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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

At the Tuesday, Nov. 18, Oyster Bay-East Norwich board of education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Laura Seinfeld said that the OBEN schools are partnering with local organizations to form a Community Advisory Board to deal with issues affecting the youth of Oyster Bay-East Norwich. The Community Advisory Board was initiated by the Youth and Family Counseling Agency of Oyster Bay-East Norwich. The Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club, Library and houses of worship will come together with the OBEN schools in this effort.

Other News:

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Dr. Lisa Mulhall spoke about some new courses that will be offered at the high school, including an exercise science course that will carry physical education credits from Adelphi University and a college level engineering course. These courses will be offered in conjunction with the State University of Stony Brook.

This holiday season, Oyster Bay will once again be home to unique, homemade, scrumptious confections from The Chocolate Lady, in the form of a mobile chocolate boutique set up at Buckingham Variety Store on Audrey Avenue. She arrived on Sunday and plans on staying throughout the holidays, and possibly longer.

“I have been developing this concept for the last year and a half and am excited to be coming home to Oyster Bay for this year’s holiday launch,” says Lee Perrotta, aka The Chocolate Lady, who had her shop across the street from Buckingham’s for about five years before she was forced to shut her doors on Christmas Eve in 2012 due to excessive water damage at the rental space.


Sports

Long Island Lutheran High School senior Samantha Horton of Oyster Bay signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Siena College and compete on the Girls Division I Lacrosse Team in the goaltender position next year. Samantha will be receiving a full athletic scholarship. Horton is pictured with her family.

On the weekend of Nov. 8, the Oyster Bay High School Boys and Girls Cross Country teams traveled to the State University of New York at Canton just a few miles from the Canadian border to compete in the New York State Cross Country Championships.

Alex Tosi became the first Bayman since Joe Jazwinski and Justin Nakrin (2008) to become All-State, placing 16th with a time of 16:53. Most runners ran about 20 seconds slower than their Bethpage times because of the muddy conditions on the course. Tosi’s time was basically equivalent to his best Bethpage time, as he powered through the toughest parts of the race. He led the Baymen to a seventh place finish in the Class C race, an improvement from their 11th place finish last year, which ties the highest place at the New York State Championships of a Baymen team since 2009.


Calendar

Annual Turkey Trot

Thursday, Nov. 27

Turkey Detox Workshop

Friday, Nov. 28

East Norwich Holiday

Sunday, Nov. 30



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