Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Borough Park neighbors say dog terrorizing residents, owner insists pooch is provoked 

Residents of a Borough Park block are up in arms over a dog they say has attacked three neighbors.

Neighbors say Sammy Kisin's 60-pound terrier mix Jessie is a dangerous menace - but Kisin says the dog is gentle and neighbors on the 60th St. block are out to get him because he doesn't fit in the heavily Hasidic Jewish neighborhood.

"This block is being terrorized for years," said Sy Wasser, whose 20-year-old son Shalom was bitten by Jessie as he walked to the bus stop earlier this month.

"He was going for the jugular," Wasser said, adding his son put up his hand to protect himself. "He bit off a good portion of his finger."

It wasn't the first time the dog struck, neighbors said. Mike Fleishman, 39, said his 7-year-old daughter Miriam was mauled by the canine two years ago - and required 100 stitches in her arm.

"She was riding on her bike when this strong powerful dog jumped at her. All the kids were watching it," he said. "The whole block is up in arms and terrified...It's just a matter of time before the next incident."

Neighbors want the dog taken away or forced to wear a muzzle but say their complaints to the city have gone unanswered. The city Health Department is investigating, a spokeswoman said.

But Kisin, 33, a cab driver, charged that neighbors have deliberately provoked the dog - even throwing rocks and sticks at it - and have smeared dog feces on his car and porch.

"It's getting out of control. My neighbors are provoking a lot of situations with the dog," he said. "They don't want me living on that block because I'm not a Hasidic Jew.

"He's a calm and peaceful dog... not the kind of dog that's looking to attack anybody," Kisin said. "Even if I did get rid of the dog tomorrow - which I'm not planning on - and try and make peace...it's going to be something else."

He acknowledged the dog's run-ins with neighbors, but said Jessie only "nicked" Wasser's finger. He said the attack on the 7-year-old came after the girl hit the dog with her bike and "we all felt horrible about what happened."

In a third incident, Kisin's next door neighbor, Moshe Hammerman, said he was bitten on the shoulder by Jessie - and hospitalized - in 2008.

"I have been through three types of cancer and I was never as terrified and traumatized as I am of this dog," said Hammerman, 56. Kisin insisted the dog only ripped his shirt after a dispute between the two men.

Residents insist religion has nothing to do with the dispute.

"There are others on the block that are not Hasidic and we get along fine," said Fleishman, adding no one would taunt the dog because they're too scared. "He's just the only one who walks around with a menacing dog."


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