After Vicious Attack by Wolfdog, Pet Owners Confront North Beach Man in Court

Sasha after a July 21 wolfdog attack; her owner, Julia Hirst, took the case to court.
Photos by Doug Kincaid, Jess Nelson
Sasha after a July 21 wolfdog attack; her owner, Julia Hirst, took the case to court.
One day this past July, a pet named Eva — part dog, part wolf — escaped from her Miami Beach enclosure and attacked two smaller dogs. A pug, Gus, needed stitches. Sasha, a border collie and Brittany spaniel mix, needed emergency surgery for punctured intestines.

Four months after the incident, the dogs' owners met in a downtown Miami courtroom this morning, where Eva's owners — Normandy Isles resident Luca Lavieri and his girlfriend — were slapped with two $1,215 fines in a code enforcement hearing. County officials had declared Eva a "dangerous" animal earlier this summer.

Lavieri continued to deny responsibility for the incidents, saying after the hearing that "dog-on-dog attacks" happen all the time. He declined to speak any further with New Times.

Sasha's owners, Julia Hirst and Doug Kincaid, attended the latest hearing. Kincaid testified as a witness, while Hirst sat in the room with a homemade sign in honor of their pet.

"I would characterize it as a direct assault," Kincaid said of the July 21 attack. He was crossing 71st Street when "a wolf crossed the street at full speed like a bullet and launched into an attack."

In court, Kincaid presented before and after photos of Sasha. In one photo, the 3-year-old dog seemed to almost be grinning at the camera on a sunny day in South Florida. The second photo, meanwhile, showed her body held together with stitches after post-attack emergency surgery at Knowles Animal Clinic in Little Havana. Sasha never made it back home alive — she succumbed to her injuries five days later.

"The pain we still feel in losing Sasha is nothing compared to the pain she felt during that vicious attack," Hirst, a volunteer at the Humane Society, told New Times. "She was ripped open."

The pug's owner, Amy Seagle, did not attend this morning's hearing but submitted a signed affidavit recounting her experiences.

"I don't live in Alaska," she wrote. "I shouldn't have to worry about a wolf attack."

Eva no longer lives in Miami-Dade County. She was first sent to the Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Collier County earlier this summer, where she promptly escaped her enclosure by scaling a ten-foot fence.

A hectic overnight dog hunt rocked Naples and made national news before she was found the following day. Eva is now reportedly living somewhere out-of-state.