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Pit Bulls, Dangerous Dog Attacks, And “Hero” Mothers

ANIMAL WATCH

ANIMAL WATCH - The heartbreaking number of unprovoked, senseless attacks on children by Pit Bulls and other dangerous dogs and the courage of moms who risk their lives to save their own or someone else’s child, is currently receiving attention by media outlets because of the proximity to Mothers’ Day and to highlight this growing phenomenon. 

Sadly, animal shelters and rescues desperately promote unsafe dogs to meet adoption quotas and the “No Kill” statistical marker set nationally by Best Friends Animal Society, and in order to maintain or gain revenue from donations and grants.

DANGEROUS DOGS BECOMING A NATIONAL EMERGENCY 

We can use Mother’s Day 2024, which is providing emphasis on “Hero Mothers,” as a starting point to question the reasons behind such inconsistencies as one negative public report of a faulty child’s car-seat warranting an investigation that can result in a national recall by the federal government. But, a proven-dangerous dog breed remains protected by local and national politicians, who consistently vote against bans or restrictions on any breed. 

In honor of Mother’s Day and a mother’s innate instinct to help any child in distress, following are attacks where Moms came to the rescue of a stranger’s child or their own, some with happy endings and some not: 

Mother rescues girl, 8, from attacking dog in Victorville.

 

A San Bernardino County mother who saved an 8-year-old girl from an attack by a stray dog as she and her brother walked to school, told KTLA that her own daughter alerted her that a child was being held by her head in the jaws of a stray dog. This terrifying event occurred in Victorville on February 29 around 7 a.m., according to KTLA. 

Maria Hernandez was able to pull the girl to safety but told a reporter that the experience has left her shaken. 

Surveillance video captured the image of a dog jumping on the little girl as she walked with two other children just outside Hernandez’s home. However, almost immediately, the dog can be seen dragging the little girl into the yard by her head. 

“I got up and just ran down and the first thing I grabbed was my broom,” she told the KTLA reporter.   

After assuring her own family was secured in the house, Hernandez can be seen running in the direction of the 8-year-old and the dog with her broom. 

“By the time I got out, the dog had the little girl on the other side of the neighbor’s driveway,” she said. “He had her by the leg. He had ripped off all her clothes.” 

Hernandez said she “used the broom as a barrier to keep distance from the dog, as she pulled the little girl, who was bleeding from her head, toward her front door.” 

She told reporters the dog continued following and trying to get to the bleeding child and then became more aggressive as she was pulling the child through her door. Once safely inside, she looked for the other children who were with her, but “they had run off,” the report states. 

The victim was taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where she received treatment for the cuts and abrasions and 17 staples in her scalp, her mother. Ronika Jones, later told KTLA-5 News. 

“She had cuts and bite marks all through her head. The dog dragged her all through the grass ... When I got there, she had blood all over her face and marks all over her body," she added. 

Despite her injuries, it could have been much worse if another mother, Maria Hernandez, hadn't scared the dog away. 

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s responded, along with city animal control “the dog was reportedly first seen in the are the night before and has no ID and no microchip.” 

A surveillance video of the attack can be seen here.

MOTHER AND SON ARE VICTIMS OF ATTACK BY FOUR PIT BULLS IN L.A. COUNTY

 

In a look at reality for animals in L.A., not all Moms are heroic, and two days earlier a mother and son—a man in his 20’s—were both mauled by their own pit bulls in the city of Azusa. 

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded and L.A. County Animal Care and Control officers were dispatched and impounded all four dogs. 

Officials confirmed that all four of the dogs involved were Pit Bulls’and both victims  were expected to survive. They are not sure if the dogs are being used for breeding. 

L.A. County Animal Care and Control officers found that there was no proof of rabies vaccination; therefore, all the dogs will be held by L.A. County Animal Care and Control for the legal quarantine period, or until the legal owner is identified and relinquishes control, a spokesperson told KTLA 5 News. 

MOM CALLED “HERO” FOR SAVING 2-YEAR-OLD FROM PIT BULL 

“Mother Sees Pit Bull Attack Her Son, 2, and Rip Off His Clothing,”

 

An Austin,Texas, mother is being hailed a hero for her taking quick actions which saved her 2-year-old toddler during a violent Pit Bull attack, which began with the dog “biting his stomach,” according to an Inside Edition report. 

This alarming incident occurred on December 23, 2023, as Chante Wright-Haywood was leaving home to take her son to daycare. 

As is not unusual, she described the Pit Bull as coming “out of nowhere.” By the time she could respond by kicking the dog off her son, she realized “he actually had [CJ’s] clothing in his mouth,” the report states.

Wright-Haywood screamed and grabbed her 2-year-old son to run back to their house, but the dog tried to bite CJ again. 

The mother and her son managed to get inside the house but the door would not close, leading to a shoving match. The dog kept jumping on the door and pushing it to try to "get at the child, and It refused to leave,” she said. 

“The family joined together to stop the dog from getting inside,” she said. 

“Initially you could see the dog teeth imprinted in the bite,” Wright-Haywood told Inside Edition regarding the attack on her daughter. 

Wright-Haywood who works as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) told Inside Edition, ““I know I have to save him. I have to get him up off this ground and I have to make sure this dog does not get ahold of him again.” 

The pit bull was impounded and is being held for rabies quarantine (which means it had no ID or Microchip.)  

Hero”Mom Dies Stopping Pit Bull Attack on her 4-year-old Son

 

 

On December 21, 2021, Newsweek Magazine published the following tribute  (later updated in 2023) to a 35-year-old mother of two who suffered fatal injuries while protecting her son from a dog. 

“She is being remembered as a "hero" by those who knew her, and many others who have been touched by her story.”

A Wisconsin mother, Heather Pringel, had her arms ripped apart by a Pit Bull while saving her 4-year-old son from the dog, and she later died in 2021. (However, her story was updated and posted again on July 5, 2023.)

A Wisonsin mother, Heather Pingel, 35, was savagely attacked at her home in Bowler, Wisconsin, northwest of Milwaukee, on Dec. 8, 2021, by a Pit Bull the family had taken in when it would have been taken to a shelter or dumped by its prior owners.

That day in 2021, the boy’s father “got home to find her lying on the bathroom floor. She said, ‘I have no arms, and I’m dying,’ ” Pingel’s sister, Shannon, told the Wausau Daily Herald.

Heather’s son, Damion, was found sitting in the dining room with blood pouring from a  wound in his leg. He received 70 stitches after being bitten by the dog and was later released from the hospital.

The mother of two had spent a week in the hospital trying to recover from her extensive injuries and blood loss before she was pronounced dead Thursday, her family said.

She suffered kidney failure and had had both of her arms amputated.

The family believes the attack was prompted by Pingel seeing the dog biting her son. The dog likely turned on her as she tried to shield the boy from further injuries, her family believes.

Shane Bernarde, Pingel’s boyfriend and the father of the injured boy, returned home to find the dog still attacking her in the bathroom. Bernarde, was also bitten during the ordeal. He later told the police that he pulled the dog off Pingel, dragged it out to the yard and shot it.

No one knew exactly how long she was in there fighting him off, her sister said, but told the Waussau    that, “her injuries were so severe she was unable to give authorities a full account of what happened before she died.”

Her sister said the dog had previously shown signs of aggression, and the family believed it was caused by the mistreatment and beatings it received from its former owner.

However, the dog had at one time bitten Shane.

“My sister has the biggest heart for animals and just couldn’t get rid of it. … Her heart was too big, and they thought they could fix him,” Shannon said.

IT IS TIME TO STOP PRETENDING PIT BULLS ARE NOT A PROBLEM

When I first started writing about Pit Bulls, it was rare to hear of an attack. Today there are so many that it is emotionally overwhelming to decide where to start. Like any problem, the key to change is in understanding the need for communication and honesty about these dogs and enough victims sharing their stories in local and national publications as letters to the editor, or writing on a public blog, so that it is shared with those  seeking wisdom and insight--not just hype or hatred.

A LESSON ABOUT PIT BULLS FOR MOTHERS

It is important to realize that an attack by a Pit Bull is not a decision, but an impulse triggered by its genetics. You can modify its behavior under ideal circumstances by training, but you cannot change who it may become when unexpectedly introduced to a strange situation or person or animal.  It is a risk to own this breed, and it is hard to tell who may become a victim—but it could be you, or someone you love.

(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former Los Angeles City employee, an animal activist and a contributor to CityWatch.)