Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Monster dog a ticking timebomb

NEW ZEALAND -- NEW ZEALAND -- A vicious pit bull - mastiff cross "the size of a Great Dane" that left an animal control officer with a cricket-ball sized hole in her calf should have been destroyed months earlier, an expert says.

Barry Gillingwater, of DSS Animal Management, said the dog had been in its Manukau pound for two months after an earlier attack in the area.

He said the attack on the officer, which happened two weeks ago, lasted 20 seconds before the dog was beaten off.

"Two officers had just dropped off another dog and saw the handler leading this dog," Gillingwater said.

"They knew all about it because we brief all our staff so they kept to one side, out of the way, as the handler walked past with the dog on lead.

"Then with no warning, the dog lunged at one of them and attacked her, severely damaging the calf muscle on her leg. The dog was beaten off by the other staff and while it was groggy they put it into a cage and called the ambulance and administered first aid."

Gillingwater said the injured officer had spent a week in Middlemore after the attack but the first skin grafted failed so she returned last week.

He said surgeons hoped the second graft would succeed so that her calf could be reconstructed after Christmas. "It was a very severe injury but luckily it didn't damage bone or arteries or she could have lost her leg. It virtually removed the calf muscle the gap was bigger [than a] cricket ball.

"It was huge bite. It was the worst I have seen in 20 years in the industry."

Gillingwater said the dog had a "long history of aggressive behaviour" but they had not been permitted to destroy it until after the attack on the officer.

The dog had been subject to section 71 of the Dog Control Act, which stated that it had to stay in the pound until its future was decided by a court ruling after the earlier attack.

Nelson animal control officer John Bergman said he was shocked by the attack and insisted that the law needed to be changed so that dangerous dogs could be destroyed without waiting for the courts.

The judicial process often took too long, exposing animal control officers working in pounds to unnecessary danger, he said.

"The Dog Control Act 1996 says that if a dog attacks someone or something you can destroy it to stop the attack," Bergman said.

"But if you stop the attack you can't destroy the dog immediately unless you have the owner's consent and that's obviously what happened in Auckland.

"The act works in some ways because it stops cowboys destroying dogs when they don't need to, but they should have been able to put this dog down. They shouldn't have to wait months for a court ruling when the dog is so obviously a big threat."

Gillingwater agreed the act needed revising, saying they did not need a court ruling to tell them the dog should have been destroyed.

"This dog was a mix of all the aggressive-type breeds plus it was a very large, extremely powerful dog picture a pitbull-bull mastiff the size of a Great Dane. We are the busiest dog pound in New Zealand and we come across some of the most aggressive dogs in the country and this dog was one of the nastiest we have ever had the misfortune to meet.

"When something that large decided to pull without warning, from walking placidly on a leash to lunging, it's hard to stop.

"She didn't let go of the leash but it was extremely hard to control and the damage was done in less than 20 seconds."

(Stuff - Nov 29, 2011)

Dog rescuers honored in Buchanan

INDIANA -- Two Buchanan men who rescued a man and his dog from two attacking pit bulls were recognized this week for their efforts.

Jim Cowles, 50, said he responded the way he did ‘’just because.’’

"Somebody needed a helping hand, and we just jumped in,’’ said Cowles, who appeared humbled by the award given to him and Jason Stroud.

"They didn’t have to give it to me, but it’s nice to be recognized,’’ said Kowles.

Cowles and Stroud, 28, were presented with the Citizen Appreciation Award during Monday’s Buchanan Commissioners meeting by Mayor Carla Cole.

On the morning of Sept. 10, Doyle Vergon was walking his dog on a leash near Dewey and Short streets when two pit bulls started attacking him and his pet.

Officials said Cowles was just arriving for work at Newman’s Auto when he saw the attack and retrieved a breaker bar from the garage.

He then ran over and began hitting the dogs with the metal tool.

Stroud was sleeping in his apartment when awakened by screams and other sounds of the attack.

He looked outside and then ran over hitting the dogs with a shovel, which was the first thing he grabbed while racing over from his residence, officials said.

Cowles and Stroud managed to keep the dogs off Vergon and his dog until the police arrived.

‘’I shudder to think what may have happened to Doyle and his pet if Jim and Jason had not acted so courageously and without regard for their own safety,’’ Cole said.

Stroud said he didn’t think twice about going out to help.

"I saw a man who needed help. I would just hope if I needed help somebody would be there for me,’’ said Stroud.

Later that day, police said the same two dogs attacked Ann Desenberg in her garage and her brother, Lou Desenberg when he tried to assist in his sister.

All three victims were seriously injured but Lou Desenberg, perhaps, was hurt the worst with a torn muscle in his leg, police said.

The dogs owned by a Buchanan Township couple were later euthanized.

"It was really brave to do what you did. You are all heroes,’’ said Cole in handing the men the award.

(South Bend Tribune - November 29, 2011)

Seven-year-old attacked by pit bull in Hampton

VIRGINIA -- Brandon Vines, a 7-year-old Hampton boy, is recovering after a pit bull attacked him when he was playing in the Buckroe section of the city.

He had to get stitches on his right leg. His hand and wrist were also injured during the attack.

Brandon says he was at his uncle's house playing down the street on Saturday when the dog jumped on him and took three bites out of him.

He says he'd done nothing to the dog to make it mad.  Afterward, Brandon ran back to his uncle's house where an ambulance was called.  The boy was taken in to have the wound on his leg stitched up.

The two wounds on his hand and wrist are healing on their own.  Brandon’s uncle says he was charged with animal cruelty after he took a bat to the dog when it lunged at him.

The owner's belly and pit bull

Animal Control and the Health Department stated that the pit bull had been running loose since Saturday’s incident. The dog finally came back today and NewsChannel 3 was there as the owner surrendered her pet to Animal Control.

The owner is now facing charges.

Today, Brandon says he's scared of dogs after what he says happened to him over the weekend.

"It just come over and attacked me,” says Brandon. “I did try getting it off me, but that didn't work.”

(WTKR - November 29, 2011)

10-year-old attacked by pit bull now back home

MISSISSIPPI -- Austin Beaver, 10, is recuperating at home after receiving more than 100 stitches in his face following a reported attack by a neighborhood pit bull.

He can’t go back to school until a plastic surgeon releases him to resume normal activity, said his mother, Brandy Beaver.

“He has an incision underneath his eye, but he is very lucky he didn’t lose his eye or his ear,” she said.

“He has all his limbs and he’s alive.”

Austin, his brother Mason, 8, and friend Michael Horst, 9, have been summoned to appear in court Dec. 12 along with Daniel Catchings, whose dog allegedly attacked them after the dog ran out of Catchings’ home and the boys tried to help catch the dog.

The incident in Quail Creek subdivision was reported to the sheriff’s office on Thanksgiving day. Animal-control officers arrested Catchings, 41, on Monday on misdemeanors charges of violating a leash law and failing to have a current rabies vaccination for the dog.

He was released on a $500 bond.

Sheriff’s Maj. Tony Sauro said Catchings is blind and it was his understanding that others who live at Catchings’ home normally take the dog for a walk on a leash.

A good deed
Neighborhood kids know the male brindle-colored dog, so the boys thought nothing of trying to help catch the dog when it ran out of its house, Brandy Beaver said.

“They were just trying to do a good deed and the dog snapped,” she said.

She was getting ready to serve her family’s holiday meal when her youngest son came running in, screaming that they had been attacked by a dog. “I asked where his brother was and he couldn’t say anything,” she said. “He just pointed.”

Mason and Michael couldn’t get the dog off of Austin, she said, so they ran home to tell their mothers. “They did what they had to do, and they really have hero status in my eyes,” Beaver said.

A neighbor apparently pulled the dog off, she said.

The boys were taken to Memorial Hospital at Gulfport. Austin’s injuries were more serious. He was taken to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans.

“He must have some kind of guardian angel looking after him,” his mother said.

Austin is in the 5th grade at D’Iberville Middle School.

Mason and Michael, who attend D’Iberville Elementary, had injuries on their faces and on their lips or shoulder.

Dogs quarantined
The dog, called “Digger” in court papers, and a second pit bull later removed from Catchings’ home have been quarantined at the Humane Society of South Mississippi.

Beaver, a single mother, took her sons to identify the dog Monday.

“Austin hasn’t had nightmares about it and he is making an amazing recovery,” she said.

Beaver said she hopes dog owners take notice that they should maintain control of their pets.

The upcoming appearance in Justice Court will include a hearing to determine if the dog should be declared a dangerous dog, said Herman Cox, Harrison County prosecuting attorney.

If deemed dangerous, the owner would be required to follow restrictions to include keeping it in an enclosed area and posting warning signs. The dog could be walked only by an adult provided the dog is muzzled and on a leash.

Once a dog is declared dangerous, its owner can be imprisoned for a year and fined $1,000 if the dog, without provocation, attacks and injures a person, Cox said. If a dangerous dog severely injures or kills a human or another animal, the dog could be ordered put to sleep.

(Sun Herald - Nov. 30, 2011)

10 year old attacked by pit bull

MISSISSIPPI -- A Biloxi boy was so severely injured when he was attacked by a pit bull dog, on Thanksgiving day he had to have plastic surgery. The child is now home from the hospital.

Brandy Beaver is hoping her 10-year-old son, Austin, will be able to go back to school next week, but she said Austin still faces a lot of recovery from the attack.

"I saw Austin, and he was covered in blood, and I collapsed right then and there on the ground," Beaver said.

Austin, his 8-year-old brother, and a 9-year-old friend were attacked by a neighbor's pit bull.

"Austin has over 100 stitches to his face. Mason has seven stitches in his shoulder and a claw mark right in between his eyes, and the other little boy, Michael, had ... seven stitches on his top lip," Beaver said.

According to Beaver, her boys were heading home for their Thanksgiving meal when they stopped just a few doors down to help a neighbor get his dog back into the house.

"They were trying to do a good deed, and this is what happens," she said.

Beaver said Austin will need more plastic surgery, and she's afraid her insurance as a single mom won't cover everything.

"I know they're not going to cover everything because we had to take him to New Orleans for his plastic surgery. I believe my mom has set up an account for donations to help me [with] medical bills," she said.

Austin has also started the painful series of rabies shots.

FOX10 attempted to contact the neighbor Beaver said her boys were helping, but there was no answer at the home. The Harrison County Sheriff's office said Daniel Catchings is charged with a leash law violation. He was released on $500 bond.

Catching owns two pit bulls. Both animals are in the custody of animal control.

A special account has been set up to accept donations for the Beaver family at Hancock Bank.

(WALA - Nov 30, 2011)

Owner in denial about his vicious dog

FLORIDA -- Devardis Givens of St. Augustine hopes St. Johns County will spare his dog after animal control officers and witnesses said it bit two people within half an hour on Monday.

But the reality is that Oz the pit bull mix is likely to be euthanized after being taken from his home, which faces the St. Augustine High School athletic fields and bus loading zone.

“Ours is not a vicious dog,” Givens said Tuesday. “We have kids in the house with us, small babies, and they hand-feed him. If this dog was out to do some serious attacks … no one would have been able to get him off (the victim).”

He claims that the dog never left the yard of his green-colored home in the 600 block of Del Monte Drive.

Instead, he said, both victims got attacked because they were in Givens’ driveway. Both victims received puncture wounds that were not life-threatening.

He said the female victim, Patricia Harriett Lloyd, 57, was in his driveway and had been trying to inform him the dog was loose when the dog attacked. And he said the other victim, Charles Leroy Killian, 22, was helping Lloyd after she was attacked, and that’s when he got hurt.

But Lloyd said she was riding her bike in the neighborhood when the dog attacked, and that she came back to ask the owner if the dog was up to date on its rabies shots.
Killian and animal control officials said Killian was attacked a half- hour or so earlier than Lloyd as he checked the mail at his home across the street.

Paul Studivant, St. Johns County Animal Control division chief, said St. Johns County Fire Rescue units were on the way to help Killian when Lloyd was attacked.

But he was not unsympathetic to Givens’ reaction.

“Most pet owners don’t want to believe an animal is capable of doing what it does,” Studivant said.

But the dog was obviously dangerous, he said. To back up his argument, he reviewed the video taken by photojournalist Phillip Whitley that captures the dog attacking Lloyd.
The unedited video — Givens saw only an edited version — shows the dog bounding out of a ditch to attack Lloyd, indicating the dog had been loose.

Studivant said Monday that he planned to recommend that the dog be euthanized.

But he said the dog was safe for now and nothing would be done without finishing an investigation, holding a hearing and giving the owner due process.

“We’re going to give him the chance to write his affidavits,” Studivant said.

 If the dog was deemed dangerous “for destruction,” Studivant said Givens could challenge that decision through a mediator.

He said animal control officers visited Givens at his house Tuesday, attempting to give him two tickets — one for each victim — requiring Givens to be in court, each carrying a minimum fine of $250.

Studivant said Givens became uncooperative and left in his car without accepting the tickets.

(St Augustine - Nov 30, 2011)

Runner attacked by dogs;owner sought

MARYLAND -- A man out jogging was attacked by a dog that police believe had been trained to fight.

On Monday at 1:27 p.m., a 23-year-old man was jogging near Davidsonville Park in the 3000 block of Patuxent River Road when he saw a man handling three dogs on retractable leashes, police said.

One of the dogs was able to get free and attacked the jogger.

During the attack, the handler fled with one of the three dogs, leaving the other two behind.

The jogger was eventually able to run away and call police. He was later taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center and was treated for wounds to his arms and legs.

According to the jogger and other witnesses, at least two of the dogs had been fighting at some point.

Animal Control responded and were able to find one of the two dogs, described as a white, brown and black American Bulldog mix.

The dog had visible wounds indicative of having been in a dog fight and was bleeding.

The second dog fled the area but was located and confined in a wooded area by a citizen.

“They were able to locate one of the dogs and detain that dog recover that animal on scene the second dog was able to get away for several hours ultimately we received a call from a citizen indicating that dog was in some thick marsh and became stuck once officers got on scene the dog was extremely aggressive biting lunging at the officers." Anne Arundel County Police Spokesman Justin Mulcahy says.
The dog, described as a white and black American bulldog mix, also had wounds suggesting it been in a fight.

The dog later died en route to Animal Control.

The dog handler who fled the area is described as a black male in his mid 20's with some facial hair, wearing a green jacket, sunglasses and a Green Bay Packers hat that was recovered at the scene. He was possibly seen leaving the area in a gold-colored Dodge minivan with white logos on the sides traveling south on Patuxent River Road.

Anyone with information on the location of the third dog or on the identity or whereabouts of the dog handler that fled the scene is asked to contact Animal Control Officer Serena Beckner at 410-222-8900 ext. 3008.

(WJLA - Nov 29, 2011)

Dog in second Melton attack

AUSTRALIA -- A DANGEROUS dog has been put down after a second vicious attack in Melton Shire.
The dog attacked an elderly pensioner and her poodle in Melton South last Monday (November 21).

The same dog rushed at a woman and her dog less than a week earlier on November 16.

The registered and micro-chipped american staffordshire terrier was surrendered by its owner and destroyed last Thursday after attacking 73-year-old Margaret Moore and her black toy poodle, 2 1/2, in Denny Place.

Melton Council’s general manager corporate services Peter Bean confirmed the same dog was involved in an incident five days earlier.

“In this instance the dog rushed at a woman who was walking her dog and the woman tripped,” he said.

The latest attack came just days after a bull terrier cross was euthanised when it set upon a one-year-old boy, his grandmother and innocent bystanders in Burnside on November 17.

There have been at least four other attacks by dogs on humans in the shire this year.

Ms Moore said the dog, which was believed to have lived in the same street, attacked about noon.

“I was taking the dog for a walk and when I came around the corner the dog just attacked,” Ms Moore said. “It shot across the road and before I had time to pick my dog up, it was munching into it.”

The traumatised dog was taken to a vet with puncture wounds, bruised lungs and fluid on the lungs.

Ms Moore also has to seek medical attention for several cuts.

Neighbour Ron Barnes said the council switchboard was unhelpful when he phoned a ranger’s calling card to report the attack.

“Their attitude stinks,” he said. “It’s like you’re interrupting their day.”

(Melton Leader - Dec 1, 2011)

Dog attacks toddler at park

CANADA -- A father watched helplessly as a 70 kilogram dog bit and scratched his two-year-old son at west-end park on Monday.

"It was like a bad dream, honestly," said Edward Ouellette, whose son, also named Edward, was attacked.

The Windsor Police Service is now looking for information regarding the dog and its owner.

The incident happened at 3 p.m. in a park behind an apartment building at 3461 Peter St.

Ouellette, 22, was playing with his son on the park equipment when he noticed a large brown dog walking toward them. The father described the dog as a pit bull / boxer mix.

Ouellette said the dog "came charging" at his son, knocking him to the ground.

“The dog came up and attacked him, just started tearing him up,” he said. “It got his legs and started working his way up to his head.”

"My heart dropped," Ouellette said. "The dog had his ear in his mouth. It was really gruesome."

Ouellette said the dog may have eaten part of his son's ear. His son also suffered scratches to the face and legs.

Ouellette kicked the dog twice to get it off his son, who was on the ground.

"I did what I had to do," Ouellette said. "It could have been worse. Thank God it wasn’t."

Paramedics transported the boy to Windsor Regional Hospital. He was treated and released for the dog bite to his left ear.

The toddler has already received three rabies shots and is scheduled for a series of even more shots.

"No kid should be going through this," Ouellette said.

Officers searched the area throughout the night in an attempt to locate the dog and its owner but were unsuccessful.

Police are asking the dog's owner to come forward to confirm that the dog has had the proper vaccinations.

The dog is described as a large mixed breed pit bull-boxer, dark brown in colour with white spots on its cheeks and a red nose. The boy's father told officers that he had never seen the dog in the area before.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Windsor Police at 519-255-6700, ext. 4830. Or, people can call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 519-258-TIPS (8477).

(CBA -  Nov 29, 2011)

Dog dies after savage attack

UNITED KINGDOM -- A DOG owner has been left devastated after his 14-year-old beloved pet was mauled to death by three other dogs.

Vincent Goodwin, 38, of Ramleaze, tried in vain to save the life of his Yorkshire terrier, Rusty, on Saturday morning after it was attacked by three Staffordshire bull terriers who were being walked by a woman outside his house.

Unfortunately, the dog, who had hearing and sight loss, suffered stomach wounds and later died from his injuries after police took him to Shaw vets.

Vincent, a maintenance engineer, has not been back to work since the incident four days ago, and is urging dog owners to be careful.

“My dog just didn’t stand a chance,” he said. “He is 14 and had slowed up a bit and he probably couldn’t see the other dog.

“The dogs just started on him and I couldn’t get my hands on him. I keep going over it in my head and I haven’t been back to work since, every day gets a bit harder. It was a complete nightmare.”

The incident happened at 9am on Saturday as Vincent was leaving his house with Rusty.

As Rusty walked from the porch to the end of the drive, a Staffy being walked by a woman with two other dogs outside the house, ran and attacked Rusty. Vincent believes the dog was not on a lead.

While Vincent began screaming for help, the two other dogs also began attacking Rusty.

Vincent is now warning dog owners to be vigilant.

“I don’t want Rusty to just be another statistic,” he said.

“I know nothing will bring my dog back and that is heart-breaking, but I feel I have got to do something about it.

“To me, this wasn’t just a normal dog attack, it was savage. I haven’t got anything against this particular type of dog, but I think owners need to be more careful. Why wasn’t this dog on a lead?

“I know it isn’t a person, but something has lost its life here and you don’t know what it is like until you are in that situation. I had Rusty since he was a puppy back in 1997 and he was a brilliant dog.

“I mollycoddled him but I couldn’t help it.

“He did everything, he came away with me wherever I went and he wouldn’t have hurt a fly.”

.A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “We are currently investigating this incident and inquiries are on-going at this stage.

“We took statements at the time of the attack and continue to make enquiries in relation to the dogs involved.

“We will also be liaising with the local authority as part of our inquiries.”

(Swindon Advertiser - Nov 30, 2011)

Florida: Parents enraged after finding out the German Shepherd which attacked their daughter, 3, could be given back to its owner

FLORIDA -- A German Shepherd's bite sent a 3-year-old girl to the hospital, sparking a controversy in Baldwin Park and shedding light on the complicated process used to judge the fate of dogs that attack.

Erica Lienhart spotted a leashed German shepherd named Monty in the playground at Blue Jacket Park on Nov. 4 and asked owner Joseph Marchica whether she could say hi to the dog.

Erica Lienhart

When the girl reached for the dog, it bit her face. She was hospitalized and underwent plastic surgery. Her parents say she may need additional procedures.

But though state and county laws seem to specify the dog should be euthanized, Erica's parents were outraged to find out that the county will instead hold a hearing Thursday to determine its fate.

Monty's owner, however, argues that his pet was startled by the child, and though he's dismayed that the girl was hurt, he doesn't think his pet deserves to die.

The bite left a small, jagged wound on Erica's face that needed surgery, as well as scraping and bruising, photos taken after the incident show.

Her father, Orlando attorney David Lienhart, says this meets the county's standard to warrant "expeditious" euthanasia: "serious injury" to a person, including "disfiguring lacerations or injuries requiring sutures or reconstructive surgery."

Nearly identical language appears in state law as well. However, officials say the "dangerous dog" hearing set for Thursday will enable them to hear arguments before making a determination.

The hearing follows a quarantine period for the dog, which is standard procedure in Orange County. Monty could be deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous and sent home, or could be put down.

"It's really just an opportunity for both sides to have their arguments heard," OCAS spokeswoman Kat Kennedy said.

Other local agencies follow a similar process to the one the Lienharts have experienced: an investigation, hearings and an appeal process that in some ways mirrors the criminal-justice system.

Though the process is similar, the use of euthanasia varies: In Osceola County, for example, officials consider it only in the most extreme cases, while in Seminole, officials say they tend toward putting dogs down in cases involving any serious injury.

"It's not easy to take the dog and kill it," said Officer Sergio Pacheco of Volusia County Animal Services. He said many factors play a part, including the circumstances of each bite.

Lienhart, however, argues the statute is clear. A lawyer, he says that not euthanizing the dog that injured his daughter could not only endanger others, but also leave the local government liable for the next attack.

"It's a matter of time with this dog," Lienhart said. "It's a bad dog."

The day their daughter was bitten, the Lienharts reported the attack to Orange County Animal Services, which dispatched investigators to Marchica's home in Baldwin Park.


When neighbor Meredith Gibbs saw the Animal Services vehicle arrive, "my stomach just dropped," she recalled. "Please, don't let it be another bite."

Gibbs was bitten by the same dog in late June, a report states. She said she approached Marchica to see his baby, and Monty bit her thigh, inflicting several puncture wounds.

Gibbs contacted David Lienhart. In light of the previous bite, Lienhart says, the attack on Erica was "very foreseeable," and the animal never should have been in a park with children.

According to Gibbs, the dog has a bad reputation in her Baldwin Park neighborhood. One neighbor carries a concealed weapon for fear of it, Gibbs said, and others have complained.

One, Latanae Parker, wrote an email to OCAS last week expressing "complete shock and horror that this dog has not been euthanized" and could potentially be released.

"Many times I have walked by the [Marchicas'] backyard and have heard the dog through the fence snarling and barking at me," wrote Parker, who said she has a young daughter of her own.

Marchica says Monty bit Gibbs because it had spotted another dog down the street. He accused Gibbs of exaggerating the severity of her bite in conversations with David Lienhart.

The dog bit Erica, he said, because she reached for it unexpectedly. He says Monty was likely only warning Erica; had the dog meant to attack, he argues, the damage would have been more severe.

"She could get a cut like that from falling off her bike," he said.


Marchica has gathered statements from several other neighbors, describing the dog as "friendly" or "well-mannered." One wrote it should be muzzled, a precaution Marchica said he plans to take.

(Orlando Sentinel - November 30, 2011)

Poodle Nurses Wounds After Pit Bull Attack

MARYLAND -- A Baltimore woman's poodle is nursing serious wounds after being attacked by two pit bulls.

 The attack happened in the Patterson Park neighborhood on Nov. 18.

The woman said the pit bulls weren't on a leash nor were they wearing collars, and they were roaming the neighborhood unattended. She said she wants the dogs and their owners to face the consequences.

Joanne Dolgow's 3-year-old poodle, Mischa, was bandaged, sore and recovering on Monday from the attack that almost killed him more than a week earlier.

"I, personally, in my life, have never witnessed anything so horrible," Dolgow said.

On Nov. 18, Dolgow said she pulled up to her house and let Mischa out of the back seat.
"I turn around, the dog is lying on the curb and these two pit bulls are on him, and they are ripping flesh. They are literally ripping his flesh," Dolgow said.

A neighbor heard screams from the woman and the dog,and ran to help.
"There was no collar or leash (on the pit bulls)," the neighbor said. "I grabbed them by the tail, (but they) wouldn't let go, (so I) started pulling it and shaking it."

Dolgow said she and her neighbor were throwing bricks and pieces of wood at the dogs.

Eventually, they backed off, but Mischa was in bad shape. Dolgow described his leg as "shredded" from paw to shoulder. She said his tendons were exposed and he had dozens of puncture wounds all over his body, and underwent five hours of surgery.

The veterinarian compared the wound on Mischa's front left leg to a shark bite.
"He said that (the pit bulls) had to be trained fighting dogs," Dolgow said.

Dolgow was bit on her thumb. A second dog and its owner were also attacked by the dogs that same day, and Baltimore city police and Animal Control said they're investigating the case.
Authorities said the pit bulls have been removed from their owner's custody. No one came to the door at the owner's home Monday night.
Dolgow said she has filed an official complaint against the dogs and their owners.

"We think that these dogs need to be put down," Dolgow said. "I mean, what if a toddler had been out here playing? A toddler would have been killed. (My dog) almost died."
Mischa will need more surgery and will likely always have a limp, the veterinarian said.
The owners told police that the pit bulls escaped from their yard. A hearing to decide what will happen to the dogs is due to take place next month.

(WBAL - Nov 29, 2011)

Police Officer Shoots, Kills Dog After Attack

NORTH CAROLINA -- A dog shot by a police officer who attacked him and bit another person tested negative for rabies, Grifton Police Chief Bryan Cauley said.

The pit-bull, named Patches, had attacked a woman walking down Queen Street Sunday afternoon.

Grifton Police officer James Andrews shot the dog after he said it charged toward him and grabbed his pant leg with its teeth while he was outside the dog owner's home.

The pit-bull was sent off for a rabies test on Monday, Cauley said.

Cauley said his department will be determining of charges will be brought against the dog owner for the first attack on the woman.

A Grifton Police officer shot and killed the dog he was investigating after the animal attacked the officer, according to Grifton Police.

The pit-bull, named Patches, had attacked Madeline Barrow while she was walking on the 700 block of Queen Street Sunday afternoon, police said.

When officer James Andrews arrived at the scene, the dog charged the officer and grabbed his pant leg with its teeth.

"It was either the dog bites me or I lay the dog down," Officer Andrews said. "I chose to lay the dog down."

The officer fired one shot, which killed the animal.

"I could have shot myself the dog was so close," Andrews said.

The call came in at about 2:30 p.m.

Barrow was taken to Pitt County Memorial Hospital with injuries to her leg.

The police officer was not injured.

Whether the animal's owner will be charged is pending the ongoing investigation.

"The dog's owner was really sad," Andrews said. "The dog was part of their family."

Next-door neighbor Douglas Pierce said he's never heard of the dog attacking anyone in the four years he's lived in Grifton.

"I walk past the dog every day and all it does is barks," Pierce said. "It was probably protecting the owner."

The case is still under investigation by the Grifton Police Department which is awaiting the results of a rabies test performed Monday, police said.

Sunday's incident was Andrews' first time firing his weapon in the four years he's been with the department, Andrews said.

Even though he's one of only six officers to patrol Grifton, Andrews said what happened Sunday is a prime example of always expecting the unexpected.

"I didn't want to get hurt," Andrews said. "That's what it's all about. Going home after your shift."

(WCTI - Nov 30, 2011)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ohio: Peter Bower admits to bestiality; will get no jail time because Ohio is a backwards state with no law against sexually abusing animals

OHIO -- A man who admitted to having sex with RAPING his dog will not face jail time.

Evidence photos obtained by 10TV show Peter Bower with two of the dogs he used to own.

A file of evidence against Bower also contained a love letter he addressed to his dog named Maggie, 10TV’s Glenn McEntyre reported.

In the letter, Bower wrote repeatedly of his love for Maggie and admitted to having sex with RAPING her. "We made love," he wrote.

The file also contained photographs of Bower RAPING engaged in sexual intercourse with the dog.

In the absence of a law banning bestiality in Ohio, the strongest charge prosecutors could pursue against Bower was animal cruelty, McEntyre reported.

In order to prove animal cruelty, prosecutors had to prove that the animals were injured because of the sexual contact Bower had with them.

“The prosecutor moved to dismiss several charges that he felt he could not prove due to the fact that he could not show the actual harm to the animal,” Shelby Municipal Court Judge Jon Schaefer said.

Is a child being raped always going to show physical injury to their genitals? No. 

Schaefer said both sides agreed to a plea deal.

In exchange for a “no contest” plea to charge of injuring animals, Bower was sentenced to 80 days of community service, two-years of probation, ordered to attend sexual addiction classes, and prohibited from owning an animal during the 2 year probation period.

Investigators, the prosecutors and the judge all said that under current Ohio law, it was the best they could do.

“I think the resolution is appropriate because we have a very sick individual,” Schaefer said. “This way we’re gonna get that individual, hopefully, into counseling.”

They say for a tough sentence, Ohio will need to create a tougher law.

Schaefer said that if Bower fails to get counseling he could be ordered to jail for 180 days [which is nothing].

Bower declined to comment, McEntyre reported.

(10tv - Nov 28, 2011)


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Little Girl Attacked by Pit bull Speaks Out

TEXAS -- A little girl who lives in Frontera Heights, just north of Weslaco, was rescued by a neighbor as she was being attacked by a pit bull.

Brenda Jimenez was simply walking to her friend's house Tuesday afternoon, when the pit bull next door, decided to attack.

The 9-year-old says the gate was left open where the dog lives. Brenda says the dog jumped on her knocking her onto the floor. She thought it was going to kill her.

Fortunately neighbor Alfredo Acuna was driving by when the attack had just gotten underway.

"I thought they were two pit bulls fighting. I stopped and there was a little girl under the pit bull and I noticed that the dog had her from one foot and it took off some skin and head punctures, a lot of punctures" Acuna said.

Acuna says he hit the dog on the head and it ran off. Acuna doesn't consider himself a hero; Brenda's family are thankful he was there.

The girl's family is also worried that the pit bull could be released back to its owner if its released from quarantine in 30 days.

We found out the property is on sale at a reduce price.

The property where the pit bull lives is for sale, and federal documents obtained by indicate Ruben Salinas is one of the sellers. Salinas was caught trying to drive a tractor trailer loaded with 287 kilos of marijuana through the Falfurrias checkpoint in August of 2010, according to the report.

An indictment alleged an ongoing conspiracy dating back to 2008 also involving at least 106 kilos of cocaine and 46 kilos of methamphetamine.

Court records show Ruben and Angelica Salinas and Fernando Perales have both entered guilty pleas. They're scheduled to be sentenced in February of next year.

(KRGV - Nov 24, 2011)

Doniphan woman bitten by pit bull

NEBRASKA -- It was an unseasonably warm Sunday for November -- a nice day for a run. Not that it needed to be nice. Jeanine Lackey of Doniphan was an all-season exerciser. She would typically go out five or six times a week for either a five-mile run or a three-mile walk.

Nov. 6 was no different -- or so she thought.

Recovering from the pit bull attack

She padded off into the gravel along Buffalo Road. The scenery there is nice -- open cornfields, blue sky -- and there's less traffic than the paved roads leading to the Amick Acres subdivision.

As she jogged, a yellow Lab at the first farmhouse on the right got up to bark her usual hello and give Lackey a friendly tail wave. The sun felt good on Lackey's skin as she passed the country home of a county sheriff's deputy.

Then she slowed. The next house -- on the east side of Buffalo Road -- always had a group of dogs.

They always ran out onto the road and barked at Lackey, so she always walked by there, not wanting to stir them up. She hadn't seen the dogs out the past two weeks, but she slowed anyway to a brisk walk.

She heard the dogs bark, so she moved to the west side of the road with her little black mutt of a dog leashed close by her side.

The pack darted out. There were two pit bulls, a pit bull puppy, a Chihuahua, a basset hound and a blue heeler mix that stayed back off the road. A big black dog that she was used to seeing wasn't there this time.

Lackey was nervous but figured it would be the routine rush out to the road, some barking, some sniffing and then retreating. She kept focused on the road and gathered her own dog's leash a little tighter.

That's when it happened.

The large brown pit bull didn't back away this time. He came right at Lackey.

He turned only enough to get behind her and lunged -- sinking his teeth into Lackey's upper left thigh.

Now she was scared. She screamed.

"No, no, no. Go home," Lackey said as she pointed her finger at the dog.

It let go, seemingly unable to get a good grip on her slick running pants. She gathered up her own dog and walked backward as she continued to yell at the dog.

"I thought it was going to come at me again," she said, wide-eyed.

She made her way to the deputy's house. He was home and called animal control.

Lead animal control officer Libbie Dethloff of the Central Nebraska Humane Society said, in this case, "there was nothing the victim could have done differently."

The dog owner, Melinda Brittain of 11535 S. Buffalo Road, told officers she had let 2-year-old unneutered male pit bull "Bud" out to relieve himself...

Another recent pit bull bite case in Grand Island has been appealed to Grand Island's Animal Advisory Board. The hearing will be at noon Monday. It's the second time that the 2-year-old white pit bull named Phantom has bitten someone in Grand Island.

The first bite happened on Sept. 7, when a utility worker was bitten while the dog was chained in the yard on a leash that reached into the alley and to the pole where the city employee was working. The second bite, on Nov. 15, happened when a passerby was attacked by the dog after it ran out of a house at 2403 W. North Front.

Bud and Phantom were both current on rabies shots, but Laurie Dethloff said other changes need to occur in animal regulations. She's working with the Animal Advisory Board to consider a new tethering law that would allow dogs in Grand Island to be chained or leashed for no more than 20 minutes. Being chained makes a dog aggressive, she said.

The proposal is expected to go before the Grand Island City Council in the spring.

Lackey took herself to the emergency room after being bitten. She was given a tetanus shot and multiple days of antibiotics. She had a recheck after two weeks, when bruising from the four-puncture bite was still about eight to 10 inches long. She missed a day of work, has trouble sitting in her car to drive and still can't sleep on her left side.

Bud was deemed dangerous, meaning that he must be muzzled when off his property. When he's at home, he must be inside the house or inside an outside kennel that is escape-proof with a concrete floor and a wire top. Brittain didn't contest the declaration.

Phantom has also been deemed dangerous, but owner Chad Faubion is appealing.

(The Independent - November 26, 2011)

Police defend K-9 in attack on 8-year-old

OHIO -- Police say the Friday attack of the department’s police dog, Storm, on an 8-year-old boy was an unfortunate accident, but Storm has done much more good than bad during his time with the department.

The boy, Patrick Assion, was visiting his grandmother’s house in Campbell and playing hide-and-seek with his cousin in the backyard when Storm took hold of Patrick’s arm and dragged him to the ground.

Storm is a Belgian Malinois

The incident left the boy three physical reminders of the attack: a red mark on his arm, a T-shirt full of holes and a torn-up sweat shirt.

An off-duty Campbell police officer was walking Storm and allowed the dog to go to the bathroom in a fenced-in area. But the dog saw the boy and ran after him, apparently mistaking a running boy for a suspect.

“When I turned my head, it already got snatched onto my arm and threw me down to the ground and started ripping my jacket,” the boy told 21 WFMJ-TV, The Vindicator’s broadcast partner.

“I heard my cousin Patrick scream, and so I ran around the house and I saw the dog tearing up his coat,” Ali Darwish said.

Campbell Police Sgt. John Rusnak said a police dog can’t differentiate between a playing boy and a crime suspect.

“Anything running, they’re trained ... could be a potential threat. And all he’s doing is reacting and doing what he was trained to do,” Rusnak told WFMJ.

The boy’s mother, Angel Assion, faults the officer for not keeping the dog under better control.

“I don’t want that dog to be ever around again,” she said. “Certainly he should never be off of his leash and not under control 100 percent of the time.”

“He has caught three armed robbers. He has located numerous amounts of drugs. He has tracked down suspects. He’s been a vital, vital part of our police department,” Rusnak said of the dog’s history.

(The Vindicator  - November 27, 2011)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Police Dept under fire after officer beats cat to death

Euthanasia: the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy

VIRGINIA -- The Harrisonburg Police Department is reviewing its policy for handling animal complaints after an officer 'euthanized' an injured cat by beating it with his baton.

The department said in a statement this week that it conducted an internal investigation and took appropriate actions. Police spokeswoman Mary-Hope Vass declined to say whether the officer was disciplined.

Wayne Meadows wrongly put his trust in the police. One
bad officer tarnishes the badges of millions of good officers

Wayne Meadows, 28, of Harrisonburg said a car hit the cat on Nov. 11. He took the injured animal home and called Harrisonburg authorities. An officer who responded told Meadows there were two options: let the cat suffer and die or euthanize it.

Meadows said he chose euthanization and expected the cat would be shot.

"I told the officer I didn't have the stomach or nerves to put an animal down," he said. "The officer said he would take care of it. I went inside and braced to hear a shot."

Instead, he looked out the window and saw the officer drawing his baton. He said he went to the kitchen so he wouldn't see what was about to happen. He estimated that the officer struck the cat 15 to 20 times.

"I cringed at every single hit," Meadows said. "I had tears in my eyes by the time it was done."

The officer then knocked on the door. Meadows opened it and saw the dead cat lying on the sidewalk.

He said blood was everywhere, and the siding of his home was damaged. The officer told Meadows to call the Police Department to take care of the damage and left, taking the cat with him but leaving Meadows to clean up the rest.

"I had to leave the house for the night because I couldn't even stand to look at the house or front door," he said.

(Hampton Roads - November 26, 2011)


Harrisonburg Police Officer Beats Injured Cat to Death

VIRGINIA -- A Harrisonburg resident says a cat's death was anything but quick and painless, after it was struck by a vehicle. Now, he wants police held responsible.

"Shocking," is how Wayne Meadows describes the way a Harrisonburg police officer euthanized a cat he rescued from the side of the road. He says the officer beat the cat to death with his night stick.

"I was a wreck at that point. I mean I was completely in shock. I didn't know what to do, I didn't know what to say," Wayne says.

Wayne said he had to call police because local vets and animal services were closed since it was late at night on Friday, November 11th. He tried to comfort the cat until the officer arrived. They discussed what to do, and when the officer offered to euthanize the cat, using a night stick was the last thing Wayne expected.

"I went inside expecting a gun shot and then I heard it happening on my front porch. I heard at least 15-20 hits," Wayne says.

The officer removed the body, but he had to clean the rest.

"It was nasty to say the least. I was sick to my stomach the whole time doing it. I tried to wash it off as best as I could," Wayne says.

The officer told him to contact police because of damage to the house. There are stains and smashed siding around the porch. Wayne did contact police, but says they didn't get back to him. However, the department offered WHSV this statement saying they did receive the complaint.

Damage done by the officer as he beat the poor cat to death

"An internal investigation was conducted into this matter and appropriate action has been taken internally. In addition, the department continues to review the current procedures in handling animal complaints is to determine if any changes or modifications need to be made."

Wayne says he was so shocked to act at the time, but hopes this never happens again.

"The only thing I wished I had done differently is as soon as I saw that nightstick I would've ran out and stopped him. That's what I wished I would have done," Wayne says.

Harrisonburg police did not say whether or not they contacted Wayne after the fact. He says he has tried several times to complain, and as of Monday night, he has not heard back.
Any person who: willfully inflicts inhumane injury or pain... or cruelly or unnecessarily beats, maims, mutilates, or kills any animal, whether belonging to himself or another... deprives any animal of emergency veterinary treatment... willfully sets on foot, instigates, engages in, or in any way furthers any act of cruelty to any animal... causes any of the above things, or being the owner of such animal permits such acts to be done by another... is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(WHSV - Nov 22, 2011)

Complaint filed against Hadley pit bull owner

MASSACHUSETTS - Hadley police have filed a criminal complaint against Edward Gralinski, the owner of the pit bull terrier who [attacked] and seriously injured an 85-year-old man, for failing to abide by a Select Board order to put the dog down.

The board's ruling was upheld by both Clerk Magistrate William Nagle and Eastern Hampshire District Court Judge John Payne.

Gralinski was informed Oct. 4 that he had three days to have the dog euthanized.

In an interview this week, Gralinski said he has not followed the order because the town reneged on an agreement reached in court to keep Poochy alive while a civil case is pending.

"The agreement was the dog lives until the civil case is over, in case we need him for evidence," Gralinski said. "It sounded like they backed off their agreement."

Hadley Town Administrator David Nixon disagrees.

"If the judge required that we keep Poochy alive, we said we would cooperate with the court," Nixon said. "The judge did not require or reference that at all."

The incident in question occurred May 5, when Steven Bristol stopped by Gralinski's Mount Warner Road home to thank him for allowing Bristol to dump leaves on his property. Bristol said the dog attacked him while he was getting in his truck to leave.

The bite marks were so severe, Bristol said, that he was kept at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton for three days after enduring a three-hour surgery.

Nixon said police sought charges against Gralinski on Oct. 11 in Eastern Hampshire District Court, though an arraignment date has not yet been set. The charges are considered a misdemeanor.

Gralinski has maintained that since the attack happened on private property and because Bristol had stopped by uninvited, the dog should not be put to death.

"He's not vicious. He's never bitten someone off private property," Gralinski said. "If this dog bit Mr. Bristol at his place, I'd have shot him myself."

Nixon said Gralinski had advanced that argument in the past, and it had been rejected each time.

"That information was presented to the Select Board, to Clerk Nagle and before the judge," Nixon said. "In all three instances that information was presented and considered."

(Daily Hampshire Gazette - Nov 10, 2011)


Rottweiler attacks Tibetan Terrier

MASSACHUSETTS - Police Blotter for Wednesday, Nov. 16, 3:37 p.m.

An officer responded to Thornberry Road for a report of a dog bite. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with a man who was already being treated by Winchester Fire.

The man stated that he was walking his Tibetan Terrier when a neighbor’s Rottweiler ran toward him and bit his dog on the leg. The Rottweiler’s owner stated that her dog never bit the Tibetan Terrier.

Later, the Tibetan Terrier’s owner called the station and informed police that his dog had undergone surgery for three puncture wounds, reportedly from a dog bite, and that the dog had muscle damage.

(Wicked Local - November 25, 2011)

Staffordshire to be put down after attacking pregnant woman

UNITED KINGDOM -- A vicious dog which bit a heavily pregnant woman in Bath is to be put down.

Andrew McGauley's Staffordshire Terrier, Bella, leapt at a woman who was 40 weeks pregnant, sinking its jaws into the side of her stomach near her unborn baby.

The victim, Clarissa Stothard, suffered further bites and wounds from the dog's claws and had to be taken to the accident and emergency department at the Royal United Hospital, although her child was unharmed.

Bella was taken into kennels where she was found to be aggressive and when magistrates convicted 50-year-old McGauley, of Woodhouse Road, Twerton, of an offence contrary to the Dangerous Dog Act, they made an order for the dog to be destroyed.

His appeal against the order was dismissed by a judge at Bristol Crown Court last week.

Lawyer Neil Treharne, who was responding to the appeal, said Ms Stothard had suddenly been savaged by the dog as she walked in Woodhouse Road at 1pm on August 5 this year.

"She walked past the dog on the lead and knew the owner. The dog jumped up and bit her on her side. It punctured the skin and she was bleeding.

"She also had a bite to her arm and the side of her body. The owner kept saying sorry."

The court heard that the dog had been taken to kennels where it was found to be "extremely aggressive" on arrival.

Mr Treharne said the animal became more amenable to staff when it settled in, but aggressive when anyone new approached, particularly women.

Jonathan Lewis, for McGauley, said his client had had the three-year-old dog only about a week and had just left his flat when it attacked Ms Stothard, who lived nearby.

He said a muzzle was immediately bought for the dog and its claws were filed down following the incident.

Mr Lewis said McGauley believed the dog had been disorientated at the time.

He called for an order to be made that the dog should be muzzled and on a lead whenever it was let out.

However, dismissing the appeal, Judge Martin Picton said: "It has to be a destruction order."

(This is Bath - Nov 17, 2011)

Woman recovering from pit bull attack

GEORGIA -- A Jacksonville woman was hospitalized Friday afternoon after she was attacked by a pit bull while watching her nephew and his friends in St. Marys, Ga.

"We were outside playing, me and the kids, and little dog, Todd. They were making a ruckus with the neighbor dog, running back and forth, playing I guess," Jessica Stettler remembered. 

Stettler said she took Tod inside, then heard the children say the the black and white pit bull had jumped the fence.  She said after she got the children inside, she calmly talked to the dog, saying, "Just jump back over the fence ... I know you can."

The dog approached, started smelling her pants, then began biting her leg, eventually pulling her to the ground.

"As soon as he did, he started going at me here (face), and I put my arm up," Stettler said.

Her uncles heard the commotion and came running.  When they called for help, the St. Marys police arrived, but animal control did not, saying it was because the dog's owners were not home at the time. 

"I said, 'Wait a minute, that's not right,'" said Stettler's father, Bill. "The police are here. The dog is here. It's not contained. Yeah, it's in a fence. but it's a fence the dog can easily jump over, and just did."

Animal Control refused to follow protocol and seize
a bite dog, that clearly could escape and bite more people

Bill Stettler took his daughter to the emergency room, where she was treated and released for wounds to the foot, leg, and arm.  She's also emotionally wounded because she loves all animals, even pit bulls.

"l always tell people, a pit bull, they're not bad dogs. Just depends on how they're raised," Jessica Steller said. "I don't know [now], it's surreal."

(News4Jax - Nov 26 2011)

Woman calls her dog's attack on mailman a "misfortunate accident"

ARIZONA -- Yvette Castaneda, 21, has walked through the same door at the Maricopa County Animal Control hundreds of times now. Only to be separated from her pit bull, Kibbs, by steel bars.

For the past seven months, Castaneda has been hoping for the best for her dog.

"It was a misfortunate accident," said Castaneda. [This woman is in denial!]

She just learned what that accident will cost her.  "The dog has to be put down," said a somber Castaneda.

Even though Castaneda says Kibbs is not vicious, her neighbor Rick Hunter disagrees.

"It very viciously attacked the mailman," said Hunter.

Castaneda said the pit bull  'felt threatened' by the mailman and bit him last December.  The dog was chained to a bench in front of Castaneda's home when Kibbs broke free.

[How often did she chain her dog to a bench at her front door? She defends her dog saying it 'felt threatened' as if it bit only out of fear. Um, no, it saw the mailman, got enraged, broke its chain and attacked the mailman. There is no excuse for what the dog did.]

Castaneda calls the attack an "accident"

 "The dog has a history of attacking, killing the other cat," said Hunter.

Hunter and 17 neighbors filed a lawsuit against Castaneda asking the court for the ultimate punishment, death for Kibbs.

"It's unfortunate but human life is much more important than animal life," said Hunter.
The mailman never came back to Greenway Drive in Tempe.  Instead, something new showed up in the neighborhood.  

"The post office quickly laid a slab and erected a mailbox unit here," said Hunter.

Hunter isn't happy with his communal mail box.

"We're in an older Tempe neighborhood.  We have residential door service.  It's something we enjoy and its much safer," said Hunter.

Castaneda said she's willing to move away to save her dog.

Even though Castaneda's trying to be strong, she said its hard knowing her neighbor's request was granted.

"How could you live with yourself to want to put a dog down when you don't even know him?" questioned Castaneda.

The dog owner said she plans on appealing the court's decision.  Hunter said the mailman will return once the threat of the dog is gone.

(AZFamily - November 25, 2011)

Pennsylvania: Everybody told her this would happen, but she just wouldn’t listen” says officer about Sandra Piovesan who was breeding wolf hybrids and who was killed by them

PENNSYLVANIA -- People aren’t the only ones to pay a high price for their animals’ captivity stress…

By frustrating an animal’s urges–inhibiting its natural drives to disperse, hunt, and mate–physical confinement in the form of a pen or even a leash can be enough to trigger an emotional meltdown in some mature wolves and wolfdogs.

Sandra Piovesan, a wolfdog breeder who lived thirty miles east of Pittsburgh, hadn’t understood the needs of her animals, her role in the social “pack” structure, or the consequences of her animals’ severe confinement stress. She started with a single breeding pair and produced a litter of pups every year.

Although she gave away or sold some of the puppies, she always kept a few animals from each litter. Some ten years later she owned eleven intact male and female wolfdogs, all living in a single 50’x100’ enclosure (about 1/3 acre).

Humane Officer Elaine Gower, who’d made frequent visits to Piovesan over a period of several years, became increasingly concerned as the number of animals in the enclosure grew.

“They were stressed,” she told me. “The space was too small for that many animals.”

When we spoke, Gower emphasized that she could not prove wanton and willful neglect. Except for being overcrowded, these animals, licensed as “mixed-breed dogs” to avoid hassles with law enforcement, were in decent physical shape.

“I was on friendly terms with Sandy. I wanted to work with her and come up with a solution to the situation,” she said.

Then some of the lower-ranking animals were badly injured and even killed by other pack members when they were attacked and couldn’t escape. (Many sanctuaries keep wolves in pairs rather than groups to avoid this kind of “mob” situation.)

Piovesan grew wary of entering the enclosure because a white female had become particularly territorial and aggressive, often circling behind her.

Gower issued warnings to Piovesan for having filthy water in the kennels, and demanded that she seek veterinary care for wounded animals. She offered to spay and neuter the animals at no charge, but Piovesan declined, saying that the animals were living in a natural state, and to spay and neuter them would “disrupt the pack dynamic.”

Gower found a sanctuary willing to take three of the wolfiest-looking puppies in order to ease the stress on the other animals in the enclosure, but Piovesan refused to give them up, telling Gower she was thinking about driving some of the animals to Minnesota to let them go.

Gower told her such a move would be illegal and that the animals wouldn’t survive—they didn’t know how to hunt and wild wolves would likely kill them.

Over the years, some of the puppies that Sandra Piovesan sold or gave away (puppies from the white female) met with tragic ends.

One pair acquired by a man who identified himself as Native American and went by the name “Lone Wolf,” didn’t have a fenced area or the necessary permits, and when the animals were caught killing sheep, animal control turned them over to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

When “Lone Wolf” was interviewed he said that as a Native American he had a right to own wolves without a permit: “It’s a spiritual thing.”

But without a captive wolf permit, the Game Commission would not return the animals to him and quickly offloaded them to a woman who did have a permit. The woman attempted to breed her dog to the intact male, who subsequently killed the dog. The woman then shot the male and the female escaped. She traveled into a neighboring county where she was shot the following year as a “white coyote.”

Another pair of offspring from the white female went to a husband and wife who were starting a backyard zoo at their home. When the wolfdogs attacked the wife, the husband shot both animals.

Meanwhile, Piovesan’s white female grew increasingly stressed out and dangerous, and Piovesan confided to Gower that some of the other animals had also begun to circle behind her when she went inside the enclosure.

Co-workers reported that Piovesan had come to work with her arm bandaged and admitted that she’d been attacked by one of her animals.

Several months later Sandra Piovesan’s daughter Crystal found her mother’s mauled body inside the enclosure. Her femoral artery had been severed and she’d bled to death.

Sandra Piovesan wasn’t the only one to pay a high price. Authorities tranquilized the animals with dart guns and euthanized them. “They were beautiful animals,” Gower says. “I was just sick about it. I called several sanctuaries, but no one wanted them because we weren’t sure whether the animals were pure wolves.”

According to Pat Goodman, research associate at Indiana’s Wolf Park, captive female wolves are much less tolerant of other females than male wolves are of other males: “We have witnessed deadly aggression between [captive] female wolves since the seventies… I suspect that female pack members… have a naturally selected ‘incentive’ to disperse of which they are not conscious…”

At age 50 Piovesan’s life was cut short, and death became the only “freedom” her animals would ever know.

NOTE: Wolves aren’t the only animals to experience temperament changes and captivity stress as they mature.

According to April Truitt, the executive director of the Primate Rescue Center in Lexington, Kentucky, once primates reach maturity, their behavior can become unpredictable.

“An adult chimp has seven times the strength of a man… but even a 24-pound monkey has the reflexes and agility to take down a man,” Truitt remarked.

“These animals have to be removed at birth from the mother, put in diapers, put on a bottle and sold before they start depreciating—which they do, quicker than a Cadillac…

By the age of 3, maybe 5 or 7, they reach adolescence and their hormones are telling them to do anything but take commands from humans. They are interested in dominating whatever social group they find themselves in.

If it’s a human home, they often go after children first, then teenagers, then mom, and by the time they get to dad, we usually get the call.”

(MyUrbanWild - Nov 26, 2011)


Court upholds decision to euthanize family's pit bulls

NORTH CAROLINA -- New Hanover County Dog Court is back in session. Today, the court heard a case we told you about last week.

As you saw ONLY ON 3 A family's dog was attacked and killed by two pit bulls in its own backyard.

John Tooker gives excuses for his killer pit bulls

Today the Romanos and the Tookers met again in Dog Court to find out what will happen with the Tookers' two pit bulls.

Neighbors of the Tooker and Romano families filled the room thursday to testify to what they know about the Tookers' two pitbulls, Z.J. and Zeus. Most agreed that the two dogs were aggressive and a threat to the community.

"We're all fearful when we walk down the street, because we don't know if those dogs are gonna come out," Melanie Romano said.

At least one of the pit bulls attacked and killed Romano's Jack Russell terrier Lucy. She says this is not the first time the dogs have shown aggression in the neighborhood. She feels the owners have let their own dogs down.

"They knew of the numerous attacks," Romano said. "They didn't care about the rest of the public or care about their dogs enough to protect their dogs and keep them on their own property."

John Tooker did not want to speak with us on camera, but he told the board that his son accidentally let out the dog that killed Lucy out of the house. His dogs had previously been cited as dangerous because of other incidents in the neighborhood.

The Dog Court board ultimately decided to uphold the decision to euthanize both dogs because of the multiple issues.

RIP Lucy

"To hear the board look at pictures of Lucy and say no dog should have to die that way, it's awful," Romano said.

Romano says she feels like her family now has some justice for the the loss of their dog, but she hopes stronger regulations will be put into place for dangerous dog owners.

Tooker told neighbors he plans to appeal the board's decision in superior court. We will stay on top of this story and let you know what happens.

(WWAY - Nov 17, 2011)