The Humane Society of Harrisburg Area is explaining a decision to euthanize a dog that survived an attack that nearly killed him last month.
“Trigger” was found bleeding on the side of the road in Lower Swatara Township on December 12 after police say his owner, Josh Boyanowski, asked a friend, Jeff Fletcher, to kill him.
Several passers-by found the dog with its throat slit and brought him to Londonderry Animal Hospital, where veterinarians performed an emergency surgery that saved his life.
But Trigger was then handed over to the Humane Society, where officials learned about the circumstances surrounding the attack.
“What came out of that interview (with the owner) was a red flag — which were discussions about the dog biting the child,” HSHA executive director Amy Kaunas said. “So at that point, everyone has an obligation to then report that to the Department of Agriculture, as they do regulate that area of the law.”
After a 10-day investigation during which Trigger was housed in quarantine, a state dog warden charged the Humane Society – along with Boyanowski and his wife – with harboring a dangerous dog.
Kaunas said the child had received eight stitches to her face following an unprovoked attack.
“Sometimes (the state) will look at if it was two small bites — that can lead to a dangerous dog charge,” she said. “But in this instance they really didn't feel they needed to go back and confirm the other alleged bites because this bite alone was so severe.”
Kaunas showed abc27 the citation and the letter sent to HSHA from the Department of Agriculture, which stated the owner cannot “dispense, move, sell, offer to sell, give away or transfer” the animal to anyone following a “dangerous dog” charge.
The alternative, according to the letter, would be to confine the dog with a muzzle and other specific constraints for the rest of its life — something Kaunas said the Humane Society simply cannot accommodate.
“It's a natural reaction to want to find a reason why this isn't OK — and we want to not blame the dog and put the blame on something else or someone else,” she said. “Sometimes there just isn't a reason for these things.”
Boyanowski and Fletcher are both charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty.