SOMERS POINT — The Karrers lost a beloved member of their family when an unleashed dog mauled their teacup Yorkshire terrier on the doorstep of their West Meyran Avenue home.

On June 11, the Karrer family — Ross and Lisa and their sons Braydon and Bryce — had nothing special going on when a terrible scene played out in front of them.

“I want to wake up and everything be just like normal and all of this is just a very bad dream,” said Lisa Karrer.

The cremains of the family pet sit encased in a small oak box on the table. Lisa Karrer said she filed a police complaint about the attacking dog, which they learned was an Akita, in hopes the owner will be more careful in the future.

The owner of the dog is Anita Puglise, according to police. Puglise, who resides a block away in the 200 block of West Dawes Avenue, did not respond to repeated attempts to obtain comment. 

"I don't want anyone else to have to deal with this. My hope is that people remember it is their responsibility to keep their dog on their own property," Lisa Karrer said. She described the scene of the attack in detail and the pool of blood that was left on the patio.

The Karrers' younger dog, 3-year-old Hemi, was sitting just outside the sliding doors to the kitchen, on the steps leading to the patio and the family’s backyard beyond. Their other dog, 8-year-old Jetta, was asleep inside the kitchen. 

Lisa Karrer said a dog running loose in the neighborhood wandered into their backyard and started biting and mauling the tiny Yorkie. Karrer said she heard the terrible noise of the dogs and came running into the kitchen along with her eldest son, 9-year-Braydon, who began yelling at the Akita to let Hemi go. 

“This great big, white, wolf-like dog walked into our backyard. He was not on a leash. He just came up to the door and devoured my dog,” said Lisa Karrer.

Braydon put a bear hug on the back of the attacking dog while telling his mom, “I am not letting go, I have to save Hemi,” according to Lisa Karrer, who said she was so afraid the dog was going to bite Braydon. They managed to keep Jetta inside the house.

Ross Karrer, a Somers Point firefighter, was on his way home from the store at the time.

Neighbors heard the screaming and came running to the Karrers' home. 

"I heard the screams, the kind you know something is wrong, and ran into the yard," said Kenny Pollock, a neighbor just moving in, who is an Ocean City firefighter. He said he saw the two boys face down right by the dog and they were crying. The Akita dropped the small dog, which Pollock said appeared deceased. He grabbed a nearby towel, wrapped up Hemi, placed him on a table and encouraged the boys to go inside the house. "I saw that big white dog hanging around, and I grabbed a leash to try and get it but it would not come near me."  

Ross Karrer, who had been gone just a few minutes, came home to find neighbors and, soon, Somers Point police Officer Paul Scapellato, arriving at his house. Karrer’s rescue instincts kicked in, and he tried to revive the dog.

The police report states Ross Karrer was holding his dog in his arms when the officers arrived. Karrer left to take Hemi to Red Bank Animal Emergency Hospital in Linwood, where the Yorkie died from his injuries.

Ross Karrer said neighbors told him they had seen the Akita wandering loose several times over the preceding weeks.

Police presented Puglise with three complaints, for a dog running at large, having an unlicensed dog and having a vicious and potentially dangerous dog.

Police Chief Michael Boyd confirmed there were several complaints about a dog in the neighborhood running at large a few weeks prior to the attack, but there had been no prior incidents of the dog fighting with another dog.

Lisa Karrer said she was told the Akita was up to date on all of its inoculations and shots, including rabies.

Puglise made her first court appearance June 13, when she paid the fines for the dog running at large and unlicensed dog summonses.

According to Somers Point Court Administrator Margy Wismer, the summons for a vicious or potentially dangerous dog will be heard by Judge Howard Freed at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 18.

The American Kennel Club website described Akitas as dignified, courageous and profoundly loyal to their owners. They are somewhat active but not a hyper breed. Females average 24-26 inches, 70-100 pounds, and males 26-28 inches and 100-130 pounds. The AKC says Akitas are best with children when supervised and not recommended with other dogs.

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