Neighbor: Dog who attacked owner usually well-behaved
A Seminole man was hospitalized this morning after he was mauled by his dog, a German shepherd-Rottweiler mix, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. When deputies arrived at the mobile home about 3:50 a.m., they found resident Richard Blackey, 51, crawling out of his bedroom with the dog attacking him, sheriff's Sgt. Tom Nestor said. Nestor said Blackey's girlfriend was trying to pull the canine off him. Blackey had numerous bite marks on his arms, chest and neck and was in no condition to give a statement, Nestor said. He was taken from his mobile home, at 10675 Seminole Blvd., by ambulance to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. Mickey, a 95-pound, 6-year-old canine, is at Pinellas County Animal Services. He has been put under a 10-day rabies quarantine, which is routine whenever a dog bites a human, said John Hohenstern, a senior animal control officer with the agency.Blackey's girlfriend, Melissa J. Howell, 35, told investigators she and Blackey had been in their bedroom watching television with Mickey in the room. She said Blackey went into the kitchen to make himself a plate of food. Howell said she eventually joined him in the kitchen, and Mickey stayed behind. As Blackey returned to the bedroom with the plate of food, Howell heard him yelling and the dog growling, Nestor said. She went to the bedroom and saw the dog attacking Blackey. She grabbed Mickey by the collar and pulled him away, but the dog was able to slip out of his collar and resume the attack, she told investigators. Howell continued trying pulling the dog away, but the animal bit her, Nestor said. She ran to the kitchen and called 911. Howell was treated for her bite and released at the scene by paramedics, Nestor said. There appeared to be no motive for the attack. Howell said Blackey has had Mickey since the dog was a puppy. She said the dog had bitten Blackey on one other occasion a few years ago, but the bite was not reported. Susan Englund, a neighbor, said news of the attack was odd and alarming. She said Blackey is typically seen walking the animal on a leash, or the animal is seen sitting motionless at Blackey's feet. "I know that Mickey is a very loyal dog usually to them," she said. "The only time I heard him bark is when somebody knocks on the door." Englund's dog has never had a problem with Mickey. "He's always been a great dog," Englund said of Mickey. When the animal's owner is bitten, it's up to the owner whether to take back the pet after the quarantine, Hohenstern said. "If an owner wants his dog back, he can get his dog back," Hohenstern said. "If the owner thinks Mickey is a dangerous dog and no longer wishes to own Mickey and does not reclaim him, that will be it for Mickey."