A dispute turned deadly between neighbors in Florida after a dangerous dog was forced to be euthanized.
The Italian Mastiff, Roxy, was deemed dangerous by a judge in a July 1 declaration, and promptly was “humanely euthanized” on Wednesday — just two days after the animal’s owner, 82-year-old Ronald Delserro, is believed to have armed himself before entering the home of his neighbor, Guy Alexander Hansman.
Delserro killed the 55-year-old father inside the house’s garage and shot the man’s daughter, 11-year-old Harper, who died after being transported to a nearby hospital, according to police.
After a standoff with police which included exchanges of gunfire, Delserro was discovered dead inside the home. It is still unclear if he died by suicide or from an officer’s bullet.
Port St. Lucie Police allege the dispute began between the two neighbors on March 4, when Roxy, who was loose, entered their backyard attacked Hansman’s wife and the family’s dog, Rucca.
“Mrs. Hansman attempted to separate the dogs by sitting on Roxy and while doing so she was bit several times,” reads a statement from police. “Rucca also was bit and had multiple puncture wounds to the neck and legs. Both Mrs. Hansman and Rucca sought medical attention.”
Local animal control officers then initiated a dangerous dog investigation into Roxy on March 5 and quarantined the dog inside the home for 10 days. According to the statement, the Hansmans reported their neighbors for violating the quarantine, and Roxy was removed from the home.
Roxy was then returned to the Delserros on March 17, who were then told the dog had to be supervised at all times. But the statement revealed how Roxy was spotted outside, unleashed and on her own, multiple times. The Hansmans recorded some of the aforementioned violations and gave the footage to investigators.
Mrs. Hansman and her daughter, Harper, testified June 24 at a hearing held to consider Roxy’s status, and spoke about the March 4 attack.
Animal control went to Delserro’s home on July 1 and presented him and his wife “with the final declaration letter,” deeming Roxy a danger. “Mrs Delserro signed the documents acknowledging receipt, however Mr. Delserro refused to sign any documents,” the statement explains.
On Monday afternoon, authorities then responded to a 911 call of a shooting at the Hansman home. The caller, who police identified as Harper, informed dispatchers there was “someone shooting in our house. I think my parents are dead. I think my family is dead.”
After placing the call, Harper was fatally shot and three other people in the home escaped without injury.
“On July 7, 2020, at around 12:39 pm, Mrs. Delserro (owner of Roxy) contacted the Animal Control Office and stated she wished to surrender her dog Roxy as she was leaving town,” the statement continues. “Mrs. Delserro met with the animal control administrator and signed the Owner Turn In form. As the owner with rights to the dog, she gave consent for Roxy to be euthanized. This would officially conclude the ongoing dangerous dog investigation.”
According to the statement, Roxy was cremated. Police say the investigation into the double-murder, continues.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.