LAPEER (WWJ/AP) – A couple is expected to be sentenced in the dog mauling-death of a 46-year-old man who was attacked while jogging near their Lapeer County home.
Sebastiano Quagliata and his wife, Valbona Lucaj, are due Tuesday afternoon in Lapeer County Circuit Court. They faced second-degree murder charges before pleading no contest in April to owning a dangerous dog causing death.READ MORE: Meet These Two Bear Cubs Who Have Become Inseparable At The Detroit Zoo
Lucaj, a native of Albania, and Quagliata, a native of Italy, could be deported after serving their sentences. Both face up to 15 years in prison.
Craig Sytsma was attacked by two cane corsos last July in Metamora Township, 45 miles northwest of Detroit.
A witness earlier told a judge that he shot at the animals to stop the attack. Edward Elmer testified that he was mowing his lawn on July 23, 2014 when the two cane corsos attacked Sytsma. The two dogs ran off after he shot at one of them, Elmer said.
Elmer’s girlfriend, Helen Barwig, testified that she used paper towel to try to stem Sytsma’s bleeding, but the blood “was pouring out, gushing out.”
“At one point he said they got an artery and he was going to die,” Barwig said.READ MORE: Delta Wants Other Airlines To Share ‘No-Fly’ Lists To Help Stop Unruly Passengers
Sytsma, 46, later died at a hospital. He lived in the Detroit suburb of Livonia, but worked near Metamora Township.
Authorities said the attack on Sytsma was the third by Quagliata and Lucaj’s dogs in just two years. The couple was apparently breeding dogs at their property, officials said.
Veterinarian Sherrey Wallace had previously testified that she considered the two dogs that attacked Sytsma as aggressive and possibly very dangerous. Wallace said she shared her opinion with the owners after the dogs tried to bite her during an exam.
Those cane corsos and a third dog from their property were euthanized after the July 23 attack. = were transferred to a shelter in Texas.
According to the American Kennel Club, a Cane Corso is a muscular and large-boned dog breed in the working group. A native of Italy, the Cane Corso was historically kept as a property watchdog that hunted wild boar. Today, Cane Corsos are known to be affectionate to their owner and bond closely with children and family, the AKC says. The large and athletic breed needs a lot of exercise, but can be easily trained.
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