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Schenectady man whose pit bulls attacked 3-year-old niece due in court

Schenectady man whose pit bulls attacked 3-year-old niece due in court

Authorities allege victim was attacked by dogs at family event
Schenectady man whose pit bulls attacked 3-year-old niece due in court
Photographer: ShutterStock image

SCHENECTADY — A hearing is scheduled Monday at City Court that may determine the fate of the two pit bulls that left a toddler seriously injured last week.

Salvatore DiNovo, 28, faces numerous misdemeanor charges, four for each dog, under the city’s dog ordinance.

But before that legal process moves forward, a hearing is required to determine whether the dogs are legally considered dangerous under the state’s Agriculture and Markets Law.

“That should allow something more substantial to happen with the other charges,” said City Corporation Counsel Carl Falotico.

Authorities allege the three-year-old victim was attacked by the two canines, named Styles and Damon, at a family event Friday at the home the girl shared with DiNovo, who is her uncle, and other family members.

The attack resulted in what authorities described as “severe” injuries to her face, torso and legs.

She was hospitalized at Albany Medical Center Hospital, but her current condition is unclear.

“We've inquired, and there is no information available," said a spokesperson from Albany Medical Center on Friday.

And while the Clayton Road home in the city’s Woodlawn neighborhood appeared to be occupied on Friday, knocks on the front door went unanswered.

A neighbor pushing a lawnmower across the street declined to give her name, but called the family “good people.”

“It’s just a tragic accident,” said the woman. 

The dogs remain quarantined by the city, and medical records are expected to be presented at Monday’s hearing.

If the pit bulls are determined to be dangerous, the judge could order the animals euthanized.

But, Falotico said: “Usually after the first bite, the judge doesn’t have discretion to have a dog euthanized unless there’s a serious physical injury.”

Other restrictions could range from having the canines spayed and neutered and implanted with a microchip, as well as set of regulations governing leashes and confinement space.

DiNovo could also be required to purchase a liability insurance policy as high as $100,000, Falotico said.

He is eligible to be represented by counsel at the hearing, and can also present evidence and witnesses before the judge issues a ruling.

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