Infamous Pit Bull Leaves Crabtree Hollow

Posted: June 29, 1989

That black burst of muscle and teeth, Yobro, barks no more on Crimson King Lane.

The 30-pound pit bull - whose antics fluctuate between mythology and real- life terror - has been sent away from the Crabtree Hollow development in Bristol Township. Joseph Mulhern, Yobro's owner, reluctantly gave his four- legged companion of three years to a friend.

Sharon Lee, Mulhern's girlfriend, said Yobro received a bad rap from the neighborhood. "The dog was a great dog," she said. "He was so friendly."

Yobro fell out of favor with neighbors when he mauled a 7-pound Pomeranian named Poncho on May 17. The Pomeranian, which was being walked near Mulhern's home by 6-year-old Laura Moran, died hours later in an animal hospital. "The pit bull ran at the Pomeranian," said Jackie Coyle, Bristol Township's animal control officer. "It grabbed it in its mouth and shook it like a rag." Yobro then ran back to his yard, Coyle said.

Coyle cited Mulhern for allowing Yobro to run loose and for not having the dog's rabies vaccinations up to date.

Despite Yobro's bloody attack, Coyle said she did not consider Yobro a danger to people. Although records in her office show Yobro ran loose a number of times, Coyle said, there is no documentation that he ever attacked a human. ''It never attacked the girl walking the Pomeranian," Coyle said. "If that pit bull wanted any people it had plenty of opportunity."

The breadth of Yobro's adventures - or alleged adventures - grew after the incident.

"A lot of people were calling us and saying this dog did this and this dog did that," Coyle said. Most of the stories, including one in which Yobro allegedly latched onto the arm of a child, were never substantiated, she said.

Coyle said she doesn't believe what some in the neighborhood believe: that the Pomeranian died while defending the terrified 6-year-old, who was reportedly carried to safety by an unidentified man.

"It certainly was a grossly unfair fight," Coyle said. Pit bulls, which many times are bred for dog fights and trained as attack dogs, are very territorial, she said.

Nevertheless, Crimson King is quieter since Yobro's departure. Mulhern's neighbors are less tense and children play uninhibited in the street. From a string of backyard fences, other dogs bark but not with the husk of Yobro. The life of Yobro, who was loved by his family as a gentle dog and feared by the neighbors as a killer, is the stuff canine legends are made of.

"He started chasing us once last February," said John Carson, a 9-year- old in shorts and a T-shirt who recently peddled his thick-wheeled bike down Crimson King. "I wasn't that scared. He was way behind us. We kept on riding."

Katie Ward, 10, contemplated Yobro on a recent sunny morning while blowing soapy bubbles into the air. "I didn't like it," she said. "I stay on this side of the street when I walk past his house."

Janet Keyser, Mulhern's next-door neighbor, put up a high wooden fence when Yobro came to Crimson King as a puppy. Keyser said she worried that her small child and two dogs might have been in danger if Yobro strayed into her yard. ''I'm afraid just because he's a pit bull," she said.

By Cathy Niatas' count, there are 23 children under 11 years old living on Crimson King. She kept her 8-week-old baby behind closed doors. "I wouldn't sit out front with my baby because of it," she said. "I just don't think that anybody should own a pit bull. They go for the jugular and don't stop."

Niatas credited Mulhern for keeping Yobro off the street most of the time.

Lee said Mulhern, who could not be reached for comment, gave the dog away rather than create ill feeling in the neighborhood. Yobro was so safe, Lee said, that she allowed the dog around her 2-month-old son, Shane.

"He was so friendly," she said. "He licked (Shane) a lot, but all dogs do that. I thought they would be like the little boy and his dog when he grew up."

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