Friday, June 28, 2013

Puppy attacked by wandering pit bull

By Lexi Bainas, from Citizen

Chemainus, B.C.

North Cowichan resident Sheila Wray and her puppy, Zorro, had a lucky escape this week but she says she doesn't want to see anyone else hurt like they were.

Her dog, a three month-old shepherd/husky cross, was severely mauled by a pit bull in Chemainus late Tuesday afternoon, June 25 and Wray herself was also injured as she and others tried to free her puppy from the clenched jaws.

She had purchased the puppy after her partner died earlier this year, hoping that the sweet little dog would provide much-needed companionship. So, having this happen now is just adding to a difficult 2013, Wray said.

She has been taking Zorro out, socializing him.

"He's getting along really good with the other dogs, loving to play with them. This was the first time I've taken him to Che-mainus beach [Kin Park]. There's a little park there, I used to take my granddaughter there.

"There were probably three other dog owners walking their dogs.

They were all having a good time. Then, all of a sudden, as I turned to talk to somebody, I looked back and there was another dog in the mix and it was a brindle pit bull.

"It came in from I don't know where, kind of rushing in the way pit bulls do. Because I'm familiar with the stories of pit bulls, my mind was immediately thinking: watch out for this, this is danger. And at the same time I was thinking: is that just a stereotype? But no sooner had I thought that than he had my dog down and was ripping and tearing at it and shaking it. I just flew at them and had my hands in the pit bull's mouth trying to get it to let loose."

She said she was not really aware of anything else but realized "every other dog owner on that beach was there kicking and punching and pulling at the pit bull to get it off. It seemed to go on for ages but I imagine it was five or 10 minutes. I thought my dog was dead."

The pit bull's owner never appeared and she still doesn't

know who the owner is.

Wray heard later Wednesday that friends who live near the park in Chemainus are busily trying to discover where the pit bull came from and who owns it.

"Finally, my dog got free and I didn't know what shape it was in. It was screaming and crying. I didn't dare move it, just held it tight in my arms. As I was going I saw the girl with the Irish setter had the pit bull by its collar. It had blood dripping out of its mouth and it was staring at me. Not a pretty sight."

One of the women from the beach drove her and Zorro to the animal hospital in Chemainus.

"The doctor was wonderful. And the girls stayed overtime, too, as they did surgery and cleaned it up," she praised.

Her dog has about 20 stitches closing his wound, and Wray said she's going to try to find the pit bull's owner and make them pay the bill.

Wray was also bitten in the tussle and was headed out to the hospital to get a tetanus shot Wednesday afternoon and to have her own wounds looked at.

"I had my hand right in the pit bull's mouth. If there hadn't been other people on that beach I could have gotten mauled myself," she said.

She said she didn't know if any of the other dog owners were bitten.

In spite of his ordeal Zorro is looking perky.

Wray is now concentrating on finding out more about the pit bull, which she wants either put down or forced to wear a muzzle. Wray said she was concerned that a possibly dangerous dog was loose in a popular park.

"We used to take our little granddaughter there and she'd roam around on the beach. I wouldn't know if this thing would go after children as well. How would you know that? It went for a puppy. So, that's what I'm looking for. I've got a police file on the go right now."

Wray also expressed gratitude to the other dog owners on the scene that afternoon.

"I want to thank the people who were helping. I have no idea who they were. Maybe they could contact the Citizen and leave their numbers there. I'd like to call them and tell them how grateful I am," she said.

Pit Bulls' Fatal Attack Leads to Dangerous Dog Crackdown in L.A.

By Dennis Romero, from LA Weekly

Los Angeles County, CA

Last month a woman jogging east of Palmdale was fatally mauled by a pack of pit bulls. The shocking attack landed the dogs' owner in jail, where he faces a rare murder charge for something four of his canines allegedly did.

Now Los Angeles County authorities are cracking down on "dangerous dogs" with one of the best weapons around: Money.

The office of county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky this week announced that $3.5 million in new spending has been approved specifically for new animal control officers, vicious dog investigations and prosecutions, and a call center in Lancaster that could get help for dangerous dog complaints quicker.

County government is also considering expanding the legal definition of a potentially dangerous dog to include a history of attacks on livestock as well as attacks on people, says Yaroslavsky's office.

The fresh cash, meanwhile, will help fund a 9-person unit that will be focused solely on designating problem dogs, like the ones owned by the suspect in the jogger's death, as "potentially dangerous."

That would give the pooches a strike on their records that would help authorities take them away from irresponsible owners.

Authorities say Alex Donald Jackson's dogs were used to protect a marijuana grow house and had attacked before.

The county says the extra cash and enforcement could prevent future tragedies like story of jogger Pamela Marie Devitt, 63.

Department of Animal Care and Control director Marcia Mayeda:

"If we'd had more Major Case Unit officers, the guy in Littlerock might have come up on our radar sooner and we might have been able to bring a case against him sooner."

Outrage after top bullfighter posts pit-bull attack on Facebook


BULLFIGHTER Joao Moura Jr is set to incur the wrath of animal rights groups around Europe after posting a series of shocking photographs on his Facebook page.

A private corrida at his house has caused outrage in Portugal after pictures showed a pack of pit bulls attacking a calf at his finca.

Animal rights group ANIMAL revealed that they had received numerous emails regarding the ‘barbaric action’ and stressed that they would do ‘everything to ensure that these people are punished’.

In a statement, Moura expressed his regret at posting the images on the social media site, before adding: “But, most of all, I regret not being able to prevent it.”

He said: “It was an isolated incident as the dogs inadvertently entered the ring where the cow was; it was not an animal fight.”

ANIMAL have replied that they ‘don’t believe for a second’ the bullfighter’s statement, claiming that he only ‘regrets the fact that he was caught’.

Puppy attacked by roaming pit bulls in Happy Valley

By Erica Nochlin, from KATU

Happy Valley, OR

A puppy in Happy Valley was attacked and nearly killed by a pair of loose pit bulls, and neighbors and officials say it was just one of several attacks by the two dogs in recent years.

On Thursday, the pit bulls were being quarantined at home and under close supervision until the owners were scheduled to appear in court next week.

The 1-year-old dog, Tellulah, was bit on the throat, stomach and legs before someone managed to pull the dogs off. It happened Saturday on Southeast 140th and Portland View Place, not far from where the dogs live.

According to reports, the owners said they accidentally left the fence open and that's how the dogs got out.

Animal Control officers and neighbors said the owners of the pit bulls have a history of not locking the dogs up. The owners are on probation because of an attack last year, meaning they violated terms of their probation by letting the pit bulls loose this past weekend.

What’s more, Tellulah’s owner said the same pit bulls have “charged at her in the past,” according to an incident report.

Other neighbors are just as concerned.

“Why wouldn’t it attack a human if it attacks a dog, especially since so many kids (are) out here. Kinda scary,” neighbor Erica Semenyuk said.

In November, another neighbor reported seeing a man “pushed to the ground with two pit bulls mauling him and his dog,” according to the incident report. Other complaints date back to 2010.

Until the court hearing next week, an animal control officer will make daily checks on the pit bulls to ensure they’re inside the home and not roaming free.

We went to the home of the pit bulls’ owner, but the owners weren’t there. A family member wouldn’t let us in, but insisted the dogs were upstairs.

Animal control officers said the pit bulls' owners are cooperating with the investigation and have paid victims’ vet bills in the past. Both dogs are licensed and have had rabies shots.

Local ACOs oppose removal of ban on pit bulls

By Russ Olivo, from The Call

Woonsocket, RI

The bill was championed by animal rights groups and boosters of that most controversial of canines, the pit bull.
But Pawtucket Animal Control Officer John Holmes says state lawmakers won’t be doing the dogs any favors if they prohibit cities and towns from enforcing local bans on pit bulls.
The city banned “pits” in 2004 after a series of attacks on pets and humans that caused serious injuries. Authorities also suspected illegal dog fights were being staged in Pawtucket after finding the mangled remains of deceased animals abandoned like trash.
“This was a tool to keep the dogs from being abused and to keep them out of the wrong hands,” says Holmes. “Now if this law comes to pass I’m afraid we’re going to go backwards. We’re going to see more pit bulls and we’re going to have more euthanizations.”
The House overwhelmingly passed the measure Wednesday despite the objections of lawmakers from Pawtucket and Woonsocket. If affirmed by the Senate and signed by the governor, the law would make existing prohibitions on pit bills in Pawtucket and Central Falls obsolete, and prevent Woonsocket, which has proposed a similar ban, from moving forward.
The measure was spearheaded by a group of lawmakers from the Greater Providence area, led by State Rep. Thomas Palangio.
“We felt it was unfair to pick on a breed of dog when the problem is not the dog but the owner,” said State Rep. Charlene Lima (D-Cranston, Providence), one of the co-sponsors of the measure. “The opposition from Woonsocket and Pawtucket was there because they felt we should not be messing with town ordinances.”
Woonsocket Animal Control Officer Doris Kay says Lima’s right – they shouldn’t. The legislature should leave it up to the local jurisdictions to decide how to deal with pit bulls on their own turf, she says.
“It should be left up to the local cities and towns to decide because they’re closest to the problem,” she says. “What’s going on in Lincoln isn’t the same as what’s going on in Woonsocket.”
There were 16 dogs at the Woonsocket Animal Control Facility Thursday, and every one was a pit bull, including a nursing mother with six pups seized in a raid at the home of an accused drug dealer.
Without question, they are Woonsocket’s most popular dog – and also the breed that bites most often, with the most injurious results, according to police.
Kay says the House measure, which passed by a vote of 56-9, is a victory for the pro-pit bull lobby, a well-organized coalition of defenders of the American Staffordshire Terrier and related breeds, commonly known as pit bulls. The network has grown stronger over the years in response to what pit bull lovers perceive as unfair attacks on the breed, which are often portrayed as inherently mean and aggressive. Defenders say the dogs aren’t born bad, but many end up aggressive as a result of abuse, neglect or willful training by owners who want them for protection or macho props.
“You could assemble a crowd of a hundred pit bull supporters on an hour’s notice, and that’s something that no other dog can do,” says Kay.
Dr. E.J. Finocchio, director of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, agrees. He says the triumph of the House bill on Wednesday is largely a reflection of the power of the pro pit-bull lobby.
Finocchio says the nature-versus-nurture debate over pit bulls is something like the feud between pro-lifers and women’s rights when it comes to abortion.
“It will never be settled.”
That’s because the best science about the nature of pit bulls is mixed, according to Finocchio. Some pit bulls raised in aggressive environments turn out to be wimps. Some born to wimpy parents turn out to be aggressive.
But Finocchio says pit bulls do display higher levels of predatory behavior than many other breeds, and when they bite they do more damage than other canines because their jaws are more muscular and bigger than most dogs.
“Unfortunately for the pit bull, if you did a google search on dog attacks that resulted in fatalities, the pit bull would be right at the top of the list,” he says.
Finocchio declines to take a position on the House bill or municipal bans on specific breeds, but his records do seem to support Holmes. Finocchio said that before Pawtucket banned pit bulls in 2004 RISPCA regularly convened vicious dog hearings for pit bulls corralled in Pawtucket. Such hearings can result in everything from muzzling and castration orders to confinement and euthanization, depending on the severity of the dog’s behavior.
On average, says Finocchio, RISPCA convenes about 65 vicious dog hearings a year. “A majority involve pit bulls,” says Finocchio, but they’re not dogs coming out of Pawtucket any longer.
“Since the city passed that law we have not had a vicious dog hearing come out of Pawtucket,” he said.
Holmes says the local law essentially banned the introduction of new pit bulls into the city after 2004. Residents who already had pit bulls before the law was passed were allowed to keep them, and even get a new one if their existing dog died. Citing a high number of pit bull attacks, the City Council in Woonsocket has twice considered implementing a law modeled after Pawtucket’s, but has so far declined to move forward despite pressure from the police.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pitbull Ordered From City Limits

By Jane Whitmore , from Emmetsburg News

Emmetsburg, IA

After report of a pit bull at an Emmetsburg residence, Emmetsburg Police issued an order that the dog be removed from the city limits, complying with City Code on Dangerous and Vicious Animals. Emmetsburg City Council upheld that order after an appeal from the owner Monday night.

Amanda Hay, 1305 Palmer, is owner of the pit bull. She requested the appeal hearing to be held at the June 24 City Council meeting. A letter to the council stated, in part: "I find it very unfair to her (the dog) and myself that she has to leave simply because you fear the word Pitbull. A whole breed should not be banned only because of media publicity. This breed is not dangerous by nature; they are dangerous due to ownership. A bad person with a dog of any bred is capable of producing a dangerous dog. I'm asking you to stop punishing dogs for human's actions."

Emmetsburg Police Chief Eric Hanson informed the council of his department's course of action, beginning with a complaint issued by a neighbor on June 3. Officer Trent Nelson made contact with Amanda Hay, explaining that having the pit bull within the City of Emmetsburg is a violation of city ordinance and that the dog needed to be removed from town. Nelson made a follow-up visit on June 6 and noted that Amanda had not yet found a place for the dog.

Chief Hanson went to the residence on June 16 and found the dog to be in violation of City Code. Hanson told the council, "On Monday, June 18, per our ordinance and the complaint, I drafted the notice with an order to remove the dog within the next three days. I gave Amanda a copy of the ordinance.

"As a council, I suppose you could grant an exception for this particular case or that you agree with my order and uphold my enforcement of Emmetsburg City Code."

City Administrator John Bird noted, "I'm sure you know this type of ordinance is not unique to Emmetsburg to ban this type of dog. I'm sure you've seen in the news the type of damage they can do when whatever triggers them. They can do some serious damage to people and could result in death."

Amanda reported her research regarding pit bulls, pointing out that they are no different than any other dog in that weight class, including German shepherds, rottweilers and chows. "The media focuses on pit bulls because they are pit bulls," she said.

She questioned why pit bulls are the only breed banned in the ordinance.

Ashley Haar told the council that her neighbor has an American bulldog that has attacked her children and her own dog and nothing has been done.

Councilman Tony Kauten related, "I actually called my insurance company before I bought my dog to see if that breed would be okay. I don't know what caused you to move to Emmetsburg, but you know there is a certain stigma with pit bulls. That would be something I'd be checking before moving to a community."

Amanda said she had Googled Emmetsburg city ordinance before moving here and could not find anything about pit bulls being banned. Emmetsburg City Clerk Kim Kibbie said Emmetsburg's ordinances are not on the website.

Jennifer Isbell and Gloria Dugan spoke favorably of Amanda Hay's pit bull, referring to the dog as "tame" and "gentle."

Amanda Hay said her dog is never outdoors alone, pointing out that it is a house dog and prefers being indoors. "Even the day the call was made, she wasn't outside alone," she said.

Councilman Corey Gram- owski stated again, the ordinance does not allow pit bulls.

Councilman Steve Finer added, "We don't have any other choice. The question isn't how lovable she is. The problem is, she's a pit bull."

"Unfortunately, the ordinance doesn't say if it's a house dog it's okay. It's a pit bull . The ordinance the city has is something we stand by," said Mayor Myrna Heddinger.

Kimberly Steffens, Amanda's mother, questioned whether the dog could be considered a guard dog.

Gramowski reiterated, "The problem is, this type of dog is prohibited."

"Unfortunately, our hands are tied," added Finer. "We need to abide by the code."

By unanimous vote, Emmetsburg City Council voted to uphold the order written by Police Chief Eric Hanson. The order will be served to Amanda Hays and, according to the Code, the dog must be removed from the City of Emmetsburg within three days of receipt of the notice.

Pair recognized for heroic actions in pit bull attacks

By Rochelle Baker, from Abbotsford Times

Abbotsford, B.C.

Two men received commendations from the Abbotsford Police Board for fighting off two pit bulls running wild that mauled an 80year-old man and another woman in March.

Byron Wiebe and Adam Pampalon were recognized by Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman on Tuesday for their quick response, courage and willingness to place themselves at risk.

The two men were each driving along Lilac Crescent on March 15 around 12: 30 p.m. when the attacks took place.

Pampalon sighted the two dogs in the middle of the road before seeing them run at an elderly man from behind and bite his leg.

Grabbing a golf club, Pam-palon charged at the dogs, scaring them away, back to their residence.

Wiebe was also in the area when he heard screams and saw the dogs attacking a 53year-old woman.

The pit bulls were savaging the victim, who had been pushed to the ground by the animals.

Wiebe leapt from his vehicle and raced to the scene, kicking the dogs until they released the woman.

The woman's injuries were very serious and involved large gashes to her arm that required immediate surgery and puncture wounds to her face and legs that needed stitches, according to police.

The board noted that Wiebe prevented further injuries to the woman, who experienced a great deal of pain and anxiety in the violent attack.

Wiebe, who did attend, said he simply responded to a necessary situation.

"It's just one of those things. You don't ever know what you are going to do in any situation," he said.

"But when you see somebody that needs help - you do it."

Asked if he had anything else he wanted to say, Wiebe simply thanked his wife and children, who were in the room.

He particularly thanked his 10-year-old daughter, who had been proudly telling everyone the last couple of days that her dad was, "going to get a constipation from the police."

The mayor expressed gratitude to the father and husband for risking his safety.

"Thank you for thinking of someone other than yourself," said Banman.

"A lot of people would have just driven by."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Neglected pit bulls seized from South Side home

By Michelle Casady, from My San Antonio

San Antonio, TX

Two dozen underfed and neglected dogs, a majority of them pit bulls, were seized from a home on the Far South Side on Wednesday, and a warrant remained active for the owner.

Vincent Medley, assistant director of Animal Care Services, said this is the second time in a year authorities have seized dogs from the Fest Road property belonging to Terrance Mouton. Last year, 36 pit bulls were removed, while this time ACS took 24 dogs into its care.

Mouton has a history of neglectful ownership, with a conviction for animal cruelty in addition to the two cases before the Bexar County District Attorney's Office, Medley said.

“We don't know for sure if he's fighting dogs, but what we saw is indicative of that,” he said.

The dogs were found chained up, with no food, water unsuitable for drinking and their dishes full of tadpoles and insects.

Pit bulls seized at Greensboro home

Greensboro, NC

About eight pit bulls were seized from a home on East Lindsay Street this afternoon.

Guilford County Animal Control was called to 700 E. Lindsay St. around noon today and found at least some of the dogs fighting outside, according to officials.

The dogs were seized by animal control. It's not clear what will happen to the pit bulls. The animals are pets, the News & Record was told by a man who identified himself as the brother of the dog owner.

County Animal Shelter Hosts "Pit-ty" Party

Press Release, from Cape May County Herald

Cape May County, NJ

Freeholder Leonard Desiderio and Sheriff Gary Schaffer are pleased to announce that the Cape May County Animal Shelter & Adoption Center will again be hosting a “Pit-ty” Party for the month of July – National Adopt A Shelter Dog Month. In an effort to decrease the number of pit bull and pit bull mixes entering the Shelter several free services will be offered to Cape May County residents throughout the month.

Freeholder Desiderio said, “Pit bulls and pit bull mixes make up the largest percentage of dogs available for adoption at the Shelter and are a true challenge. Through aggressive spaying and neutering initiatives, owner identification through microchipping and addressing behavior problems, we hope to decrease the number of pit bulls entering or remaining at the Shelter.”

For the month of July, Cape May County residents may get their owned pit bulls microchipped and spayed or neutered at no charge. “We would like to thank the Paws & Claws Society for again helping to fund this initiate through their generous donation of $2,000,” said Sheriff Gary Schaffer. “It is through this type of collaborative effort that we can address some of our challenges at the Shelter.”

Throughout July, all adoption of pit bulls and pit bull mixes from the Shelter will include a private training session with the Shelter’s professional dog behaviorist, Carol Siegrist of Dog Training In The City. Shelter Manager Judy Davies-Dunhour said, “Carol has extensive experience with pit bulls that have been in shelters and has made a difference in helping us to re-home our dogs. She employs only positive, reward based training techniques and we find it very effective and worthwhile.”

County residents interested in the spay/neuter and microchipping programs are required to call the Shelter to make an appointment. Proof of Cape May County residency is needed.

The Cape May County Animal Shelter & Adoption Center is located in the Crest Haven Complex at 110 Shelter Road in Cape May Court House (Exit 11 off the Garden State Parkway). The facility is open seven days a week for adoptions and visitors from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For additional information call 609-465-8923 or or visit our website

Judge orders owner of pit bulls in January attack to relinquish ownership of dogs

By Keith L. Alexander, from Washington Post

Washington, D.C.

A D.C. Superior Court judge Tuesday ordered the owner of the three pit bulls that authorities said attacked an 11-year-old in January to remove all other dogs from his home.

Prosecutors with the D.C. Office of the Attorney General have charged Andrew E. Paige of Northwest Washington with three counts of having a dog off a leash and three counts of keeping a dangerous dog in the Jan. 20 incident in the Brightwood neighborhood.

The three dogs that attacked the boy were shot and killed by a neighbor and a police officer during the incident.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Paige’s attorney argued that his client only had one remaining dog. But prosecutors argued that Paige still had two pit bulls at his home. Paige was ordered to find other homes for any dogs he owned.

Paige faces more than $30,000 in fines and 30 days in jail if convicted of the charges.

He was scheduled to appear in court last week but failed to do so, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Paige was arrested and subsequently released after posting a $200 bond. His next hearing is set for July 23.

Local Ad Campaign Seeks to Soften Pit Bulls' Dangerous Image

By Kathryn Flagg, from Seven Days

Chittenden County, VT

Pit bulls have a PR problem. At least, that’s what the Humane Society of Chittenden County is arguing in a new ad campaign designed to debunk what they say are myths about so-called “bully” breeds.

The ads feature pit bulls adopted from the Human Society posing with Miss Vermont Sarah Westbrook, lovingly playing with children and lounging with other dogs. The message? Pit bulls can play well with others.

Megan Stearns, Humane Society director of development and outreach, says pit bulls have been unfairly branded as aggressive and dangerous, owing mostly to their use as guard dogs and in illegal dogfights. That has made Vermonters reluctant to adopt them, she says.

In fact, “pit bull” is a catchall term referring to any of several breeds with blocky heads, wide jaws and stocky, muscular stances: American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers or Staffordshire bull terriers.

Humane Society employees admit they bought into the pit bull stigma at one point, too, scrutinizing would-be owners of bully breeds more rigorously than people adopting other breeds. But that’s changing.

“I’ve met some really bite-y bichons,” says canine supervisor Robyn Santor, referring to small, fluffy bichon frises. The Humane Society evaluates a dog based on its “bite threshold” — whether a dog bites immediately when provoked — and its “bite inhibition,” which is how hard a dog bites down.

“That has nothing to do with the dog’s breed,” Santor says. “It’s all about that dog’s personality and tolerances and how they’ve been socialized.”

But some Vermont towns and cities have enacted ordinances that ban or strictly regulate pit bull ownership. Highgate prohibits residents from owning pit bulls. So does St. Albans Town, which singled out American Staffordshire terriers a decade ago in response to a perceived uptick in pit bull ownership among suspected drug dealers, according to animal control officer David McWilliams.

McWilliams says he prefers a case-by-case approach over sweeping bans when it comes to dealing with aggressive dogs. He notes that state law already gives town officials the power to investigate dog bites; officials have to hold a hearing after a complaint about so-called “vicious” dogs and can order a dog be muzzled, chained, confined or humanely put down.

But McWilliams acknowledges there are problem pit bulls. Two years ago in St. Albans City, a chained pit bull lunged through a car’s sunroof to attack two Pomeranians. The same dog also bit a jogger running down the street. In the end, the city council and manager ordered the dog to a local animal shelter, where it was later euthanized.

Town-wide pit bull bans are still pretty rare in Vermont. More common is what Stearns calls “rampant” pit bull discrimination. About once a month, she says, the humane society hears from a pit bull owner who has been turned down for a rental apartment. Some insurance companies charge pit bull owners higher premiums for homeowner policies or refuse to cover claims for bites inflicted by pit bulls, rottweilers or wolf hybrids. Farmers Insurance Group stopped covering those breeds in California earlier this year after a review of claims showed the three accounted for more than 25 percent of dog bite claims.

Colleen Lynn, of Austin, Texas, founded after she was attacked by a leashed pit bull in Seattle in 2007. The dog crushed her arm and landed Lynn in the hospital. Lynn notes that through selective breeding, pit bulls have developed tremendous jaw strength and a “hold and shake” bite style; rather than bite and release, she says, pit bulls tend to “bite and hold on.”

Lynn hadn’t seen the humane society’s ad campaign until a reporter described it to her. Her reaction? It’s perpetuating misinformation. “Our perspective is that every pit bull is born with a dangerous tool kit, period,” says Lynn. Not every dog will go on to use those tools, but ignoring genetics is “killing people,” she says.

Proponents of breed-specific laws say that nationwide, pit bulls and pit bull mixes accounted for 62 percent of fatal and disfiguring dog attacks between 1982 and 2013, and that pit bull maulings are the most severe. But there’s no national system for tracking dog bites in the U.S., and pit bull advocates say there’s little evidence that banning the dogs results in fewer attacks.

In 2008, the Netherlands repealed its 15-year-old ban on pit bulls because there was no noticeable decrease in dog bites. The Toronto Humane Society reported a similar phenomenon five years after Ontario enacted a breed ban.

Two years ago, pit bull owner Jana Seitzer of Essex Junction adopted Alize, an American Staffordshire terrier, from the humane society. The dog has been great with the family’s four kids, Seitzer says, noting she believes a pit bull’s temperament has more to do with how it’s treated and trained than with DNA.

“My pit bull doesn’t go out and eat people for the sake of it,” she says jokingly.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Resident attacked by pit bull

By Joshua Clark, from Branson Tri-Lakes News

Branson, MO

Branson resident Gilbert Nichols said he and his dog were attacked earlier this month by a neighbor’s dog and he said he would support Branson Aldermen considering an ordinance that would ban pit bulls from the city.

Nichols, a longtime Branson resident, said on June 12 he was walking Floppy, his half-shih tzu, half-spaniel, when a neighbor’s pit bull came under a fence and attacked both he and Floppy. The incident occurred on Roost road, which runs between S. 3rd Street and E. 2nd Street.

“I walk my dog around the block every afternoon, always on a leash,” Nichols said. “The (pit bull) on the corner, sometimes he doesn’t even come out, sometimes he just sniffs and other times he comes charging to the fence, and thank God the fence has been there.”

According to Nichols, he and Floppy were finishing up their walk when the pit bull came underneath the fence and attacked.

“It was all over in about 15 seconds,” he said. “I never saw anything happen so fast in my life.”

As the pit bull latched on Floppy, Nichols attempted to separate the two. That’s when he said the pit bull turned his attention on him.

“I went down to get my dog out of the way, and he clamped on to me,” he said. “He really did a number on my arm. I’ve never had anything so painful.”

Nichols said he believes one of the residents where the dog lives called the pit bull off. By the time the attack was over and Nichols stopped the bleeding, Branson Police Department, along with Taney County animal control, an ambulance and the fire department were all present, he said. Nichols was transported to the hospital and Floppy to a veterinarian.

Nichols sustained skin, muscle and tissue damage, which required 17 stitches, while Floppy’s right side was ripped open and required 10 inches of staples and nearly $800 in veterinarian bills. Floppy is still under the care of the veterinarian and should be released Thursday.

According to Taney County Animal Control, the pit bull was taken into custody and held for 10 days, as required by statutes.

“We verify whether or not the dog has had a rabies vaccination,” said Taney County Animal Control Supervisor Sherry Simpson. “If not, he is quarantined and observed for signs of rabies.”

If the dog shows no signs of rabies, it is given another vaccination and is released to the owners. Simpson said the dog was held for 10 days and released last week, but evidence of some of Nichols’ injuries only recently came to light.

According to animal control, they were unaware of the severity of Nichols’ injuries and are now in the process of having to go back and potentially deem the pit bull as vicious. A vicious dog is defined in Sec. 46-342 of the Taney County Animal Control Ordinances.

According to Simpson, animal control will now use the court system to have the dog removed if deemed vicious.

“We have contacted the prosecuting attorney,” Simpson said. “It is an ongoing investigation, and we’re going to follow the ordinance and go through the court system.”

Even though animal control is currently investigating, the fact remains the dog was returned to its owners earlier this week.

“I think it’s a vicious dog, naturally,” Nichols said. “I was surprised they released him back to the owners and now I think he’s been relocated, but I haven’t been down to look very close.”

Nichols’ neighbor Robb Horton said he hadn’t seen the pit bull in question in days. There is also concern with the fact there are several other pit bulls in the neighborhood, all on Nichols’ street.

“He is book-ended by pit bulls,” Horton said. “There are pit bulls at each end of his street. There are at least three of them in this neighborhood.”

While the attack on Nichols was unfortunate, dog attacks are hardly common in Branson, according to Simpson.

“I’ve been with this department for four years, and this is the first serious injury I’ve seen in my four years,” she said.

Branson’s Chief of Police Kent Crutcher said there have been a few incidents involving dog bites in Branson, but they were all minor.

“We’ve had a few with the homeowner and their own pet,” he said. “Something like this, where a neighbor’s dog causes significant injuries, this is the first in years.”

There was a pit bull attack reported recently in Rockaway Beach, and aldermen will discuss the possibility of a new ordinance that could prohibit or severely restrict residents of from owning specific breeds of dogs. When asked if he’d be in favor of such an ordinance Branson, Nichols responded quickly.

“Oh, hell yes,” he said. “I know they are loyal and sweet-tempered dogs, to a point, but they are also unpredictable.

“When they’re powerful and unpredictable, bad things happen.”

Branson Tri-Lakes News was unable to contact the owner of the pit bull prior to press time.

Racine man takes plea deal in dog-bashing death

By Kristin Zambo, from The Journal Times

Racine, WI

A Racine man pleaded no contest on Monday to repeatedly bashing his dog’s head on the ground, killing his 4-year-old pet, for going to the bathroom inside the apartment.

Thomas M. Hinson, 38, allegedly was drunk on Jan. 30 when he reportedly slammed his pit bull’s head to the floor — killing Chaka, the dog he had owned since he was a puppy, according to Hinson’s criminal complaint.

Hinson pleaded no contest during Monday’s plea hearing to one count of mistreating an animal resulting in death, which is a felony. A no-contest plea means Hinson doesn’t admit to the allegations, but doesn’t contest prosecutors’ ability to prove the charge in court.

Neighbors in Hinson’s building reported hearing “loud booming sounds” and a dog barking and yelping at approximately midnight, according to the complaint. Neighbors said they repeatedly went to Hinson’s apartment to investigate, but Hinson said he was angry at his dog for going to the bathroom inside.

One neighbor reportedly told Hinson to “cool down and leave the dog alone.” However, the noises didn’t stop.

The third time neighbors went to check, they allegedly saw Hinson on top of Chaka, holding the dog by his ear and nose, bashing his head on the kitchen floor, the complaint stated.

According to neighbors, Hinson said he wanted to kill Chaka, but got off his dog when those neighbors arrived. When Hinson went to check on Chaka, the dog was motionless, bleeding from the head, the complaint stated.

He allegedly began “crying over the dog and tried to make him get up.” When a neighbor said Chaka was dead, Hinson wrapped his dog in a blanket and placed Chaka on his dog bed. He put Chaka in a shed for one of the neighbors to bury later, according to the complaint.

Neighbors told police Hinson appeared heavily drunk, and this wasn’t the first time he’d beaten Chaka, the complaint stated.

Hinson remains free on $500 cash bond, court records show.

Racine County Circuit Judge Charles Constantine set his sentencing for Sept. 6. He could be sentenced to prison and extended supervision, or probation.

Pit bulls under attack

By Brian Bohnert, from Review Times

Fostoria, OH

A Fostoria woman is mourning the loss of one of her dogs after she said a slew of neighborhood pit bulls were mysteriously poisoned nearly two weeks ago.

Since the beginning of June, eight pit bulls have been rendered extremely ill with four of them now dead as a result of an apparent rash of poisonings that occurred at random points between Fremont and Tiffin streets, said Fostoria resident Emily Sands.

Sands, who resides at 112½ N. Union St., said she and her family recently lost their 7-month-old female pit bull Sophie and are nursing their 8-month-old male, Hunter, back to health after both canines became violently ill within days of each other.

Sands said she first noticed Sophie was sick on June 14 when the dog was stricken with violent bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, followed by a loss of appetite and dehydration. Initially suspecting either a material obstruction or the highly-contagious Canine Parvovirus or "Parvo," she and her husband rushed the dog to the office of their veterinarian, Dr. Chris Seidler, on June 18. The next day, at around 5:30 p.m., Sophie died.

"It was hard. It was very hard," Sands said. "She was part of our family just like my own kids are."

After performing an autopsy on Sophie, Dr. Seidler told the family the dog's Parvo test came back negative and he saw nothing blocking her insides. The problem, however, was the severe inflammation and redness inside the dog's intestines that pointed to toxicity.

"I did an autopsy to see if she had any lacerations from chewing on things and there was none and there was no foreign material," Seidler said. "But the entire intestinal tract was inflamed and she had discoloration around the eye sockets which you don't normally see in a dog unless it has a severe toxicity problem ... Parvo causes inflammation of the bowels but it tested negative and the dog died very quickly so no chemical tests were able to be done."

Since the wave of canine illnesses began, Sands said there have been four different locations where her neighbors have noticed their pit bulls developing similar symptoms. The same day Sophie died, her other dog Hunter became sick as well as a 7-month-old pit bull belonging to her neighbor, Brad Ray. There have also been two other confirmed cases where area pit bulls have experienced similar symptoms associated with poisonings.

Given the curious nature of dogs, Dr. Seidler said it is quite possible that, if not properly supervised while outside, a canine could easily be susceptible to consuming a potentially toxic substance like Decon, antifreeze or rodenticides.

"When they have an acute sign, it's usually something toxic," Seidler said. "It could have gotten into a number of things; and, if someone wanted to throw something into a yard, there are many things available for people to obtain that have no known antidote. Things like Decon have an antidote, but there are some things that if they eat it, they're dead."

Since word got out, Sands has seen a number of friends approaching her via social media with similar situations of their dogs turning up mysteriously ill. And with all of the cases involving pit bulls, she said all signs are pointing to a deliberate attack on a misunderstood breed that has a long history of being known for aggressive behavior.

"The logical conclusion I'm drawing in my head is that it is somebody that does not like pit bulls," Sands said of the source of the poisonings.

While she cannot think of anyone that would personally want to harm her dogs, Sands said common stereotypes and misconceptions, combined with intimidating physical characteristics, make pit bulls a common target.

"I don't know if it's just a bunch of punk kids walking around throwing things into yards, but we've already lost one of our family members," she said. "My daughter is heart-broken, my other daughter is upset, I'm upset, my husband is upset, and we now have one dog that's sick but doing better than he has been doing so far ... They are the best dogs we've ever had. There's not a mean bone in their bodies."

According to Sands, Ray contacted both the Fostoria Police Department and the Seneca County Humane Society last Saturday and had them send representatives to the neighborhood to survey the area, checking the ground for remnants of anything that could have poisoned the dogs.

Attempts for comment from FPD and the Humane Society went unanswered Monday.

Sands said anyone with any information regarding the incident is encouraged to contact the Fostoria Police Department at 419-435-8573 or the Seneca County Humane Society at 419-447-5704.

Pit bull attack fatal to 3 dogs, injures man in Absecon

By Anjalee Khemlani, from Press of Atlantic City

Absecon, NJ

Police Monday were still investigating a pit bull attack Saturday that injured one man and resulted in the death of three dogs.

About 1 p.m. Saturday, police responded to the 500 block of South Shore Road, where two pit-bull terrier dogs ran in through the screen door and attacked a golden retriever inside, police said.

Louis Nell, 73, owner of the retriever, was attacked while trying to separate the three dogs, police said. He was taken to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center for bleeding from a hand injury and chest pains. No other information on his condition was available Monday.

Police shot one of the pit bulls twice to stop the attack, police said. The two dogs had broken free from their residence on East Lee Avenue.

The retriever, Chrissy, died from injuries from the attack and was transported to the Absecon Veterinary Hospital by the owner. The second pit bull was euthanized by Animal Control due to its vicious demeanor, police said.

Five pit bulls reported stolen in burglary

By Scott Johnson, from Montgomery Advertiser

Montgomery, AL

Burglaries reported Monday included one in which five pit bulls were reported stolen.

The dog theft happened between 2 p.m. Saturday and 10 p.m. Sunday in the 400 block of Japonica Drive, according to a report.

The thieves reportedly also stole a Dell laptop computer, a wireless router, four pairs of shoes, clothes and a Kodak camera.

Pit Bull Rehabilitation Stalled But Likely; Judge Must Rule For Possession of Animals

By Melissa Payne, from WHNT

Lauderdale County, AL

The Lauderdale County district attorney’s office has filed a civil lawsuit, asking a judge for permission to sign over the dogs recovered from a possible dog fighting ring.

A judge must rule on the possession of the dogs, so the animals can get the help they need.

Court documents state a judge must decide whether pit bulls recovered from a dog fighting ring should be “humanely destroyed due to disease or injury.” However, Assistant District Attorney, Angie Hamilton says, that’s not likely. “Under law, we have to file that motion,” said Hamilton. Hamilton believes with the condition of the animals, all of the dogs will be able to live and be rehabilitated.

Deputies found 13 dogs chained up to a property along County Road 41 in Lauderdale County on June 14.

Since Shoals area rescues and humane societies were full, an Atlanta based humane society rescued the dogs. According to Hamilton, without a court order, the shelter is incurring all the costs. Hamilton says it costs approximately $650 per dog, per day. Also, until a Lauderdale County judge makes a ruling, the animals can not be rehabilitated or be given away to foster homes. However, the dogs can be checked by a veterinarian.

Lauderdale County Sheriff’s detectives spent more than 24 hours at the scene. According to investigators, the dogs were underweight and malnourished. Detectives say they animals had obvious wounds from fighting.

Police arrested Quinton Lashawn Butler and Dereus Lamar Qualls and charged them with possession of fighting dogs.

Both Butler and Qualls have bonded out of jail.

Investigators think pit bulls responsible for cat deaths in Palm Bay

By J.D. Gallop, from Florida Today

A Brevard County Animal Services investigator and Palm Bay police were investigating the deaths of at least two feral cats this morning, possibly caused by two roaming pit bulls.

The incident happened about 8 a.m. today near a home on Creel Road, just south of Palm Bay Road in the northeast section of the city.

“There are several feral cat colonies in that area,” said Capt. Bob Brown of Brevard County Animal Services. “The were at large and apparently attacked by two pit bulls.”

Palm Bay police were also called to the area. The animal services investigator was interviewing the owner of the dogs to see if the animals had gotten loose. The dogs were believed to be still at large this morning, Brown said.

An investigation is ongoing.