Bristol pit bull declared ‘vicious’ for second time

Buster Buster

Mail carrier Derek Cobb recounted the Aug. 28 incident where he believed Buster was going to attack him.

Mail carrier Derek Cobb recounted the Aug. 28 incident where he believed Buster was going to attack him.

There wasn’t much more officials could do to Buster following the second vicious dog hearing today.

The panel had already imposed seven of the 10 sanctions on the Bristol pit bull and its owner Josh Brightman, following the the first hearing last year. At that time, Mr. Brightman was ordered to keep Buster muzzled and leashed when off his Baker Street property, micro-chip and register the dog, display a “vicious dog” sign on his property, notify police if the dog gets loose, and pay a fine.

On Wednesday, a panel consisting of Bristol police Sgt. Julie Veader, Special Agent Joe Warzycha with the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Portsmouth Animal Control Officer Ariel Fisher, further fined Mr. Brightman, and now required Buster to be muzzled anytime he leaves his house.

Buster

Buster

“I get that he’s out with the dog when the dog is outside, but I’m taking your word on that,” said Officer Warzycha. “But we don’t have eyes in the back of our head. He could get loose and bite someone.”

The panel was convened to address an Aug. 28 incident wherein Buster allegedly attacked a postal carrier, which essentially stopped mail delivery to that street for a week.

Mr. Brightman, along with seven supporters, showed up to Wednesday’s hearing, held at the Bristol Police Department.

Derek Cobb, the postal carrier who alleged he was attacked by Buster, was also present.

Mr. Cobb told the panel that he had parked his mail truck on a nearby street and walked to Baker Street to deliver the mail, a route he’s had for about six weeks. As he delivered mail to 6 Baker, he approached the next home, 8 Baker, and saw Buster out of the corner of his eye trot down the steps of 10 Baker.

“I saw him come off the porch, and I was just like, hey buddy what are you doing out?” Mr. Cobb said. “He then started to growl, show his teeth, and the fur on his back and shoulders stood up.”

Mr. Cobb said he shouted at the dog on three separate occasions, each time Buster would continue to walk toward him after looking behind him. It was the third time that Mr. Cobb took out his pepper spray and shot the dog in the face.

“I felt bad about it too,” he said, adding that he’d been attacked by a dog before.

The dog had gotten loose because Mr. Brightman’s 3-year-old daughter Mya, had opened the front door, looking for her dad. As she did so, Buster pushed past her and ventured outside.

“I heard him barking and looked out the window and saw him standing in the street,” said Nancy Lowney, who has lived in the apartment above Mr. Brightman for the past two years. Mr. Brightman only recently rented the first-floor apartment, about eight months ago.

“I know Buster and am familiar with him, so I didn’t know how he got out,” Ms. Lowney told panelists. “I was going to just run downstairs and keep him in my apartment until (the owners) got home.”

But by the time she reached the driveway, the dog had already been brought inside by Mr. Brightman.

Mr. Brightman had already insured Buster for up to $500,000 voluntarily, and therefor that sanction was not imposed.

“He’s showing responsibility with that,” Sgt. Veader said, “so I don’t think it’s necessary make that a rule.”

Only testimony about the incident was allowed to be heard. No one was allowed to offer comments about the dog’s historical behavior, charisma, or lack thereof.

The post office altered the way it delivers mail to Baker Street as a result of the Aug. 28 incident. Mr. Brightman installed two mailboxes where the property line meets the street, allowing mail delivery from within a mail truck.

“We don’t have to leave the safety of the truck, so coming into contact with another dog is not likely,” Mr. Cobb told panelists.

The panel told those in attendance up front that it would not, and legally could not consider euthanizing Buster because it had not bitten or violently attacked a human.

Mr. Brightman is also not allowed to sell or get rid of Buster, ensuring that the town is able to keep track of the dog. Should Mr. Brightman no longer want Buster, the dog would have to be euthanized.

Buster is only one of two dogs in Bristol deemed “vicious.” The owners of the second dog, also a pit bull, are currently contesting that judgement in district court.

12 Comments

  1. walterheisenberg said:

    oh no – oh no !!!
    YOU CAN’T DESTROY THIS ANIMAL
    Lynn, Rita where are you??
    Help, a poor animal is in need! Perhaps you can muster the dog psychiatrist to determine why Buster has anger issues.
    Maybe he can be placed on meds for anger control or perhaps Buster could benefit from therapy.
    I’m sure that canine medical insurance will cover the cost.

    • comn sense said:

      I think you’re recommending a psychiatrist for the wrong party at this address.

      A three year old lives with this vicious mutt??

      • Michael Barboza said:

        Yeah , a completely “vicious mutt”. Why don’t you talk when you know what you are talking about. My 5 year old has played with Buster and he didn’t so much as growl. He loves kids and he loves people. He was being protective of the fact that Josh’s daughter had opened the door, and was outside without her parents. I have a hundred pound mastiff who growls at people when my kids are outside . Thats her “job” in her eyes , is to protect her family. She has NEVER bitten anyone, nor would she unless they were harming her family.

  2. Pitbullfriend said:

    The dog has only shown aggression to strangers so I seriously doubt the child is in any danger. Also any dog would have to cause serious harm to a person before euthanasia could even be considered by the board, and so far no one has actually been bitten. The dog is safe, the letter carrier is safe and the owner has taken even more action to ensure the general public will be safe. This story has a happy ending.

  3. jocie99 said:

    Glad there is a happy ending to this story. But I have to wonder, if Buster were a different breed, would the situation have escalated as far as it did? I can’t help but think that the negative publicity the pit bull breed has received over the past several years played a huge part in how this situation was handled. It’s amazing how society feels the need to judge a whole group based on the actions of only a few.

  4. jaqdadi said:

    What difference does the breed make? Why do you some of you people concentrate on the breed? Why do you question whether or not another “breed” would have been treated differently? It was not the breed that was on trial. It was a dog, that got loose and harassed a mailman. Whether or not this particular dog has issues, doesn’t seem to be the problem to me.

    What seems to be the problem, is the reckless attitude of it’s owner. This is exactly the kind of situation that ends badly. An owner in denial, that’s obvious to me. A dog that was rescued from former owners, that mistreated and raised the dog wrongly. This is not the kind of dog that belongs in a crowded neighborhood, with young children. It’s fantastic that Buster feels protective over Mr. Brightman’s daughter.

    So, what happens when some 5 yr old boy innocently approaches Mr Brightman’s daughter, unexpectedly? Where was Mr. Brightman, or any adult, when a 3 yr old, can open the front door and a dog, that has already been labeled a vicious dog, at least once already, can escape? The problem is, there is a dog, living in an apartment, that should be living in a more wide open area. Not in a crowded neighborhood with children, especially when there is an obvious problem of supervision.

    Mr. Brightman, already knew from the prior hearing and the insurance he is required to carry, yet, not only did his 3 yr old daughter open the door, without the knowledge of a parent or other adult, and as a result, a dog with a history, escaped it’s enclosed living quarters. How can that be viewed as the dog was just protecting it’s environment? The dog was trying to escape being cooped up and the first person, other than it’s owner, or owner’s daughter, it encountered, it threatened and acted threateningly towards.

    I am a single father of my now 17 yr old daughter. I fought vociferously in court over 7 yrs, and spent $10′s of thousands of dollars, to obtain sole custody of my daughter, because of the way she was being raised and the attitude of her mother, I didn’t expect sole custody, I was only seeking placement, it’s just that I finally got a decent judge, that recognized the real problem. She will graduate on time this school year because I fought so hard for her.

    That wouldn’t have happened under her mother. Under her mother, she missed at least 50 days a year for the first 3 yrs and that’s not counting being late, they lived right around the corner, on Wood st, from the school, so there was no excuse. I didn’t obtain any custody, until the time around the end of the 3rd grade and beginning of the 4th, because of her mother’s lies, however, because of her school history, which I am thankful that the school understood where the true problem was, and after I finally got some level of control, gave me access to her records, which was part of the reason I ended up with sole custody. I say this because I take the raising of a child, very seriously, deadly serious.

    A dog that has already, regardless of the “opinions” of others, been labeled a vicious dog, has no business being around a child of any age, especially 3. If you truly have your child’s interest at heart, then why didn’t you get her a puppy? That would have grown with her and you would know the history and treatment of the animal? You are playing with fire and I have no respect for that. It’s not necessarily your child I am fearful of, although I wouldn’t rule it out, it’s some other child that starts to play with her and the dog mistakenly assumes it’s too aggressive and acts to protect her, by hurting or killing the other child.

    I’m just glad my kid is not a child in that neighborhood.

    • Joshua Brightman said:

      You seriously have nothing better to do, do you? As far as responsible, I’m told by officials that I’ve been more on top if everything than was even ever required. As far as Buster being brouvht up badly before I adopted him, you are outright wrong. He came from a loving family, where he was raised around many small children and animals. He has been very well socialized. Do your homework before you spout drivel from your fingertips. I believe though he may have issues eith postmen because last year at tge first incident, the mail carrier hit and kicked and sprayed him, so as far as he’s most likely concerned, post men aren’t friendly people. So with that said, get a life man

      • jaqdadi said:

        Please, get serious. You know what the problem is and you don’t care. The dog is volatile. It may go the rest of it’s life without hurting anyone, that would be nice and lucky for you. You know why? Because, before he could actually hurt someone, you were ordered to take more responsibility. You didn’t do this on your own, you didn’t get the insurance until you were ordered to. You didn’t do anything, until it was ordered.

        The original story stated this was a animal, rescued from a previous owner that couldn’t care for him. Other people have commented about witnessing his aggressiveness and other’s have commented about his passiveness. Of course a dog is going to be more friendly towards those, it’s owner shows friendship to. Those it’s owner ignores or doesn’t know, are a different story.

        Just FYI. I had an experience about 10 yrs ago. I was walking towards the backyard of a friend’s house after being invited over for an outside party. This was right up the street from you. As I walked into the driveway a small dog came out of nowhere, on a long leash, it proceeded to bite the insides of my thigh starting just above the knees, 4 bites, two on each side, climbing up my thighs. It happened so fast, I wasn’t able to swat it away, till it was just about to hit my most important parts.

        I gave it a good backhand whack and it went flying back about 10 ft. By then the owner, the person I was there to visit ran over and gained control. I had 4 clear bite marks, dripping blood down my legs, I was wearing shorts. This dog couldn’t have been more than 30 lbs. One more bite and I probably would have killed it instantly. This dog had already been reported twice and been labeled a vicious dog twice, a mongrel mutt. If I had called it in, they would have taken it away and killed it. I didn’t, because the people were friends and they begged me not to. If that dog didn’t scare me, I doubt any of your lame words would have any effect.

        You vitriolic responses to the people that have made statements about his aggressiveness, show me you don’t care if the dog scares some people, that’s their fault for not understanding Buster, according to you. Classic example of blaming the victim.

        I couldn’t care less what you think of me. That’s irrelevant and childish. My comments are based on what is in the story and comments you have made in response that shows me, a lack of understanding about animals and the possibilities. You take too many chances, “My 3-year-old daughter had opened the front door trying to look for me, and when she did, Buster just ran past her,” said Mr. Brightman. “He loves people and was just running up to him.”

        Your 3 yr old daughter, was alone in the house unsupervised, with a dog that has been declared a vicious dog. I don’t care how many times they’ve played together. That’s just plain reckless. A 3 yr old should never be anywhere, without an adult’s eyes on them, unless they are taking a nap.

        If you think I have nothing better to do than make comments on this site, then you are just as stupid as you look.

        • jrlevasseur said:

          First of all, not everything you read in a story is always completely accurate so you’ll never know the full truth of something without getting it first hand. And it’s not that he doesn’t care if someone gets scared because of Buster or that he’s being immature or an irresponsible dog owner. He was in the bathroom, everyone has to go to the bathroom and he wasn’t going to bring his three year old daughter with him to the bathroom. So yes, he took his eyes off her for a few seconds to go to the bathroom, that’s not being irresponsible. She is never left in the house alone unless he is right on the porch smoking a cigarette, and even then she’s outside with him half the time or the dog is outside. He’s taken every precaution he’s needed to, and she can no longer open any door to the outside in the house. There’s no reason to get offensive or start calling people stupid; that’s immature. And again, according to the dog officers he’s been a very responsible dog owner. And any dog that can get outside will usually try to whether they have a small place of living or a big one, so no you can’t blame the dog for wanting to be outside, all dogs love the outside. But it’s done and over with, he’ll never leave the house again without a muzzle even in the yard and precautions have been taken so that he can’t get out of the house so this can all stop. Nothing’s going to change, and name calling and bickering about pointless things is going to lead no where. You have your opinions and everyone is entitled to them, but there comes a point where people go too far. The dog has always been in a loving home, the previous one just couldn’t afford to take care of them anymore. He was never beaten, he’s never attacked anyone or bitten anyone, and in the home he’s a safe dog. Honestly we don’t know what actually happened that day because the post man’s story changed several times during the hearing, and he never acted as if he was pepper sprayed. So we’ll never know, but we’ve taken all possible actions to prevent further instance besides putting him down because that would be cruel and in humane and he doesn’t deserve that.

          • jaqdadi said:

            That’s the first response of people trying to cover-up something, the story isn’t true and contains inaccuracies. Only those who know and love Buster understand him, so those of you just living your normal lives and doing normal jobs, don’t worry, he’s just a big, lovable, hunk of muscle, yea, sure, ok.

            When I walk gown the street and some dog comes out of nowhere, that I have never met and chases after me, i’m supposed to assume it’s just a big lovable mutt, really? You read my response, i’m not one prone to panic. I could have had a dog put down and didn’t.

            I only responded to Mr. Brightman’s response to me, “You seriously have nothing better to do, do you?” “Do your homework before you spout drivel from your fingertips. I believe though he may have issues eith (sic) postmen because last year at tge (sic) first incident, the mail carrier hit and kicked and sprayed him, so as far as he’s most likely concerned, post men aren’t friendly people. So with that said, get a life man” That’s immature and argumentative. So as far as being immature, I would look a little closer to home. In other responses, Mr. Brightman has shown a level of anger and immaturity. I raised a girl on my own. I know how it goes. The point was that I don’t care what the situation is, whether the dog has a good history with the child or not, he should have put the dog in a side room, before going into the bathroom and closing the door. Especially because it had been labeled a “vicious dog” at least once prior. If he was being attentive to her prior to going to the bathroom, why would she open the front door without him being there? One of the first things I taught my daughter was the front door was off limits, unless I was there. The whole story is one excuse after another. The usual signs of someone trying to cover mistakes. I commented on this story, much like I comment on any story. I do my homework. If Mr. Brightman knew me, he would know that. There have been many, asinine comments by Mr. Brightman that show he has a very limited knowledge of this breed of dog and dogs in general as well as other animals. “They were originally bred to be NANNY dogs to look after our children. Then, they were used in both great wars to help pull injured soldiers from harms way and to protect them til help arrives. It wasn’t until some selfish humans decided it would be a great idea to fight them. It’s always humans that muck things up.” There was only one correct statement in that diatribe, the last sentence. Mr. Brightman needs to take a good look in the mirror, before he starts accusing other people of anything. “NANNY dogs” “to look after our children”. I don’t know where he comes from or was raised by, but, dogs are not and make terrible baby sitters. Is that why he is so angry, because he is using the dog as a babysitter? That statement indicates that it’s a possibility. That’s seriously irresponsible if it’s true. I really don’t care what you or he has to say about this matter or any other. My opinion, is just that, mine. If you or anyone else disagrees with it, that’s your right. When you challenge me on it, you’d better be right or I will respond in unfriendly ways. If you don’t like that, tough@#$%, grow up.

            I’m sick and tired of irresponsible dog owners that think because they have a “right” to own an animal, that means the rest of us can go to hell.

            I walk by a house on Narrows Rd. quite frequently. It is owned by a State cop. He has one of those electronic fences surrounding the property. It’s on the corner of a busy street, with people walking by all day.

            Woman with children in strollers, old people out for a walk, and others such as myself. He has two large dogs that pace back and forth, just out of arms reach, growling and snarling as you walk by the property. Nothing but this electronic fence between. 3′-4′ off the sidewalk.

            The other day the more aggressive of the two dogs stepped over the line towards me and when I slowed for a moment, getting ready for the attack, he went back. One of these days, he’s gonna keep coming and i’m gonna have to defend myself from an 80 lb dog. I can only imagine the fear, woman with baby carriages feel, when they walk by.

            I have zero tolerance and patience for irresponsible dog owners and couldn’t care less what you or anyone else feels about it.

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