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Lewiston family devastated after seeing family pet mauled to death by shelter dog

Dee Santos says she and her children are devastated over the brutal death of their beloved Yorkshire Terrier named Rocco. (Dee Santos)

LEWISTON (WGME) – A Lewiston mother says her three children watched their family pet get mauled to death by a shelter dog.

Dee Santos says she and her children are devastated over the brutal death of their beloved Yorkshire Terrier named Rocco.

"He was like family,” Santos said. “Everybody loved him, my neighbors, everybody that used to come to my house."

The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society allows people to take dogs they're interested in adopting out on a leash for a walk.

Monday afternoon, the shelter says they let a young man take a bull terrier mix for such a walk.

They say the dog showed no signs of aggression, but the walk came with certain conditions.

The shelter's executive director, Steve Dostie, says he was too upset to do an on camera interview, but he says when the young man took the dog for a walk, he was told to keep him away from other animals and to not take him to the nearby dog park.

He says the young man was also told to keep him around the shelter; a warning which he ignored.

The shelter says the man took the dog to Santos' apartment a half mile away to show Santos’ 17-year-old daughter, but Santos’ children say as soon as the dog came inside he attacked and bit the Yorkie on the neck.

"Everything happened so fast," Santos said.

They say the harder they tried to pull the two dogs apart, the harder he bit down.

"All of my three kids witnessed everything,” Santos said. “And it was brutal. I mean, the way that dog looked like a monster."

Santos says the dog also bit her daughter and her daughter's friend. The shelter says they are reviewing their dog walking policy.

"I don't think a dog like that should be up for adoption. Definitely not," Santos said. "If a dog is that dangerous, why don't they have someone to walk that person to make sure that that person is really keeping that dog near."

Steve Dostie says even though the dog has had all his shots, under state law he must be kept in quarantine for 10 days to see if he shows signs of rabies. After that, he says it will be euthanized.

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