The heartbroken owner of an adorable Yorkie blasted the city housing authority’s failure to enforce its own rules after watching her dog torn to pieces by a pit bull owned by a neighbor with a lengthy rap sheet.
Adeena Santiago told the Daily News she was bitten by the deranged dog that killed her beloved 7-year-old pooch Gordo and sent her bernadoodle Benji running for its life just after 7 a.m. Sept. 3 in a courtyard outside her Lower East Side home.
Santiago, 44, suffered a sprained ankle, bruising across her stomach and a puncture wound to her stomach trying to save Gordo from the pit bull. A family attorney alleges the dog has been kept illegally in the Vladeck Houses for the last two years.
“I tried to save my dog but I couldn’t,” a distraught Santiago said through sobs. “The pit bull was off the leash. I was just in a state of shock. “My house feels different. After that I was a zombie.”
Neighbor Jerry Jackson, 71, was out for a walk when he witnessed the gruesome attack.
“That dog was like a wild animal just shaking and grabbing that poor little dog,” he said. “You had this wild dog just grabbing it and shaking it. He chased after that poor small dog, got it in its mouth, shook it four times and then spit it out.
“It was sad. Nothing could be done,” he added. “The lady was just minding her business walking.”
NYCHA rules ban residents from owning pit bulls and also require dogs to remain on a leash at all times outside the apartments where they reside.
After the attack, the pit bull disappeared with its owner, identified by sourcesas Eric Quinones.
Quinones has 38 prior arrests, including 22 felonies for charges ranging from robbery to assault to weapons possession. Investigators believe the rampaging dog, named Dior, primarily lives in an Vladeck House apartment belonging to Quinones’ girlfriend’s family.
Dior was also involved in an attack on another pet last year in the housing project, according to a video that the Santiagos provided to The News.
NYPD investigators are still trying to force the owner’s surrender of the animal. The people who live in the Vladeck Houses apartment initially refused to turn the dog over — and the canine was gone when cops returned.
Police obtained a special court order to seize custody of the pit bull under the state Agriculture and Markets Law. The order allows the NYPD to take custody of the dog and transfer custody of the animal to Animal Care and Control pending a hearing.
But the owners skipped out on a scheduled Friday hearing.
“Whoever has (the dog), it’s like they are harboring a murderer,” said Santiago’s husband Erick, who found his wife covered in blood and his slain dog in the arms of a neighbor.
“There are thousands of children who either live in these buildings and/or attended public school and/or play in the parks within walking distance of the location of the pit bull,” an NYPD sergeant wrote in an affidavit seeking the order.
Cops left copies of the order on the front door of the owner’s apartment.
“The NYPD went above and beyond helping us out,” Santiago said. “They are trying to locate the dog.”
New York City Housing Authority spokesperson Rochel Leah Goldblatt said the agency was “looking into the matter and will take appropriate actions.”
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A woman who answered the door at the pit bull’s apartment denied the dog lives there.
“I’m gonna tell you I was dog sitting for my family member,” she said. “The incident happened at the park. I’m tired of the f—ing cops knocking on my door and harassing me and my neighbors. Tell them I said to leave me alone.”
The NYPD affidavit states an officer viewed video footage of a previous attack involving the same dog in the same complex last September, when the bit pull went after other hounds and their owner in the busy neighborhood.
“If NYCHA was aware of the prior attack, you would imagine the city would take measures to enforce the rule,” said Santiago family lawyer Steve Gokberk. “Especially in a situation like this when the dog is attacking people as well as other dogs.”
Erick Santiago, 41, said their teenage daughter was so devastated by Gordo’s horrifying death she didn’t want to celebrate her recent 16th birthday or attend the first day of school.
“Right now, it’s a process,” said Santiago, a doorman at an Upper East Side building. “I’ve never been through anything like this. This dog is aggressive, it has no control. NYCHA will mess with you for playing loud music but they won’t do anything if you have an aggressive dog. And basically, this dog is a murderer.”
Eyewitness Jackson, agreed: “That breed, and a dog that size shouldn’t be in the complex. But when NYCHA isn’t enforcing their policies that they have in place, people start doing what they want.”