A man was given probation for helping to remove a dog involved in a vicious attack in Palermo in 2012.
Defendant Theodore Jason Scherbenske, 57, was placed on three years probation Wednesday.
On May 15, a jury convicted the defendant on a felony count of being an accessory after the fact for the May 21, 2012, incident on Shela Court.
Victim Virginia Lorusso testified at trial she was attacked by two dogs, a pit bull named Gus and a Queensland heeler named Shane, that came from an adjacent property belonging to Chic Gordon, 56. The dogs pulled her to the ground and she was injured on her left leg, right ankle and right arm.
Lorusso said Gordon saw part of the incident before coming around a fence to first tell Gus to stop before physically removing the dog.
In response to Gordon’s call for help, Scherbenske rushed to the site, passing an ambulance along the way.
The prosecution said Scherbenske removed Gus and Gordon’s son, Ruben Cambra, 34, from the site.
Gordon testified during the trial that Scherbenske took Gus and her from the area. She also claimed Lorusso’s own dog, a now 13-year-old Australian shepherd named Misty, attacked Lorusso.
The jury convicted Gordon on a felony count of allowing a vicious dog at large. On June 20, Judge James Reilley placed Gordon on three years probation.
Cambra has been charged for the incident, but his case is currently suspended because he was deemed incompetent to stand trial.
During Scherbenske’s sentencing, Lorusso addressed the court and said the defendant should be punished to the extent allowed under the law. She said Scherbenske shouldn’t be allowed to associate with Gordon because he did practically everything Gordon tells him to do. Lorusso said both Scherbenske and Gordon had used the courts to claim there was a vendetta against them.
“They have no regard for the law and rules imposed on them,” she said.
Lorusso also noted that Gordon had a dog present in the courtroom, and the Probation Department hadn’t notified her about it as required by Gordon’s probation terms.
Both the prosecution and defense agreed with probation for Scherbenske, but disputed some of the terms. Defense attorney Eric Ortner sought to strike conditions requiring that Scherbenske be available for searches and to not own dogs. He also wanted to modify a no-contact order between the defendant and Lorusso because of possible visits to Gordon’s property.
Scherbenske also addressed the court and said he wanted a modification to not contact others on probation so he could contact Gordon. He also wanted permission to visit the jail with his prayer group.
Scherbenske told the court he was a rehabilitated felon, following a 1992 conviction. He said he would do anything for a neighbor and indicated he would offer help to Lorusso if asked.
Deputy district attorney Kennedy Rizzuto said the originally proposed conditions were appropriate. The searches were necessary to determine if Scherbenske was complying to probation.
She said Scherbenske shouldn’t be able to own a dog because his dog, Shane, participated in the attack. The defendant doesn’t live or work in places where he can keep a dog, Rizzuto said.
Judge Reilley imposed probation with the conditions. He noted that the Probation Department can later modify some of the conditions.
The judge also ordered Scherbenske to pay restitution to Animal Control and the state victims compensation fund.
The probation term also includes 30 days jail, which Scherbenske will serve later this month.
The defendant is out of custody.