14 dogs suspected of mauling Fargo man destroyed; owner arrested after scuffle with authorities
By Austin Ashlock / Forum
WARSAW, N.D. - Walsh County sheriff’s deputies have killed 13 dogs and arrested their owner, Peter Grzeskowiak, 59, after some of the animals attacked a man as he walked down a country road early Sunday.
“These dogs posed a threat,” Sheriff Lauren Wild said Tuesday. “We knew they posed a danger before Sunday, but we have never been able to do anything. We can’t have dogs like that running around.”
His deputies and veterinarian had gone to the farm Monday with the intention of euthanizing the dogs, according to Wild.
They also arrested Grzeskowiak, who has been charged with physical obstruction of a government function after he allegedly tried to prevent deputies and the veterinarian from euthanizing the dogs. He has also been charged with two counts of mistreating animals, allegedly for killing one of the dogs during a dispute with deputies and not feeding the dogs.
All three charges are misdemeanors.
According to the Walsh County clerk of courts, Grzeskowiak’s bond has not been determined pending mental evaluation.
Wild and four deputies came back to the farm Tuesday to search for any remaining dogs to put them down as well.
Grzeskowiak’s farm is on County Road 15 between Warsaw and Interstate 29. The victim of the dog attack, John Munoz, 19, of Fargo, was walking on the same road early Sunday when he said eight to nine dogs attacked him about a quarter-mile from the farm. He is recovering in Fargo after his release from Altru Hospital in Grand Forks on Monday.
When deputies went to the farm Monday, Grzeskowiak was initially cooperative, helping them and the vet euthanize four of the dogs after searching for them on his property, according to Wild. But Grzeskowiak began to get upset and argued with deputies over which dogs should be euthanized.
According to a court complaint, Grzeskowiak told the deputies he would euthanize the dogs himself and ordered them to leave. He then “took a large steak knife, picked up one of his smaller dogs, put a large steak knife to the dog’s throat and stabbed the dog repeatedly in the neck.”
Grzeskowiak took a Rottweiler inside his home and prevented deputies from entering.
After he was arrested and removed from the property Monday, deputies put down eight more of the dogs.
Two dogs may have run off during the commotion, Wild said, but they were young and do not pose a threat.
On Tuesday, Wild and four deputies returned to the farm.
Wild and the deputies had to clear a safe path through loose debris and garbage piled throughout his yard. They cleared a path to get where Grzeskowiak had locked a Rottweiler. Once there, they threw hot dogs through the doorway to attract the dog, but it didn’t show, forcing a search of the house.
“We found the dog in the west-side bedroom,” Wild said. “It was just laying there; it didn’t get aggressive or anything.”
Deputies killed the Rottweiler.
Including the dog allegedly killed by Grzeskowiak, 14 dogs have died.
During the search, people in the surrounding area stopped outside the farm to watch. They said they had long worried about the dogs but would not give their names, saying they didn’t want anything to do with Grzeskowiak.
The court complaint alleges that Grzeskowiak was not feeding his dogs properly. After searching his property, deputies failed to find any dog food. Instead, they found several bags of potato chips that they believe he used to feed the dogs.
The complaint said deputies have learned that “Grzeskowiak was letting the dogs loose at night to hunt for food.”
The sheriff’s department estimates that there were between 15 to 20 dogs living there until Monday.`