Taunton, MA– On April 24, 2019, Rochelle Silva, age 51, was attacked by six pit bulls while walking her dog Ace on Broadway Street in Taunton, Massachusetts. Ace was killed in the attack, while Silva is in recovery at a rehab facility in West Bridgewater, reports WPRI.
According to the Taunton Police Chief Edward Walsh, the six dogs are now considered dangerous and will be “humanely euthanized” soon. The owner of the dogs, Rolando Celado, has ten days to appeal the court’s May 7 decision to put the dogs down.
Yesterday’s hearing brought Celado, Silva, and multiple other witnesses to the stand. Rochelle Silva used a walker, appearing in court with her daughter and attorney. After the hearing, she said: “I’m happy with the outcome. He was irresponsible. He can’t have all those dogs and not have proper crating, gating, he was just irresponsible. And it was too bad, because the dogs have to suffer.” Celado expressed his regret at the hearing: “It shouldn’t have happened. I am really sorry.”
Other witnesses were brought to the stand, including officers at the scene and nearby pedestrians. The first officer on the scene affirmed that the six dogs were viciously attacking and biting Silva, and he was unable to pull them off her. Instead, the officer tried to use his sirens and air horn to distract the dogs.
Silva stated that Celado was the one to help her into the cruiser, where she stayed until the ambulance arrived to transport her to Rhode Island Hospital.
A pedestrian eyewitness, Paula Svedine, stated that she and her husband saw the dogs attacking Silva. Paula’s husband, David, tried to help the officer and dog owner distract the six pit bulls, but he too was bitten in the process.
According to Animal Control Officer Manuel Massa, the dogs have been in custody since the incident two weeks ago. Massa says they’ve been aggressive since their arrival.
Celado is being cited for having unlicensed dogs, violating the city’s leash law, and failing to get a kennel license to board so many dogs. He has ten days to appeal the decision of the courts. When euthanasia was brought up in court, Celado stated, “If you’re going to put them down, at least let me be there.” The dog owner became emotional when he was asked to name his dogs in front of the judge yesterday afternoon.
Image via Flickr / Paul Sableman