The owners of two dogs that attacked and killed a Boston terrier puppy Tuesday in Winslow are being charged with keeping a dangerous dog, police said.

Danielle Jones and Brandon Ross, co-owners of the pit bulls involved in the attack, were summoned on the charge Wednesday and are scheduled to appear Sept. 20 in Waterville District Court, according to a news release from the Winslow Police Department.

Sharron Carey was wounded and the Boston terrier, Fergie Rose, was killed when dogs Bentley and Kole attacked her at 12:44 p.m. Tuesday, then attacked Carey when she picked her dog up in an attempt to keep it from being harmed.

“I’m devastated,” Jones said through tears Wednesday afternoon. “I love all dogs and I never once trained my dogs to do this. I did not get them for protection. This is a horrific nightmare and if I could undo it, I would. I just hope (Carey) can find it in her heart to forgive everything. I know it hurts and if I could bring her dog back, I would.”

Jones said the attack was a “fluke accident” that was triggered by an unleashed neighborhood dog that had jumped on her backyard fence, prompting her dogs to escape. That dog is not the one that was killed in the attack.

“I’m not trying to deflect blame,” Jones said. “All I can say is they’ve never been loose once in the last year that we’ve lived here. I can’t blame the other dog. People that don’t own a reactive dog don’t know what someone who does goes through.”


Jones’ two Staffordshire terriers — one of the breeds commonly referred to as pit bull — and a third dog, a Labrador mix, were inside her fenced yard Tuesday afternoon when they escaped and went after Fergie Rose, the 10-month-old Boston terrier that was killed in the mauling.

A charge of keeping a dangerous dog is a civil violation that Winslow Animal Control Officer Chris Martinez said Wednesday can be made against any dog owner whose dog assaults or threatens to assault a person or another domestic animal. Martinez, who works as an animal control officer in six Central Maine communities, did not have data on how often the charge is levied, but said it comes up “more frequently than you think.”

Martinez said a majority of the time the dog involved is a pit bull, a term that encompasses a variety of bull terriers and is not itself a specific breed. Most complaints about dangerous dogs involve dogs that threaten or hurt a human, but Martinez said he does occasionally deal with fights between dogs.

According to Winslow police, the same dogs involved in Tuesday’s attack also got loose and fought a neighbor’s dog in May 2015 on Halifax Street, when Jones and Ross lived at a different address. The owners and police broke up the fight before anyone, including the dogs, was seriously injured. Ross was summoned on a charge of keeping an unlicensed dog.

Jones, who also owns The Muddy Paw, a dog grooming spa and self-service dog wash, said that Bentley, a 3-year-old Staffordshire terrier, was attacked by a German shepherd as a puppy and as a result does not like other dogs. Bentley instigated the attack after the neighborhood dog came to their fence and agitated him, she said. Her other two dogs, a Staffordshire terrier named Kole and a Labrador mix named Tanner that Jones said is a therapy dog, also escaped from their yard on Lucille Avenue.

The two Staffordshire terriers escaped the double-fenced yard by climbing up the first fence, which broke and fell, then getting through the second fence, which wasn’t secured on the bottom, said Sgt. Josh Veilleux, of the Winslow Police Department.


“A person could crawl through it,” Veilleux said Wednesday of the fence. “They are animals, and sometimes we forget that.”

Martinez took the two dogs to the Humane Society Waterville Area shelter Tuesday, where they are in quarantine.

“I’ve done everything in my power to keep him away from other dogs, not put him in situations that are high anxiety, just be a safe dog owner and make sure he’s not a threat to anyone,” she said, adding that she has taken him to dog trainers who have told her that he could be re-socialized, but it would take a lot of work.

Jones’ neighbor Krysten Moody said that when she moved in next door about a year ago, Jones and her boyfriend, Ross, warned her that their dogs were dangerous.

“They told us that their dogs would kill another dog,” she said. “I think their exact words were that they would destroy (my dog).”

Moody said her dog, Samson, is the dog that Jones said jumped on her backyard fence, prompting the others to escape. She said she doesn’t leash her dog when it’s in her yard and also doesn’t have a fence, but said Samson, an Australian shepherd, never would jump on the fence next door.


There is no leash ordinance in Winslow, according to Martinez, although state law does require dog owners to maintain control over their pets either via leash or voice commands. He said he does not foresee any charges for Moody and her dog since there have never been complaints about that dog before.

Jones, meanwhile, said she is still trying to figure out exactly how her dogs escaped after they saw Samson. After Bentley was attacked as a puppy, Jones said, he was never the same and she has taken precautions, including the double chain-link fence and putting security cameras up in her backyard, to keep an eye on him.

“I never felt comfortable re-socializing him with other dogs,” she said. “I knew after I had him evaluated that he got along with (my other dogs). They get along great and all the dogs get along with people. They love kids. It’s just that one dog is reactive and unfortunately, when you own more than one dog, they get something called the pack mentality.”

Carey, 60, was treated at Inland Hospital in Waterville for multiple injuries after the attack and was released Tuesday night. Her daughter, Jennifer Holt, was with her at the doctor’s office Wednesday for more treatment and said she is not doing well emotionally.

“It was extremely traumatizing,” Holt said. “She witnessed her dog being destroyed.” She said her mother has melanoma, which has disabled her. Fergie Rose was a client at The Muddy Paw but Holt said Wednesday that her family has not spoken to Jones.

Bill Carey, Sharron Carey’s husband, said Tuesday he would like Jones charged by police and the dogs euthanized. Jones said Wednesday that she wasn’t sure what should be done.


“I don’t want to be looked at as somebody that trained these dogs to be this way, because all I did was love them and try to help them,” she said.

Tuesday’s attack was the second reported attack by a pit bull in central Maine in recent months. No charges have been brought in a dog attack in June in Corinna that killed 7-year-old Hunter Bragg, of Bangor. Bragg, 7, died of “blunt and sharp force injuries” to his head and neck, according to the state medical examiner’s report, after an attack by a pit bull.

The dog in that attack was euthanized at the request of its owner, Gary Merchant Jr., who lived at the Moody’s Mill Road home in Corinna and reportedly was given the dog by his daughter, who lives in Vermont, because it had attacked her dogs.

Penbobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton said Wednesday that attack still is being investigated. Resolution has been delayed because of information that was released prematurely “by other entities” and then published in the news media, Morton said.

The dog in that attack, identified by law enforcement only as a pit bull, was not licensed in Corinna — a problem that Martinez said Wednesday is common in reports of dangerous dogs. While Jones and Ross did have licensing and vaccination records for their dogs, Martinez said it surprised him and is often not the case.

“People know these dogs have a reputation and they say they’re good dog owners, but then a bite happens and they don’t have paperwork,” he said. “They’re stuck in a predicament because you’re not a good dog owner. It’s like everybody says: It’s not the dog’s fault; it’s the owner.”


Staff writer Madeline St. Amour contributed to this report.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

Comments are no longer available on this story