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Posted on Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Despite criminal conviction, pit bull that attacked dog remains in same Saline neighborhood

By Art Aisner

The owner of a dog that was mauled by a neighbor’s pit bull over the summer said she and other family members remain concerned a vicious animal still lives in their Saline neighborhood.

Christa Wilde followed through on charges against Amber Calo for owning the animal that seriously injured her dog outside her home on June 22. She just didn’t expect at the end of the criminal case that Gringa, the 2-year-old female pit bull that attacked unprovoked, would stay her neighbor.

Calo was recently sentenced to four months of probation after pleading guilty to one count of owning a vicious animal last month, court records show. She was allowed to keep Gringa, but was ordered to keep her penned while unattended inside her home and to have the dog muzzled anytime she’s outdoors. Her case will be reviewed in January.

Calo voluntarily covered the veterinary bills for Dolly, the 7-year-old beagle mix that was hospitalized overnight with several wounds, reports said. District Judge Richard Conlin also ordered her to pay fines that were not specified in court documents.

However, Wilde said she thought Calo’s dog would be considered dangerous and thus prohibited by Saline’s municipal code.

“I cannot express how disappointed I am with the ruling,” she wrote in e-mail. “Gringa has attacked my dog twice since April of this year. I thought that I was protecting my family and my dog by documenting the attacks with the police.”

In an earlier interview with, Calo said she intended to move Gringa to a friend’s home in Ann Arbor. Calo declined to comment for this story, and it's unclear whether that ever happened. 

Wilde said Gringa remains in her neighborhood and is often at the forefront of her children’s minds when they pull into their driveway or get ready to play outdoors. She and Calo are next door neighbors in a complex of attached condominiums.

“Still, my daughters wait for me to go outside to make sure that Gringa is not out, to give an ‘all clear’ sign before we go out to play,” she said. “Physically, Dolly is okay, but she has become nervous and fearful since the attack.”

Art Aisner is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 723-623-2530.



Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:27 a.m.

After following this story from beginning to end...I am absolutely convinced that Pit Bulls are vicious creatures. And Pit Bull owners are nuts! There are only a couple of reasons why people own Pit Bulls...and none of them are good reasons. The owner of a Pit Bull is either going to use the dog as a weapon...or is compensating for some personal inadequacy. Put the dog and the owner down!


Sat, Oct 9, 2010 : 2:35 p.m.

Can you see how ridiculous this is. If a human would have attacked and injured Dolly, they would be sent to jail for cruelty to animals, which if I'm not mistaken just recently happened to some guy locally, but a vicious dog is allowed to hang around until it attacks again. Where is the common sense in this scenario??? Anyone with a 1/2 brain would order that dog euthanized or at least put out on a farm in the middle of nowhere to keep it from further attacks. I have to call the city of Saline to get permission to plant a damn tree but they let vicious dogs hang out without blinking an eye. As far as the comment about taking a poll on Saline residents wanting Pit Bulls outlawed, that would be a great big YES. What do we need with dogs that serve no purpose other than keep folks from breaking into your house. They're a lawsuit waiting to happen. Wake up people and outlaw Pit Bulls from within the city limits of Saline.


Wed, Oct 6, 2010 : 4:18 p.m.

@Matt Cooper For just a many stories of pits biting someone, there are just as many stories of other breeds who have bitten someone. As for keeping pits chained and locked away, that's exactly what makes ALL breeds aggressive. ALL breeds need to be properly socialized and trained. Pits especially need more exercise and training. My pit has NEVER been trained to be mean, by myself or anyone else. He is a loving family dog and is wonderful with our children who range in age from 2-12. Before I rescued my pit I thought exactly the way you do. But I took the time and did the research on the breed and I made the commitment to be the kind of owner my dog needs. A responsible one! One who trains their dog properly, makes sure he is properly vaccinated and licensed. As for the scars people carry around from dog bites, I completely understand. When I was young I was bitten by our family dog, a shepherd/lab mix. That didn't make the news by the way.


Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 10:32 p.m.

The dog that attack my dog was the same one that attacked him and me last year. (not a pit-bull). We were walking, my dog on a leash his was not. His dog jumped on mine, I grabbed him up, and the dog jumped on me and continued to try to get my dog out of my arms. Biting on his tail, and pulling on him. Again the owner said she doesn't like small animals. Well TOUGH, put a leash on her. I will not use the words here that I used on the owner both times. I do know the law and will not break it. I felt bad beating the dog off of mine with a branch this time. (let alone shooting a dog) Many neighbors said I should have used the branch on the owner. I would not have done that either. Am thankful for Washtenaw Animal Control, and Police Officers. I do my part and they do theirs.

Matt Cooper

Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 7:15 p.m.

@emu2009: PS. I know several dog breeders and they will all tell you the same thing: it IS the breed. Pit bulls are known to be viscious animals, primarily due to inbreeding, and in many cases they are trained to be mean. So it is in part the owners, too.

Matt Cooper

Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 7:12 p.m.

@emu2009: Nice stories. Now, shall I spend the time to go through many thousands of newspaper article to recount all the attacks pit bulls have waged against humans and other dogs? The nice pretty stories about all the wonderful, sweet, loving pit bulls doesn't remove the scars from the faces of the small children that have been bitten by them. Nor does it replace the limbs that have had to be removed due to pit bull attacks. Nor does it replace all the small animals, including household pets, that have been killed by pit bulls. Nor do these stories remove the life long fear of all dogs that one suffers AFTER being attacked by a pit bull. Shall I go on? Love your pit bull all you want. Kiss it, sleep with it, cuddle with it at night if that's what you want to to. But keep it either 1. chained up in your back yard, or 2. inside an enclosed area away from other people/animals so that it can't attack.


Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 3:57 p.m.

@Matt Cooper Not all pits are bad dogs. Its not the breed, its the owners!,-but-a-full-heart-for-working-with-kids-with-disabilities


Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 1:56 p.m.

Negative! antifreeze like bombs, land mines and bioweapons is an indiscriminate "solution" not to mention the other contraindications including enviromental.


Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 12:24 p.m.

Antifreeze is the solution.

Matt Cooper

Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 11:37 a.m.

@deensee: I'm wondering of you can identify one specific police department that uses a pit bull as a drug sniffing dog. Or which hospital, rehab clinic, or other health care facility uses pit bulls as pet therapy dogs. People can make all the claims they want to about how sweet and wonderful their pit bulls are, but I ask you: When you read stories about dogs attacking people, children or other animals, how many involve dogs other than pit bulls? I've not ready any. It seems that whenever you see these stories on the newsd on TV, or read about them in the papers they always involve someone's pit bull. And for this dog owner to have had her dog sttak the neighbors dog not once, but twice, and still refuse to have the animal destroyed is unconscionable. Were I judge Conlin that dog would have been put down months ago. There is no freedom, no love of dogs, no love of pit bulls that allows the owner to cause his or her neighbors to live in fear every time they step out of their house by posessing a dog that 1. The breed is knnown to be a particularly viscious breed, and 2. That particular dog has a history of attacking without provocation. Shame on Ms. Calo for not having the common sense or the respect enough for her neighbors to have this animal put down, or at the very least moved to an area where it can't hurt anyone or anything more than it already has.


Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 9:21 a.m.

@RJA Did you know that you are not allowed to shoot that pit in defense of your dog? Now if you were holding your dog and the pit threatened you....that'd be a-ok. Food for thought. 1*

Basic Bob

Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 7:27 a.m.

Love the headline. I can imagine the pit bull in leg irons. How long did he go away for?


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 8:04 p.m.

My little pom-a-poo was attacked by a dog (non pit-bull) 2 weeks ago. This is the 2nd. attack in a year. The owner walks his dog un-leashed down my road (in the country) east of Saline. The dog ran up into my yard ( YES, MY YARD) and attacked him. I beat the dog off with a heavy branch I was holding. The owner just stood in the road and watched. I stayed awake all night with my dog. He suffered trauma, swelling, cracked ribs and had a temp. the next morning. I took him to my Vet, and on the way home dropped the bill off at the owners home. After follow up on Friday, I did the same. They agreed to pay the bills, I didn't mix any words about what I would do if there was a 3rd. time. Animal Control was notified, as well as my Twp. Officer. It is not the dog's fault, it is the owners fault. (same to all pet owners). I haven't seen the man or his dog on the road since. There are great pit's out there, my grandson has two, but he is a responsible owner. Take control, train, and keep dogs on a leash.

Jim Clarkson

Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 6:57 p.m.

So every one is going to base their opinion on only one side of the story. True the Pit bull owner chose not to speak to But who is to say the Pit Bull was the original aggressor. Beagle mix, what was the mix? I have seen mean spirited nasty Beagles in my day. How do we know that the Beagle did not start it and get its paws trounced. Besides all that, blaming the breed is ridiculous, dogs and humans have a lot in common, they can both be products of their enviroments.


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 11:47 a.m.

Sheila N Gig... you referenced every one that follows pit bulls knows she is a web developer and has no expertise on dog behavior and all her evidence is gather by new paper articles. Also the Dept of Justice has recently ruled that BSL laws are written to broadly. These laws come in conflict with American Disablity Act.. because disabled people use pit bull type dogs as therapy dogs. Therefore the majority of BSL laws will have to be changed if not eliminated entirely.


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 11:09 a.m.

Instead of punishing all dogs and owners...why not try to support you local humane society's efforts. Banning is not the answer-- that just punishes pets, entire breeds and people. Dogs need loving and responsible homes and the opportunity to learn how to respectfully socialize. If one particular dog (of any breed) is dangerous and a threat to people or pets, it is a major problem that shouldn't be ignored. However, enforcing laws like bans just create additional problems.


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 11:04 a.m.

Time for the Judge to retire, isn't it.

Atticus F.

Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 10:59 a.m.

Kay, one of the problems is that pit bulls were selectively bread to be agressive towards other animals. Also, alot of dogs associate children as being an animal because their movements and actions are unlike adult humans. I'm not saying that these type of dogs should be banned, only that special consideration be taken by owners to make sure that their dogs are properly trained and restrained. You should really research the breed history, and more specifically what they were bread for, to get a better understanding of their behavior.


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 10:23 a.m.

The media has helped to destroy the reputation of these wonderful dogs. There are dog bites every day---but notice anything that resembles a pit bull is broadcast. Any veterinarian will tell you that the majority of dog bites they treat are NOT pit bulls. Unless you have been around or own a pit bull your knowledge/compassion/interest is not viable. No person or animal should ever have to experience the pain and fear that a dog bites entails--it is horrible. I was bitten by a small dog and had to have 9 stitches---interesting that it never made the Ann news or radio or TV---but I'll bet if a pit bull had bitten me--it would be headlines. Oh---and I know quite a few people in Saline who own pits as they are part of our church group. Get facts straight before making ignorant biased opinions.


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 10:11 a.m.

I know that Dolly was probably very near and dear to that family, but when a report like this is considered prime news, all I can think is Saline is a great place to live! The worst news involves a 40 pound dog attacking another dog! Crazy to think another animal would attack another animal! So animalistic!


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 10:02 a.m.

hard to swallow this report Live in A2, and we chose to put one of our (then) airdales down for a much less type of incident which occured in our yard. Older neighbor came into our yard space where our dog was and being the protective perimeter keeper our dog was he lunged for the neighbor, didn't break skin even, but we felt this was too aggressive and took responsibility to deal with this. Was very difficult to do, but put him down. This pit bull stuff is rediculous imho how many of these reports do we have to hear about -- about pets and people being actually injured viciously before owners take some responsibility and do what they need to do.


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 9:22 a.m.

There should not be any BSL ever. It's not the breed as a whole its the way the dog is handled, brought up, socialized, trained, etc. I do however agree, that one it attacks/mauls, it is a danger and should be put down. That means ANY breed that attacks should be put down. However, hearing about two incidents now is ridiculous. Now if they only started putting down humans who attack/maul then society would be way better off.


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

As I pointed out before, when this story first appeared, in Saline the entire city government is a corrupt throwback to an era when the German farmers in the area ran the whole place. It still is today. If you are connected in some way to a city employee or official, you are immune to any city laws and ordinances. In any other town or city, the dog would have been immediately destroyed and the owner fined and/or jailed. You guys would be amazed at the behavior that is tolerated in that burg if the offender is "connected". Wonder if Calo is responsible for the counseling bills that are sure to arise


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

I am not a fan of pit bulls and could care less what the good people of Saline choose to do about them. I do, however, find this story pathetic. The aggrieved victim emails this "newspaper" complaining about the sentence imposed by a judge and the newspaper cranks out an undeveloped "story" to gin up interest among the hysterics. Fire the judge...change the law...storm the Bastille.


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 9:11 a.m.

Once again another Pit Bull attack story. The law or the Judge's sentancing under that law is week. I agree, once a dog has proven to be agressive and attacks someone or another pet it should be put down. I'm still opposed to banning the breed but we need to address the laws that govern them. Sounds to me like the law was week in this case and the Judge ruled based on the law. That's the way our judicial system is supposed to work. I'd say until the law is changed the way to follow up on this is within the Condo Association. The judge's ruling is final but there is still a course of action with the Condo Association. Maybe start a petition to have the dog removed(?).


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 8:59 a.m.

Here's a list of Large and small cities with successful BSL. Please note, these are city leaders, police chiefs, Animal Control officers, and municipal lawyers who are saying these laws work, are affordable, and provide an improved quality of life for citizens. SEND THIS LIST TO YOUR LEGISLATORS and CITY LEADERS!

Go Blue

Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 8 a.m.

Let's see - sexual offenders, predators, violent crime, etc. all return to the community when they have performed their "sentence." Go to court, pay your dues, return to the community. That is the way our justice system works. Not always what everyone wants, but then you can't make everyone happy. As to the city moving forward on an issue like this? Although property taxes have and continue to steadily rise in the city, positions are being cut and those that remain on staff have multiple titles to assume and not enough work day to accomplish half their job descriptions. Yes, dogs in a condo environment is tricky and can be difficult. Same for children - no where to play, run, leave their toys and children do like to scream and make noise. Difficult situation there too. And can we use just a little more drama in the title to get a reader's attention?


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 7:52 a.m.

I love dogs and have adopted many rescues over the years. But I would never keep an animal that posed a danger to people or pets. Once an attack happens, that animal can never be trusted again. Period. Calo is showing no regard for the safety or emotional well-being of her neighbors. My dog was attacked by a shepherd recently, and it changed her personality. A once gregarious, happy dog is now timid and defensive. As hard as it is, you must do the right thing, Calo: Put Gringa down.


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 7:29 a.m.

Sounds like Calo has some pretty deep connections with law enforcement out there in Saline. This is totally unacceptable. "Gringa" needs to be put down.


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 7:25 a.m.

"Most people in Saline have no desire for a "Pit". Once City Council passes the law none will have them!" How do you know.. have you taken a poll to determine this?


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 7:21 a.m.

I don't care if this dog was a mastiff or attacked this family's pet not once but twice. Obviously this particular dog does not properly socialize with others. Living in a compact attached condo environment requires well developed social skills for people and animals. This is an improper environment for this dog. It seems the judge gave a very weak sentence which is why I wonder exactly what the municipal code is for harboring a dangerous animal. Because if this dog attacked another dog twice would he also attack a small child? I don't know but it must have crossed the judge's mind.


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 6:59 a.m.

jondhall, Are you aware that a pitbull, was once America's Sweetheart? That Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt, and Helen Keller all owned pitbulls, the dog with Buster Brown? A pitbull. The Little Rascal's? A pitbull. Thanks to the likes of Michael Vick, this wonderful dog has become stgmatize as a vicious, uncontrollable beast. In fact, many pitbulls are therapy dogs, drug detection dogs, and wonderful family dogs. I have one. He will soon acquire his AKC Canine Good Citizenship award.

Chip Reed

Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 6:56 a.m.

Failing newspapers seem to clutch at any straw to maintain reader interest. There will be dogs around after the paper is but a memory. Did you ever have "Buster Brown" shoes when you were young? His dog, "Tige" was a pit bull. Ever see the "Little Rascals"? Don't blame animals for human behavior problems. I have a feeling animals don't like to be anthropomorphized.


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 6:55 a.m.

@ Bob Cronk : Fines could cover some if not all of the expenses. If not them the current administration can "tax the working" as that is what they have choose to do. Why tax those that sit on their rear, get it from where you can get it from, the law abiding citizens. Why did we have to bring up expenses which lead to more "taxes"? Most people in Saline have no desire for a "Pit". Once City Council passes the law none will have them! No one should have to live in "fear" of another dog, these "pits" are known all over for their misdeeds. Take them to the country, just not this one!


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 6:35 a.m.

Art Aisner, Do you know the maximum sentence the judge could have given this person? Is this dog prohibited by municipal code and it just wasn't addressed? Did you interview the condo manager? or any city officials?


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 6:34 a.m.

So jondhall.. you indicate a pit bull is not a pure breed dog...which is true it is slang for at least 3 breeds of dogs but over 20 other breeds of dogs are called pit bulls by the news media, police and ACO officers.. Exactly what breeds of dogs did you have in mind when you propose BSL.. and are you volunteering to pay for additional expense to the taxpayers to enforce this law?


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 6:18 a.m.

She lives in the City of Saline it appears, let's get the City to ban Pit Bulls altogether! Many municipalities around the country have done that. If Calo wants a "Pit" for a toy she can move to the country, just not this country. No one should be endangered because of one's desire for amusement, as these "pits" provide no companionship. Judge Conlin is a very smart man,hopefully nothing comes of this. I say again get the City to ban these worthless animals. On this one PETA has it right! Even they find no use for "pits", did you know this is not even a pure breed dog?


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 6:10 a.m.

Can't enforce the codes, when you terminate the ordinance enforcer...


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 5:55 a.m.

Has she tried to go through her condo assoc? Most have rules against dangerous animals... In the meantime and for the sake of her children I hope she's at least got some OC spray.


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 5:46 a.m.

I agree with you, Cash. Two unprovoked attacks in as many months, children living next door and a municipal ordinance that prohibits vicious animals---why IS this dog still there?


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 5:27 a.m.

Too bad Calo didn't move to Judge Richard Conlin's neighborhood.