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Linden man who shot pitbull to save his dog says he made right decision.

Richard Rotkiewicz and his beloved Bruno pose near the spot, just off their Linden property, where Rotkiewicz shot a pit bull that was attacking Bruno.



- Despite spending part of a day in jail and paying hundreds in fines after shooting a pit bull, a Linden man said he would do it again to save his beloved dog.
The shooting occurred after midnight on Easter when Richard Rotkiewicz went into his yard to reset his flood lights, with his Boston Terrier, Bruno.
Suddenly, two pit bulls charged out of the night, Rotkiewicz said, and he put Bruno on his shoulder. But one of the pitbulls jumped up, grabbed Bruno and dragged the small dog towards the street.
With only a minute to think, Rotkiewicz said he dashed into his garage, grabbed his legally registered .357 Magnum and shot the attacking dog.
"A large pit bull, unleashed, attacks his dog," said Linden Prosecutor Nicholas Scutari. "I believe there was some justification to it, and that's why he didn't go to jail."
But the prosecutor said it was a "borderline" case, and Rotkiewicz, 62, deserved the fines and 30-day suspended jail time he got from Municipal Court Judge Louis DiLeo.
City officials declined to identify the pit bulls' owner.
Rotkiewicz said he just wanted to save his dog, whom he feels especially close to because both have been treated for cancer in the last three years.
Rotkiewicz's cancer, multiple myeloma, means his blood doesn't clot very easily and Rotkiewic said he feared being bitten. So when the pitbull didn't release his dog right away, he said he used the gun.
Rotkiewicz was charged with weapons possession and faced 20 years in jail if convicted, Rotkiewicz's attorney, Joseph Spagnoli of Cranford, said.
Some of the charges stemmed from Rotkiewicz shooting the gun on the edge of the street, which is public property, and he didn't have a permit to carry the gun in public, Spagnoli said.
Linden police examined Bruno, and, according to a report, found the terrier appeared uninjured.
Rotkiewicz was held in the county jail on $22,500 bail for nearly a day.
But Bruno's vet at Westfield Veterinary Clinic found punctures and wounds consistent with a dog attack, according to a report.
Eventually, the second-degree charges against Rotkiewicz were dropped.
"The county prosecutor had no interest in prosecuting," Scutari said. "It was a borderline case, and that's why it ended up here."
In Linden court, Rotkiewicz pleaded guilty to disorderly persons charges and a city ordinance against firing weapons.
Rotkiewicz said he paid a $678 fine, plus $2,500 to the bail bondsman.
His lawyer believes he deserved the sentence: punishment, but not a criminal conviction.
"He had cancer, which was in remission. This was not some crazy juvenile doing this," Spagnoli said.
Scutari agreed the punishment was appropriate.
"The guy was in public," Scutari said. "You've got to safeguard the public from people being overly zealous."
In June, Rotkiewicz got his gun back from Linden police.
And he has no regrets.
"I'm sorry, if I had to do it again, I would do it again, and go to jail again," Rotkiewicz said last week.

http://www.nj.com/news/local/index.ssf/2010/07/linden_man_says_hed_do_it_agai.html
 

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Jefe,

I wonder what happened to his license and pistolas?
 

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I cant understand how using a legal firearm to defend your dog is even slightly illegal... Charged with weapons possession... of a legal gun? Is that even possible?

Then the "edge of the street" crap.

"The guy was in public," Scutari said. "You've got to safeguard the public from people being overly zealous."

Wait, so we're now safeguarding the public from a man who was... well... safeguarding the public by killing what was obviously an aggressive animal. Not to mention it began on his property... Was the legal thing to do watch his dog get ripped apart from the edge of his lawn? Sure, some of us may have been able to drive off the pit with a stick or a bat, but the dude is a 62 year old cancer survivor! It's not like he can play rambo like some of us would!

This dude should have gotton a medal from the mayor for doing what he did... instead he gets off "lucky" with minimal jailtime and thousands of dollars fined.
 

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AkunaMatata said:
I cant understand how using a legal firearm to defend your dog is even slightly illegal... Charged with weapons possession... of a legal gun? Is that even possible?

Then the "edge of the street" crap.

"The guy was in public," Scutari said. "You've got to safeguard the public from people being overly zealous."

Wait, so we're now safeguarding the public from a man who was... well... safeguarding the public by killing what was obviously an aggressive animal. Not to mention it began on his property... Was the legal thing to do watch his dog get ripped apart from the edge of his lawn? Sure, some of us may have been able to drive off the pit with a stick or a bat, but the dude is a 62 year old cancer survivor! It's not like he can play rambo like some of us would!

This dude should have gotton a medal from the mayor for doing what he did... instead he gets off "lucky" with minimal jailtime and thousands of dollars fined.
Unfortunately, the "legal" thing and the "right" thing... Are rarely the same thing.
 

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AkunaMatata said:
I cant understand how using a legal firearm to defend your dog is even slightly illegal... Charged with weapons possession... of a legal gun? Is that even possible?
My guess is the law does not recognize your dog as "another innocent party" in which use of deadly physical force is justified.
 

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bobtorre said:
Jefe,

I wonder what happened to his license and pistolas?
I wonder what happened to the owner of the unleashed dogs? Oprobrioso!
 

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HEY GOOD FOR HIM  and yes some kind of punishment was needed and by what i read was fair but i would do the same and the gentleman said the fines were good, and the owner of the dogs should be incovienced by jail or fines also
 

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A dog in NYS is considered property, and you are not allowed to use deadly force to protect property.

I don't know if the laws are the same in NJ, but if this law is the same, what saved him was that he was eminently threatened (his condition, dogs were being aggressive toward him), may have played a roll.

Its a retarded law. And I hardly find his actions over zelous.

A very thin line of law allows you to shoot the owner of the dogs, if the dogs are commanded to attack you. Again, very thin, so I don't suggest using it, but it is good conversation.

(dog=property, but can become a weapon, if commanded by the owner to attack. To stop the attack, you are allowed to use deadly physical force against the person operating the weapon. )
 
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