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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.
Sasha after a July 21 wolfdog attack; her owner, Julia Hirst, took the case to court. Photos by Doug Kincaid, Jess Nelson
click to enlarge 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.
Photos by Doug Kincaid, Jess Nelson
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.
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Jess Nelson is the 2019 writing fellow for Miami New Times. She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and is excited to be living close to the water again after moving to Miami from New York. She studied history at UC Berkeley and investigative journalism at Columbia University.
Contact: Jess Nelson