Nico Roesler Santa Fe police say Gavin Wright on Tuesday agreed to allow the city to euthanize the American pit bull terrier that police say fatally attacked his father at their north-side home last week.

Lt. Louis Carlos since Monday had been talking with Wright concerning the decision about the family dog, Achilles. Wright had considered challenging the police department's position that the dog should be put down on the grounds that it is a vicious animal.

Investigators say Achilles attacked and killed Clifford Wright, 74, last Wednesday. His son was bringing home dinner when he found his father dead in their yard following what Carlos described as a "gruesome attack."

The city code defines a "vicious animal" as one that kills or causes great bodily harm. A judge can order such an animal euthanized. An alternative finding that a dog is "dangerous" requires that it be leashed or muzzled when it's not at home.

Carlos said that during his discussions with Gavin Wright, 27, he had to provide him with the details of how his father died.

"That guided him to make the right decision and surrender Achilles," Carlos said.

Police had seized the dog immediately after officers were called to the scene. Wright was able to see his dog, which he had owned since it was a 3-week-old pup and who Wright says never showed signs of aggression, one last time Tuesday at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society.

"He was allowed to go see Achilles and say his goodbyes," Carlos said.

Achilles was sedated before being transported to the veterinary clinic at the shelter for the procedure.

The animal was put down at about 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Wright did not return calls from a reporter calls Tuesday. Carlos said Wright requested Achilles be cremated and that he be given the ashes.

Wright said last week that Achilles, who was not neutered, had been loyal to his father and spent most of his time with his father, who was retired.

"He loved the breed, he loved the dog," Gavin said in a phone interview. "He loved Achilles."

In an obituary published last week, Clifford Wright's family described him as a true "wildman."

"He spent the majority of his time working out, gardening, riding his Harley or relaxing on the porch with his dogs," the obituary states.

The family had four dogs: Two pit bulls, an English bulldog and an Australian shepherd/Great Pyrenees mix.

The obituary ends by saying, "In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society."

Contact Nico Roesler at 986-3089 or

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