The owners of two dogs that killed a jogger in Metamora Township in eastern Michigan are being charged with second-degree murder, prosecutors said Thursday night, according to media reports.
The owners, 45-year-old Sebastiano Quagliata and 44-year-old Valbona Lucaj, who have reportedly been living in the country illegally, will also face charges of possessing dangerous animal causing death. The Lapeer County Prosecutor's Office told the Detroit Free Press that Quagliata was already in custody while Lucaj was expected to turn herself in soon. If convicted for second-degree murder, the couple could face life imprisonment.
The two Cane Corso dogs mauled to death a 46-year-old jogger, Craig Sytsma, a father of three, on July 23 in Metamora Township, about 50 miles northwest of Detroit. Sytsma, who worked in nearby Oakland County, had gone for an evening jog when he was attacked by the two dogs. He was admitted to a nearby hospital, but later succumbed to his injuries.
According to reports, citing police records, the two dogs have also been involved in several attacks in the past. A case was reportedly filed against the wife, who was issued two civil infraction tickets, after the dogs bit an older man in the leg. The couple did not show up for a court hearing last year, and later closed the case by paying a fine of $280.
The Detroit Free Press reported, citing federal authorities, that the Albanian couple are living in the U.S. illegally, and face deportation.
According to reports, the couple will be arraigned Friday in Lapeer District court, while prosecutors said that the hearing on the fate of the dogs will be postponed from Friday. Cane Corsos are large mastiff-type dogs native to Italy.