Owner of Vicious Dogs Arrested Over October Attack
61-year-old Derrick Felton, the owner of a pack of vicious dogs who nearly killed a Detroit man in early October has been arrested in connection to the incident. Felton is being charged with three counts of harboring a vicious animal causing injury, which could mean up to four years in jail for each count.
Shortly after the attack, Felton was given five misdemeanor citations for failing to provide proof of rabies vaccinations, failing to properly restrain his dogs, having dogs that aren’t properly licensed, harboring vicious dogs, and for having more than four dogs. The misdemeanor citations could mean up to 6 months in jail or a $500 fine per citation. He was also arrested on an unrelated child support warrant and was released. Despite the severity of the attack, many people believed the misdemeanor citations would be the only punishment he would receive.
The attack in question was no ordinary, run-of-the-mill dog bite incident. On the night of October 2, 2014, 50-year-old Steve Constantine was attempting to help Felton feed his dogs when the dogs attacked and nearly mauled him to death. Constantine was pinned to the ground while the dogs ripped his clothes off and gnawed at his hands, feet, and limbs. Police estimate 12 dogs total were involved in the attack. Authorities later removed the dogs from Felton’s home and they were euthanized.
When EMS responders arrived at the scene, they were unable to leave their vehicle right away because of the dogs’ exceptionally vicious behavior. They were forced to wait for police to arrive so the officers could shoot at the dogs to make them stop. Detroit Police Detective Michael Pacteles, who has spent 16 years on the Detroit police force, told the Detroit Free Press, “I’ve never…even seen a situation like this where somebody has been mauled and, as reported, eaten alive. Not only was it horrifying, but what about the EMS that responded? They had to sit there and watch this as these animals were eating Mr. Constantine. It’s got to be a horrific thing to watch.”
Following the attack, Constantine accused Felton of running away instead of helping him. It was initially reported that Felton wasn’t at home at the time of the attack, but he later told police, “EMS came, so I left.”
Despite early reports that Constantine was killed in the attack, he did survive and lost his left ear, his left leg below his knee, and much of his left arm in the attack. He has undergone several surgeries and is still continuing to recover. In December, Constantine talked to the Detroit Free Press about his recovery and although the ordeal has been incredibly difficult and his future is uncertain, he is remaining optimistic.
Felton denies all of the allegations against him, claiming the story is a complete fabrication.