Dogs bite North Olmsted Police officer 10 days after vicious attack on 3 neighbors; 19 investigates why the dogs’ owner was allowed to keep them

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 7:31 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Just days after three people were seriously hurt by a pack of dogs in North Olmsted, police say an officer was bit by one of the same dogs.

The victims are calling for action, as 19 investigates why the city they live in allowed the dogs that did the damage to go back home with their owner in the first place.

A second dog attack-- just days after three people were seriously hurt by the same dogs. Now, the victims are calling...

Posted by Hannah Catlett on Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Tom McCafferty says all of a sudden a pack of dogs started attacking him while he was mowing his yard on May 13.

“I got to my front steps, and they just got a hold of my right hand,” he said. “I’d get one off and the other would take over.”

He says his neighbors called 911 to report the five dogs running loose.

Before officers could intervene, McCafferty says he freed himself, and according to police, ran through the yards to the street behind his.

There, police say the dogs attacked another woman who was weeding, and they then bit the neighbor who tried to help her.

19 Investigates got the owner of the dogs on the phone.

“They are American Bullies so let’s get that straight,” she said. “They are American Bullies, not pit bulls, and yes I am the owner.”

The owner told us the dogs broke through the fence outside her home on Clague Road.

For some reason, the city allowed her to take the dogs back home after the attack on May 13 to be “quarantined.”

The owner said she has no plans of getting rid of her dogs.

“How did she get the animals back? It doesn’t make sense to me that you would give them animals this vicious into a neighborhood with no guarantees,” McCafferty said.

That’s the question we’re trying to get answered, especially after what happened just days later on May 24.

Tuesday, the Mayor gave us this statement on the attack:

We followed up, asking why the mayor believes the dogs have been removed from the city, if they just bit an officer this Monday. He did not reply.

However, police told us Tuesday, “The owner was at our station yesterday and was being cooperative.”

The report about the bite on Monday says the dog that bit the officer had jumped out of the owner’s car before the attack.

The owner told officers the dogs were in her car, because she’d just returned home from the health department with them.

“Do we have to wait until someone gets killed before we decide to do something about it?” McCafferty said.

The case is now in the hands of prosecutors, and though the owner has not reached out to the victims herself, she told us before the second attack on Monday that no one should worry about her dogs.

“They don’t really have anything to worry about, since we are putting another fence up and quite frankly, I don’t plan to be in North Olmsted,” she said.

Where she does plan to be, and whether the dogs will behave in a new neighborhood remains to be seen.

That’s why the victims are asking-- why does she get the privilege of keeping the dogs at all?

“That’s my concern,” McCafferty said. “If they did this to me, I’m not being brave about it, but I’m fortunate enough that it happened to me and not a little kid.”

The owner admitted to 19 investigates that she did not have the insurance on her dogs required by the city of North Olmsted.

We’re digging deeper into what that means for victims and the expense of their injuries.

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