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Pit bulls terrorized storm refugees

A mental health counselor ordered his two pit bullterriers to attack a group of people who were riding out Hurricane Frances inside an office building, police said.

Ryan C. Moore, 54, was arrested Friday and charged with aggravated battery for allegedly releasing his dogs with the command "Go get them" while he and a group of people were riding out the Sept. 4-5 storm inside the A.G. Edwards building.

William E. Schoonmaker, who operates an insurance agency in the building two doors from Moore's office, suffered deep bites to his stomach, face, throat and hands. Sabrina Stuart was bitten in the leg, police said. Stuart called 911 during the dog attack, but police couldn't respond because of the storm.

Stuart said she armed herself with a hammer as the dogs roamed loose for an hour. Someone stabbed one of the dogs.

"We were all trapped inside our offices, even though we wanted to get into the hallways where we felt it would be safer away from the glass windows," Stuart said. "Bill Schoonmaker had a bunch of wounds, and I got my first-aid kit and bandaged him up as best I could."

William Schoonmaker went to the emergency room following the storm.

Moore, who treats anger-management problems and addictions, fled the building during the storm and police found him in his stalled car. One of his dogs was given to his estranged wife while the injured dog was treated at an animal clinic.

Kathy Schoonmaker, the bite victim's wife, said she was acquainted with Moore and his family before the attack and was trying to help him shortly before he turned aggressive.

Moore, who has previous arrests for domestic violence, sexual assault and aggravated assault with a weapon, was released Friday from the Martin County Jail after posting $100,000 bail.