Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pit Bull Attack Kills Family Pet 'Sasha'

By Kristin Tallent, My FOX Memphis

A Frayser family is mourning the loss of their family pet after a pit bull attack. The family is hoping their story can help stop pit bull attacks in the future.
For the Milan family, losing their pet is like losing a member of the family and while their dog can't be replaced, they're hoping speaking out can help lead to stiffer penalties for owners of vicious dogs.
"She brought so much joy. It was like-whenever I wasn't happy, whenever I saw Sash, I was happy," said dog owner Jamilla Milan.
Jamilla Milan wipes away tears as she fondly remembers her 6 pound yorkie poodle mix, Sasha. The puppy was attacked and killed in Milan's back yard in Frayser this past Monday when the back door neighbor's pit bull hopped the fence. Milan's mother watched helplessly as the family pet didn't stand a chance against the bigger dog.
"I could hear her screaming but I didn't know what it was. So, I got the matches and came back, that's when I seen the brown pit-bull shaking and biting my dog," said Milan.
Milan filed a police report after the attack and wants to see her neighbors punished for their dog's actions.
Pit bull attacks are nothing new to the Memphis-area. In July, a 71-year old man died of a heart attack after being attacked by two pit bulls running loose in his neighborhood. Dr. Angie Zinkus, a veterinarian at the Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital said the breed can be dangerous partly because of genetics.
"They do have very very strong jaws. Now the problem is, any dog is the product of its heredity. So obviously as the lineages go on, these dogs pass on the strength they have," said Dr. Zinkus.
Zinkus said she's seen plenty of pit bulls with good temperament in her office. A study done in June by the American Temperament Test Society graded pit bulls in the 86th percentile, better than common family pets like Beagles and Golden Retrievers. The problem for many aggressive dogs, they've been trained that way, which is why Zinkus said socialization is key for any pet owner.
"Early socialization skills, getting them accustomed to being petted when they're eating so they don't become food aggressive," said Dr. Zinkus. "Being use to different types of people, men and women, children."
Zinkus said dogs typically bite out of fear, but in some cases can revert back to their predatorily instincts. Meanwhile, for the Milan family, they continue to grieve the loss of their family pet who's now buried under a sheet of metal in the back yard. Their hope, is to help other families avoid having to suffer a similar loss.
"I think the laws definitely need to be changed. Some stiffer laws need to be put in place when it comes to pit bulls. People definitely need to be held responsible for their dogs," said Milan.
Milan said she's scared the pit bull could come back to kill her other dog or attack one of her neighbor's children.

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