Thursday, June 16, 2011

Service Dog Attacked by Humane Society Pit Bull, Owner Waits for Vet Bill Help, Apology

WADENA, MN -- A service dog was attacked by a Wadena County Humane Society pit bull and it's the victim who has received the blame and the bill.

Patti Jones and others who attended the Pet Expo at the Wadena County fairgrounds Saturday said her dog, Cheyanne, was sitting calmly when a pit bull came and attacked. Now, Jones and Cheyanne are left with puncture wounds, a medical bill and no apologies.

The seven-year-old Border Collie service dog suffered two puncture wounds and possible nerve damage after it was attacked by the pit bull owned by the Wadena County Humane Society.

After witnessing the attack, Pamela Withage, who had a vending table at the event for her animal boarding business, said she quickly called 9-1-1 before someone used a stick to pry the pit bull, Lola's mouth open for her to let go. Jones said she soon ran Cheyanne to the veterinarian.

"We cleaned her up a little bit and we took her down to Perham hospital, the clinic, and (went) 80 miles an hour down the road to get her to the doctor," Jones said.

Humane Society employees say it was Cheyenne, the
Border Collie's fault, that it was attacked by the pit bull.

Cheyanne survived but Jones said she's worried about the dog's future and pending medical expenses.

"I just want help with her medical bills and if there's any reoccurring, if there is nerve damage and stuff ... and she is a service dog. If she can't comply with being a service dog anymore, I'm gonna probably have to find another dog," she said.

Jones said Cheyanne is trained to wake her up if she has a seizure while sleeping.

Staff from the humane society declined to be interviewed on camera but said Cheyanne had harassed their Lola, provoking the attack, but both Jones and Withage said that Cheyanne was sitting quietly in the shade.

"I thought (the humane society) would be more responsible, and knowing which pets were bad to have out in public and which ones were not supposed to be in public," Jones said.

Wadena police officer Brandon Pearson said criminal charges are typically only filed after more than one incident occurs and it would be difficult to charge the owner since Lola was on a leash.

Police said there are plans to euthanize the dog after a 10-day quarantine period, but humane society staff said they haven't been ordered to do so.

Although Jones said she doesn't feel pit bulls are safe to own, Withage, who has worked with them in boarding, said the breed's not to blame.

"With any dog, it's how they're raised," Withage said. "It's not the dog's fault. Some human ruined him."

Jones said she was happy to hear that Lola would be put down.

"I don't want this happening to any other dog. And what happens if it would have been a child?"

Lola is still listed on the humane society's adoption web page.

A county board meeting Wednesday will help determine who will pay for Cheyanne's medical bills. Jones said Cheyanne will get her stitches removed next week.

(KSAX - June 15, 2011)

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