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Feb 6, 2017 4:02 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Two Pit Bulls Euthanized After Attacking, Killing Family Pet In Hampton Bays

From left: Charlie, Carlos, Jessica and Max Garcia during their last Christmas with Skippy. COURTESY JESSICA GARCIA
Feb 7, 2017 2:45 PM

When Jessica Garcia decided to take her family’s 8-year-old chihuahua, Skippy, for a walk last week, she automatically headed south from her Springville Road home, knowing there would be fewer cars in that direction, making their path safer—or so she believed.

But about 20 minutes into their early afternoon walk, shortly after the Hampton Bays resident turned onto Rampasture Road, both were confronted by a pair of American Staffordshire terriers, a breed commonly referred to as pit bulls. The dogs—later identified by authorities as Bandit, a 4-year-old female, and Bramble, a 2-year-old male, and who have a reputation of escaping from their nearby home on Cedar Lane and attacking smaller animals—were not on leashes and immediately ran toward Skippy.

Both latched onto his tiny neck nearly simultaneously, killing him instantly, according to Skippy’s distraught owner.

“The first time he bit my dog, I knew it … I knew he killed my dog,” Ms. Garcia said during an interview a few days after the incident, which occurred at around 1:30 p.m. on January 30, though she was unable to say which of the pit bulls attacked her family’s dog first. “I knew it the first time.”

Through tears, she recalled how Skippy’s approximately 8-pound body immediately went limp on the end of his leash, the fresh gashes in his neck spurting blood that still stains the jacket and pants Ms. Garcia was wearing that day.

She also noted how a man—later identified as the longtime dog-sitter for Bandit and Bramble, according to the dogs’ owner, Dayna Corlito of Hampton Bays—tried in vain to pull the two pit bulls off Skippy.

“My dog didn’t move, he didn’t bark—[they] just attacked him,” Ms. Garcia said. “They just ran to attack my dog in front of me.”

The image of two much larger dogs attacking Skippy—along with a series of other memories: calling her husband, Carlos, so he could help retrieve Skippy’s bloodied body from the street; carrying Skippy home in her arms; and then, finally, having to break the news to their children, Max, 12, and Charlie, 10—continues to haunt her.

The family, who had raised Skippy since adopting him as a puppy, buried him in their backyard that afternoon, she said. “They’re sad,” Ms. Garcia said of her sons. “They are missing him a lot.”

Ms. Corlito was cited in last week’s attack for violating a Southampton Town Court order—the result of an earlier attack involving the two animals.

She said she decided to allow a veterinarian at the Southampton Animal Shelter in Hampton Bays to euthanize Bramble and Bandit on Sunday, five days prior to a scheduled court hearing on the violation, scheduled for Friday.

Donald Bambrick, the town’s animal control supervisor, confirmed on Monday that both pit bulls were euthanized over the weekend. He also noted that Friday’s court hearing in Hampton Bays will go on as scheduled, explaining that they have to follow proper procedure in case the victims of such incidents opt to seek monetary damages.

While she says her family will not seek monetary damages, Ms. Garcia said she intends to attend Friday’s hearing to demand that the courts prevent Ms. Corlito from adopting another potentially dangerous dog again.

Ms. Corlito had been ordered by the courts last year to pay the veterinarian and personal medical bills of another Hampton Bays resident, Joanne Caton, after both she and her shih tzu, Sparky, were attacked by Bramble and Bandit on Rampasture Road in June 2016.

Ms. Caton shared that Sparky was attacked in the same manner, with the two pit bulls essentially attacking him from both sides, repeatedly biting the small white dog on its neck and torso. The gashes required 10 stitches to close, and Sparky has also undergone multiple surgeries to repair injuries to his neck, according to his owner.

Ms. Caton, meanwhile, suffered a sprained ankle and bruising on both her arms and legs—injuries she sustained while trying to fight off the two larger dogs that had escaped from their nearby home in the June incident. Her injuries left on her crutches for the better part of a week.

As part of that court settlement, Bandit and Bramble were supposed to be confined to their backyard and, if they did manage to escape again, would be taken from Ms. Corlito.

“It’s a big loss on both sides,” Ms. Corlito said on Monday, the day after her dogs were euthanized. “I’m having such a hard time with it myself—I’m sorry both families had to experience such a loss.”

She added that her longtime dog-sitter, Jeffrey Peterson, who had unsuccessfully tried to pry to Bramble and Bandit from Skippy, also is distraught over the incident. Though he declined through Ms. Corlito to be interviewed, she said Mr. Peterson told her that Bandit, the larger of the two dogs, escaped when a clasp broke while he was trying to bring the animal to the backyard. It was unclear how the second dog managed to escape from the home.

“Jeff is traumatized and still in shock,” Ms. Corlito said. “He’s just clearly heartbroken, too.”

Carol Carlson of Hampton Bays said she was driving on Rampasture Road when she spotted the two pit bulls attacking Skippy. She said she immediately called Southampton Town Police from the safety of her car and waited for authorities to arrive. An officer with Southampton Town Animal Control was the first to arrive, followed by two Town Police officers, according to Ms. Garcia.

Ms. Garcia said she was shocked when police told Mr. Peterson to bring the dogs back to their home as she was clutching her dead dog in her arms. “He took the dogs back home,” Ms. Garcia said. “They didn’t take them away.”

Less than 24 hours later, both Bramble and Bandit were handed over to the Southampton Animal Shelter, and later euthanized.

When reached this week, Ms. Caton, who spends the winters in Arizona, said she could not believe that the pit bulls had not only managed to escape but had attacked another dog. “When I heard [about] it, I got very upset because of the fact I remembered what I went through,” she said.

Ms. Caton, who previously noted that she no longer walked her dog near her Hampton Bays home because of Bramble and Bandit, said their deaths came as a relief to both her and many of her neighbors. “I’m thrilled,” she said. “I’m so thrilled I can walk the neighborhood and not be afraid.”

The June attack is not the only earlier incident involving the two dogs. In 2014, Bramble and Bandit reportedly injured another dog brought to Ms. Corlito’s house to play with her pit bulls. In a prior interview, Ms. Corlito said both the man and his dog were injured in the altercation, and that she agreed to pay the individual’s medical and veterinarian bills; the incident was never reported to the authorities, she said.

As for Ms. Garcia, she said her family is still recovering from such a shocking and sudden loss, though she can at least take some comfort in knowing that the two pit bulls no longer pose a threat to other pets or even children who attend the nearby Hampton Bays Elementary School.

“What if kids are playing and the dogs come?” she asked. “They will attack them too.”

The Garcias have not yet decided if they will adopt another puppy in the near future. For now, they are still trying to get accustomed to a much quieter house, explaining that Skippy is no longer around to bark at passing cars, or to offer a warm greeting whenever they return home.

“After work, he was more happy to see me than my kids,” Ms. Garcia recalled this week. “He was always jumping, and jumping and jumping—I miss him so much.”

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heartfelt condolences to the Garcia family.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Feb 6, 17 5:16 PM
about time these dogs are banned. How many times does it have to happen?
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Feb 6, 17 7:16 PM
Those dogs are not any worse than many others, they just get a bum rap because there's a predisposition to conflate such contacts. used to believe that too and have been confronted by pit bulls on a couple of occasions that I was certain were going to result in my being mauled - only to find the dogs (in my case) were very friendly. Any breed of dog can be mistreated and trained to attack without provocation. In this case the dogs were clearly a threat and had to be dealt with, but not all pit ...more
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Feb 7, 17 12:53 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Feb 6, 17 7:26 PM
Just a reminder that this was the owner's fault. They should of locked the dogs up, and kept an eye out on them!! I have a pittbull, german shep, and a cockapoo. The cockapoo which is 10 pounds attacked me, and almost broke my wrist..... IT'S NOT JUST PITTBULLS THAT ATTACK!!! But does the media cover that? NOPE! My next door neighbors have a little rat dog that tried to attack me, a child, and a person on a bike... but of course no one cares.....Pitbull haters neeed a reality check. Let's be real ...more
By juliaschneider92 (4), FLANDERS on Feb 6, 17 8:44 PM
True, I haven't read any media stories about 10-pound cockapoos inflicting bodily harm on persons or dogs. Why do you think that's so?

A rogue pitbull can be deadly as has been documented again and again. If you want a loaded weapon in your home fine.. just keep it off the streets or face the criminal and civil consequences.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Feb 7, 17 8:14 AM
You sound like every pit owner whose dog just attacked. Pits are awesome and I own one but don't be so arrogant to think your pit won't attack another dog.
By ChrisEdwards (2), on Feb 8, 17 11:57 AM
1 member liked this comment
any dog can cause damage - a lab can be just as dangerous as a bully breed. Its not the dog its the owners. These dogs should never been under Coralito's care - she didn't know what she was doing that is clear. I am so sorry for the loss of all the dogs.
By OilPro (3), Southampton, New York on Feb 15, 17 2:31 PM
I'm truly sorry for this tragic event..but stop hating on this breed. Yeah they can be dangerous but so can other dogs.
By juliaschneider92 (4), FLANDERS on Feb 6, 17 8:47 PM
2 members liked this comment
It isn't hating on the breed to recognize the risks associated with owning one. In fact we should all stop trying to convince everyone that they are just like other breeds and embrace the good and bad so owners are aware and prepared to handle the dog aggression associated with this breed type.
By ChrisEdwards (2), on Feb 8, 17 12:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
dog aggression is dog aggression - it is not higher with bully breeds.
I do agree you need to be prepared to handle your dog - no matter the breed. Bully breeds are very gentle and loving in the hands of the right owner. To many people get them because they look tough.
By OilPro (3), Southampton, New York on Feb 15, 17 2:34 PM
Pit Bulls are weapons.

Owners should be required to register the dogs in the municipalities in which they live. If the dog causes any damage to life or property they should be immediately removed from the owner and the owner held criminally liable. If this sounds harsh, too bad. These dogs do not belong in society and the idiots who elect to have them as pets deserve full accountability for making such an irresponsible decision.
By BillWillConn3 (180), Southampton on Feb 6, 17 9:20 PM
Complete uniformed BS Bill. Labs have bitten more people than pitbulls.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 7, 17 10:38 AM
Complete uniformed BS Bill. Labs have bitten more people than pitbulls.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 7, 17 10:39 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Feb 6, 17 9:37 PM
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By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Feb 6, 17 9:37 PM
Animal control should have taken the dogs immediately. Owner has shown she shouldn't have dogs.
Winters in Arizona??? Leaves her pets here??? Just a owner...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Feb 7, 17 3:24 AM
1 member liked this comment
You should read the article again. Ms Caton winters in Arizona. Her dog was mauled by Brandy & Bandit last year. Sparky the Shih Tzu is her dog.

Brandy and Bandit should have been put down then. SHT did not protect the Garcia family.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Feb 7, 17 6:07 AM
Pit Bulls are a wonderful breed who worship their owners in a manner that puts the devotion of other breeds to shame. But they are a very aggressive breed and have to be carefully socialized from puppyhood. Obviously, this wasn't done with Brandy and Bandit.

A tragedy, not only for Skippy and the Garcias, but for Brandy and Bandit as well. They're only dogs. It's not their fault.

By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Feb 7, 17 3:31 AM
2 members liked this comment
For once we agree!!!! Any dog can be out of control. Small dogs can be vicious and do psychological damage in addition to biting. Larger dogs are more dangerous due to their size, but why are they singling out pits? What about rottis, labs, retrievers, shephards, I could go on. Do we ban or register them all? It is the owners who do not socialize their dogs properly. I have owned and LOVED 3 English Bull Terriers (Spuds MacKenzie dogs) and they are extememly sweet and especially endearing ...more
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Feb 7, 17 12:57 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Feb 7, 17 4:06 AM
I don't agree that this is a breed issue. But clearly these dogs have a history of being dangerous and sadly should have been euthanized.

Sad for all.
By PhilPunx (1), Quiogue on Feb 7, 17 7:40 AM
There is no upside to pit bulls. There are plenty of predictable breeds that don't routinely kill people
Feb 7, 17 7:43 AM appended by even flow
In a recent 11-year period, from 2005 to 2015, pit bulls killed 232 Americans, about one citizen every 17 days.\ So YES, routinely. for 11 straight years.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Feb 7, 17 7:43 AM
Routinely? Lol, over dramatize much.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 7, 17 10:40 AM
I agree with Draggerman, these dogs at minimum should have been taken away from the owners the first time. (If that was the only other time - who knows if there were other times that went unreported). As far as breed versus owner, scientists can't even prove nature versus nurture for humans, how can anyone make an educated statement whether or not the problem lies with the breed or the owners. However, a 200 pound aggressive man can do a lot more damage that a 90 pound one.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Feb 7, 17 8:41 AM
2 members liked this comment
to be clear I meant that the dogs should have been taken away after the first reported incident and monitored and not necessarily "put down".
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Feb 7, 17 10:21 AM
I agree HB and the owner of untrained, aggressive dogs should be held responsible.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 7, 17 10:41 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By fire11 (276), east hampton on Feb 7, 17 10:03 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By juliaschneider92 (4), FLANDERS on Feb 7, 17 11:14 AM
Numerous occurrences with these two dogs. Yet the owner allowed one more problem to happen, through sheer negligence. What is wrong with some people?
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Feb 7, 17 1:32 PM
if you watch any of the TV court shows 90 percent of the offending dogs are pitbulls.They may love you and your family but they are a deadly menace to everyone else
By hamptonsnrcit (47), sag harbor on Feb 7, 17 6:29 PM
And there you have it folks - we should build our laws around what happens on TV "reality" shows.

There's always a surprise on 27East!
By VOS (1241), WHB on Feb 7, 17 6:36 PM
2 members liked this comment
90% of the pitbulls are not the problem. It's the 90% of the inconsiderate owners who gravitate towards this breed because of their known tendency towards aggression, for protection reasons or whatever.

What a shame that a beloved family pet was horrifically killed because of sheer carelessness. Thankfully it wasn't a child. Condolences to all including the owners of the wayward dogs who could have and should have had a better master.
By Harbor Master (114), Sag Harbor on Feb 7, 17 8:06 PM
Guns don't kill people, bullets do -- Makes about as much sense as all the pit bull owners on here lol
By Brandon Quinn (191), Hampton Bays on Feb 7, 17 8:50 PM
Almost as much sense as your post?;)
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 7, 17 10:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
To quote a fellow geek:

"You only need a parachute to skydive twice."

In the end, it is the bullet that does you in. Not the gun.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 7, 17 11:30 PM
Of course, because guns shoot themselves.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 8, 17 10:58 PM
I mean, if you can't see the same line of false logic here between the "guns don't kill people" crowd and the "pit bulls are totally safe breeds" crowd, think the issue is with you.

Both have proven time and again to not be safe. Both, when owned by responsible people, can be safe. It doesn't mean they aren't dangerous inherently. A dog that big and strong inherently is more dangerous than a smaller dog, and to say otherwise is an alternative fact that makes me laugh.
By Brandon Quinn (191), Hampton Bays on Feb 7, 17 11:05 PM
By your logic automobiles are inherently dangerous. Do you drive?
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 8, 17 11:00 PM
So "these dogs have a reputation for escaping" and the dog sitter was the one attempting to subdue these dogs. Yet no one makes mention of the unfit owners who clearly have no bond with these animals evident by their absence. On multiple occasions these dogs have escaped. Clearly they were not supervised and clearly everything outside of the yard was of more value to them, again due to lack of excersize/stimulation that should be provided by a RESPONSIBLE owner. Adopting a dog doesn't mean you saved ...more
By Kn362004 (1), Flanders on Feb 7, 17 11:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm confused by the statement " while he was trying to bring the animal to the backyard." I open my back door and my dogs go in my back yard. Been doing that for decades. If you have dogs that have proven to be aggressive on more than one occasion, wouldn't you streamline the process of putting them outside in the yard as much as possible?

What a horrible story! I am so sorry for this family
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Feb 8, 17 8:47 AM
Having a pet is a huge responsibility that goes beyond food and shelter. Rescue dogs don't always make the best pets and you'd better be prepared to invest time with your dogs. Pet ownership are a responsibility, not a fad or a fashion statement
By **HBQueenBee** (46), Hampton Bays on Feb 8, 17 10:45 AM
Over the last 11 years, one American is killed every 17 days by a pit bull. Many are sweet, but that doesn't change the facts.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Feb 8, 17 7:21 AM
Who cares? Go back to playing candy crush. Clearly you have nothing better to do then hate. Go talk about Trump on Facebook. ;D
By juliaschneider92 (4), FLANDERS on Feb 8, 17 7:45 PM
2 members liked this comment
What about people killing other people? I think everyone forgets the sad reality about humans. Other animals kill people too....
By juliaschneider92 (4), FLANDERS on Feb 8, 17 7:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
Humans are animals, otherwise known as Metazoans.

By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 9, 17 8:59 AM
Dogs are dogs an they can bite! ALL of them. Big or small. Pitbull or Cocker Spaniel. Its the OWNERS responsibility to understand their dogs temperament , wether its a pitibull or a shitszu. And it should be the owner who gets a bad rap and not the breed of dog. I do not own a pitbull. Nor do I judge them. I COEXIST with ALL.

By toes in the water (884), southampton on Feb 9, 17 8:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
Also, I learned that when theres a dog fight , grabbing the dogs hind legs and pulling hard separates them. Ive seen it done and have had to do this myself on one occasion. It worked. I dont know if this is an unconventional method to use but Its what I was taught . If this is wrong, I hope someone will say so. TY ! From what the article states , its doesnt sound like that would have made a differerence in this situation , ;( But I think its worth sharing for those who own dogs.
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Feb 9, 17 8:34 AM
I have done the same thing. Best thing to do is take away a dogs leverage. Easier said than done though, especially against two dogs.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 15, 17 7:49 PM
No other breed has the ability to lock their jaws closed
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Feb 9, 17 9:01 AM
If you watch "Pit bulls and Parolees" on Animal Planet you will see a full discussion regarding the misunderstood breed of dogs (and also people - the parolees) - A woman in Louisiana rescues the dogs and finds them homes - and she employs parolees to help her.


People ...more
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Feb 16, 17 12:25 PM
Pits bulls do not have the ability to lock their jaws. That is completely false.
By Jason Wells (1), Charles on Apr 5, 17 7:36 PM