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Dog Attacked, Killed At Pet Sitter

After Amy Cicio of Syosset dropped her two dogs, Reba and Ozzy, at Two By Four Dog Walking & Pet Sitting in Oyster Bay, she headed off on an overnight trip with her daughter. It wasn’t until the next day, when Cicio called the company to say she was on her way to pick the dogs up, that Cicio found out something horrible had happened.

Reba, the 6-pound Chihuahua with only four teeth that Cicio had rescued two years ago from South Carolina, was dead. She had been attacked by another dog.

“I’m heartbroken, I went away overnight with my kid thinking that my dog was going to be okay,” says Cicio. “They couldn’t tell me how it happened, what dogs were involved, they don’t know. They never even called to inform me that the accident even took place.”

Staff at Two By Four, a family-run business that opened in 2007, had already rushed Reba to LI Veterinary Service in Plainview. But it was too late. Reba had multiple bite wounds and her lung was punctured.

After the incident, Two By Four issued an email statement to customers and posted it on the company’s Facebook page.

“With even 100-percent focus on two dogs, and intently watching for any telltale signs of the potential of something catastrophic happening you can’t prevent it from happening,” the statement reads. “It’s like watching a child in the playground, you can’t stop and catch them from falling off a swing; and by the time a dog takes a nip, or a bite the only thing anyone can do is be reactive, because if you truly care there is nothing else you could have done….unless you keep your children, and your dog, out of harm’s way, un-socialized, unable to play with others, [to] live life, and keep in solitude…in a cage.”

But these words did little to comfort Cicio, who believes that if her dog was being watched properly, the attack could have been stopped.

“What they are leaving out of their emails is that Reba was mauled and her injuries were far more than a single bite,” she says. “Dogs bark and growl. No one was there and that’s why they didn’t hear it.”

Gary Rogers, spokesman for the Nassau County SPCA, says this kind of incident where one dog attacks and kills another isn’t commonplace.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and very rarely do I hear about it,” says Rogers. “Dogs definitely have a pecking order. They are pack animals. If a new dog comes in and tries to be the alpha dog, there could be issues.”

But Reba wasn’t a new dog. Cicio had been bringing Reba and Ozzy to Two By Four for a year.

Soon after Reba’s attack, the Two By Four Facebook page blew up with comments both from loyal customers defending the company and angry pet owners horrified over what happened to Reba.

“We come from a home of dog owners and from nothing more than love for dogs,” wrote Two By Four in a response. “Shame on you to think something so tragic reflects the way we feel about our four legged friends and family. People are absurd in their behavior and I am not speaking for anyone else except for my family and what we do for our community. Say what you what, we are all experiencing this tragedy.”

When the Oyster Bay Enterprise-Pilot contacted Two By Four, one of the owners, David Nardiello, couldn’t say much due to litigation he believes is pending against the company but said he would welcome the opportunity to talk at another time.

In the meantime, Nardiello says he is staying away from the Facebook page to avoid the upsetting comments from people he says he’s never met.

“It’s been a very emotional thing with everybody involved,” he said. “We understand the loss.”

And Cicio, who has used Two By Four’s services for about a year, is worried about the other pets that are boarded at Two By Four.

“When I picked my other dog up, the dog that bit Reba was still there,” she says. “Other people are picking up their dogs and they don’t even know there’s a dog that killed another dog there.”

Cicio also hopes other pet owners will learn from what happened to Reba and thoroughly investigate where they bring their pets and how those pets are being supervised.

“This horrific experience needs to be known so people can make safe choices for their pets,” she says. “I did not.”

Rogers of the SPCA says that generally the best way to avoid tragedies like this is to question everything about the company that cares for your pet— how many people are on staff, exactly where your pet is going to stay while you are gone, what the policies are and how emergency situations are handled.

“If you’re going to leave your pet anywhere, you should make sure you know everything about the place,” he says.

Cicio has removed her other Chihuahua, Ozzy, from Two By Four’s care and is unsure who to trust going forward.

“It’s eye opening and devastating at the same time because I still have a dog and I’m still going to need care,” says Cicio. “I just want people to be aware that this happened—that it can happen.”

News

Matt Bentz, of Forest Hills, was the winner of the Oyster Festival Raffle that took place as the event ended at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. He had a choice between winning a 2015 Chrysler 200 three-year lease or $15,000 in cash. He chose the cash. He is the “Perfect Oyster Festival Raffle winner.”

Bentz is a computer systems administrator with Spa Creek Software, a company that writes software for other software developers, and has been to the festival numerous times over the years; in fact, next year he is hoping to sail here on his 24 ft. sailboat. He got it “reasonably” from a friend who was buying up.

Richie Cannata may be best known for his song credits but his name will become a part of history this week. Cannata, a 28-year resident and business owner of Glen Cove, will be inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame on Thursday, Oct. 23 at The Paramount in Huntington.

As a member of the Billy Joel Band, the saxophone player was propelled to fame in 1975 when he joined the band and played on songs including “New York State of Mind” and “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.”


Sports

The autumn varsity sports season is well on its way in Oyster Bay. Many young athletes have distinguished themselves. Several fine young athletes excelled right out of the gate and were chosen by the Oyster Bay Hight School coaches as Athletes of the Month for October 2014.

Cross Country Coach Kevin Cotter has athletes who consistently qualify for the states. Picking one to honor is a difficult task. Within this impressive group of talented athletes, one stands out: junior Alex Tosi, who recently broke the 17 minute barrier for a 5K course at Bethpage State park with a time of 16:52. This feat has not been accomplished since 2008.

5- and 6-year-old Peanuts

The Little Generals (Peanuts) stepped out into the cold Sunday morning ready to give the home crowd a show as they battled the Bellmore Braves, and that’s just what they did as the Generals beat the Braves 14-7. The teams battled to a first half tie as the Generals’ touchdown came on a 26-yard run by Kody Gehnrich, thanks to great blocks by John (Jack) Grace and Jack Symanski.

In the second half, where the Generals are usually at their best, the defense shut out the Braves as Rodney Hill, Jr. and Brandon Babel stepped in on the defense line to create a great push to allow Francesco Allocca to make eight tackles. The offense got a big boost with Allocca being allowed to play RB after playing QB the past two games, and boy did he respond behind great lead blocking from Luca Granito. Allocca carried the ball nine times for 60 yards and a TD coming on the last play of the game.


Calendar

Boys & Girls Club Gala

Thursday, October 23

Halloween Party

Saturday, October 25

Property Tax Exemptions Workshop

Tuesday, October 28



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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