Monday, October 23, 2017 Elyria 59°


Owner cited but dog OK after being shot by police


Wrinkles, a pit bull shot by a Lorain police officer Friday evening, went home this afternoon and might be a little sore but will have no permanent injuries, according to Dr. Thomas Wood at the Lorain Animal Clinic.

Wrinkles' owner, Tony Hrpcha, 23, is charged with dog at large, annual registration of dogs/tags required, registration of vicious dogs required and rabies immunization required.

Police responded to the area 2319 E. 29th St. Friday about 6 p.m. for a report of two vicious tan pit bulls running at large and mauling a cat.

An officer wrote that he observed one of the dogs in "an attack posture" — baring its canines, its ears cocked back and with the hair between its shoulder standing back — and fired three times, striking the dog in its heel and chest.

Wrinkles, who is about 80 pounds and 2 years old, was taken to an emergency vet clinic and then to the Lorain Animal Clinic but was released Tuesday following surgery Monday, Wood said. The other dog, a 6-year-old named Natasha, had apparently gotten scared and returned to its pen.

Wood said his practice had no aggression problems with Wrinkles.

"When a dog is in its own environment, it can be protective of its territory," Wood said. "Here, we see about 20,000 dogs a year, in that high of a volume, some require special handling, but no special handling techniques were needed with Wrinkles."

Still Woods declined to comment on the officer's handling of the situation.

"If I’m not at the scene, and didn’t see what transpired," I can't say, he said. "When dogs are riled up, they can become aggressive."

Still, he said, called a lot of the reasoning in the police report flawed.

According to the report, Officer Jeff Casselman and deputy dog warden Nelson Delgado considered the dog a a risk because it licked up a pool of its own blood and "has a taste for blood."

The pair also reasoned the dog might have become aggressive toward Casselman because he had a wound with three open incisions in his left leg.

According to the report, "he went on to state that if Wrinkles can smell a bitch in heat up to a mile a way, he certainly could smell the wound and blood from my injury" and that the officer believed "Wrinkles was stalking me like prey."

Those conclusions are "not based on medical fact," Wood said.

Cauletta Hill, 19, fiance of Hrpcha, said that despite facing hundreds of dollars in vet bills, she was just glad to have Wrinkles home this afternoon.

She said she believed there were some inconsistencies in the officer's story and said, due to the fact that the dogs were both kenneled and leashed and that the gate was open pushed inward, she believed someone had let the dogs out.

She said Natasha is a little ornery due to being older, but she's never had any concerns about Wrinkles, even around her 10-month-old daughter.

"I love animals, but if he were vicious, I'd have him put down in a heartbeat," she said.

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