The owner of a pit bull that attacked two people and a dog Feb. 4 has been charged with violating an ordinance prohibiting animals running at large, according to a Salisbury Township Police Department news release issued Friday.
Police identified the owner as Montreal Howard, 416 E. Susquehanna St., Allentown. The maximum fine for violating the township ordinance is $300 plus costs.
Police said Howard was "very cooperative" during the investigation and told them his pit bulls were up to date with their vaccinations.
Police said Howard's two pit bulls ran away from his home and were wandering the neighborhood when they encountered Bill Tittel and his 6-year-old cockapoo, Oreo, on Pearl Avenue.
Thomas Newell, an attorney for Tammie Jesberger, Tittel and their dog, who were injured in the attack, said he would have preferred that Pennsylvania dog law charges would be brought against Howard because they are stronger than township ordinance violations.
"My experience is that when negligent dog owners are charged with Pennsylvania dog law violations, such as harboring a dangerous dog and failure to confine it, those charges are not only significant ...so is their desire to amend their ways," Newell said.
He said the punishment and fines get stiffer with multiple violations of state dog laws.
Newell said state charges can still be brought against Howard, even though his pit bull was shot and killed by Salisbury police after it lunged after them.
Howard's pit bull attacked the Salisbury Township family and their dog in front of their Pearl Avenue home. Jesberger and Tittel were bitten and bruised after a long struggle to free their dog before they could escape. Oreo, whose throat was torn and jaw was broken among other injuries, underwent four hours of surgery.
Newell said he was struck by the aggression and length of this attack, and that the pit bull did not bark or growl throughout it.
He said: "The idea that the dog fought with her father and fought with her and tried to get in the house... this animal absolutely, with every fiber of my legal background and knowledge, had to have been an animal that attacked and was involved in attacks on multiple occasions before."