Five pit bulls removed from WPB home

Posted at 7:01 PM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-04 19:01:14-05

John Robert Soto says it's a split second decision that still haunts him.

"I shot the one dog - the lead dog," he says. "I had no choice. It was two feet away. I had to shoot it."

He was out walking his own dog Christmas Eve, when John says a pit bull owned by his neighbor lunged at him.

That pit bull, now dead, is one of 6 - all from the same home according to Animal Control.

John says they have been plaguing the area around South Rue Road for months now.

He says the dogs chased residents, and one even bit a 16 year old jogging down the street.

"Everybody around here would benefit by them being gone with those dogs," John says. "People are afraid to go out their houses."

That frustrated resident getting his wish Monday.

Animal control stepped in - opening up an investigation and removing 5 pit bulls from the home. 

"We've been out there, we've issued thousands of dollars in citations, civil fines, and they're still running loose," says Captain Dave Walesky with Animal Control. "They were running loose yesterday.

Captain Walesky says despite the fact they've been out to the home multiple times, the laws make it tough to actually remove the dogs.

"It's very hard to take someone's animal away from them when it's inside the house. In this case she was willing to allow us to come here."

The owner, not wanting to talk to us camera, says two of the dogs were able to dig their way out from behind the fence.

She was emotional after their removal, saying her dogs aren't aggressive.

"I'm sorry, I'm am so sorry. I don't know what to do to make it better," she tells us. "I'm so sorry. But these dogs...I love them, and they're not bad dogs."

John, still shaken up by what he was forced to do a few weeks ago, hoping the move brings peace to him and his neighbors.

"I'm just relieved that now I can walk my dogs and not have a problem like that," he says.

So as the investigation gets underway animal control will bring in the victims of these dogs, figure out which ones are responsible for which attack.

From there the dogs could stay with the owner, albeit under much tighter regulation.

If the dogs are taken away, and they can't be placed in a suitable home, they could be euthanized.