By Julie Manganis , Staff writer
Dr. Carol Naranjo, a local surgeon, was walking along Derby Street with Saki, a 10-year-old Shiba Inu, just after 6 p.m. when she saw a tall, blond man – later identified as Lucas Pierce – coming toward her.
Suddenly, the man veered toward her and Saki and without any provocation, delivered a swift kick to the dog’s belly, Naranjo said.
“That dog never cries over anything, but she let out a yelp,” Naranjo said. “I was just horrified.”
More than horrified, she said. “I was furious. I think it’s probably lucky for both him and me that I was tethered to the dog.”
As Pierce, 31, of 75 Columbus Ave., ran off, Saki, who weighs no more than 20 pounds, cowered near the side of a parked car.
Thankfully, there were a few other people out walking their dogs who gave police a detailed description, Salem police Lt. Conrad Prosniewski said. Police caught up with Pierce downtown.
Police had already been on the lookout for Pierce after a disturbance at Wallyo’s Market on Essex Street, where store employees had refused to sell him a 12-pack of beer because they believed he was drunk. Pierce repeatedly punched the door, the report said.
“He’s a volatile person who does seem to have a problem with alcohol,” Prosniewski told Salem District Court Judge Robert Cornetta. Prosniewski pointed to Pierce’s record, which includes prior charges of assaultive behavior and malicious destruction of property.
Christopher Beares, a lawyer appointed to represent Pierce at his arraignment, said his client told him he was attacked by a dog as a child, leaving him with a “lifelong fear of dogs.”
He told Beares he believed he was about to be attacked by the dog.
Prosniewski spoke up.
“For the record, the Shiba Inu is a very, very small dog,” Prosniewski said.
“A dog is a dog,” Beares responded. He entered a plea of not guilty for Lucas.
Naranjo called the idea that her dog would attack anyone “ridiculous.” Saki never makes eye contact with humans and has never bitten anyone, Naranjo said. The assault on her dog, she said, was entirely unprovoked.
“You kind of shudder,” Naranjo said. “It’s just so random.”
Saki seems to be OK. Her owner said she is grateful that at least Pierce didn’t kick the dog on her left side, where the spleen is located.
Cornetta ordered Pierce, if he makes his $1,000 bail, to stay at least 25 feet from “any domesticated animals or pets.”
He is due back in court on May 16.