*Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect ownership of the dog in the incident.
TROY, N.Y. (News10)-A recent dog attack that sent a woman to the hospital has uncovered some complicated underlying issues at a property in Troy. The problem involves a battle between a woman who claims to be the current property owner and the people who feel they have the right to live there.
“That should not happen to her, and I feel sorry for her. But I don’t feel sorry that she was here. If she wasn’t here, it wouldn’t have happened.” That’s how Debbie Plante, views the dog attack at 876 River Street in Troy. “There’s not even supposed to be dogs here,” added Plante.
Troy Police say the woman suffered wounds to her arm and leg during the unprovoked attack by the American bulldog but is expected to make a full recovery. The dog, which police clarify was owned by another adult staying in the household, was not present when they arrived. Troy Police originally told NEWS10 that the dog was owned by the victim. They tell us the dog is being held at an area shelter until a determination over what to do with the animal.
Monday’s attack has exposed a larger more complicated problem. The building is currently in foreclosure. Plante, who says she took over ownership of the building after her husband’s passing in 2018, says things went bad after he died and got worse after she moved out 2 years ago.
She told News10’s Anya Tucker that all she wants to do is reclaim some personal items she left behind in her upstairs apartment, but that she can’t get in. “He changed the front door lock,” Plante told Anya. She claims her tenant changed the locks and has opened up the place to squatters. She says attempts to proceed with eviction have been thwarted several times. “When I went down to evict him, at one point, they told me I couldn’t due to Covid. And then they told me that they, squatters, have rights and I need the names of everybody in there. And I can’t get names if they don’t open the door.” Plante claims National Grid and other utilities aren’t being allowed access in order to shut off service and the bills, amounting to $18,000, have piled up.
Animal control and Troy police officers entered the building one day after the dog attack. Officers on scene told News10 the building is deemed uninhabitable. After they left, a woman came out confront Plante regarding her claims on the property. “If you’re gonna be on camera, tell the truth! You don’t own the building,” the woman said. “The mortgage company owns the building. You signed off your rights,” she added. The unnamed woman told News10’s Anya Tucker that she was in the process of trying to obtain the property as she walked away.
Plante told Anya that she believes as many as 10-15 people other than the tenant living inside the apartment building. It is unclear when or if they will move out, or if Plante will ever get her stuff back. News10 reached out to the city of Troy for information on the status of the home, Deputy Mayor Chris Nolin responded saying, “We are looking into your request and should have an answer after the codes department re-opens tomorrow.” News10 will post the update.