Dogs in Denver mauling that injured 2 people, 2 small dogs may be pit bulls; breed banned in city

Responding Officer: Dogs 'horribly misevaluated'

DENVER - A pack of dogs that broke through a security door at a Denver home and mauled two other dogs and two people, may be pit bulls, and neighbors question why they were allowed in the city.

"It could have been children they attacked," said Shirley Crofford, whose two small breed dogs were severely injured Saturday night inside her home in the 1600 Block of South Winona Court. "I saw them charge out of my neighbor's house. They broke through my door, squeezed through the bars and destroyed. There was blood everywhere."

All three dogs are now being held at the Denver Animal Shelter as a public safety threat, and the owner faces multiple charges, according to officials.

Dispatch radio traffic from Saturday shows Animal Control investigators quickly figured out it's not the first time two of the dogs have been impounded.  Last summer, Animal Control officers took them into custody for running loose.  

"The two adult dogs have been evaluated as Bullmastiffs," the investigator said over the radio.

But neighbors don't believe that evaluation was accurate.

"I know they're pit bulls because he [the owner] told me," said Albert Garcia, a neighbor who ran to help Crofford during the attack.

Even the responding animal control officer appeared to doubt the dogs were Bullmastiffs, according to radio traffic.

"These dogs were horribly misevaluated, but I guess that's a different issue," said the officer.

Pit bulls are not allowed in Denver, where a dog can have some pit bull traits, but not more than 50 percent.

In order to determine whether a dog is a pit bull, three certified breed evaluators use an extensive checklist of characteristics.

While two of the dogs have already been evaluated as Bullmastiffs, animal control said the third dog may be a pit bull. They are still confirming that evaluation.

Crofford said she believes if these dogs had been properly evaluated last year, when they were impounded, this never would have happened.

Denver Animal Control spokeswoman Meghan Hughes said even if the dogs had been identified as pit bulls last Summer, they would have been released to their owner and it would have been his responsibility to remove them from the city.

Crofford said she is focusing on the positive, now.

Her dog, Gordy, is back at home and her other pet, Dug, had a successful first surgery for a broken jaw. He will need at least one more surgery to fully recover.

Crofford's family have started a fund to help pay for veterinary expenses at Wells Fargo Bank under the Dug and Gordy Animal Hospital Fund. She said people have already stepped up to help.

"You take the good out of it, and just be so thankful we have a chance for it to be OK," said Crofford.

Animal Control said they will release the dog owner's name and more information Tuesday when he is officially charged.

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