GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The owner of a pair of Rottweilers that attacked a 5-year-old girl in Grand Rapids earlier this month said she wants her dogs back and denied any involvement in a weekend shooting in the southwest side neighborhood where it happened.
The 5-year-old girl, Shanell Brewer, is still using a wheelchair after she was mauled two weeks ago on Liberty Street SW near Hall Street and US-131.
Over the weekend, a man was shot on the porch of the Brewer home. Though they couldn’t identify the shooter, the Brewer family says the gunshots came from the home where the dogs lived. They said the shooting was in retaliation for the dogs being seized by Kent County Animal Control and Shanell’s mother’s desire that they be put down.
“Why weren’t they put to sleep? I don’t understand it,” Shanice Brewer wondered ask she spoke to 24 Hour News 8 on Sunday. “How are their lives more important than my daughter? She could be dead. If it were not for her sister, she would be dead right now.”
The owner of the dogs, Maria Hernandez, told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday that she doesn’t know anything about the shooting.
“How’d it happen? I don’t know. They the ones to come to my house with guns. Nobody in here shot them,” Hernandez said.
She added that her dogs — a 2- and 3-year-old named Cash and Money — have never had a problem with her young children or any others.
“Yes, they bit somebody. I feel bad for that little girl. She was poking them with a stick,” Hernandez said.
Animal Control confirmed that there were no other complaints about the Rottweilers on the record before May 15, when Shanell was mauled.
Witnesses said the dogs pulled at Shanell, inflicting significant injuries.
“My dogs shouldn’t have to suffer because of this. They already (were taken away for) 10 days for biting that little girl. She’s not going to be hospitalized forever — she’s out of the hospital, she’s doing fine,” Henandez said.
Hernandez says she will move her dogs out of the city if she gets them back.
“As a result of all this and me fearing for my life and my kids, I’m moving,” Henandez said. “I’m about to sell my house so my kids don’t have to live here.”
It’s now up to Grand Rapids police and Animal Control to sort out what happened and what will happen next.
Police say they have not arrested anyone in the Sunday night shooting in which a 26-year-old man was shot in the hip. They have also added an investigation into Shanice Brewer for allegedly kicking the door of the Hernandez home.
Meanwhile, the dogs remain in the Kent County Animal Shelter as investigators there confer with prosecutors — often a first step to seeking a euthanasia order.
Animal Control had released the dogs back to their owner for a time — but within a few days after Hernandez had them back, one escaped her property and Animal Control took them again.
County officials say the decision on whether the dogs will be destroyed or returned is based on the severity of the girl’s injuries and whether it is believed the dogs can be controlled.
“Do I want my dogs back? Yes, I do. Do you know why? Because they’re family dogs and I love them dogs like they was my own kids,” Hernandez said.
If Animal Control seeks to have the dogs euthanized, Hernandez will be able to contest that decision, which would send the case to court. Both the prosecution and the dog owners would have the opportunity to present witness, experts and evidence if they choose.
It’s a process that generally takes several weeks.