Cane Corso Dogs Maul Jogger To Death, Owner Could Face Manslaughter Charges

Cane Corso
Cane Corso dogs are known for their powerful jaws

Two Cane Corso dogs attacked and mauled a jogger to death in Michigan on Wednesday. This was the third time the dogs had attacked someone in two years, and many are hoping that the owner will be held legally responsible.

The jogger, Craig Sytsma, was running along a dirt road frequented by other joggers and bikers when the two dogs, who had not been secured, attacked him and refused to let go. A neighbor tried to scare the dogs off by shooting a gun, even nicking one of the dogs in the process, but neither Cane Corso would release their grip on the man. The two dogs did eventually run off, and both the witness and another jogger, who happened to be a nurse, attempted CPR, but Sytsma, a father of three, died an hour later at the hospital.

The vicious behavior of the two Cane Corsos is not the first time the dogs have been violent, prompting outrage by many. April Smith, also of Michigan, was attacked by one of the Cane Corsos in 2012, injuring her leg in three different places and resulting in a law suit against the owner. And according to authorities, a man in his 70s was also attacked in 2013.

The owner of the Cane Corsos freely admitted to his neighbors that his dogs were aggressive when asked point-blank by a mother, allegedly replying, “Everything I own is aggressive.”

Tragically for Craig Systma and his family, the owner was correct.

Cane Corso dogs typically weigh about 100 pounds, and are descendants of Roman auxiliary fighting dogs. The Cane Corso breed is known for their strength, particularly that of their jaws, which match in length and width. This jaw shape enhances their biting strength. The jaw often locks when it bites, resulting in the dog’s jaw having to be forcibly manipulated to release its prey. Cane Corsos can become aggressive if not properly socialized, and for that very reason, the breed is not recommended to “novice owners” unable or unwilling to invest the time needed to properly train and socialize a dog.

No charges have yet been filed on the owner of the Cane Corsos, but the dogs are currently under quarantine in the Lapeer County Animal Shelter in Michigan. Both dogs are expected to be euthanized once the investigation is complete. As for the owner, no charges have yet been filed, but the Lapeer County prosecutor’s office is investigating. Under Michigan state law, an owner can be charged with involuntary manslaughter if an animal fatally attacks a person.

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