Staffordshire bull terrier had eaten crack cocaine before fatal attack on owner

A Staffordshire bull terrier that mauled its owner to death while taking part in a BBC documentary had eaten a stash of crack cocaine, an inquest was told.

The dog, named Major, repeatedly bit the throat and face of its owner Mario Perivoitos, an IT expert, in front of a two-man crew from the BBC show Drugs Map Britain shortly after filming.

The crew managed to lock the dog in another room and call an ambulance but Mr Perivoitos died at the scene. The animal was found to have taken enough drugs to put a human eight times over the drug-drive limit.

North London coroner’s court was told that Mr Perivoitos, 41, was a heroin user and had suffered an epileptic fit before the dog set upon him at his flat in Wood Green, north London.

Jessica Winteringham, the assistant producer, said that after the crew had finished filming, Mr Perivoitos had appeared angry, before becoming unresponsive and lying on the bed next to the dog. “Then the dog got up and got his right cheek and then his left and then clamped on to his neck,” she said. “We were shouting ‘no Major’ to try and stop him. Mario did not make any attempt to move or do anything.”

Joshua Haddow, the show’s producer, said he struggled to pull Major off its owner: “I just started hitting the dog, I just did not know what else to do and as I did that it started to loosen its grip.

“I picked it up by the scruff of its neck and I threw it into a room . . . the idea being that I shut the door and I went back to Mario to try and see if we could do anything. The dog was very peaceful, it was friendly with us, it would lick our hands and say hello, there was no way we could have pre-empted it.

“When Mario disturbed the dog on the bed he was behaving quite strangely, the dog was relaxing, he essentially clambered and disturbed the dog, he started to nip his face at first a little bit and then it quickly escalated.”

Nicholas Carmichael, an expert in veterinary toxicology, said cocaine and morphine were found. “It is very likely that this dog had consumed drugs, probably eaten them. It is almost impossible to say whether that will make the dog attack. The dog was eight times the drug-drive limit.”

Andrew Walker, senior coroner, recorded a conclusion of death as a consequence of injuries received from a dog.

Source:    12th Sept.2017

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