Dog that killed owner thought to have eaten crack co­caine

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Matthew Weaver

A Stafford­shire bull ter­rier that killed its owner by crush­ing his lar­ynx in its jaws in front of a BBC doc­u­men­tary crew had prob­a­bly con­sumed crack co­caine, an in­quest has heard.

The dog’s owner, Mario Perivoitos, died af­ter be­ing at­tacked at his home in Wood Green, north Lon­don, in an in­ci­dent in March that was seen but not filmed by BBC jour­nal­ists mak­ing a pro­gramme about drugs.

An in­quest at North Lon­don coro­ner’s court heard that the be­hav­iour of the dog, called Ma­jor, could have been trig­gered by crack co­caine.

Ni­cholas Carmichael, a vet­eri­nary tox­i­col­o­gist, told the in­quest that sam­ples in­di­cat­ing high lev­els of co­caine and mor­phine were dis­cov­ered in the dog’s urine. Mail On­line quoted Carmichael as say­ing: “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, but it does make them re­spond ab­nor­mally. They be­come very ex­cited and ag­i­tated. It is highly more likely that this at­tack hap­pened be­cause this dog had taken co­caine.”

Julie Hig­gins, a pathol­o­gist, told the court that Perivoitos’s body “in­cluded in­juries to the neck and face, with ex­ten­sive haem­or­rhag­ing, and the lar­ynx was crushed”.

The BBC crew were at his home film­ing Drugs Map of Bri­tain when he be­gan hav­ing a seizure. The pro­gramme’s pro­ducer, Joshua Had­dow, man­aged to wres­tle Ma­jor off his owner, but it was too late to save him, the court heard.

Dur­ing the at­tack, Ma­jor crushed Perivoitos’s lar­ynx and caused him to lose so much blood he was given 10 pints to try to re­vive him in hos­pi­tal, the court was told.

The se­nior coro­ner, An­drew Walker, con­cluded that Perivoitos died as a con­se­quence of in­juries re­ceived from the dog. He pointed out that the vic­tim had taken co­caine be­fore the at­tack.

“It is likely that he was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an epilep­tic shock, which caused the dog to nip his face be­fore bit­ing his neck. The film crew tele­phoned an am­bu­lance while at­tempt­ing to get the dog off Mr Perivoitos,” he said.

“It is likely that the dog had con­sumed co­caine by eat­ing it and it is likely that this was an ad­di­tional fac­tor in the dog’s be­hav­iour. Mr Perivoitos suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries and was taken to a ma­jor trauma hos­pi­tal, and died shortly af­ter mid­night.”

Walker thanked the BBC crew for their at­tempts to save Perivoitos. Po­lice told the in­quest that Ma­jor is to be put down.

Mario Perivoitos died af­ter Ma­jor, his Stafford­shire bull ter­rier, at­tacked him

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