Charles Howley with a photo of Rosco in happier times. ROBERT WHALE, Auburn Reporter

Charles Howley with a photo of Rosco in happier times. ROBERT WHALE, Auburn Reporter

‘I wanted the dog to turn on me’

As Yorkie recovers from attack by pit bull, police look for aggressive dog. ‘This dog needs to be off the street,’ pet owner says

Rosco continues to improve, but the 2½-year-old Yorkie is not out of danger yet.

The mauling he took Sept. 21 at the jaws of a pitbull that should not have been loose but was, said his owner Charles Howley, came within a hair of killing the little dog.

While the bites did not puncture Rosco’s internal organs, they broke his scapula and saddled him with a raw, ugly, life-threatening wound.

Doctors at Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital in Renton, where Mr. Howley took him that night for treatment, continue to feed the dog via his esophagus, and despite the ongoing risk of infection, hope for his physical recovery rises all around every day.

Doctors have told the Howleys it will cost about $15,000 to complete treatment for their dog, and they are scrambling to come up with the money.

“I don’t have a lot of money because my wife, Lisa, is sick and it goes for her treatment,” Howley said.

In the meantime, police are looking for “Nita’s” owners, Eric and Melissa Tracy, the latter who also goes by the name of Melissa Richardson.

“This dog needs to be off the street,” said Howley, displaying marks on his arms from his tussle with the aggressive animal. “If it is loose, it will attack anybody, old or young, dogs, cats.”

Here, Howley said, is what happened:

Mr. Tracy had recently left his wife, and the Howleys were letting her stay in the carport at their home at 1011 E. Main St., on the condition that she keep the pitbull confined, Howley said, away especially from kids and from the old folks who frequently venture into the alley behind their homes to dump their trash.

As Mrs. Howley is in poor health, little Rosco was her daytime companion while her husband was at work at Boeing. She relied on the dog.

At about midnight, Mr. Howley had returned from work and was just stepping out the back door with Rosco on leash for his nightly walk when the attack began.

“I didn’t see the dog, and when I walked out with Rosco, this dog made a beeline, and I heard Melissa screaming, ‘Nita, come back here!’ and, that fast, her dog was on my dog. I wrestled the dog and hit it. Melissa was there trying to help.

“I was hitting this dog. … I wanted the dog to turn on me. … I have a concealed pistol license, and I had a gun on me, but if I had taken the time to pull out the gun and shoot the dog, Rosco would be dead. If the dog had turned on me, that would have given me time to pull out the gun and shoot it. I had to act,” Howley recalled.

“The attack seemed like an eternity, but probably it only lasted 25 seconds. Melissa was right there, trying to call her dog off. Her boyfriend was behind me. I was hitting the dog, and the dog let go for a second, and that gave me time to pull it from Rosco,” Howley said.

Howley could see his dog was badly injured, so he set out for the Blue Pearl Animal Hospital in Renton, which he already knew to be a top-flight animal hospital.

“I’ll admit it, I was speeding to get him there to save his life. He was bleeding profusely.” Howley recalled.

Back home, as Mr. Howley heard later from his wife, the pitbull’s female owner walked into their home and spoke to Mrs. Howley, who had heard the commotion outside.

“She said to my wife, ‘Chuck just left all a sudden, and I don’t know why,” Howley said. “… The only thing I said to her before I left was, ‘You are out of here, now,’ and I left. I told Lisa to call 911.”

Mr. Howley has since contacted Animal Control and the Auburn Police Department, which are investigating.

“Personally, I want these two owners to be prosecuted for being irresponsible owners of this dog. They had two dogs, and had to keep them separated in their own house. That’s stupid,” Howley said.

“Rosco is the happiest little dog you could imagine,” Howley said. “It’ll take years to get him over this.”

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