Owner of Dog That Bit 81-Year-Old Peru Woman Speaks Out

Peru, NY - New York State Police responded to Union Road in Peru, NY on Friday to what neighbors called a horrific accident. The owner of the dog who attacked an 81-year-old woman shared his side of the story.

Michael James just moved to Peru at the end of August with his three dogs– one male and two females. On Friday around 4 p.m. James said he was just getting back from work and letting his dogs out. One of the female dogs ran across the street while Loretta Timmons was getting her mail.

"It's not something I did intentional and if I could take it back– I'd do anything in this world to do that," James said.

James explained that the female dog that ran over to the woman is very friendly. However, he believes the male dog went into protection mode when his leash slipped out of James' grip. The male dog bit Timmons face. The other female dog followed James when he ran over to stop the attack.

James said the two female dogs did not harm Timmons. The Town Attorney Matthew Favro also added that the Dog Control Officer of Peru sees no threat from either female dog. The male dog, that bit Timmons, was euthanized per New York law.

James said he received nine town tickets as result of the incident and was expected to be in Peru Town Court on Tuesday evening. However, Attorney Favro said it was delayed because the judge recused himself citing a variety of reasons.

James is rescheduled to be in Town Court on Tuesday, October 3 at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

New York State Police are also heading their own investigation. Captain Brent Davison said even though the town has taken civil action, State Police are looking to speak with witnesses to see if further legal action is appropriate.

"If it was shown that these dogs were deemed a threat in the past and the owner wasn't making any attempt to keep them secure there may be criminal charges," Capt. Davison said.

James said he feels this was an awful accident. He admitted the dog has a history of nipping and is restricted to property. He said he keeps the dogs inside or on a leash.

"He's had an issue a few times of nipping people but never biting," James said. "Never a bite. I just feel so sorry for the family and especially Mrs. Timmons."

Loretta Timmons remains hospitalized at UVM Medical Center in Burlington, Vermont. A spokesperson for the hospital said she is in fair condition.

The Timmons family also released a statement Tuesday. It reads:

As a family we thank you for the opportunity to give a statement about our mother's attack. On Friday September 22nd our Mom Loretta was walking to get her mail when her neighbor's dogs ran across the road and violently attacked her. She received major facial trauma. She was transported to UVM-CVPH Medical Center where she was quickly assessed and life flighted to UVM-Fletcher Allen Medical Center. A plastic surgeon, performed over 5 hours of reconstructive surgery. At this point the surgery was more successful than we could have hoped for. She is talking and will hopefully be moved out of ICU today.  We want to sincerely thank Deanne Quinn-Rotella who was driving by and selflessly stopped when she saw the attack. She helped to stop the attack and rendered aid for her. We are confident our mother is here with us today because of her heroic actions! Deanna has told us she did what anybody would do but we feel she went above and beyond and will forever be our family’s hero!

 We also extend our thanks to the Peru and Keeseville EMTs and Fire Departments who responded so quickly and provided immediate care. In addition, our thanks go out to the staff at CVPH and Fletcher Allen for the exceptional care being given to our mother because of their efforts her condition improves every day.

Thank you,

The Timmons Family


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