Fall River man accused of stabbing pit bull

3-year-old Smokey was stabbed five times, and is in serious condition

By News Staff

Reporting by Liz Tufts


A Fall River man has been charged with animal cruelty after he allegedly stabbed a pit bull.

Police were called to the area of South Main Street and King Philip Street Thursday night at around 7:30 for reports of a dog being stabbed.

Heather Lemieux, the owner of the pit bull, named Smokey, was walking him on a leash when a small white dog that was not leashed ran over and started attacking Smokey, according to witnesses.

Police say Lemieux separated the dogs before a male, identified as 45-year-old William Whitson, came running out of the barber shop he owns, screaming for help. He then grasping Smokey around the neck and stabbed him with a knife five times.

Lemieux tells ABC6 she had walked this route hundreds of times before with 3-year-old Smokey, but this time, he did not make it home.

"I was in shock, I have never seen anything like that before in my life, I was just crying," she says.

Whitson told police he only stabbed the pit bull after it bit his hand and wouldn’t let go as he was trying to separate the two dogs. He was treated at the hospital for a small cut on his hand.

"My dog was playing with this dog for a good 30 seconds… and the dog didn’t have a mark on him," explained Lemieux. "He [Smokey] was stabbed five times, five inches deep, three centimeters wide he has a punctured lung."

Smokey was barely alive when police arrived on scene.

"As soon as we got across the street he just laid down and blood was gushing out of him everywhere," said Lemieux. 

Smokey was taken to the Mass-RI Veterinary ER in Swansea in critical condition. He is currently in a medically induced coma undergoing multiple surgeries.

Whitson has been charged with animal cruelty, disturbing the peace while armed, and assault with a dangerous weapon. He is being held on bail and will be back in court next Friday.

As of Friday night, Smokey is listed in serious condition.

© WLNE-TV 2015