Florida police use Taser to stop fighting dogs

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Sarasota Police used a Taser to stop a fighting pit bull in downtown Sarasota. The pit bull has been involved in two confrontations since July, including five separate calls for being aggressive or barking.

SARASOTA — Champion, a brown pit bull, has been involved in two dog fights and five other police reports for barking or being aggressive in the last two months, according to the Sarasota Police Department.

And the latest incident could be life-threatening for the dog known for wearing sunglasses. He belongs to a homeless man named Lawrence Grampp Jr., 34, who has had 25 run-ins with police since July 7.

Sarasota County Animal Services is working closely with the County attorney on plans to declare Champion “vicious,” according to Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kaitlyn Perez. As a result, the dog could be euthanized if it is involved in further offenses.

The dog will be required to wear a sign that indicates it is vicious and must be neutered, Perez said.

Officers arriving at the scene for a report of an animal problem saw panicked people crowded around a brown pit bull and a tan poodle that were fighting, police said. There was blood scattered on the pavement and on both dogs.

An officer noticed blood and injuries on the poodle’s handler, and, concerned with the safety of about a dozen bystanders, tased the pit bull, causing the dog to release the poodle’s rear end, police said.

According to statements to police, Grampp and his dog Champion were sitting on the pavement beside the light pole on the northwest corner of the Main Street/Lemon Avenue intersection, when Richard Rostant, 61, and his poodle walked past. The poodle allegedly sniffed the pit bull, startling him and prompting him to latch onto the poodle.

All witnesses stated that both dogs were on leashes.

Grampp and Rostant had minor cuts to their hands from attempting to separate the dogs. The owners and bystanders all provided the same accounts of what happened, police said.

Reese the poodle had a large laceration across its ribs and rear, an Animal Services report said.

Champion was confiscated “on grounds of being a public nuisance” because of a previous attack on July 14 that injured a small dog and its two owners at 2nd Street and Central Avenue.

Grampp was issued two tickets: one for public nuisance and the other for failure to provide proof of a current rabies vaccination. The vaccination citation was later voided when documentation was found that shows Champ was given a one-year rabies vaccine on Aug. 16, 2018.

While investigators conducted the investigation, Grampp became upset, the police said. He told authorities, “If they don’t give me my dog back tomorrow, they might as well put a bullet in me.”

Grampp was trespassed from the Sarasota County Animal Services property by the police department following threats made that he would go to Animal Services to break the dog out.

Grampp said that while he was trying to separate the dogs, he was bitten by Reese.

Officers went to Suncoast Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital, where Reese was having overnight surgery. Rostant, who took possession of the dog from its original owner who passed away about a week ago, provided police with a three-year rabies vaccination.

Rostant had two puncture wounds on his left arm and 10 puncture wounds on his right arm/hand.

Animal Service’s said that Reese was put on home quarantine because he bit Grampp. It is unknown when Reese, whose injuries cost $1,300, will leave the veterinary hospital or if it will survive the attack.

This story originally published to heraldtribune.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the GateHouse Media network via the Florida Wire. The Florida Wire, which runs across digital, print and video platforms, curates and distributes Florida-focused stories. For more Florida stories, visit here, and to support local media throughout the state of Florida, consider subscribing to your local paper.

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