On Saturday night Fred Kobera was at the Lyons-Muir Island Fest in Lyons with his 11-year-old Yorkshire terrier, Teddy. The five-pound dog was sitting on the lap of Kobera’s girlfriend, Christy Eller, when Kobera went to help put on an event at the festival.
Teddy started to follow Kobera. At the same time there was a person running by with a larger dog. The dog took Teddy in his mouth and shook him, according to Eller.
The smaller dog died instantly.
Eller said the dog was a pit bull and was on a leash, but turned around and attacked Teddy. She said the other dog’s owner didn’t attempt to stop the attack.
“He didn’t do anything. He didn’t even apologize,” Eller said.
“There was three little kids who saw it happen,” she added. “I feel bad for them, they were playing with Teddy for hours before it happened. It must have been traumatic.”
Other witnesses described the scene as horrific on the Lyon-Muir Community Facebook page.
Kobera said he understands Teddy should have been on a leash, but said there had never been an issue with Teddy and other pets or people before.
He added he was sure Teddy wasn’t trying to pick a fight with the larger dog.
“He never accosted anything other than a chipmunk and a mouse,” Kobera said. “He caught two squirrels, but he let them go — he didn’t kill them.”
Kobera said Teddy will be greatly missed. He brought the dog almost everywhere with him and said Teddy curled up between his legs in bed every night.
“He was the most courageous, caring and loving animal anyone could ever have,” Kobera said. “Everyone in the neighborhood loved him.”
He first got the dog as a gift for his ex-wife. When they divorced, he kept the dog and the two developed a close bond. On Monday Kobera was wearing a T-shirt with an image of he and Teddy on it. In his home there is a painting of his backyard with Teddy in it.
“It will be difficult going to the store because everyone asks, ‘Where’s your dog?’ when they see me,” Kobera said. “He always had a lot of personality.”
Last year Kobera’s other dog died during Island Fest as well, from natural causes. He said it’s too early to imagine getting another pet.
The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident, but no reports or charges appear to have been filed. On Tuesday Ionia County Animal Control said the larger dog was not in custody at the Ionia County Animal Shelter.