Sunday, June 30, 2013

Oklahoma: Pit Bull attack victim recovering, back to Jehovah's Witness ministry work

OKLAHOMA -- Beverly Wright walked with a cane, slowly, avoiding uneven ground on Wednesday morning as she went door-to-door on North Delaware Avenue inviting people to an upcoming Jehovah's Witnesses convention.

A week ago she had what she hopes will be her last of five skin grafts to repair wounds she received March 19 when a pit bull mauled her so badly that doctors told her she might lose her leg.

Wright, 43, could have escaped injury that Tuesday morning when an 80-pound pit bull burst through the front door of a house in the 2000 block of N. Lewis Place (2027 N. Lewis Place) and attacked her ministry companion and longtime friend, Irene Parker, 78.

But it never occurred to her not to help her friend.

Both women were severely injured in the attack. And both knew their injuries would not keep them from going door-to-door with the Jehovah's Witnesses. Six weeks after the attacks, in early May, Wright returned to her ministry.

"The doctors are amazed how fast I am healing," she said.

She goes out weekly, usually tiring after two or three hours, even with breaks. She does it, she said, "because it's what Jehovah wants ... to let people know what God wants."

At first she was a little nervous, she said. "But I realized it was one of those things that happened. It doesn't happen all the time. That helped me get out of the car."

She has been going door-to-door with the Jehovah's Witnesses for 18 years, and nothing like that ever happened before, she said.

Parker's recovery has been slower. She went off her pain medication a week ago and is still in constant pain but is able to sleep, she said this week at her daughter's Sand Springs home, where she is recuperating.

"I'll be glad when I can get back to my ministry. It'll be awhile. When I get better, I'm ready to go out again. The only thing is, I'm going to be more cautious.

"I'm doing better and I'm happy about it. ... All the prayers and cards and gifts have been very encouraging," she said.

The events of that day three months ago are still fresh in Wright's mind. She was two houses away from Parker when the dog attacked.

"I heard the screams and ran down there. I pulled the dog off of her. I had it in a head lock," said Wright, who is 5 feet tall.

The dog squirmed free and continued to attack Parker. When Wright pulled it off a second time, it turned its attack on her, tearing at her arms and then dragging her across the yard by her leg.

Wright grabbed a baseball bat from the dog's owner who was standing by screaming and struck the dog twice before losing her grip on the bat.

The dog continued to tear into her leg.

"I was seeing him do it. It was awful," she said.

The attack ended when a man working two blocks away heard the screams, grabbed a gun from his truck, distracted and shot the dog.

Parker has little memory of the attack that broke seven bones, disfigured her face and nearly killed her.

When she knocked on the door that day, she said, she heard a dog barking. As soon as a woman opened the door, the dog charged through the screen door, knocked her to the ground and attacked her head.

She heard her right ear being ripped off and saw blood. "I don't remember anything after that ... I didn't feel nothing," she said.

Both women were taken to St. John Medical Center, where doctors used several hundred stitches on each of them to close their wounds and then placed them in intensive care.

As Jehovah's Witnesses, they do not believe in receiving blood transfusions. One hospital worker told Wright she would probably die without blood.

"So be it," she said.

Wright was released in eight days, Parker in 18 days. Both are still in physical therapy.

Parker has had five surgeries, with more scheduled. Her latest surgery rebuilt part of an eyelid that was ripped off, making her unable to close one eye.

Wright said she still has dreams about the dog.

"I see him shaking Irene. I might be afraid of dogs, but I'll never let them know it," she said defiantly.

The two women have been in contact with Mike Harrell, the man who shot the dog.

"He's very polite and humble," said Mike Elliott, Parker's son-in-law.

Harrell saved Wright's life, and Wright saved Parker's life, Elliott said.

"And I believe Jehovah had a hand in it," he said.

"We believe angels accompany us in ministry."

The women have had no contact with the dog's owner.

Jehovah's Witnesses spokesman Mark Snead said church members "always try to exercise due caution" in neighborhoods, taking note of dog warning signs.

"It's very rare for these kinds of events to happen," he said.

"I've been going out since I was a child, and I've never had a dog attack me."

Tulsa-area Jehovah's Witnesses are in a three-week door-to-door campaign to invite people to their annual district Bible convention July 5-7 at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on the University of Tulsa campus.

"We hope to reach the majority of homes in the Tulsa area," Snead said.

The convention will draw more than 5,000 people from 49 congregations in northeast Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, he said. It is identical to about 300 other conventions being held around the United States that will draw more than a million people.

The Tulsa area has more than 20 Jehovah's Witnesses congregations that meet in nine Kingdom Halls.

Wright said that accounts are set up in the women's names at the Bank of Oklahoma to help with medical expenses that are not covered by insurance.


(Tulsa World - June 29, 2013)


Aggressive Bichon repeatedly tries to rip out throat of owner's pit bull... wait, what?

NEW ZEALAND -- "I (Abbey Draper) run Christchurch Bull Breed Rescue. I have owned bull breeds for 15 years and have rescued and rehomed them for the past eight.

"In all that time I have had to have one dog put to sleep due to aggression. Through no fault of her own she was put on the end of a chain and not socialised. By the time she came to me it was too late and I didn't feel safe putting her into another home. 

Posing her son with one of the pit bulls

"This would've happened regardless of breed - dogs need socialisation, affection and boundaries. A dog on a chain or locked in a yard had no idea how to react to the outside world and will usually react aggressively out of fear. Being owned by a family doesn't necessarily make it a family dog. 

"I personally own a pit bull that came through my rescue. He is desexed, well socialised, well trained and is an all round good dog. I have two young children and trust him.

"My pit bull was recently attacked at our local dog park by an aggressive bichon frise. This dog repeatedly went for my dog's throat and was out for blood. My dog submitted and waited for me to save him from he attack.

"Had my dog been the aggressor it would've made headlines, but because he's the big bad pit bull and it's 'only a bichon' it's apparently ok, funny even.

"People need to wake up and realise that dogs are the same regardless of breed and need to be respected and treated well. 

"Once we start putting more attention onto the owners and make being a dog owner mean something, things may begin to change.

"While the breed is condemned we will get nowhere."

[I might be inclined to believe her if only I could see these photos of these kids, elderly people, cats, dogs, ponies, goats and other pets which have been torn to pieces by these aggressive Bichons.]

( - June 20, 2013)

6/12/13: Disabled man's dog is aggressive and often runs loose, couple say

CANADA -- A Langley City couple said they have witnessed multiple incidents of bad behaviour by a dog belonging to a disabled man who complained he was unfairly fined $100 for letting the canine run off-leash.

Sheila Webb and Ib Meyer-Obel came forward after The Times reported on the incident involving Ed, a three-year-old Pomeranian belonging to Kevin Steele, who ran afoul of a City of Langley bylaw officer last month.

In the June 6 article, Steele told The Times that Ed, whom he described as a service dog, has a calm, laid-back personality that is soothing to be around.

“Everybody loves Ed,” said Steele.

Webb and Meyer-Obel told a different story.

The couple, who recognized Steele and Ed from the photos in the paper, said the dog is often badly behaved and aggressive toward other dogs.

“This dog is out of control,” Webb said.

She said she personally witnessed two separate incidents last year where the unleashed Ed got into a scrap with another dog, one about his size and the other a lot bigger. Both were on leashes.

There were no injuries either time, Webb said, but it was clear Ed is not quite as mellow as Steele claims.

“His little dog has got the quite the temper,” Webb said. “It should go back to get trained. And so should he.”

Webb and Meyer-Obel said they have had to lift up their own dog to get her away from Ed on more than one occasion.

The fine, they said, was warranted.

“Okay, he likes his dog,” Meyer-Obel said of Steele. “Everyone likes their dog. Unfortunately he’s one of those who lets his dog roam and expects everyone to accept it.”

Steele, a 51-year-old former driller, lost one leg in a 2009 workplace accident that left him permanently disabled after a 1,350-lb. pipe fell on his head.

A letter from his psychologist says Ed is “more than just a typical pet” who has “become one of his [Steele’s] main coping strategies” for dealing with the loss of his leg and related pain.

[So the "service dog" is not actual a service dog. Wow, big surprise there.... that seems to be the theme of 2013: people claiming their pets are service dogs when they aren't]

Steele said he intends to file a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal that he is being discriminated against as a disabled person.

(Langley Times - June 12, 2013)


Man, 43, attacked by pit bull on Meritas Drive

GEORGIA -- A black and white mixed pit bull dog was captured early Friday after it attacked a man on Meritas Drive, Columbus police said.

The man, 43, sustained bites to his left foot and right elbow, but was not treated by emergency medical personnel.

In a report, the victim told police he was walking on the street about 2:10 a.m. when the dog sprinted from a porch in the 4200 block of Meritas Drive and attacked him.

An officer from Animal Control captured the dog after the man pointed it out. The dog was quarantined.

The victim didn’t want charges filed in connection with the attack, police said.

( - June 29, 2013)

Complaints Mount Up Against Local Dog Rescue Organization

ARKANSAS -- A woman who runs a dog rescue organization in Garland County is defending the way she operates her business after several complaints from the community.

The organization is called a Dog's Life Rescue Inc.

A woman filed a report -- at the Garland County Sheriff's Office -- stating more than a dozen dogs live inside the owner's home.

The report states the feces is so deep the owner must shovel it out of the home.

The Humane Society of Garland County along with the organization Stop Animal Cruelty also received complaints about the organization.

But the woman who runs it, claims she's doing nothing wrong.

Susan Williams says the dogs she rescued are healthy, happy and waiting for their forever homes.

She said, "They're getting all the proper care they need."

But the person who sent us a photo of the organization said something different.

She didn't want to do an interview, but said the dogs are living in filthy and unsanitary conditions.

And, in a report filed with the Garland County Sheriff's Department there are more accusations against Williams' organization.

It states the dogs live in a flea-infested, urine and feces covered home.

Williams admitted her yard is a mess. She said, "Yes, there's a trash problem and I need help."

She [says she] was too embarrassed to show us her property but says no matter how it looks, the dogs are fine.

The reporter asked, "How many dogs do you have?"

Williams answered, "There's 16 right now."

The reporter asked, "16 dogs living in your home, would that be considered healthy conditions?"

She said, "I have to sweep up the hair every other day. I've never been a good housekeeper, so it's never really mattered to me."

Williams says she's just trying to save animals that would otherwise be euthanized, but some argue a Dog's Life Rescue Inc. is not giving those dogs the life they deserve.

Williams will be in court next month to defend herself against that report filed at the Garland County Sheriff's Department.

As of now though, she has not been charged with anything.

(fox16 - June 27, 2013)

Dog-attack victim rescued by local contract worker

ILLINOIS -- Thursday afternoon was a typical day for contract worker, Terry Burnside and his son as they finished up a led removal project on West Smith Street in Peoria.

That was until he and surrounding neighbors heard the sharp shrieks coming from across the street.

"The girl was screaming when she got bit, and from the window you could see that she was getting bit," said witness of the attack, Michelle Roman. "A bunch of neighbors from all around were coming to help her."

Hero who rescued little girl

 "We heard some dogs growling, and we thought some dogs were fighting," said good Samaritan, Terry Burnside Sr. "Then we just happened to look around, and we saw this dog had this little girl on the ground biting her and just chewing her away. We both jumped off the ladder to assist the girl. We ran over and used our hammers and hands to pull the dog off the girl."

The 10-year-old girl, whose name has not been released, was playing on South DuSable Street when a Shar Pei mix canine mauled her to the ground, biting her several times on her face.

Some neighbors said the dog was tied up in the back yard before the incident occurred and somehow broke loose.

However, others said the dog was known to run the neighborhood freely.

Authorities said Rita Washington of 1507 West Smith Street was arrested for obstruction of an officer after she took the dog into her home and lied about it's whereabouts.

The owner put the dog inside her house and lied to police about where it was

This attack comes right before Peoria County's proposal of new vicious and dangerous dog ordinances that would put more stress on owners of a dog.

"It's people not taking the time and effort to make sure that their pets cannot do this kind of damage to a person," said animal shelter director, Lauren Malmberg. "Hopefully with our new ordinances coming in July, we'll be taking one big step in preventing additional tragedies."

Washington received two citations from the Peoria County Animal Protection Services, one for failure to vaccinate and register the dog and another for allowing the animal to run at large and create a nuisance.

Where the little girl was attacked

As for the local contract worker who possibly saved the girl's life, he said he was just acting on impulse.

"It wasn't about saving anyone's life," said Burnside. "I would have saved an adult or child. She was just laying their in the fetal position, not defending herself. She couldn't defend herself. The dog was all over her. I just tried to help."

Washington was released Friday afternoon, and she will be in court late July to face her charge of obstructing an officer.

The dog is being quarantined at Peoria County's animal shelter.

(Cinewsnow - June 28, 2013)


Dangerous Dog Declaration Upheld

MISSOURI -- A sports writer might write the headline as: Hannibal 3, Moose 0.

The third time definitely wasn’t charm for the owners of a Hannibal pit bull.

David and Christy Taylor appeared before the Hannibal City Council Tuesday night, seeking to have the Dangerous Dog Declaration overturned for their dog, “Moose”.

This was not their first encounter with city officials. Concerns about Moose posing a threat to mail carriers had resulted in the suspension of mail delivery to the College Avenue area where the Taylors reside. A neighborhood meeting on May 7 at the Hannibal Police Department resulted in what Chief Davis termed an “outpouring of information” that indicated Moose had exhibited aggressive behavior on multiple occasions.

Chief Davis signed a Dangerous Dog Declaration  May 9, which imposed strict requirements including the purchase of liability insurance and proper restraint of the pit bull.  By this time the Taylors had moved the dog to their daughter’s house on New London Gravel Road, but since the residence was still in the city limits, the dog was still subject to the ordinance.  The issues with mail delivery followed Moose to his new residence too: mail service was soon suspended to a portion of the New London Gravel Road area.

The Taylors appealed the matter to City Manager Jeff LaGarce, who held a hearing May 23.  A few days later, the Taylors were notified the Dangerous Dog Declaration was sustained.

The final appeal was heard by the council on June 18. David Taylor disputed the charges of aggressive behavior by Moose, and said he is just a big playful dog; a valued member of his family.

He said he is to blame for any problems, not Moose. Then he stated that his appearance before the council was only to clear Moose’s name, as he is moving out of town into Ralls County, and taking the dog.

Hannibal Police Chief Lyndell Davis painted a much different picture of Moose. He said investigations by Animal Control Officers, and comments from the Postal Service and the public were more numerous than any other dangerous dog case he had ever seen.

Davis cautioned the council that just because the dog has not yet bitten anyone, the Dangerous Dog ruling applies due to the fact that the dog has repeatedly acted in a menacing fashion and has the potential to cause injury to the general public.

After the testimony wrapped up, Councilman Mike Dobson made a motion to uphold the Dangerous Dog Declaration for Moose, stating the point is moot since the Taylors are moving out of the city. The motion received unanimous approval.

(KHMO Radio - June 19, 2013)


Monroe Co. couple face multiple charges for animal cruelty

TENNESSEE -- A Monroe County couple is facing multiple animal cruelty charges after officials found several starving animals on their property.

Officers told 10News they found two goats and seven dogs at the home of Brian Nikolauyk and Nicole Sooy, located on New Highway 68 in Tellico Plains.

The sheriff's department said the goats appeared to be malnourished, and the dogs appeared to be starving. Four of the dogs were unable to stand upright.

Animal Control removed the animals from that home.

Deputies arrested Nikolauyk and Sooy this weekend. Each are facing one count of livestock at large, three counts of animal cruelty, four counts of aggravated animal cruelty, and seven counts for lack of a rabies vaccine.

Nikolauyk is also facing charges for an unrelated incident, for aggravated burglary and theft under $500.

Both remain in jail. Nikolauyk's bond is set at $30,000 and Sooy's bond is set at $25,000.

(WBIR - June 30, 2013)

Sisters living in squalor with disabled teen hoarded 31 cats

GEORGIA -- Snellville police arrested two sisters for allegedly hoarding 31 cats in a motel room. Police also said a disabled adult was also forced to stay in the squalor.

Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh has learned this was the sisters' second abuse-related arrest in less than two months.

Gwinnett County Animal Control officers said two out of 31 cats had a fighting shot to survive.

Officers rescued them along with a very scared dog from a Snellville hotel room Tuesday night.
 They say conditions in the room at the Crestwood Suites on Presidential Circle were rancid.

 "Just feces, the smell of urine, just real bad," said Snellville Detective Orlando Concepcion.

He told Kavanaugh another motel guest reported the odor and was concerned about what was beyond the door.

 Investigators said when officers arrived, sisters Leah Waller and Elisha Waller attempted to clean up but it was way too late.

 "They were trying to hide them (cats) all in the bathroom and clean up as much as possible,"
 Aside from the pets, police said they also found Leah Waller's 19-year-old son who suffers from cerebral palsy, bound to his wheelchair and forced to sit in squalor.

The Waller sisters went to jail for cruelty to animals and exploitation of a disabled adult. That's when investigators discovered the duo was out on bond for nearly the same charges.

In April, Gwinnett County police were called to the Wallers' Loganville
home where they allegedly found another hoarding
mess and the disabled 19-year-old.

 In April, Gwinnett County police were called to the Wallers' Loganville home where they allegedly found another hoarding mess and the disabled 19-year-old.

 Animal control showed Kavanaugh a photo of where they found him, in his wheelchair, in filth.

 Police said at the home they rescued three dogs. Two are still battling through recovery. Officers say the animals were found in soiled baby diapers locked in a play pen.

Aside from the pets, police said they also found Leah Waller's
19-year-old son who suffers from cerebral palsy, bound to
his wheelchair and forced to sit in squalor.

Police then arrested the sisters for animal cruelty and contacted Adult Protective Services.

Snellville police said they, too, reported the conditions of the disabled young man to Adult Protective Services.

(WSBTV - June 27, 2013)

Officials report finding dead and sick animals at Last Hope Cat Kingdom in Atwater

CALIFORNIA -- Hundreds of sick, dying and dead animals were removed from the Last Hope Cat Kingdom in Atwater on Wednesday, according to Merced County officials.

The Humane Society of the United States received several complaints from area veterinarians and community members about the facility last week, prompting officials to raid the shelter on Bailey Road on Wednesday.

Hundreds of animals were evaluated and more than 295 were removed from the property, officials said. About 90 percent of the cats examined by the team were emaciated and officers found 74 dead animals.

An emaciated cat found at Last Hope Cat Kingdom on Wednesday
by county officials is shown here. County officials say 74 cats were
 found dead at the animal sanctuary, and 200 were euthanized
on-site. Photo: Merced County

Some of the dead cats were found inside cages with live animals, while others were put inside freezers, said Mike North, county management analyst.

The owner and co-founder of the facility, Renate Schmitz, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

A team of veterinarians from across the state was present during Wednesday's search to evaluate the health conditions of the animals.

One veterinarian said more than 80 percent of the cats at the site had severe and ongoing infections involving the eyes, nose, mouth, throat, ears and skin.

Many of the cats' eyes were swollen shut and they were covered in fleas, North said. Several of the animals were euthanized on site because they were too sick to be removed, North said.

Officials determined that there were a variety of contagious diseases present at the location, as well as flea and pest problems.

Some of the diseases included feline herpes, mycoplasma, chlamydophila and feline calicivirus, according to one veterinarian's report.

The vet said the facilities at Last Hope Cat Kingdom were "substandard, overcrowded and unsanitary," ensuring that any cat brought to the center would swiftly be exposed to several infections.

Mary Jo Campodonica, president of Trails of Happy Tails, a spay and neuter group in Merced County, said she used to offer animals for adoption alongside the Last Hope Cat Kingdom at PetSmart — but stopped once she saw the sick cats.

"One of the main reasons we pulled out of there was the risk of disease," she said. "Cats spread disease so easily that it was high-risk."

Campodonica said she is heartbroken for the animals, many of which likely suffered a slow death from the deteriorating conditions.

"She should have never been allowed to have that many animals," Campodonica said. "It's just not manageable for anyone — let alone one person with a handful of volunteers."

About six or seven volunteers were present during Wednesday's search, North said.

Agencies on site during the operation included The Humane Society, the Merced County Sheriff's Department, Merced County Animal Control as well as animal control officers from Livingston, Los Banos, Turlock and Stanislaus County.

Anyone with information regarding conditions at Last Hope Cat Kingdom or anyone who has adopted animals from the site and has noticed illness that may require veterinary treatment is encouraged to call Officer Cerissa Hultgren with Merced County Animal Control at (209) 385-7436.

(Merced Sun Star - June 27, 2013)


Raccoon suffers for a week in trap before dying

Pest control franchisee charged with cruelty to animals

CONNECTICUT -- An owner of a local Critter Control franchise has been charged with cruelty to animals after authorities claimed she left a raccoon she had trapped in the back of her truck and went out of town for a week.

The animal died a slow death after surviving for six days “baking in the hot sun with no food or water,” said Thomas Gulluscio, Westerly’s animal control officer.

Christy Clark, 36, of 14 Lorraine Road, Westerly, was charged this month by an officer from the state Department of Environmental Management.

The formal charges came after a neighbor heard the animal crying and scratching from the back of Clark’s Critter Control vehicle in the days after Clark left the raccoon with no food or water.

The neighbor went to the Westerly police station on Sunday, June 9, and talked to Officer Tony Allicchio, expressing concern about the manner in which animals are disposed of at the Lorraine Road location.

Gulluscio said he investigated the incident the next day, nearly a week after Clark left, and found the raccoon dead in the back of the truck. Gulluscio said he sent a report of the incident to the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which passed it along to DEM’s criminal division. Gulluscio said he was informed that the animal had been alive on Sunday but died on Monday.

Clark had reportedly been called to a local home after the residents discovered the raccoon in their house. Clark, who runs a Rhode Island Critter Control franchise, picked up the raccoon. The online advertisement for the company refers to its expertise in dealing with wildlife capture and has a separate section devoted to raccoon problems.

DEM Capt. Jack Mcilmail said the summons was served to Clark on Tuesday, June 11, when she returned home. He did not provide further details, but Gulluscio said that Clark had admitted that she had forgotten about the animal.

Gulluscio said that Clark was charged with misdemeanor counts of unnecessary cruelty to animals and violation of DEM rules for not releasing or euthanizing the animal within a specified amount of time after it was seized.

She is scheduled to appear in 4th Division District Court in Wakefield on July 3.

Clark did not return a phone call to the number listed for her Westerly business on the Critter Control website.

Officials said they did not know if the raccoon had been tested for rabies.

According to the Critter Control website, “when raccoons have made themselves at home in your home, trained professionals are required to safely and humanely get the animals out of your residence. The experts at Critter Control use tactics such as exclusion, trapping and habitat modification to ensure that raccoons will not be able to den into your home again!”

(The Westerly Sun-Jun 28, 2013)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

No action over killer greyhounds

NEW ZEALAND -- Wellington City Council will not prosecute the owners of two greyhounds that attacked and killed a young dog this week, unless the dog's owner lays a complaint.

Margot Lyons' 12-month-old schnoodle, Ralph, was attacked by two greyhounds near the Berhampore Golf Club on Tuesday morning, and later died from his injuries.

Fairfax Media and Lyons also understand that a cat had been attacked and killed by two greyhounds in the same area.

His death means nothing.

While Lyons was "devastated" by the attack, she said all she wanted was for the two greyhounds to be returned to Greyhounds as Pets, the charity from which they had been adopted.

"I'm imagining that GAP would put them down. The last thing I'd want is for the dogs to be taken back, only to be adopted by another family again.

"The important thing out of this is to raise awareness that dreadful things like this can happen, and somehow both our family and the greyhounds' family will have to find a way to get through it and the loss of our very beloved pets."

Council spokesman Richard MacLean said a complaint must be laid by the owner of an attacked dog for the council to consider prosecution.

"We will be making sure the owners have returned the greyhounds, but unless there's a complaint there would not be further action taken."

Greyhounds as Pets programme director Jacqui Eyley said she was unsure whether the owners intended to return the two dogs at this stage.

"I'm sure they are thinking about it. The owners can return the dogs if that's what they decide."
Eyley had never previously heard of greyhounds attacking other dogs.

"Mainly it's greyhounds being attacked by other dogs. It is very unfortunate and we are very sorry for the woman who lost her dog."

But Greyhound Protection League founder Aaron Cross said racing greyhounds were trained to chase from birth, and were often kept isolated from all other animals.

"Their version of play is to compete. When it's drilled into them for years, it's hard for them to adjust to the retirement phase.

"It's not necessarily something in their genes, it's in fact a reality of training and making their whole life about racing [after] a small fluffy thing."

Reintroducing retired racing hounds into the community came with real risks, and there would be the occasional dog who struggled to let go of their racing backgrounds, he said.

"This dog had a moment and the muzzle broke. The owners did everything right, but it's just so unfortunate that it turned out this way."

( - June 29, 2013)


Owner of pit bulls in pony attack will act as own defense

NEW MEXICO -- The owner of three pit bulls accused of attacking and killing a pony and goat will represent himself at trial and fight for the right to keep his dogs.

Dominic Vigil, 33, of Santa Fe faces multiple misdemeanor charges of keeping dogs that killed livestock and several charges of letting his animal run at large. On Friday, he appeared in court for the first time, waiving his right to an attorney and saying he would represent himself at a trial in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court.

The pony was chased, attacked and mauled to death in its pen.

In attendance Friday were 20 people who live in the area around Vigil’s house, just west of N.M. 599, who came to support the family that lost a pet goat and horse in May. Jessica and Manolo Victor owned the 600-pound pony, Henry, and kept him in a circular horse pen along with the goat.

On May 12, Vigil’s American pit bull terriers, which were restrained by an invisible electric fence, escaped Vigil’s property and got into the Victors’ horse pen, killing the goat. The Victors reported the incident to animal control officers, who said they couldn’t confiscate the dogs unless they had a court order to remove the dogs from Vigil’s property, according to the Victors.

Six days after the goat was killed, the Victors said, three dogs returned at night and mauled their pony. Manolo Victor said he heard the dogs barking at about 5 a.m. and rushed out to see them running back to Vigil’s property, leaving behind the bloodied family pet. Fearing that he, too, might be attacked, he drove over to Vigil’s house and blasted his car horn until Vigil emerged from the house, Manolo Victor said.

According to a written petition by the Victors to the Santa Fe County Commission, Manolo Victor told Vigil his dogs had killed their pony, and he threatened that if Vigil didn’t shoot the dogs, he would.

“It happens,” Vigil responded, according to the petition. “Shoot them all.”

Manolo Victor shot and killed a male pit bull, causing the other dogs to flee. The Victors and several neighbors said Tuesday that the carcass of that dog remained on the property for three weeks.

Vigil said after the hearing that he doesn’t think he is at fault in the deaths of the goat and the pony.

Vigil said he installed a $3,000 invisible electric fence to contain the dogs and had personally trained the dogs to remain within the fence.

“I’ve never had any problem with it,” Vigil said.

Several neighbors, however, rebutted that claim, saying the dogs had crossed the fence line on several occasions. The Victors are trying to convince Santa Fe County to enforce stricter laws on enclosing potentially dangerous animals.

When asked if he thought his dogs were vicious, Vigil said he believes they were “protective.”

“The nature of a pit bull is to be protective, protective against other animals,” he said.

Santa Fe County continues to hold two of Vigil’s pit bulls, along with six puppies, at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society. A judge will decide whether the pit bulls are legally vicious and whether they should be euthanized. A judge also will decide whether the puppies will be given up for adoption or returned to Vigil.

Vigil said Friday that he’s been breeding pit bulls for 10 years, and his Facebook page advertises a recent litter of newborn puppies as United Kennel Club purple ribbon American pit bull terriers — meaning both parents were UKC certified — and prices them at $150 each.

Vigil also owns Enchantment Roofing Service in Santa Fe.

Other reports have been filed concerning Vigil’s dogs in the past two years, including a report of a pit bull attack near Vigil’s business off Siler Road near Agua Fría Street. Santa Fe police said three pit bulls at that location attacked a small dog on May 14, but officers haven’t been able to confirm whether those dogs were the same ones involved in the attacks on the Victors’ animals.

Another neighbor of Vigil, Audrey Ballew, said one of his pit bulls attacked her Labrador puppy, Dixie, in her yard about two years ago. After fighting off the pit bull with a rake, Ballew’s husband shot and killed the pit bull. Ballew’s dog survived but has a permanent limp.

Jessica Victor, the mother of three boys, said she is dismayed by Vigil’s lack of empathy for his neighbors and his dogs. She said there are six children — all under the age of 6 — living in close proximity to Vigil’s property.

The trial will also determine who is responsible for the cost of housing the dogs at the Santa Fe animal shelter — the county or Vigil.

A trial date has not been set.

(Santa Fe New - June 28, 2013 )


‘I loved him’: Officer says only option was to shoot canine partner

ALABAMA -- A K-9 police officer in Hanceville, Ala. said he had no other option than to shoot his canine companion after the dog attacked him Monday afternoon.

Officer Anthony Childress was in a park in Hanceville training Ichi Bon, a Belgian Malinois, when the dog attacked him. Childress was hospitalized and underwent surgery after he shot and killed the canine.

“I do not think he thought he was biting me, I think he was just going through emotions, training and using his instincts, it was a tragic accident,” Childress said.

“I loved him. He was my partner and my best friend. I hate that’s what I had to do, but I did have to. It bothers me that there are so many naysayers about the accident, who do not know either of our personalities. I’m the one who lost my best friend and partner.”

A taser was not an option for Childress, as he does not carry one.

“I don’t have a taser. Some officers do have them, but not everyone,” Childress said. “The department doesn’t have the money to purchase those for everyone.”

[Please don't use that as an excuse; that's pathetic.  You have a police baton, why didn't you use it? You train these dogs to grip and hold, why didn't you stay still - as you command suspects to do to keep the dog from biting - and then call for backup????

Own it - say you shot the dog because it failed to listen to commands and you were in fear for your life. I'd have more respect for you if you just fessed up to the truth, IMNSHO.]

Training for the dog could take place five days a week. Childress said and he could be found with Ichi Bon at C.W. Day Park any given day.

“We would go into an enclosed baseball field with high fences away from everyone else,” Childress said. “We were out there just about everyday, and 4-5 times a day training 15-20 minutes each time. You train the dog for small increments and then you let him rest. Anything from sniffing narcotics to keep him sharp, obedience drills, and then letting him be a dog by throwing a stick. After training, we always follow with something fun.”

Childress said he had a toy that he often plays with as part of the reward following the training.

“I incorporate discipline by throwing the ball and the stick, letting him bring it back, making him wait and doing it again so we can end on a happy note,” Childress said. “He had already finished the drug and obedience training. I had dropped the toy when we were playing and it fell away from me and I guess he didn’t see where it went and thought I put it in my pocket where my wallet was. When he bit my leg where the wallet was, the tendon on the back of my leg buckled and I fell away from the toy and that’s when he went into attack mode and it was just a bad sequence of events.”

After biting his leg and causing him to fall, Childress said the dog circled around him and attacked his head.

“I trusted my dog with my life all the way up until the end,” Childress said. “I wish it didn’t happen, but it did and I’m heartbroken over it. He was a working dog and I knew what I was getting into when I took the position and the chance of him biting me, just like we know what we’re getting into as policemen. I’m not upset that I got hurt, I knew it could happen. I’m just upset that I had to put down my best friend and partner.”

Childress said when traveling through crowds, Ichi Bon would have a muzzle on because he sees the world differently than humans.

“He was a working dog and sometimes if someone hugged me or shook my hand, he would interpret it the wrong way,” Childress said. “I had a friend of mine pat me on the back and he was barking from the car and I had to console him and tell him I was okay. The muzzle was for everyone’s safety.”

Ichi Bon was sent to be tested for rabies. Childress confirmed the dog was up to date on his shots and medications.

(The Cullman Times - June 28, 2013)


New Zealand: After Pit Bull rips the face off a pony, breaks its leg and won't stop even after being beaten with a piece of wood, the pony's owners tell the Pit Bull's owner, "Don't worry about it"

NEW ZEALAND -- A beloved miniature pony has died after it was rescued from a rampaging dog by two men wielding planks of wood to subdue the crossbreed.

After the horrific incident, Katikati resident Jim Hume had to sit his 6-year-old granddaughter Maryjane down and tell her the pet horse named Milo would have to be put down.

Amazingly, the pony owners bear no ill will to the people who had fostered the dog but say it is a reminder of the unpredictable nature of animals. Dog control authorities investigated 277 attacks by roaming dogs on children or other animals in 2012.

Hume said the dog escaped from a nearby property on Friday afternoon before jumping over a fence and into the Humes' kiwifruit orchard.

Jim's wife Debbie was in the house, about 50m from Milo. She witnessed the dog's onslaught and phoned Jim, who was working a short distance away. "I shot over in my car and jumped the fence," Jim said.

"The dog was hanging on to the horse. I got into it."

Jim said the dog resembled a pit bull terrier. He tried booting the frenzied animal, to no effect. He then grabbed a piece of wood and started striking it.

A friend arrived with another piece of wood to assist.

"Eventually it let go," Jim said. "I grabbed it by the collar."

Debbie called police while the men restrained the dog in Jim's car. "By that time, I had a chain and got that round its neck as tight as I could, and chained it into the back of the vehicle."

The dog was destroyed by animal control officers. Sadly for the Humes, Milo was as well. "The side of (Milo's) face had been ripped open and it had broken its front leg," Jim said.

Milo was buried on Friday night. She had been with the Humes for four years. "All the grandkids had grown up with it," Jim said. "When they were younger, they used to ride it. They're a bit big for that now but they'd go out and feed it."

The Humes said their neighbours, who they'd known for many years, had only had the dog for a week. Debbie said the neighbours took the dog off a relative after growing concerned at its treatment.


The Humes - who also own a Pit Bull mix - said they would not press charges.

[Well, that's comforting. The people whose pony was terrorized, chased, mauled, eaten alive and eventually - through God's grace - finally died, also own a pit bull mix and they "harbor no ill will towards their neighbors". Wonder what the pony would say?]

Animal Services officer Betty Hall confirmed the attack happened on Friday. She said the dog's custodians immediately signed it over to be put down.

"I was even touched at how the two parties got together."

How nice. Now the owner can go right out and get another Pit Bull. Let's wait until this new Pit Bull kills a child and we'll see how easily people come to an agreement...

(New Zealand Herald - June 29, 2013)

Tibetan mastiff kills six-year-old girl

CHINA -- Police said Friday that they have detained a man after the dog he raised fatally bit a toddler in Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning Province.

The man's Tibetan mastiff bit the neck of a three-and-a-half-year-old girl surnamed Li around 7 p.m. on Thursday near a grocery store in the city's high-tech zone, according to a police officer with the city's public security bureau.

Li's mother, who took her daughter to the store to buy drinking water, and others used bricks and sticks to get the dog away from the girl. She then took her daughter to a local hospital, where she died, said the officer.

The dog's owner, a man surnamed Bi, illegally raised the Tibetan mastiff since April 2012. He has been detained for negligent homicide, and police have taken the mastiff to a dog pound.

Also on Thursday, a male mastiff freed itself from its chains and attacked two passersby, a man and a woman, in Beijing's Pinggu District. The attack happened around 9 a.m., when the dog's owner had the mastiff chained up outside so he could clean the doghouse. The woman sustained injuries to her back and leg, and the dog bit the man in his arm and shoulder, according to the district's public security bureau.

On June 15, police in the city of Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province, shot dead a Tibetan mastiff as it attacked a 52-year-old man surnamed Wang. Wang's injuries were not life threatening.

According to China Central Television, video surveillance footage from June 3 showed a Tibetan mastiff tackle a little girl playing on the side of the road in Yuncheng City, Shanxi Province. The dog bit her and did not release her until a passerby hit it with a motorcycle and two sticks. After surgery, the girl's thigh injuries were not life threatening.

The Tibetan mastiff is a large dog, which can be as tall as 32 inches and weigh up to 180 pounds.

They can be aggressive. In recent years, because it is quite rare and expensive to buy, Tibetan mastiffs have become a popular pet for many rich Chinese. The dogs have also been smuggled into Hong Kong for wealthy buyers.

Cases of ferocious attacks by large dogs have been frequently reported in China, although raising these sorts of dogs are banned in many cities.

( - June 28, 2013)