Man stabs neighbor's dogs: Over-reaction or self-defense?

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on July 17, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 18 at 2:36 PM

DALLAS — Tiffany Moffett and her family stare at their dogs' bowls and beds with sadness. They are painful reminders of their loss.

"It's really hard," Moffett said. "Everything reminds me of them."

Moffett rushed her dogs, Sandy and Junior, to the veterinarian last Thursday night after a neighbor allegedly stabbed them several times with a pocket knife.

The family decided to euthanize their pets because they couldn't afford the emergency surgeries needed. The cost of the procedures and follow-up treatment was estimated at more than $8,000.

"What he did was so severe and so unnecessary it was cruel — to stab a dog over and over again so many times," Moffett said.

The incident happened around 9:30 Thursday night at the corner of Larmanda and Winchester streets in Northeast Dallas. Moffett's sons, ages 14 and 9, were walking the dogs with leashes when, Moffett said, Junior — a Pit Bull-American Bulldog mix — got away and ran toward David Peña and his pet Schnauzer.

"My son thought at first that he [Peña] was hitting the dog... and then he looked a little closer and saw that the man had a knife," Moffett said. "My son stepped back. He couldn't do anything."

Moffett said the other dog, Sandy, a Boxer mix, then got away and it was also stabbed.

Moffett raced to the scene after her sons called her. When she arrived, Dallas police were already there.

"When I get out of my car, I see both of the animals just laying there," Moffett said. "There was blood everywhere."

David Peña did not wish to discuss the incident on camera. He told News 8 the Moffetts' dogs attacked him, and the children couldn't control the animals. He said he was trying to protect himself and his dog.

Peña said he went to the hospital for treatment of two bites, and that his dog was also injured. He said that he feels bad for the youngsters who had to witness the incident.

Tiffany Moffett believes Peña overreacted.

"I don't feel like it was self-defense at all," Moffett said. "It was beyond anything you would have to do to protect yourself."

A legal expert who also is a nationally-recognized animal activist told News 8 it is unlikely anyone would be charged in the case, and that under Texas law, if someone feels threatened by an animal, he or she has the right to protect person and property.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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