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Lockport Ex-lawyer Offers $5,000 Reward

To Find Out Who Wounded His Dogs

By Tony Farina

Hercules (above) was apparently injured by an attacker wielding a Taser gun. Hercules' owner is offering a $5,000 reward to find out who did it.

David Knoll, a 75-year-old disbarred lawyer who has fought many legal battles in a long and colorful career including defending himself in a federal court case, is not one to back down from a fight and he’s not backing down now in the wake of an attack on his dogs.

Knoll, who lives at 263 High Street in Lockport, believes someone fired a Taser gun at his bullmastiff, Hercules, and his collie, Chance, as the dogs were cavorting in his fenced-in backyard on High Street, facing an alley, causing a serious wound in the left shoulder area of the bullmastiff and possibly internal damages. The collie escaped injury thanks to his thick coat.

“I want to know who did this,” said Knoll, “and I am offering a $5,000 reward for information that will lead me to the person or persons involved in this. I know this area is a hotbed of drug activity and I have had some encounters with these people. But I will not sit by and do nothing when something like this happens. That dog is very dear to me and while his wound seems to be mending, he is still not acting quite right, drooling and snapping at the air, and we still don’t know for sure about internal injuries.”

Knoll said that he had driven in from New York City early on the morning of Nov. 21 and left the bullmastiff and the collie in the care of his wife and daughter when he left the house to take care of some business. Knoll’s house is located on High Street in front of Rushmore Alley, between Locust and Washburn, and it was in his fenced-in backyard that the dogs were apparently attacked.

“When I returned and checked on the dogs, Hercules was in obvious pain,” said Knoll. “He was drooling and his nose was running. I immediately saw the wound in the left shoulder area. All I saw in the alley was a Modern Disposal waste truck that seemed to make a couple of passes in the alley before picking up anything.”

Now, nearly two weeks later and after several trips to two local animal hospitals, Knoll and the veterinary people are still not sure what happened to Hercules. The injury seems consistent with a Taser wound, and Knoll says many of the drug dealers in the area are known to carry the illegal weapon for their protection.

Knoll isn’t sure if the dog’s apparent drug-sniffing acumen played any role in the attack. Knoll had rescued the 107-pound gentle giant from the Erie County SPCA several weeks ago, and all they would tell him at the shelter is that he had been brought in by a woman from Allegany County who described him as a stray.

Knoll believes the dog, which now weighs about 120 pounds after being rescued, was possibly a law enforcement dog of some kind before he was turned in to the shelter. Could he have possibly reacted to the scent of drugs nearby, unsettling the dealer and triggering the Taser response?

Knoll adopted the dog with no name after several visits to the shelter, and shortly after, while walking the dog in a Town of Amherst park, he came across a group of disabled children who were drawn to the dog and he to them.

“A little girl with Down syndrome asked me, ‘what’s the dog’s name.’ And I said he doesn’t have one yet. She said, ‘how about Hercules,’ and I said that fits so that’s his name from now on.”

The former lawyer who is still active as a businessman, was charged in a multiple-count federal indictment in the early ‘90’s, and was convicted on a single count of aiding a co-defendant in preparation of a false financial statement, the conviction which led to his disbarment.

Knoll eventually served three months at the McKean Federal Correctional Institute, a medium-security facility for low-risk inmates.

If Knoll has slowed down any from his whirlwind days in Buffalo-area legal and business circles, it is not apparent from his demeanor. While waiting to be interviewed for this story at a downtown Buffalo coffee shop, he chatted amiably with fellow customers, charming them with his tales of business trips to places like China. He was as cool and savvy as ever when the interview finally began.

One thing is certain: he wants to find out what happened to his dog, an animal with which he has clearly formed a strong bond, and he’s got a $5,000 reward to the person with the answers. He can be reached by phone at 716-345-1179. The old firebrand says he won't rest until he finds the person or persons responsible for tasering his dogs. I believe him.

A Taser is an electroshock weapon sold by Taser International. It uses electrical current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles causing "neuromuscular incapacitation". Someone struck by a Taser experiences stimulation of his or her sensory nerves and motor nerves, resulting in strong involuntary muscle contractions. Taser devices are not considered firearms by the United States government. They can be legally carried (concealed or open) without a permit in 43 states. They are prohibited for citizen use in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York.



Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Dec 04 , 2012