Struggling to hold back tears, the owner of two pit bulls that attacked a mother and infant boy, inflicting serious facial injuries to the child, agreed in court Tuesday to euthanize both dogs.
Muriel Perales simply said yes when Judge Paul Meli asked whether she agreed to put down both dogs.
The judge said the Town of Hempstead would euthanize the dogs “immediately,” and deputy town attorney Brad Regenbogen said it would happen within days.
When the short hearing in Second District Court in Hempstead was over, Perales wiped away tears and placed her blue jacket over her head to avoid the media cameras. She declined to comment.
The 2-month-old child, whom Regenbogen identified as Nathan AnAnmiap, remained in serious condition Tuesday at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, Regenbogen said.
Although police said last week that one dog, Alpha, attacked both the mother and boy, Regenbogen said Tuesday that both dogs were involved in the attack.
“We’re not sure who bit who,” he said. “Both came flying out, both were involved in the incident.”
According to police, the mother was carrying the baby in a car seat about 11:55 a.m. Thursday when she knocked on the door of Perales, her landlady, at the house they share on 117th Avenue in Elmont. Regenbogen identified the mother as Susan AnAnmiap.
As the occupant opened the door, both pit bulls burst through, police said. A 41-year-old man doing work nearby intervened in the attack, punching one of the dogs and getting the mother and infant into a vehicle for safety, Nassau police said.
The Nassau County district attorney’s office said its investigation into the case was continuing.
Alan Davis of Amityville, the attorney for the victims, said this wasn’t the first trouble the family had with the dogs. Alpha attacked the tenant’s daughter in August 2017, he said.
That attack occurred when Perales came downstairs to collect rent and brought the dog, he said.
“The dog started chasing [the daughter] around, and then the dog jumped on the daughter,” Davis said.
He said the dog scratched the face of the daughter, who was 5, so badly she required stitches.
Regenbogen said the town had received no formal complaint of a previous attack.
Rauf Akinwunmi, a cousin of the mother, also said the family had not filed a complaint in the first attack and had a good relationship with Perales.
He said he visited the mother and son in the hospital Monday, and that the child remains in the intensive care unit on a ventilator.
The mother, who suffered leg bites, has been discharged from care. But hospital officials have allowed her to remain there with the baby, the cousin said.
“She’s sad. She’s devastated,” he said. “But she’s thanking God that the baby is alive.”
Akinwunmi, who also lives in Elmont, said the mother had lived at the residence — along with her husband and three children — for about a year.
“Something happened that shouldn’t have happened,” Akinwunmi said.