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

(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.

Stock photo
Stock photo   (Shutterstock)
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