This is one of the two Cane Corsos in quarantine at the Lapeer County Animal Shelter that fatally attacked a Livonia man July 23, 2014, while he jogged in Metamora Township, Mich. / Lapeer County (Mich.) Sheriff)
DETROIT - The owners of two dogs that mauled to death a jogger in rural Michigan are being charged with second-degree murder, the Lapeer County Prosecutor's Office announced Thursday night.
Sebastiano Quagliata, 45, was already in custody Thursday night and his wife, Valbona Lucaj, 44, was expected to turn herself in shortly, Prosecutor Tim Turkelson said.
The pair will be arraigned in Lapeer District court at 9 a.m Friday. They face up to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder. Prosecutors also charged the couple with possessing an animal causing death.
Two Cane Corso dogs owned by the couple are blamed for attacking and killing Craig Sytsma, 46, of Livonia on July 23 as he jogged past their home on a rural Metamora Township road.
Sytsma, a father of three, had gotten off work in nearby Oxford, in Oakland County, and gone for an early evening jog when he was attacked. He died of his injuries at a nearby hospital.
Police and court records show that in the the past two years the couple's dogs have attacked and bit walkers and terrorized the neighborhood.
The couple never showed up for a court hearing last year after the wife was issued two civil infraction tickets when their dogs charged an older man and bit him in the leg. Ultimately, they paid $280 in fines and the case was closed.
In May 2012, one of Lucaj's dogs charged April Smith, 25, tearing open her leg in three spots, as she walked down the road. In that case, animal control officials did not issue tickets, nor were the owners fined. Instead, they were ordered to keep the dog quarantined for 10 days. Smith filed a lawsuit against the dog owners and was awarded a $20,000 judgment.
Neighbors told the Free Press that the dogs roamed the neighborhood, growled at people in their own yards, and sometimes went into garages. Complaints to animal control officials went unanswered.
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