A dog that was suspected to have eaten crack cocaine mauled and killed its owner while he was filming a documentary on drugs.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier named “Major” killed its owner Mario Perivoitos, 41, who died in March shortly after losing 10 pints of blood in the attack that occurred in front of BBC staff. A behaviour which could have been triggered by crack cocaine.
The BBC documentary crew witnessed but didn’t film the incident while they were making a programme about drugs at the victim’s home in Wood Green.
An inquest into the attack at North London’s coroners court heard that Mario Perivoitos, who worked in IT, received serious injuries to his face and neck, extensive haemorrhaging and his larynx was crushed.
The BBC film crew at his home in North London called an ambulance and tried to fight off the dog, which had attached itself to the 41-year-old’s neck.
They were trapped in the flat for around 30 minutes. Police took almost 10 minutes to open the door in the tower block as it was heavily locked.
Perivoitos had been filming a BBC documentary called Drugs Map Britain. On the night he died, he came home after 10 pm having consumed cocaine and became unwell, resulting in an epileptic fit. The dog then attacked his owner as he lay on his bed.
According to reports, Nicholas Carmichael, a veterinary toxicology expert, who found cocaine and morphine in the dog’s urine said, “The dog was eight times the drug drive limit.”
“It is very likely that this dog had consumed drugs, probably eaten them. “It is almost impossible to say whether that will make the dog attack, but it does make them respond abnormally.
“They become very excited and agitated. It is more likely that this attack happened because this dog had taken cocaine.” It is likely to have been a factor in the dog’s behaviour.”
At the inquest, Julie Higgins, a pathologist, revealed that Mr Perivoitos’s body “included injuries to the neck and face, with extensive haemorrhaging, and the larynx was crushed”.
Joshua Haddow, the producer of the programme, managed to wrestle Major off his owner, but it was too late. The inquest heard that Mr Perivoitos died because of injuries inflicted by the dog.
Andrew Walker, the senior coroner, concluded that this was the case, pointing out that the victim had taken cocaine before the attack.
“It is likely that he was experiencing an epileptic shock, which caused the dog to nip his face before biting his neck. The film crew telephoned an ambulance while attempting to get the dog off Mr Perivoitos.
“It is likely that the dog had consumed cocaine by eating it and it is likely that this was an additional factor in the dog’s behaviour.
According to the police, Major was due to be destroyed, but it is however, not clear if it has happened yet.