ROSEVILLE, Mich. – The owner of a retriever-pit bull mix that mauled the man's mother and her boyfriend in Roseville said it was not neglect that led to the attack.
Suzette Laughton is recovering in the hospital after the dog, Bruce, attacked her and her boyfriend as she took the dog out of his cage.
"She pushed him down to the ground, he came back up and then he bit her," said Robert, the dog's owner.
"In the face?" Local 4's Jermont Terry asked.
"No, the arms," Robert said.
Bruce clamped down on Laughton, forcing her boyfriend to jump in. Bruce then attacked the boyfriend.
"Mostly the arms," Robert said. "The boyfriend, Mike, he got some cuts in the ear."
This wasn't the first time Bruce acted aggressively toward Laughton, officials said. Three weeks ago, the dog bit her.
"The owner of the dog, which is the couple’s son, was issued (a ticket) that time for harboring a vicious dog and having an unlicensed dog," Roseville police Chief James Berlin said.
"After he bit my mom the first time, I went to the store and bought this muzzle," Robert said.
Robert said he and his mother agreed they didn't want to have Bruce put down.
"It's like part of the family," Robert said.
Since the first incident, Robert said Bruce wore the muzzle whenever he was out of his cage. But that wasn't the case Sunday.
"I was not home when he was taken out of his cage," Robert said. "I put him in there and I had left."
After the second attack, Laughton and her boyfriend were seriously injured and needed multiple surgeries. Now, Robert could face charges, not just a ticket.
"I just don't understand what I did," Robert said. "I just owned a dog and he messed up. My dog paid for it now."
Bruce was euthanized after the second attack, but police said Robert didn't do enough to prevent the attack. Now he worries if he'll be able to help in his mother's recovery.
"They're coming back here, and as long as I'm not in jail, I'll be taking care of them," Robert said.