Self-defense or malicious? Woman claims pastor hit dog with pitchfork
SOUTH HARRISON — Police are trying to sort out what happened when a dog went into a neighbor's yard and, according to the dog's owner, was stabbed with a pitch fork by a church pastor — a charge the man denies.
In a Facebook post that is no longer able to be viewed by the public, Jessica Devecchio said Tuesday that her "98 pound gentle giant" is doing well after surgery. The post included to graphic images of her bleeding dog.
"Our psychopath, 'god loving,' PASTOR of a neighbor waited with his pitchfork to aggressively stab my dog in the face, puncture his mouth, right through to his teeth which were shattered," Devecchio wrote. She said the "horrific bloodbath" happened in front of her children.
She said that it was not the first time Goosey was in neighbor Caesar Sprianu's yard. She admitted the dog barks loudly but has never hurt Sprianu, the pastor of the Williamstown Seventh-day Adventist Church.
"Caesar Sprianu, you are evil and you will rot in Hell. Your act was malicious, PROFOUNDLY immoral, brutal, senseless, cruel, and completely unnecessary," she said.
Sprianu told New Jersey 101.5 on Tuesday that the story is not true and that the dog injured itself because it took a bite out of gardening machinery.
"Everything that she said is a lie. The dog attacked me. It is a shame what they put on the internet," he said.
In a separate statement, Sprianu wrote "NO PITCH FORK WAS INVOLVED."
"Three to four weeks ago I was cutting the grass with the tractor. Both dogs appeared onto my property and surrounded me on both sides of the tractor barking and attacking me while on the tractor. I was yelling at them as loud as I could and I had to swing the tractor from side to side to chase the dogs. Finally the neighbor lady called the dogs and they ran away," Spiranu said in his statement.
"I started yelling at the dogs 'go home' but they were getting more aggressive by the second. The dogs were attacking me from two sides and as I was holding the machine in front of me for protection, though I did not know at that time, the male dog took a bite at the machine and badly hurt himself, as seen in the horrible picture," Spiranu wrote, referring to the graphic pictures of the injuries Delvecchio said were sustained by her dogs.
Spiranu told New Jersey 101.5 the dogs lashed at him "like two beasts."
The pastor's statement said that he has been neighbors with Delvecchio for nearly 20 years. He said she recently brought a second pit bull into their home, which he said made for an "aggressive" pairing with their existing dog.
Spiranu said he unsuccessfully tried to address his concerns with Delvecchio. The dogs also attacked his dog but Spiranu was able to chase them away.
Delvecchio has not yet returned a message seeking further comment about the incident.
The incident was reported to South Harrison police, which will continue to investigate.
"It's undetermined whether it was malicious or self defense. Nobody was there to witness it. We're still investigating it," South Harrison police Lt. Sean Weston told New Jersey 101.5.
He did not know if there had been other complaints made against the Delvecchio dogs.
"The sides you're hearing are probably the sides that were told to us. His version and their version. Right now we're not treating it as anything more than an animal complaint," he said. "We're focused on the extent of the dog's injuries and how they occurred."
Weston said no one has been charged in the case.