SARASOTA, Fla. (FOX 13) - You can count the number of stitches and see the bites in his fur. Reese, a 12-year-old poodle, has been through too much in the last few weeks.
After his owner passed away from cancer, he was taken in by long-time friends. On Sunday night, during his first walk with his new owners, he was attacked at Main Street and Lemon Avenue.
"We were doing everything we could to try and get the dog off. They were pouring ice water on its face. The dog was not going to move," said Richard Rostant. "You could see in the dog’s eyes he was not going to let go."
Rostant said he put himself between Reese and the attacking dog, identified in court records as an American bulldog.
The dog was sitting on the ground with its owner before it attacked. As Rostant and Reese crossed, Reese sniffed and the dog attacked.
The dog latched onto Reeses' neck and then his backside. The commotion caught the attention of a nearby Sarasota police officer, who used a stun gun to subdue the attacking bulldog.
"Who knows why the dog leaped after my dog, but it could have been a child that it decided it wanted to attack," said Rostant.
Reese is recovering after the attack. He's lucky to be alive.
"I don’t want to have any malice toward the owner or the dog," Rostant said. "My issue with the whole situation was that the dog was not controllable. It was on a long leash," he said.
The dog, named Champion, is now in the hands of Sarasota County Animal Services. His owner, Lawrence Grampp, a transient, said he is lost without his companion.
"That's my life. That’s my child. I’ve had him forever and he’s my service animal," he told FOX 13.
Grampp said Champion helps him with seizures.
However, this isn't the first attack attributed to the dog. Police said he attacked another dog just blocks away July 14.
Since July 7, Sarasota police have taken 25 calls related to Grampp. Five were for his dog acting aggressively.
Sarasota County Animal Services said they plan to declare the dog vicious. In an e-mail, an official told FOX 13, "The county attorney is already working on the next steps."
After being declared vicious, the dog's owner will have to display a "vicious dog" sign and the animal must be neutered. Champion will not be put down, but any further offenses could change that decision.
"It's just an ugly and unfortunate situation and I don’t know what to say or to do about it," said Rostant.