By J. PATRICK PEPPER
HEIGHTS — Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy last week announced felony charges against three owners of pit bulls that were involved in recent attacks.
Eugene Runco, 51, and Laura Langston, 37, both of Dearborn Heights, and Geoffrey Moore, 37, of Westland were charged with two counts of dangerous animals causing serious injury, which is a four-year felony. Runco also is charged with two counts of allowing dangerous animals to run at large, a misdemeanor.
The charges stem from three separate incidents in less than a month in Dearborn Heights and Westland. Moore was charged in connection with an Aug. 29 attack in which his two pit bulls allegedly attacked a 39-year-old Westland woman. She was bitten on her face, chest and arms. Police killed one of the dogs, and the other was euthanized.
Authorities said two pit bulls owned by Runco escaped under the privacy fence of his home in the 24000 block of Stanford in Dearborn Heights on Sept. 23 and attacked 51-year-old P.J. Stevens, who was in the front yard of her house on the same street.
On Sept. 25 — two days after Stevens was attacked — a pit bull owned by Langston escaped from her backyard and attacked a 10-year-old girl in the 24600 block of Colgate. A 75-year-old man who was walking by intervened and saved the girl, but both of them suffered injuries requiring more than a dozen stitches to close.
Langston was arraigned on the charges Oct. 5 in 20th District Court in Dearborn Heights, and a preliminary examination of the evidence against her is set for Oct. 13. Moore and Runco were arraigned on Wednesday.
Wayne County Prosecutor Worthy also announced last week that she was seeking funds for an animal protective unit that would feature full-time prosecutors working exclusively on animal cruelty and animal behavior-related crimes.
Worthy said her office has brought 89 felony charges this year in cases that have included dog fighting, cockfighting, animal killing and torture, according to published reports. The unit would cost an estimated $130,000 annually to run.