Alaska man directed pit bull to attack girlfriend, police say

The Anchorage Daily NewsJanuary 27, 2012 

Police say an Anchorage man has been charged with assault after commanding his pit bull to attack a woman Wednesday in Midtown.

The investigation began when a wounded woman arrived at a local hospital early Wednesday, said police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker. Someone at the hospital, either staff or the woman's friend, called police about 2:30 a.m., Parker said.

The woman has not been publicly identified by police. She told officers her boyfriend, 37-year-old Daemion Patillo, choked her during a fight and then directed his blue nose pit bull to attack her.

"She was surprised, because she didn't think the dog would respond to a command like that," Parker said.

There were bite and scratch marks on woman's arms and legs, including multiple puncture wounds, police said. She was treated and released from the hospital, Parker said.

Officers later found Patillo at an apartment in the 3200 block of Latouche Street, police said. He gave them a false name and date of birth, but the officers talked to other witnesses who confirmed his identity, police said.

As the officers arrested Patillo, they found what appeared to be a small amount of cocaine in his wallet, police said.

Court records show Patillo was out on bail for an ongoing felony drug case -- alleged drug manufacture or distribution -- which was originally set for trial this week. That trial has been rescheduled.

Patillo now faces additional charges of second-degree assault, misconduct involving a controlled substance and providing false information. His bail was set at $6,000.

Standard protocol for dog bites is for the animal to be held under quarantine for rabies monitoring, said Brooke Taylor, spokeswoman for Anchorage Animal Care and Control.

It was unclear where the dog was Thursday afternoon.

Patillo's pit bull was not being held at the animal control facility Thursday as an animal control officer had just begun investigating the case, Taylor said.

"We do not believe that the dog is loose, but we cannot confirm that at this point, as we have just been made aware of this case," she said.

Parker, the police spokesman, said he did not know if the dog was at Patillo's apartment. Officers investigating a dog attack will usually call animal control to take custody of the animal if it is present, Parker said.

Whether the dog is killed because of its involvement in the attack may depend on the results of the ongoing investigation.

There are five levels for classifying animal aggression under municipal code, with level five describing the most aggressive animals. A dog that causes "serious physical injury or death" can receive a level five designation, but so can a dog "used as a weapon in the commission of a crime," the code says.

There are some exceptions, but such animals must be euthanized, according to the code.

Taylor said it's too early to say how investigators will classify the dog's level of aggression.

"Each bite case that we investigate is complicated," Taylor said. "There are many factors that go into making a determination on the classification level."

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