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Zephyrhills man now in stable condition after dog attack

ZEPHYRHILLS — The dogs escaped Saturday from their home on Chancey Road through a hole in the fence, authorities said. Maurice Vankinscott repaired the hole that day, he later told deputies, and figured the problem was solved.

He didn't know his girlfriend's dogs escaped the yard again Sunday. Or that they ran down the street and attacked 84-year-old John Ashmore as he picked up his morning paper.

The two dogs — a pit bull mix and a boxer mix — knocked Ashmore down about 7:40 a.m. Sunday and began biting and clawing his arms and legs. Ashmore spent much of Sunday in surgery for his critical injuries, and by Monday was listed in stable condition at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office is still investigating to determine whether charges will be filed. Deputies said the dogs belonged to Olga Melendez, 36, who lives down the street with Vankinscott. Calls to their house went unanswered Monday.

Authorities released a report Monday providing new details about the attack.

Violet Ashmore told deputies her husband uses his walker every morning to get to the end of their driveway on Chancey Road and get the newspaper. She screamed for help when she saw the dogs dragging her husband across the bloody driveway.

Ernest Naylor, the couple's neighbor and longtime friend, fended off the dogs with a broomstick until a deputy arrived a short time later. He found two dogs, between 60 and 70 pounds, pacing back and forth. One dog had blood on its face.

"Those are the dogs that attacked Papa John," Naylor told the deputy.

The dogs became aggressive with the deputy, who shot and killed both animals, the report said.

Zephyrhills man now in stable condition after dog attack 08/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 12:53am]
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