Dunwoody resident Tareva Ruffin loved her two “babies” – her 13-year-old daughter Mikayla, and her dog, a two-year-old Maltipoo named Milo.
Ruffin, a three-year resident of Dunwoody Village Apartment Homes located off North Peachtree Road near I-285, lived in a two-bedroom unit with Milo and Mikayla and never feared letting her daughter take the dog on short walks in front of their building.
That is, until March 27.
“I had told my daughter to take Milo out to the front for a minute while I was getting ready to leave,” Ruffin said. “Then I heard her screaming that a pit bull had taken Milo.”
According to a Dunwoody Police report filed shortly after the incident, Officer J. Laverty responded to multiple calls of a large brown pit bull attacking a small dog at the complex. His report said that Ruffin’s daughter had observed the pit bull “biting and violently shaking Milo on the ground.”
“Upon arrival, I was informed by another neighbor that the pit bull had taken the dog behind building 2343,” Laverty said in his report. “I walked to the last known area and located a deceased small black and white dog lying on the ground.”
According to the report, the pit bull could not be located, nor its owners. In Laverty’s report, Ruffin told the officer that she “does want to press charges against the dog owners if they are identified.”
DeKalb County Animal Control personnel came to the scene “and took over the investigation,” according to Laverty’s report. Ruffin said she has talked to Dunwoody police officers, who have said they visited the apartment where they believe the owners of the pit bull live, but nobody has answered the door.
“They have told me that’s all they can do, because they don’t have probable cause to take further action,” she said.
Other than the report, the Dunwoody police had no further comment on any action that has taken place since the incident.
“I also have reached out many times to the apartment management group and all they say is that ‘it’s being taken care of,’” Ruffin said.
Since the incident, it has come to light that the pit bull has allegedly been involved in other mauling incidents. According to a resident who requested anonymity, his large dog was attacked by the same pit bull in late October or early November of 2021 when the pit bull, again running loose, attacked his dog.
“I was walking my dog and the pit bull was running without a leash, and it attacked my dog,” the resident said. “Someone who said he was the dog owner’s boyfriend came over and pulled the dog off and apologized. I left the area quickly with my dog, but a few minutes later, the dog came running and again attacked my dog.”
The resident said he wrestled the pit bull to the ground and held it around its neck. Meanwhile, the resident’s dog ran away. The dog owner’s boyfriend came over to assist.
“I was telling him, ‘You need to do something because I’m about to kill your dog,’” the resident said.
Finally, the pit bull was leashed, and the resident located his dog, which had minor cuts but no serious injuries. In hindsight, because of the attack on Milo, the resident said he wished he had reported the incident to animal control and the apartment complex management.
After Milo’s death, Ruffin said she learned of another incident involving a golden retriever that was attacked by the same pit bull.
“I talked to the owners of the golden retriever, and they said the pit bull had attacked their dog, and that the owner of the pit bull paid for medical treatment for the dog,” Ruffin said.
The owners of the injured dog did not return repeated requests from Reporter Newspapers for an interview about the incident.
In addition, representatives from Bridge Property Management, which leases and manages the apartments, did not return calls for comment about the pit bull or its owners.
Ruffin said she is frustrated by the lack of action by the property management company, and she is deeply troubled by the psychological effect Milo’s death has had on her daughter.
“I feel like they just want me to go away, but I’m not going to do that,” she said. “My daughter’s mental health has declined rapidly. She won’t leave the house and hasn’t been to school since this happened. She won’t leave my side because she’s so worried that the dog is still running loose.”
Ruffin said she is most troubled that Mikayla feels responsible for Milo’s death.
“She is blaming herself for not being able to save Milo, but I told her, ‘I would have lost two babies that day, not one.’”
Ruffin said she wants the management company to acknowledge their negligence, the pit bull euthanized, her daughter’s medical treatment reimbursed, and the tenants evicted from the complex. She has retained a lawyer, who has been in contact with Bridge Property Management.
“We have to protect our children and pets for the future,” she said.