Owners were warned about dogs before mauling, vet says

LAPEER (AP) - A Michigan couple was warned their two dogs had behavioral problems several months before the animals fatally mauled a jogger, a veterinarian testified last Friday at their preliminary examination.

Sherrey Wallace told Lapeer District Court Judge Laura Barnard that she marked "DWB!!" for "dogs will bite" on their files after the cane corsos tried to bite her during routine examinations in April.

Sebastiano Quagliata, 45, and his wife, Valbona Lucaj, 44, were charged with second-degree murder after the dogs attacked Craig Sytsma as he jogged July 23 near their home in Lapeer County's Metamora Township.

Sytsma later died at a hospital.

"I told them I felt the dogs were very aggressive and may be very dangerous," Wallace testified.

The 108-pound Tony and 91-pound Princess "were trying to bite through their muzzles," Wallace said.

The two dogs and a third dog from the couple's property, about 45 miles northwest of Detroit, were euthanized after Sytsma was killed. Sytsma, 46, lived in the Detroit suburb of Livonia, but worked near Metamora Township.

Quagliata and Lucaj each are being held on $500,000 bonds. Quagliata's attorney, Jason Malkiewicz, unsuccessfully argued Friday for a lower bond.

The hearing, which will determine if the couple will stand trial, will resume Aug. 29. They face up to life in prison if convicted on the murder charges.

At least two other people bitten by dogs from their property could be called to testify.

Published: Tue, Aug 19, 2014