Almont Township man faces felony, misdemeanor counts


ALMONT TWP. — Felony charges have been filed against Gregory Messer, 64, the owner of three Caucasian Ovcharka Shepherd dogs that were running loose when they attacked a woman on February 14.

On Wednesday (Feb. 26), Lapeer County Prosecutor Mike Sharkey authorized four-year criminal charges against Messer, whose dogs caused the 51-year-old victim serious bodily injuries.

Messer was also charged with three misdemeanor counts because the dogs were unlicensed; and three more misdemeanors for allowing the dogs to stray without being properly leashed.

Sharkey said at around 3:15 p.m. on Feb. 14, all three of Messer’s dogs were running loose outside his Glover Road home, when two of them attacked the woman, who lives across the road.

He noted that the attack occurred after a third Caucasian Shepherd dog had charged the woman and knocked her to the ground and repeatedly bit her leg, arm and stomach.

“The woman suffered multiple puncture wounds, one of which required stitches,” said Sharkey.

He added that the victim is scheduled to see a physician regarding possible internal injuries to one of her legs.

Sharkey acknowledged the efforts of Lapeer County Animal Control Director Dave Eady, Animal Control Officer Rachel Zender, and Almont Police Officer Ryan Wilson, who responded to the scene and were also in danger of being attacked by the dogs.

“To protect himself and the other officers from serious injury,” Sharkey said, “Officer Wilson shot the dominant aggressive dog, which was subsequently euthanized at a veterinary clinic in Romeo.”

Sharkey reported that upon hearing of the attack, an Almont man reported that he too had been attacked and bitten by one of the Caucasian Shepherd dogs while making repairs to Messer’s garage door on October 25, 2018.

“The individual was bit and suffered a serious injury to the groin area,” Sharkey said, “but only reported the attack after learning of this recent attack.”

Though presumed innocent, Sharkey said, Messer is potentially liable to pay restitution to the victims for injuries they incurred from the animals.

Sharkey said Messer will be ordered to appear at a show cause hearing on April 7; during which the court will decide if the other two dogs should be forfeited, euthanized, taken to a shelter or sanctuary, or be returned to the owner.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.