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Court hearing planned on pit bull that attacked mom, infant

A sign on Friday, March 9, 2018, warns

A sign on Friday, March 9, 2018, warns visitors on a fence outside the home on 117th Avenue in Elmont where an infant and his mother were attacked Thursday. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The owner of the dog that attacked an infant and his mother outside their Elmont home, leaving the 2-month-old boy with serious facial injuries, has been ordered to appear in court next week to determine the dog’s fate, town officials and police said Friday.

The unidentified mother, 36, was carrying the baby in a car seat when she knocked on her landlady’s door at the home in which she is a tenant on 117th Avenue about 11:55 a.m. Thursday, Nassau police said.

As the occupant opened the door, two pit bulls burst through and one attacked the mother, “inflicting a very, very serious leg wound,” Nassau police Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun said.

The dog then turned on the child, biting him on the face and head, police said.

A 41-year-old man doing work nearby intervened in the attack, punching the dog and getting the mother and infant into a vehicle for safety, Nassau police said in a news release. They did not release the man’s name.

The child was hospitalized at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park in serious condition Thursday, a hospital official said. The hospital declined to provide a condition update Friday. The mother also went to a hospital for the leg injury, but her condition was unavailable Friday.

“Town of Hempstead Animal Control issued a ticket for the owner to appear next week in district court, so that a determination regarding the dog can be made,” the town’s statement said. “At the request of the Nassau County DA, the dogs are being held by the Town while the investigation moves forward.”

The hearing will be Tuesday at 11 a.m. in Second District Court, Hempstead.

State law says a judge can decide whether to put down the dog or to have the animal permanently confined. The judge also may rule that the dog must be leashed and muzzled when outdoors.

The judge can determine whether the dog’s owner is responsible for the medical expenses of the person attacked and could assess a civil fine.

The owner of the house is listed in public records as Muriel Perales. No one answered knocks on the door Friday, and the person who answered a call to her phone number declined to speak to a reporter.

Police declined to provide further details on the case Friday. About 2 p.m., a worker from the Hempstead Animal Shelter was allowed into the house and emerged about 10 minutes later. He would not comment.

The house has a sign on it saying “Dog on Premises,” as well as a sticker on the front door alerting fire personnel that there are pets inside.

Neighbors said the attack horrified them.

Hassan Mahmood said the dogs’ owner walked them early in the morning or late at night when there weren’t many people around. Mahmood said he was fearful of the dogs because they went “absolutely nuts” when they saw people and other pets.

“I don’t get out of the car when I see them,” Mahmood said.

Jaset Taylor lives across the street from the brick-and-siding home where the attack occurred. She said she spoke to the mother by phone Friday morning and was heading off at about 11 a.m. to visit her and the child in the hospital.

“She’s still in shock based on what happened to her child,” Taylor said. “But she’s better than yesterday.”

Taylor said the woman had lived there less than a year and had a good relationship with her landlord.

Taylor said she had seen the landlord walking the dogs on a leash and that they did not act aggressively.

Ron Rigores, 75, who lives across the street, said he was worried about the dog coming back to the neighborhood. Neighbors are upset about this, he said.

“This is where the kids come down from school, so if the dogs are bad, I’m worried.”

With Ellen Yan

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