Kansas City, Mo. A 34-year-old man released three pit bulls into an Independence neighborhood where they attacked three men because he wanted to "cause some excitement," prosecutors said in filing criminal charges Friday.
Bryan P. Smith, 34, of Independence, faces three counts of third-degree assault stemming from the May 4 attacks, the Jackson County prosecutor's Office said.
All three victims, two of whom had been mowing grass, were attacked by all three dogs.
Municipal charges were filed earlier against the dogs' owner.
Smith, who has posted bail, could not be located for comment Friday. But in an interview with WDAF-TV, Smith denied the charges, saying the dogs escaped accidentally and he was told they were harmless.
He said the house's owner hired him to clean up inside.
"When I opened up the window to get in, they got out," he told the television station. "The owner said they were nice dogs because they had been in the house before. She said they were harmless dogs. She said they never tried to bite her. I just took her word for it."
According to documents filed with the county charges, a man who lived next door to the house where the dogs were kept told police that Smith had told him he was planning to release the dogs "to see what kind of trouble he could cause."
The neighbor, Earl D. Howard Jr., warned him not to but testified he later saw a window in the house open and the three dogs jump out.
He said he saw Smith at the window, laughing.
Nancy Wisdom, who owned the home where the dogs were kept, told police she was planning to have the dogs removed because they were so vicious. She also said she ran into Smith at the house and that he was laughing, saying he had just released the dogs to "cause some excitement."
The three dogs attacked one man while he was out walking, police said. A witness drove off the dogs with a tire iron.
Another man, Alan Hill, was attacked nearby while mowing grass in a field. He suffered extensive bites to the arms, upper body, face and head and remained in an area hospital for more than a month.
The third victim was attacked while cutting his grass and drove himself to a hospital.
After finding the dogs running lose, police shot and killed the animals.
Independence police charged the dogs' owner, Paul R. Piper, with 10 counts, including one count of second-degree aggravated assault and three counts of failure to contain a dangerous dog. Those charges are pending, said police spokesman Tom Gentry.
Piper told police he planned to remove the dogs himself when he saw news of the attacks and realized they involved his dogs. He later turned himself in.
Detectives said that when they initially interviewed Smith following the attacks, he told them he was fixing a broken window in the house and the dogs must have gotten out that way. He later told them he opened the window but didn't mean for the dogs to get out.
The attacks were the first of many this summer in Independence, leading the City Council to strengthen the city's regulations for handling dangerous dogs and consider an outright ban of the breed.