Neighbors Feared Dog That Killed Teen, Injured Friend
It's not clear what led to Friday's horrific attack
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2014 9:10 AM CST
Stock photo   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Two 13-year-old boys were walking home from school Friday past a house in middle-class Paterson, NJ, when a 115-pound bull mastiff named Trigger escaped his fenced yard and attacked, killing one boy and hurting the other—and now neighbors tell the Star-Ledger they'd feared Trigger for more than a year. "It's nothing to play with. It's like a miniature horse," says one retired police officer, who adds that the dog attacked a teenager last year. Another neighbor says she had called the police twice before when the dog jumped the fence and escaped, sometimes entering other neighborhood yards and barking in a threatening way.

It's not clear what happened on Friday. Neighbors say local kids sometimes taunted the dog, trying to provoke it into jumping the fence, but it's not clear if that's what happened in this instance. The boys who were attacked ran in different directions, and a couple out for a walk ran into the surviving teen, who was bleeding from his hand and "running. He was scared," says the man. Later, the boy went out with a search party looking for his friend. Kenneth Santillan's body wasn't found until almost midnight, in an icy stream. The dog's owner, Paul Clarke, was also bitten and stabbed the animal, his wife tells the New York Post, though it's not clear exactly what happened to prompt that attack. The dog was ultimately euthanized; Clarke may still face charges.

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Showing 3 of 57 comments
Mar 3, 2014 11:24 PM CST
If you go to the Star-Ledger website, there is a picture of the dog standing with its front legs over the top of the yard fence, which can't be more than 4 1/2 feet high. Keeping a dog this big and powerful behind a fence this short is insane, especially when it was known to attack people. If I were on the jury that alone would be enough for me to vote for second degree murder (conscious disregard for human life).
Mar 3, 2014 10:23 PM CST
maybe owners should be regularly charged as if THEY had attacked the victims. animals like that are a deadly weapon. start charging everyone with assault and manslaughter when their dogs maul people and those people may think twice about having vicious animals...
Mar 3, 2014 7:05 PM CST
Cry 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war