The Staffordshire bull terrier which attacked a BBC documentary-maker, inflicting injuries that eventually killed him in March 2017, was high on crack cocaine at the time.
Mario Perivoitos, 41, was shooting a BBC documentary with a camera crew at his home in North London for the program “Drugs Map Britain,” and had suffered an epileptic shock after consuming cocaine during the process. He fell down on the bed as a result and that is when his pet dog, Major, started to nip at his face and neck.
The dog latched on to its owner’s face and refused to let go when the crew tried to save Perivoitos. After it had seriously injured his face, Perivoitos was taken to a north London hospital where he succumbed to his fatal wounds after a couple of hours.
Following the incident, Major’s urine was tested for possible toxicity and samples of cocaine and morphine were found in it, equal to ‘eight times the drug drive limit’ of a human, Metro reported.
Nicholas Carmichael, an expert in veterinary toxicology, said that although it might never be determined for sure as to what caused Major to behave the way he did, drugs may have played a significant role in putting him in a less-than-jovial mood.
“It is almost impossible to say whether that will make the dog attack but it does make them respond abnormally," Carmichael said. "They become very excited and agitated, it is highly more likely that this attack happened because this dog had taken cocaine. In my experience with Staffordshire Bull Terriers if they think they are in a dominant position its response must have been to attack.”
According to Pet Place, within four to six hours of consumption, cocaine tends to leave the canine’s body and gets excreted. The illegal substance becomes deadly when 25 mg of cocaine per pound of the dog’s body weight is consumed by it.
If a lethal dose of the cocaine is ingested by the dog, it might start to show extreme hyperactivity, followed by high levels of lethargy. Under such circumstances, the signs tend to show up within 15 minutes of consuming the substance. Some dogs also tend to develop seizures. Other onset signs include stimulation, mydriasis, tremors, hypersalivation and vomiting, according to veterinary emergency critical care specialist and toxicologist Dr. Justin Lee.
While the manner in which the dog consumed the drugs might be up for debate, there is no doubt when it comes to Perivoitos' cause of death. “The body included injuries to the neck and face with extensive hemorrhaging and the larynx was crushed,” Pathologist Dr. Julie Higgins, said. Also, Senior Coroner Andrew Walker stated that the official conclusion of death was a consequence of injuries received from a dog.
According to detective chief inspector Luke Marks, no charges will be brought on, in this case, however, the dog will be put down by law enforcement agents. “The dog was taken to a secure police storage facility, it was due to be destroyed but I do not know if it has been,” Marks said.