Craig SytsmaMETAMORA TWP, MI – Craig Sytsma went out for a jog after work Wednesday afternoon, only to be attacked and killed by two Cane Corsos.

The 46-year-old was two miles into his run when a witness mowing his lawn noticed Sytsma was being attacked by two large dogs, grabbed a shotgun and tried to stop the attack.

“He sees the gentleman being attacked by a couple of animals,” said Metamora Township Police Chief David Mallett. “He decides to go down and help him, I don’t know how far he got to them before he decided, ‘I need something else,’ so he went back to his place and got a gun and came back down.”

The man was able to shoot one of the dogs, but did not kill it. However, it did stop them from attacking Sytsma. By this time, police had already received a call about a shooting and a man with a gun. When they arrived on the scene they quickly realized they had just arrived on the scene of an animal attack.

One of the responding officers kept the two dogs at bay while emergency crews worked on Sytsma, but the poor guy would die from his injuries at a local hospital. If his death wasn’t tragic enough, the divorced father of three had just beat colon cancer a year ago.

The dogs, two 3-year-old Cane Corsos, were brought to Lapeer County Animal Control by their 45-year-old owner where they are now in quarantine. Mallett said a court hearing will determine the dogs will be euthanized. My guess is that they will be. Not just because they killed a man, but also because they have a past history of aggression.

Mallett said there was a report of a dog bite in May 2012 where the dog was returned to the same address of the owner of the two dogs that attacked Sytsma. In November 2013, there was a report of a man between 60 and 70 years old being bitten by a dog and taken to the hospital. As with the 2012 incident, the dog was returned to the same address.

Mallet was unsure if those reports involved the same dogs that were involved with Wednesday’s incident, but the woman who was bitten in 2012 believes so. April Smith says she was attacked by one of the owners’ Cane Corso while walking two dogs.

“When I was attacked, I didn’t even see it running up to us until it was directly behind me with its teeth out and growling viciously. We were about three houses past the yard the dog lives in, so he ran 50 yards to catch up to us. He tore my leg in three different places and I had to get medical attention. There was a lot of bloodshed and it was very severe. I had bruising for months and had to endure physical therapy. This caused me a lot pain.”

Smith said the dog only stopped attacking when the owner’s teenage son called off the dog. She ended up filing a lawsuit against the dog’s owner that was eventually settled. One of the stipulations of the lawsuit was that the dog owner put a fence around his house – a fence that does not currently exist.

“I cannot believe this happened to someone,” Smith said. “I’m not mad at the dogs, I’m so upset with the owners. I thought something would be done with these dogs, but nothing was done. Nothing was ever done. Those dogs are vicious.”

Lapeer County Sheriff’s Detective Jason Parks echoed Smith’s comments. “They definitely react when people are inside the room. They’re aggressive dogs.” Parks said.

The owner of the dog may be looking at more than a lawsuit this time around. Under Michigan law, a person may be charged with involuntary manslaughter if he or she owns a dog involved in a fatal attack on a human. Looking at these dogs’ past history, and the fact that a fence was never constructed to contain them, could mean the dogs’ owner is in a heap of trouble.

It doesn’t help that one neighbor said when the dogs’ owner first moved into the neighborhood a couple of years ago, he came to introduce himself with a full-sized pet hawk on his arm while one of his Cane Corsos ran loose.

“I said, ‘Is he aggressive?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, everything I own is aggressive,'” the woman said, adding she’s called animal control multiple times because the Cane Corsos routinely ran loose and often swam in her pool.

Here’s the 911 call from a neighbor trying to report the incident. Listening to the call will help you get a better picture of what happened immediately after the attack, as well as learning what not to do when calling 911 during an emergency.

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