Lynn Holston doesn’t blame the pit bull-boxer mix that killed her 5-month-old Shiba Inu puppy in Hollis on Wednesday night, saying it’s up to dog owners to control their pets.

“I’ve had pit bulls in the past,” she said. “They’re wonderful dogs. It just boils down to responsible ownership.”

Louis Marchand, the animal control officer for Hollis and Limington, said Thursday the attack happened near the Salmon Falls Library around 6 p.m.

Holston says her fiance, Rob Rocheville, was walking Havoc, their small-breed Japanese dog, in the woods along the Saco River when two dogs, one of them white with brown spots, came running up to them. Holston did not witness the attack, but Rocheville told her the white dog, which he described as a pit bull, began sniffing Havoc and suddenly lunged at him.

Havoc, who weighed about 15 pounds, came out of his harness and jumped into the river to get away, but the other dog jumped in after him, Holston said. Her fiance jumped in and tried to rescue Havoc.

“The pit bull got hold of the puppy’s hind leg and wouldn’t let go,” she said. “My boyfriend did everything he could to try to save him.”

Holston said Havoc died in Rocheville’s arms, but the dog still hadn’t released its grip, and Rocheville finally let go.

“When he realized (the puppy) was gone, he started to run because he wasn’t sure if the dog was going to attack him,” she said. “The last thing he saw was the (pit bull mix) swimming away with the puppy in his mouth.”

Holston said the puppy’s remains have not been recovered.

Rocheville, who could not be reached for comment Thursday, received initial medical treatment Wednesday night for cuts, scratches and a puncture wound on his hand, and was seen by a doctor Thursday, Holston said.

Mitchell Marquis, 21, of Hollis, who owns the dog that attacked Havoc, says he left work Wednesday afternoon after his girlfriend called to tell him his two dogs, 4-year-old Ziggy and 2-year-old Zoe, which he said are both pit bull-boxer mixes, had gotten out of the house. Marquis says he went down to the river near his home to search for them, arriving just after the attack. He says Ziggy, who killed the puppy, has never been aggressive around other dogs, but that both dogs have been acting strangely since his mother died last month.

“My mother … loved those dogs to death. She kind of took over and took care of them,” Marquis said. “They’ve been home alone a lot more (since she died).”

Marquis takes full responsibility for what happened and doesn’t want people to think he doesn’t care.

“People are saying (the dogs) should be put down and that’s the last thing I need right now … they’re all I have left,” he said.

Marquis has been issued a summons to appear in court on Jan. 20 on a complaint of having a dangerous dog and allowing an animal to run at large.

The penalty for having a dangerous dog is a fine of $250 to $1,000. Hollis Town Clerk Martha Huff said records show Marquis had one previous dog-related offense, having paid a $90 fine in 2011 for having a dog at large.

Both of Marquis’ dogs will be quarantined in his home for 10 days to make sure neither of them is rabid.

Rocheville and Holston had recently bought Havoc for her 6-year-old son, Ashton. Holston said Ashton asked her Thursday morning where Havoc was and she told him he had been chased away by another dog and he was lost.

“So then he got Havoc’s favorite squeaky toy out and said ‘He’ll hear this and he’ll come back,’ ” Holston said, crying.

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