The owner of three dogs that attacked and seriously injured a Schenectady woman in August accepted a plea deal Friday that will put her behind bars for 30 days and cost her $2,200 in fines.
Jasmine Tirado, 21, of Schenectady, had faced 90 days in jail on each of three allegations of harboring dangerous dogs had she been convicted after trial. Tirado also had been offered 45 days in jail to be served on weekends. She chose instead to serve 30 consecutive days.
Tirado owned three pit bulls that attacked Shirleen Lucas as she was doing predawn errands on Hulett Street,. The attack left Lucas facing a series of surgeries to repair her appearance and left initial wounds that required 200 stitches to close.
Prosecutor Carl Falotico, of the city Corporation Counsel’s office, said the jail time marked the longest sentence anyone in his office can remember in a dangerous dog case. In Tirado’s case, Falotico said, the jail time was appropriate in light of a history of allegations against Tirado.
Friday’s plea also covered an April 2010 incident in which one of Tirado’s pit bulls got loose and attacked another dog. Tirado was cited in that case but never showed up for court.
Falotico said the jail time sends a message that the city is serious about addressing the issue of dangerous dogs.
“The community needs to know that you have the right to have pets, but you have to take care of them,” Falotico said. “People shouldn’t be scared when you’re walking down the street that something like this could happen.”
Tirado was represented by attorney Heather Gray of the public defender’s office. Gray declined to comment afterward.
In the August case, neighbors heard Lucas’ anguished screams and called police. Officers found the badly injured woman on the sidewalk surrounded by three dogs, which apparently escaped from the rear of Tirado’s property. Police had to use Tasers to subdue the animals.
Tirado emerged from the home to get the dogs but later surrendered them to the city’s animal control officer. All three were later destroyed.
Lucas needed more than 200 stitches to close her wounds, including staples where her scalp was pulled back. She lost sections of both ears and sustained wounds to both her legs and arms.
Tirado pleaded guilty Friday before City Court Judge Mark Blanchfield. Blanchfield accepted the plea, stressing to Tirado at the conclusion of the proceedings the seriousness of the case, noting that the victim will have to deal with the ramifications of the attack for the rest of her life.
Contacted later Friday, Lucas’ daughter, Darcelle, said her mother is doing well, considering the circumstances. She underwent another reconstructive surgery last week. She’s been told the process may last as long as two years.
Shirleen Lucas is now awaiting the outcome of any civil action in the case. She is represented by attorney Kris Hanson. Hanson could not be reached for comment late Friday afternoon.
Hanson filed a notice of claim against the city last fall on Lucas’ behalf, preserving her right to sue the city. Friday’s plea did not include restitution to Lucas, Falotico said. That is expected to come through civil action.