Previously released information on 6/20/2017
At about 1654hrs 19 Jun 2017, Lancaster City Police Officers responded to the 700 blk of Lafayette St for a reported Class 1 medical call. 911 callers indicated that a loose dog was attacking two young children. When the officers arrived, they found the children, female age 2 and male age 5, had been transported to Lancaster General Hospital by their mother and the dog had been secured by its owner.
The children were treated at Lancaster General Hospital for serious injuries received in this attack and then transported to Hershey Medical Center for further treatment.
The Lancaster City Bureau of Police Criminal Investigations Division is actively investigating this incident. Anyone with further information is encouraged to contact Det Lt Phil Berkheiser at 717-735-3320.
**THE BUREAU OF POLICE IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTING THAT THE MEDIA LIMIT WHAT IS PUBLISHED TO THAT WHICH IS ON THIS NEWS RELEASE AND SHOULD THE MEDIA BECOME AWARE OF ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, PARTICULARLY THE NAMES OF ANY WITNESSES OR LANCASTER RESIDENTS IN THIS CASE, IT IS REQUESTED THAT THEY REFRAIN FROM PUBLISHING THAT INFORMATION SO AS NOT TO JEOPARDIZE THE SAFETY OF ANYONE NOR THIS ON GOING INVESTIGATION**
Updated/additional information 1554 hrs. 06/20/2017
The children are still being treated at HMC in serious but stable condition.
The animal in this incident is a 66 lb., 5 year old male Pit Bull terrier. The dog had been in a fenced-in backyard of a home on the 700 blk. High St. At some point, the dog managed to break through the fence and was loose along the 700 blk. Lafayette St.
At some point, the victims were in their minivan behind their home along Lafayette St. The dog managed to get inside the vehicle and attacked the children as they were still secured in their car seats.
The children's mother managed to eventually pull the dog from the van. Several people in the area assisted the mother. The mother had scratches as a result of this and was later treated at LGH.
The owner of the dog came out and was able to secure the dog after the mother left for the hospital and just as Police arrived on Lafayette St. The owner of the dog is cooperating with the Police investigation. This investigation is still on-going and is not complete. The identity of the dog owner is not being released as no charges have been filed. The dog is currently quarantined.
We will publish additional updates as more information is learned.
***UPDATE 06/22/2017 ***
The children are still recovering from their injuries, The 2 year old is expected to be discharged from the hospital today. The 5 year old is still in the ICU in serious condition.
Lancaster City Police has a Dog Law Enforcement Officer, Yadira Garcia. On Wednesday 06/21/2017 DLO Garcia and Lancaster County Dog Warden Travis Hess conducted an inspection of the quarantine site for the dog. The dog is currently being quarantined at the owner's home in a secured kennel. Both Hess and Garcia inspected the quarantine facility and deemed that it was sufficient to hold the dog for a (10) day period. The (10) day period began on the date of the attack, 06/20/2017 and will end on 06/30/2017. The owner of the dog has been cooperating with investigators and officials and has agreed to have the dog euthanized when the quarantine period has been completed. Follow up verification and documentation of the process will be presented to DLO Garcia and Dog Warden Hess.
Lt. Phil Berkheiser is continuing his investigation into this incident. At the completion of his investigation when/if any charges are filed an updated release will be filed.
The victim's family has requested that the media respect their wishes for privacy and not make any attempts to contact them as they will not be granting any interviews.
*****NEW INFORMATION 17 JULY 2017*****
As had been previously reported by media outlets, the dog in this incident was euthanized on 30 June 2017.
Det. Lt. Phil Berkheiser continued his investigation and consulted with ADA Christie Wilson of the Lancaster County District Attorney's office. Lt. Berkheiser was provided informatoin that the dog in question had bitten another person. Lt. Berkheiser found that in July 2013, the dog had bitten a (4) year old grandchild of the dog's owner. That information had to be thoroughly investigated before and charges were filed as it weighed on the type of charges filed and sections that are applicable under the PA Crimes Code and PA Dog Law. The bite had not been reported to authorities. That aspect of the investigation is still on-going.
The dog owner is identified as Luis Omar Colon-Colon M/42 500 blk. Fairview St. Pottsville, PA. Lt. Berkheiser filed a criminal complaint before MDJ Witkonis. Colon-Colon was charged with Attacks Causing Severe Injury (M1 PA Dog Law), (3) Counts Recklessly Endangering Another Person (M2), Dogs at Large- Duty to Control (S), Duty to Have Dogs Licensed (S), Failure to Have Dogs Vaccinated (S). Colon-Colon was arraigned at MDJ Witkonis' office on 17 July 2017. His bail was set at $5,000. Bail will be posted by Colon-Colon via a bail bondsman.
As of the time of this release, Colon-Colon has not been placed on record (fingerprinted/photographed). When his photo is available it will be uploaded and saved to this release.
All persons accused of a crime are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.