FLORIDA -- While 9-year-old Sadie Frame was away visiting her grandmother out of state, her pet Chihuahua was mauled to death and her long-haired dachshund severely injured Thursday when two pit bulls attacked them in the yard they share.
Sadie's mother can't break the news to her until she gets home.
Hershey, the 1-1/2-year-old Chihuahua, died at the scene.
Biscuit, 9, was in Colonial Animal Hospital in Boynton Beach with severe puncture wounds to its chest and side.
"He is going to make it, but he is still in terrible shape," said Sadie's mother, Julie Frame.
Frame said the pit bulls were removed Friday by Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control officers, although their owner, Robert E. Frier, said the dogs were still home Friday night. Animal Care and Control officers could not be reached late Friday.
"I am very remorseful," said Frier, 23. "I wished it never happened."
The Frames said that Frier has paid their veterinary bill.
Still, Frame and her husband, Andy Frame, are wondering how to break the news to their daughter, who used $200 of her savings to buy the $400 puppy.
"[She] has been calling me every day, `Hey, Mommy, how is Hershey and Biscuit and the bird? How are you guys doing?' She wants to know," Julie Frame said. "I can't tell her while she is gone. It breaks my heart. I have to figure out a way to present that to her Monday morning when she gets in.
"It's her dog," she said. "Her dog is dead, which is sad. We're adults. We can handle it, but she is a kid. She loves the dog."
Julie Frame said the attacks occurred shortly before 7 p.m. in the Via Lugano rental community on North Congress Avenue as she walked the two dogs in the back yard of the apartment building.
As they entered the gate to the pool area, Hershey and Biscuit began barking at Frier's two pit bulls, Precious and Red. The pit bulls, both 8 years old, pounced on Hershey and Biscuit individually, Frame said.
Frier told police that both dogs were on one leash.
When Precious unexpectedly ran towards the other dogs, Red escaped from the leash, Frier told police.
Red attacked Biscuit as Precious locked jaws into Hershey, Frame said.
Several residents tried unsuccessfully to pull Hershey from the pit bull's mouth.
Andy Frame kicked, hit and punched the dog.
"Eventually I got my thumbs in the dog's eye and I was pushing with my thumbs -- his eye socket -- as hard as I could to where my thumbs were sore after it was over, and he didn't budge," he said.
A group of neighbors had to choke Precious with a choker until it dropped Hershey, the Frames said.
The Frames said they want the management of the apartments to enforce the rules and bar vicious dogs from living there.
Several neighbors also have complained to the management, they said.
Julie Frame said the manager told her she has not seen any illegal dogs on the property.
"They're not going to do anything about it," Frame said.
Officials for Via Lugano could not be reached for comment, despite several phones messages left at their office on Friday.
On Friday, the Frames distributing fliers alerting neighbors of the dangers of the dogs.
"Kids walk their dogs all the time and to know that any one of these dogs could be pushed to the point of aggression at any given moment and attack human beings or even another dog. It is not right," Frame said.
(Sun Sentinel - June 28, 2003)