Monday, December 27, 2010

Family's dog killed by pit bulls

By Sarah Schulz, from Lexington Clipper-Herald

Mike Galvan has witnessed what no dog owner should ever have to see " his beloved pet being eaten by another dog.

Galvan set out Wednesday morning with his 12-year-old grandson and his adult granddaughter to feed his white German shepherd, Maude, and her offspring, which was kept in a separate kennel nearby. Normally, Maude would come to the front of her kennel to greet her owner, but on Wednesday she wasn't there.

Galvan noticed blood near her dish, which he thought was strange, so he walked around the enclosed L-shaped kennel to see if she was in her doghouse.

What he saw next horrified him.

Two pit bulls were in the kennel, and one of them was standing over Maude's mutilated body, eating her remains. That dog hunched down over Maude's body and growled. The other dog was in Maude's doghouse, Galvan said.

"I was down all day yesterday," he said of losing his pet.

He called 911 and summoned animal control officers from the Central Nebraska Humane Society. The pit bulls were still in Maude's kennel when the officers arrived. They were taken to the Humane Society.

Galvan lives at 575 E. Capital Ave., but the kennels are at 552 E. Capital Ave., where Galvan used to live. The home now belongs to one of his sons.

Galvan is baffled by how the pit bulls got into the covered kennel in the first place.

Humane Society Facility Director Steve White said the animal control officers investigated the scene and were also unable to determine how the pit bulls came to be in Maude's kennel.

Galvan said the officers looked at the pit bulls but didn't find any marks on them, indicating that Maude was likely unable to fight back.

"I don't think Maude had a chance," he said.

He explained that she often played with other family members' dogs and may have thought the pit bulls were there to play.

White said the officers brought the two male pit bulls to the Humane Society Wednesday morning. They will be kept for 72 hours as employees attempt to identify the owner or owners, he said. If no one claims the animals, they will be euthanized because they have killed and are deemed dangerous.

If an owner is located, he or she can surrender the dogs or request to keep them. If that request is made, the matter will come before the Animal Advisory Board for review, White said.

The pit bulls are each approximately a year old. One is white and tan, and the other is white and red. Neither animal had tags or implanted identification chips, he said.

He said neither dog has shown any aggression toward Humane Society staff since being captured.

Galvan said he received Maude as a birthday gift from his son about five years ago. He described her as a gentle, friendly dog.

He's unsure when the attack occurred. His son, Mark Galvan, who lives nearby and parks beside the kennels, said he left for work between 7 and 7:30 a.m. and didn't see the pit bulls. However, it was dark, so he may have missed them.

Mike Galvan said he went out to feed Maude and give her water around 8:15 a.m. Wednesday.

After the pit bulls were removed, Galvan couldn't bring himself to clear out the kennel. Two of the men who work for his construction company took on the task, and Maude was buried.

"I couldn't look at her," Galvan said. "I hope I never go through this again."

Update December 30, 2010 6:08pm - The following article is by Sarah Schulz, The Grand Island Independent:

Killer pit bulls surrendered, will be euthanized

Two pit bulls that killed and partially consumed another dog will be euthanized by the Central Nebraska Humane Society.

The owner of the male pit bulls surrendered the animals Wednesday afternoon, said Laurie Dethloff, Humane Society executive director.

"Our goal here is to make a safe community," Dethloff said. "The sanctuaries and rescues are full. That was not an option."

The pit bulls' owner was identified last week and she lives near where a white German shepherd was killed and partially eaten in an enclosed kennel at 552 E. Capital Ave.

The German shepherd was owned by Mike Galvan of 575 E. Capital Ave.

The incident was discovered by Galvan on the morning of Dec. 22.

Dethloff declined to release the name of the owner of the pit bulls because the woman isn't being charged with a crime.

Humane Society employees and animal control officers spent time educating the owner on the procedures that would be involved if she had chosen to keep the pit bulls. Due to the nature of the attack, they would have been declared dangerous and she would have had to meet certain criteria to keep the dogs, Dethloff said.

Both pit bulls were males who hadn't been neutered and Dethloff said 97 percent of bites are attributed to animals that haven't been neutered or spayed.

When dogs run together, there is also the potential for a pack mentality, especially when there are health or food issues, she said.

Dethloff said the woman told the Humane Society the pit bulls were kept in her home and she didn't know how they had gotten out. She won't be cited for having a dog running at large because neither the Humane Society nor animal control can prove the animals had been running loose. They were in Galvan's enclosed kennel when they were taken into the Humane Society's custody, she said.

No one has been able to explain or determine how the pit bulls got into the German shepherd's kennel, she said.

"The whole situation has been real difficult to resolve," Dethloff said. "It's really just an unfortunate situation."

In the new year, she said, the Humane Society will be moving forward with requests to the Animal Advisory Board to modify the guidelines for responsible pet ownership. For example, there is a precedent in the state for not allowing animals to be kept chained in a yard. Lincoln and Omaha have ordinances that don't allow chains due to public safety and stress on the animal, she said.

"I think that would have a positive effect on Grand Island and on the animals," Dethloff said.

Related articles:
2 G.I. dogs to be euthanized - Omaha World-Herald

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