NORTH OLMSTED – Two dogs are dead after a pit bull-type dog attacked and killed a smaller dog that was being walked by its owner on Burns Road Aug. 5, police said.
Angel, a 13-year-old 20-pound cocker spaniel, died after Jax, a 5-year-old, 80-pound pit bull mix, broke away from his owners in front of their home and grabbed the smaller dog by the throat, mauling and shaking it, police said. Jax’s owner, Michael Cowan, had Jax euthanized voluntarily Aug. 7 as a result of the incident.
David Ostroske said he and Angel took regular walks through the neighborhood every day. Ostroske and his wife, Doreen, adopted Angel from a shelter six years ago.
“People probably thought ‘There’s that crazy dog guy’ because Angel and I would go out for walks in all sorts of weather,” Ostroske said. “We enjoyed being out there together for all the walks. Angel was my buddy.”
His wife Doreen said people and pit bull type owners have to be aware of the potential for problems with that type of dog.
“We know that the dog’s owners didn’t mean for this to happen,” Doreen said. “But, people have to be aware of the high risks and responsibilities of owning a pit bull (type dog). I honestly don’t understand why someone would own one in a family neighborhood.”
North Olmsted’s vicious and dangerous animals law requires owners of pit bull-type dogs, canary dogs, American bulldogs and wolf-hybrids to register their dogs with the city for $50 annually, have $100,000 in insurance, have a 6-foot fence and/or enclosed cage for containing the animal and post a “dangerous animal” sign outside their home. A person convicted of not meeting these requirements could face up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine and be ordered to reimburse the victim or victim’s family for all expenses related to an attack.
The city defines “Pit Bull” as any Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier or American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog, or any mixed-breed dog that contains those breeds.
Doreen Ostroske said the couple is devastated by the attack and loss of Angel.
David, her husband, a longtime Cleveland State University police officer, said it hits him on another level.
“Here’s this big strong guy and I couldn’t protect my dog,” he said. “I feel like I failed Angel.”
Brooke Cowan, Michael’s wife, said the family is upset by what happened.
“It was terrible,” she said. “We feel terrible for what happened to that dog and its family.”
The family got Jax from a shelter five years ago when Michael Cowan, a Marine, was stationed in North Carolina. The family moved to North Olmsted in April after he became a Marine recruiter. in the area. The Cowans said they didn’t know about North Olmsted’s requirements for pit bulls. They have two other dogs, Shadow, a husky, and Charley a shih tzu.
“We never had any problems with Jax before this,” Brooke said. “He was great with our daughter and played with the other dogs.”
When the incident happened, Michael said he and their daughter were going to walk Shadow and Jax. The daughter was holding Jax on a leash outside and Michael was coming out with Shadow on a leash, when Jax saw Angel and broke away before Michael could grab him, police said.. David Ostroske tried to pull Angel away while Michael Cowan and his daughter tried to pull Jax away but were unable to do so before Angel was killed.
“I wish I had been out there or going out there for the walk, and maybe it wouldn’t have happened,” said Brooke.
North Olmsted police sent a report to the prosecutor for a ruling on whether the city should charge the Cowans. The incident has changed both families.
“We’re not getting another pit bull, not after something like this,” Brooke said.
The Ostroskes have no immediate plans to get another dog.
“It’s too soon,” Doreen said. “We’re still grieving for Angel.”