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Two pit bulls in pet's mauling go unclaimed

Paco, left, and Money are at Pinellas Animal Services. One of them killed a small dog June 15.


Paco, left, and Money are at Pinellas Animal Services. One of them killed a small dog June 15.

LARGO — The stocky, muscular killer sat behind the bars of his cell, closed his eyes and coughed.

His son and fellow inmate in the small lockup next door eagerly greeted a visitor.

Both pit bullterriers, Money, 18 months old, and Paco, 8 months old, completed their 10-day sentence at Pinellas County Animal Services' quarantine area Wednesday. They earned high marks for their good manners — toward humans, anyway.

"They seem like they are well socialized with people,'' said Linda Britland, field enforcement manager for Animal Services. "(They) are not attacking their cages like some of them.''

Both wagged their tails and offered slobbery kisses to a visitor.

You would never guess the two were incarcerated for a crime so vicious it stunned a St. Petersburg neighborhood.

On June 15, Jean Post, 80, was taking a pre-dawn stroll with her 25-pound Boston terrier, Max, 10.

As the pair walked along a sidewalk in front of Sweetbay Supermarket at 955 62nd Ave. S, near Post's condo, two pit bullterriers appeared without warning. The larger grabbed Max by the neck, bit down with his powerful jaws, shook him and tossed him in the air as if playing with a toy.

The smaller one just watched the massacre.

Post screamed, and in an effort to get the dog to release Max, stuck her index finger into the pit bullterrier's mouth. It didn't work. The dog chewed on Post's finger, resulting in three puncture wounds that were treated at Edward White Hospital.

Her rescue effort was ultimately fruitless because "I knew my dog was dead right away,'' Post said.

She said after about three minutes, the pit bullterrier dropped Max's limp body on the sidewalk and stood over him and panted. The attacker waited until he was sure the pooch was deceased and then simply sauntered away, Post said.

The animals were later captured and transported to Pinellas County Animal Services on Ulmerton Road. They were scheduled to be released Wednesday. The staff said the pit bull's owner, Sherman L. Britten had come to the facility the day after the attack to claim his animals but was told he couldn't pick up the dogs until June 25.

According to records from the Florida Department of Corrections, Britten, 33, has a long record.

In the 1990s, he was convicted of possessing, selling, manufacturing and delivering cocaine, as well as robbery.

Animal Services opened at 9 a.m. Wednesday. But Sherman L. Britten who sometimes goes by the name Shermon, was nowhere to be seen.

Meanwhile, a black kitten was adopted by an adoring cat lover.

And Money and Paco waited.

Later, a tan dog whose tail curled up into a near-perfect circle went home with a happy-looking middle aged couple.

And Money and Paco waited.

In the afternoon, a young man turned in a huge stray dog he had found wandering his neighborhoods.

And Money and Paco waited.

Around the same time, a family left with its newest member, a cream colored Siamese cat with eyes the color of a glacial lake.

And Money and Paco waited.

It was all in vain.

By 6 p.m. — closing time — it was clear Britten was not going to claim his dogs, just as some staff members predicted.

Because Money's license had expired and Britten did not produce proof of license for Paco, he was facing more than $100 in fines.

He could have also face a citation of more than $140 for harboring a public nuisance.

Other costs include $20 a day for boarding the dogs during their 10-day quarantine. Just to bring the dogs home, Britten was looking a potential cost of more than $500.

But the cost goes up even more.

Neither dog is neutered. Britland said Animal Services strongly suggested he let them perform the surgery for just $30 per dog, but Britten did not seem interested.

He has not visited nor called to inquire about their health since the day after the attack.

Post and her husband, John Post, also 80, were so shocked and heartbroken on the day of the attack, they swore they would not adopt another dog.

But so many sympathetic readers from across the country contacted the couple offering to give them Boston terriers, the Posts changed their mind.

A Hernando County couple was moving to a Miami condo that does not allow pets gave the Posts a 1 1/2-year-old Boston terrier named Mikey.

"He's entirely different from Max,'' Post said. "He's 18 pounds and very even-tempered. He doesn't bark and he sleeps all the time.''

Post is channeling her anger over Max's death into a campaign to change the law concerning dogs that kill other animals. She is contacting local politicians asking them to pass a law requiring dangerous dogs to be put down after they kill one domestic pet — no second chances.

There will probably be no chance for Money and Paco now. On Saturday, they are scheduled to be euthanized.

Eileen Schulte can be reached at or (727) 445-4153.

Two pit bulls in pet's mauling go unclaimed 06/25/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 30, 2008 1:13pm]
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