Dog Was Reportedly Intoxicated When He Fatally Mauled Owner

By Kelly Burch 09/14/17

According to a senior coroner involved with the case, the victim of the attack had used cocaine before the tragic incident.

Staffordshire bull terrier.
The dog involved in the tragic incident was a Staffordshire bull terrier.

A dog that mauled its owner to death in front of a BBC film crew reportedly had cocaine in its system, which likely contributed to the violent attack. 

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier crushed the throat of its owner, Mario Perivoitos, in March. Perivoitos, 41, was being filmed in his London apartment for a BBC program called Drugs Map of Britain. Just after the filming ended Perivoitos began having a seizure and the dog attacked. 

“In our opinion the dog's behavior was as a result of the intoxication of cocaine,” Nicholas Carmichael, an expert in veterinary toxicology, told investigators, according to the Daily Mail

The newspaper reported that the dog had both cocaine and morphine in its system. “It is very likely that this dog had consumed drugs, probably eaten them,” Carmichael said. “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 highly more likely that this attack happened because this dog had taken cocaine.”

He added, “Whether [the dog] had eaten it or taken it in by smoke, it is likely to have been a factor in the dog's behavior.”

Senior Coroner Andrew Walker said that Perivoitos’s death was caused by injuries from a dog. However, he also noted that the victim “consumed a quantity of cocaine before becoming unwell. It is likely that he was experiencing an epileptic shock which caused the dog to nip his face before biting his neck.”

The BBC crew did not film the incident. They called for emergency services and tried to get the dog off of Perivoitos. After the attack, Perivoitos was taken to the hospital, where he died two hours later. 

Neighbors said that the apartment where Perivoitos died was associated with drug use. “At one point it was a crack house,” a neighbor told The Guardian. “There were so many of them smoking. There were needles everywhere.”

A second neighbor added that when she heard screaming during the attack she wasn’t immediately alarmed because it was normal for there to be a commotion coming from the apartment. 

“We’re normally hearing screaming so it wasn’t like, ‘alert the police!’” she said, adding that she had previously heard Perivoitos yelling about the dog. “Everybody knows he’s on drugs but no matter how he was, he didn’t deserve to die like that.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.