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Jogger killed by dogs in Michigan

A woman said she was attacked three years ago by one of the Cane Corso dogs blamed for killing a Michigan jogger.
By Frances Burns   |   July 25, 2014 at 2:28 PM   |   Comments

LAPEER, Mich., July 25 (UPI) -- Two Michigan dogs that killed a jogger were behind bars Friday at an animal shelter, and their owner could face a prison sentence if she is convicted of manslaughter.

The Lapeer County prosecutor's office was investigating the death of Craig Sytsma, 46, of Livonia. Under Michigan law, owners of dogs involved in fatal attacks can be charged with manslaughter.

Sytsma was mauled Wednesday evening as he jogged on a road in Metamora Township. He died after being transported to a hospital.

Police said Sytsma appeared to have done nothing to provoke the dogs.

"He was jogging, doing what everybody else does out there, running and riding bikes," said Sean Leathers, a Metamora Township police officer who was one of the first to respond to the attack.

Cane Corsos are large dogs bred in Italy for hunting and related to the Neapolitan mastiff. Experts say they bond with their owners and their families but are suspicious of strangers and need to be carefully trained.

April Smith of Oxford said she was attacked by one of the dogs two years ago and does not understand why the owner still has them.

"It's just crazy to me," Smith said. "Animal control should have done something. It should have never gone this far. The fact this has led to a death, it's sickening."

Smith said she was ambushed as she and her sister walked dogs in the area.

"When I was attacked, I didn't even see it running up to us until it was directly behind me with its teeth out and growling viciously. We were about three houses past the yard the dog lives in, so he ran 50 yards to catch up to us," she said. "He tore my leg in three different places and I had to get medical attention. There was a lot of bloodshed and it was very severe. I had bruising for months and had to endure physical therapy. This caused me a lot pain."

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