Owner fights for ‘Buddy’

Greg Hromas’ dog “Buddy” is currently housed at the Clovis Animal Shelter pending a hearing, set for Tuesday, on the dog’s status.

By Darrell Todd Maurina

Greg Hromas loves his dog “Buddy,” a mixed-breed pit bull given to him as a 4-week-old puppy in 2000.
Hromas said Buddy is so gentle that he likes to play with one of his neighbors, a 2-year-old girl, who while learning to walk used to lift herself off the ground by pulling on Buddy’s hair.
Now sitting in the Clovis Animal Shelter, Buddy looks out with large brown eyes at visitors and the animal control officers say he’s caused no problems.
Deputies from the Curry County Sheriff’s Office tell a different story.
According to Sheriff Roger Hatcher, deputies have already confiscated Buddy’s mate and a whole yardful of pit bull puppies. The female dog has been euthanized, the puppies have been adopted out, and Hromas is now fighting to keep his last remaining dog from being euthanized after an incident in which officials said Buddy attacked a deputy’s car.
“Deputy (Sandy) Loomis was the first one who went out there; the dog hit his car and he said he could feel it,” Hatcher said. “He said it felt like the dog went out there and head-butted his tire.”
That wasn’t the last incident involving deputies at the Hromas residence. Responding to complaints that the family of dogs was running loose, deputies went to Hromas’ home at the 2200 block of Carolina, tried to speak with Hromas, and said they used pepper spray to avoid being attacked.
While Hatcher said dog calls occur daily in his department, the Hromas situation is unusual.
“Most of the time the dogs won’t come after an officer; they usually go the other way,” said Hatcher. “It’s really strange that this happened.”
Hromas said the uniforms may be the problem. According to Hromas, while he was working as a maintenance man at a Clovis trailer park and Buddy was still a puppy, Buddy got caught up in a drug sting at a different trailer and was pepper sprayed by the police.
“He remembers being sprayed by the deputy,” Hromas said. “He recognizes the uniforms. It just looks like that’s it.
“Buddy is not vicious, he’s just protecting the puppies,” Hromas said. “He’s not going to jump the fence and run out and drag a kid off a bike.”
While Hromas isn’t happy about losing Buddy’s mate “Mika” or their puppies, Buddy has held a special place in his heart since the drug raid. Hromas said Buddy disappeared after the raid and showed up 16 days later with signs of serious mistreatment.
Hromas and his friend Pauline Kadell, the person who gave the dog as a present, both worked to nurse Buddy back to health. Since then, Buddy has been run over twice and had several other injuries, leading to Hromas building a fence to keep Buddy inside.
“He’s family, he’s one of us,” Hromas said. “He’s been run over, he’s been shot, he’s a miracle dog.”
“He makes breakfast for Buddy, just like the kids,” Kadell said. “This Buddy never turned on anyone unless they do something bad.”
Hromas said he thinks neighbors may have been opening the fence in his yard to let Buddy out and will try to make that case when he goes to court on Tuesday.
“Somebody has it in for us around here,” Hromas said. “Independence Day is coming up Friday and that’s what we want for Buddy.”
Hatcher said he doesn’t like the situation but can’t put his officers at risk.
“My guys are not going to get chewed up by a dog,” Hatcher said. “I hope we can get the issue resolved and Mr. Hromas can be satisfied with the outcome, but I’m afraid he’s not going to be.”