshire is a terrier not bulldog, just saying.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 8:22 p.m.

The owner is going to loose everything he owns. He will be put out because he cannot be control his property. This is negligent property and the owner will be held accountable. Glad to hear the dogs where put to sleep and so sorry to hear about the mother and her fur babies. I am just glad I am not reading this article reading that two children were attacked and mauled. This has happened before. I do know of two rescue Chihuahuas if interested.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 6:36 p.m.

Animals are definately not human and therefore should be controlled at all times...HELLO!!!! I doubt this incident rises to the level of manslaughter, but no doubt the owner better have his insurance paid up!!!

Robert Granville

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 6:18 p.m.

Manslaughter.... have we really not learned that animals are not human and cannot be controlled in every circumstance?