By Irma Widjojo, Vallejo Times-Herald
With a severely injured dog in her arms, Brigitte Hull knocked on several veterinarian doors, only to be turned away because she could not afford the care.Hull is a transient living out of her white van with Bella, her 14-month-old Pomeranian mix.
"She is the only friend I have," she said.
Bella was allegedly attacked by a 5-year-old black female pit bull at about 12:30 p.m. Friday in the parking lot of Safeway on Robles Way while Hull was panhandling.
Eventually, Hull received help from Robert Linville, a veterinarian at All Creatures Veterinary Hospital, 509 Benicia Road.
"The dog came in with severe bite wounds," Linville said. "The other dog tore the abdominal muscle completely off her back."
Linville did a two-hour extensive surgery on her.
"No one else would do anything to her because I have no money," Hull said.
For homeless people like Hull, "their pets might be the only connection they have with sanity," said Peter Wilson, director of humane services for the Humane Society of North Bay.
The humane society has two funds in place to help low-income pet owners who need help to care for their pets.
To get help, people should first contact the Humane Society of North Bay and it will review the case and approach local veterinary hospitals, which will decide whether to provide care.
"It really comes from the goodness of (the veterinarian's) heart," Wilson said. "Brigitte found a person who was willing to help. We ask people who can afford it not to take advantage of the funds, because we don't want to wear out the welcome of local vets."In Bella's case, the cost of her surgery was $1,200. The humane society will donate a portion of the bill, while All Creatures will cover the rest, Linville said.
"There are not that many options for homeless people with pets," he said.
Many times, homeless people are left with the option of waiting for the animals to heal on their own, or putting them to sleep at shelters, Linville added.
Hull has been living in her van for the past two years since she lost her job and was diagnosed with throat cancer.
"I'm not a bad person," she said. "I'm just unlucky."
The pit bull that allegedly attacked her is in animal control's custody and will be the subject of a hearing within the next 10 days, said David Sidie, the humane society's animal services director.
Homeless people with pets also can bring them to a one-day event 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 6, at Union Baptist Church in Vallejo, 128 Encerti Ave., for free veterinary services.
The public can donate to the Humane Society of North Bay funds by visiting www.hsnb.org, and click on "donate," or call (707) 645-7905. To donate specifically for Bella's case, the public should mention Brigitte Hull when making the donation.