Owner of dogs involved in attack says they shouldn't be deemed legally dangerous


Heads turned in court Monday as Nathaniel Pettiford walked into the courtroom 10 minutes late.

Pettiford was there to defend his three dogs from being deemed dangerous after they killed Linda Swinburn’s dog Bella last month..

“The fact is, these dogs didn’t show any interest in Ms. Swinburn and they didn’t attack her,” Pettiford testified.

Pettiford admits the dogs attacked Bella, but he says they did not try to hurt Swinburn, so they should not be legally deemed dangerous.

“The three pit bulls charged after me and Bella was just finishing going to the bathroom and they jumped on me and attacked me first,” Swinburn testified.

The police report issued on the the attack says Swinburn’s injuries included “bruised ribs, a broken finger, and several abraisions to her legs.” She was taken to the hospital as she was having trouble breathing.

Pettiford accused multiple people of “fabricating” their stoires as they took the stand.

“I didn’t make up,” Swinburn replied to Pettiford. “They attacked me first they came over your yard and I was in my own yard.”

A video of the attack taken by a neighbor was shown to the everyone at the hearing.

Glennice Peters, a friend of Pettiford, took the stand after the video saying the dogs are not dangerous but they do chase squirrels.

“I think they just went to her because they wanted to play with her because they are used to being with family,” Peters said. “They didn’t aggressively attack her. They wanted to play with the dog.”

If these dogs are determined to be dangerous, Pettiford will need to get them all micro-chipped, fixed, and have a $500 thousand insurance policy per dog, along with many other requirements.

“Bella was my kid,” Swinburn said. “She was my baby. And for him to say those dogs aren’t dangerous—they are dangerous.”

No verdict was delivered Monday.

In the meantime, the dogs are being contained at Animal Services.

Cases pertaining to the attack do not end after this hearing. Alachua County Animal Services says they are going to follow up by trying to obtain ownership of the deadly dogs as Pettiford refused to give the dogs to them.

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