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'We don't know what's caused this': Owners of pit bulls that mauled Beaumont man not expected to face criminal charges

The surviving dog will remain in Beaumont Animal Care custody for a 10-day rabies quarantine.

BEAUMONT, Texas — The owners of two pit bulls that attacked a Beaumont man Thursday morning near Sprott Park are not expected to face criminal charges. 

A 2-year-old pitbull named Drake is in the custody of Beaumont Animal Control and another named Tuke is dead following the attack. The man the dogs mauled was left with serious injuries to his stomach, arms, and legs.

Beaumont Police believe the situation could have been worse had a neighbor not called 911.

Related: Pitbulls involved in 'vicious' mauling of a Beaumont man previously reported missing after getting out near area elementary school

"It's a blessing that the man is okay," Charlotte Wyatt, a neighbor, said. "That was my main concern. He's okay. I wish that there was more I could have done."

Wyatt was woken up by her 15-year-old grandson who heard screams coming from the park. 

"It's horrible. I mean to hear that man's scream and fighting for his life and there was nothing I could do," Wyatt said. "Other than call 911."

Credit: Beaumont Animal Care

A Beaumont Police officer arrived and saw the man on the ground being "mauled by two vicious dogs," according to a news release from the Beaumont Police Department.

Tuke is said to have charged at the officer, at which point the officer shot and killed him. Drake escaped after running off into the woods 

A citizen later saw the dog in the same area where the attack happened, and Beaumont Animal Care caught him. 

“We had a very vigilant citizen that actually saw the dog loose outside her house, and this just happened to be right across from the park,” Matthew Fortenberry, Beaumont Animal Care manager, said.

The two dogs were previously reported missing after they escaped from their home near Blanchette Elementary School the night before the attack took place. The owner of the dogs has not been identified. 

“The owner had actually messaged us earlier yesterday morning, missing her dogs,” Fortenberry said.

Drake will remain in Beaumont Animal Care custody for a 10-day rabies quarantine. A dangerous dog determination will be made after a full investigation is completed. 

“In this instance where the animal was vicious, it was loose and actually attacked someone this seriously, then we're most likely going to deem it to be dangerous," Fortenberry said. "Then when you do that, you have to meet a whole set of guidelines to keep the animal."

If the dog is deemed dangerous, the finding could mean strict enclosures and thousands of dollars in liability insurance.

Fortenberry said the owners are cooperating.

“Of course, they're very upset,” Fortenberry said. “They were concerned for the victim, and of course, they're also concerned for their dogs that they have raised since they were puppies.

In 2022, Beaumont Animal Care had 125 animal bites. Out of those, 41 percent were from pit bulls, the next largest were mixed breed and the third largest group were labs or mixes.

None of the 2022 bites involved Tuke or Drake. Beaumont Animal Care said neither dog had a history of attacks. 

"We don't know what's caused this," Fortenberry said. "That's what we're going to try to look into and determine."

While Fortenberry does not expect the owners to face criminal charges, he said the victim or his family can sue the dogs' owners. That would be a civil matter.

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