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Do Pit Bulls Have More Rights than Attack Victims?

ANIMAL WATCH - Pit Bull attacks have become one of the most common—and dreaded—news reports in the U.S.,

increasing since the implementation of the “No Kill” movement, when the country’s most affluent animal experts, including Best Friends Animal Society, ASPCA, the Humane Society of the U.S. and others, began to make financial and philosophical contributions to influence animal control policies. 

Among these was to “empty the shelters” all over the country by leaving lost, abandoned and stray animals in the streets and drastically reducing law enforcement, which involves impounding animals which are unwanted, mistreated or unsafe and adding to the shelter population. 

The national goal of ending euthanasia of all but “irremediably suffering” animals also necessitated assuring trusting families that the growing population of Pit Bulls, impounded because of a history of bites or attacks, can be “saved” by love and a second chance and that Pit Bull puppies will become their best friend for life. 

This effort has distorted reality to attract donations and is endangering animals and humans in their own homes and communities. 

HIDING DANGEROUS DOGS IN PLAIN SIGHT 

The seedy side of this era is that the proliferation of Pit Bulls also serves as the perfect “cover” for dog-fighters whose lower-grade puppies can be sold with guaranteed aggression as protection dogs. This appeals to many families and also to those who have activities to hide. 

This, and providing financial support to unregulated and unmonitored “rescuers”—often individuals or groups with no animal-behavior experience and no licensed facility required—is based on escalating the number of (“dangerous”) Pit Bulls and other dogs “pulled” from shelters each year. It has created a non-profit industry that operates in homes in unsuspecting neighborhoods where children should be safe to play, without government regulation or restrictions. It also has resulted in  little, or no, accountability or liability for damages and injury and promoted   uncontrolled breeding of these dogs.   

The focus of victims, as a group, must be shifted from a dog that is doing what it is genetically bred to do—maim and kill—and placed on exposing those who are making millions of dollars annually in donations—and the legislators who are influenced by them--to promote and enable a dog that is increasingly attacking helpless women and children. 

Victims of Pit Bull attacks have horrific life-changing, debilitating wounds and scars—both physically and emotionally. 

In some recent attacks, police and sheriff’s departments have stepped up openly to protect the rights of all involved, both animal and human, whereas many animal control agencies have forgotten their obligation to victims. Could—and should—this be the trend of the future?

Here are just a few of the incidents within the past week. 

Mother Attacked by Pit Bulls Lives in Fear. ‘Those dogs should be euthanized’. 

VIDEO: Eastlake dog attack victim calls for accountability 

On May 12, Deedee Sun of KIRO7 News in Seattle posted one of the most compelling and alarming in-depth interviews ever published on the attack by two Pit Bulls on Amy Craven, a young mother walking on the 3200 block of Fairview Avenue East. The video shows that the dogs came out of nowhere and rushed toward her, pulling her to the ground and mauling her with absolutely no provocation. 

Amy Craven sustained at least a dozen identifiable bites to her legs and chest and is still hospitalized. She said that all she could think about was that she had to survive because her children were waiting for her at home. (Read entire report here.) 

“It’s still unclear what will happen to the two dogs behind the attack, but victim Amy Craven wants to make sure those dogs will not be able to attack anyone else,” Sun writes. 

Craven was bitten about a dozen times by the dogs on her legs and chest. 

A week after the attack, Amy Craven was still hospitalized and she told KIRO7 that a “whole part of my leg is pretty much missing,” “A machine is attached to her leg, suctioning out fluids from the wound,” according to the report. 

The video shows a man run out to help from Union Marine, a boat dealer/service center near the location of the attack, and throwing tools at the two Pit Bulls as Craven tries to escape by crawling onto a car. 

“If it wasn’t for the people at Union Marine, I think I would’ve died. I couldn’t get away,” Craven told reporters. 

The report states that Craven has since learned “the owner of the dogs is homeless and stays in a nearby encampment,” and Seattle Animal Control confirmed to KIRO7 that “the owner is currently living in a box truck.” 

Yet, the dogs were initially returned to the owner to be quarantined (at home) per city municipal code, KIRO7 states they “were later taken back to the shelter, where they are currently staying.” 

Craven has learned the disturbing news that “animal control says it is possible the owner could get her dogs back.” 

“It’s unfathomable,” Craven, who is still hospitalized and will need at least five surgeries before being released, told KIRO7. “If you’re attacked or even majorly bitten by a dog, those dogs should be euthanized.” 

The City says there needs to be an investigation to “determine whether the animals would be declared dangerous.” 

“If the city chooses to move forward with the ‘dangerous dog’ declaration, there will be a court hearing and the owner has the right to appeal. If the court determines the dogs are dangerous, the dogs could be euthanized or relocated outside of Seattle city limits,” Craven was advised. 

“I’m angry. I feel like these dogs have more rights than me and my community members,” Craven said. “What is it going to take, for someone to be killed?” 

It is important, whether or not you have yet been a victim of a Pit Bull attack, to read this very important interview with Seattle Animal Control in order to understand that the dogs and owners’ “rights” seem to by far supersede those of a victim, who must immediately seek legal assistance. 

At best, it appears little financial and future health care assistance will be available for Amy Craven, since the owner is homeless. 

An animal control spokesperson told KIRO7 that, “while the investigation is happening, the dogs will likely not be returned to their owner after the 10-day quarantine, but that could still happen next week.” It was also admitted that “the owner could also face criminal charges since the dogs were not leashed when the attack happened…” (Suggest reading entire Q&A here.) 

Public Health Inspector Killed by Activist’s Pit Bulls? 

A 17-year veteran supervisor for the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), died after a savage attack by a pack of dogs on a property she was inspecting, according to the Franklin County sheriff’s office.  

Deputies found her body while investigating a report of a “suspicious car” on Crumpton Road in a rural area around 6:00 p.m. on April 28.

Shannon Oliver, the Sheriff of Franklin County, told AL.com Beard was apparently in the area to follow up on a previous attack that week in which a pack of dogs mauled a woman while she was walking. That victim remained hospitalized in “pretty serious condition,” at the time of the attack on Beard. 

While they were on the scene, deputies said, several of the same dogs that were involved in the two prior attacks began attacking local residents and injured one person. 

“It is believed that Beard was attacked as she was attempting to contact the dog’s owner, Brandy Dowdy, when she was killed by the dogs,” the sheriff’s office said. 

Deputies arrested Dowdy, 39, and charged her with manslaughter. She was being held without bail being set, according to Franklin County jail records. 

Oliver said there were seven dogs. Some were euthanized immediately, according to the sheriff’s office. Reports state that Dowdy had a total of 27 dogs on the property. 

According to Dogsbite.org, “The breeds of dogs involved have not been released. What is known is that Dowdy owns or has owned a pit bull in the past and that she is a pit bull advocate.” 

On May 19, 2017, Dowdy published a post, “If only people gave them a chance!! They are the most loving babies!! Stop breed discrimination!!” (Read report here.

FIREMAN'S FAMILY HELPS ELDERLY NEIGHBOR WITH DEMENTIA, WIFE AND 2 CHILDREN ATTACKED BY HER PIT BULL 

A mother and her two children were viciously attacked at the home of a neighbor with dementia when they tried to help her get home safely on April 28, in Berkley County, SC. 

The elderly woman had wandered onto their property so Bethany Hastings told WCSC that she and the children were using the family’s golf cart to get her home safely.  

However, when they arrived, her front door opened and the woman’s Pit Bull ran out and jumped onto the golf car, attacking her daughter, Lainey, 4, and son, Wesley, 2,and then Bethany. The attack left the little girl with deep lacerations to her face. 

“First he got my brother, and then second he got me and then third he got my mom,” Lainey told WSC. 

Bethany is a nurse. She grabbed the dog and held him down for fifteen “terrifying minutes” as the dog continued to struggle and lunge at her.  

Fortunately, another neighbor heard the commotion and arrived in his truck to pull the two injured children into his truck until emergency responders arrived. 

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office reported that all three were then transported to the hospital for treatment. Although Bethany and her son were released from the hospital that night, 4-year-old Lainey sustained the most severe injuries and spent four days in the hospital, with two of those days in pediatric intensive care. The little girl is also facing follow-up surgeries to correct the injuries to her face, the report states. 

“They [the doctors] hadn’t quite seen anything like that before to that extent, with that much damage,” Hastings said. 

The Pit Bull was reportedly euthanized. 

(A friend of the family set up a GoFundMe page on May 5 to help Christopher Bayles with these unexpected expenses. Bayles is a local firefighter.) 

Pit Bull Attacks Boy, 6, Then Turns on Its Owner 

A Pit Bull with no prior history of aggression mauled a six-year-old boy and then turned on its owner in a townhouse in North Aurora, Illinois, on May 12, according to ABC7 (Chicago). 

The Aurora Police Department reported that, after the fire department had broken through the door, officers were forced to shoot the dog to stop the vicious attack that left both victims badly injured. 

The owner of the townhouse affirmed that her tenant owns the 5-year-old purebred Pit Bull, Maximus, who has played with children and been around cats daily with no problem. 

But for some unknown reason, when the tenant’s friend brought her son to visit, Maximus attacked the child, she said. Then, when his owner tried to control him, he turned on his owner. 

According to North Aurora Police, after the fire department broke through the door, an officer entered and the Pit Bull also charged him and four shots were fired. 

The dog was injured but able to walk and was removed from the home, “with the intention of euthanizing him at the veterinary office,” according to the report. The two victims were transported for immediate medical care and stabilized. 

MOTHER OF THREE, NOW WITHOUT ARMS AND COLON FROM PIT BULL ATTACK, MAY LOSE ONE LEG.

 

Kayleen Waltman, 38, was the victim of a horrific attack by three Pit Bulls while walking home in Abbeville County, South Carolina on March 21.

She has now been released from the hospital after seven weeks of suffering and surgeries, according to her GoFundMe page and the Daily Mail.  

However, she now has no arms, her colon was removed, her scalp was ripped off, and she faces possibly losing one leg. 

Kayleen mercifully passed out during the attack, but the detailed report provided by her sister, Amy Wynne, states that the dogs also “tore off her eyelid.” 

Her life was saved by a farmer who was nearby, shot a gun into the air and kicked one of the dogs to scare them away from the helpless woman. 

The dogs were euthanized following the attack, People.com reports. 

However, nothing can restore Kayleen’s losses and the fact that she will never again feel her loved ones embraced in her arms or have normal body functions, nor be able to live without someone caring for her 24 hours a day.

 

 Her sister organized a Go Fund Me page which has communicated Kayleen’s tragedy worldwide, has posted details of this unbelievable horror story and how the family and Kayleen are coping with this new life and the possible loss of her leg. Kayleen was unable to have prosthetic arms because of the underlying damage to her shoulder and still faces outpatient surgeries, her sister writes. 

Amy was in the courtroom at a preliminary hearing for the dogs’ owner, Justin Minor, who knew the dogs were dangerous and had signs posted in his yard with that warning. 

She reported that Minor, 36, said that he “trained the dogs to do exactly what they did—to attack and kill. They were trained to kill,” she wrote. 

Minor is charged with three counts as the owner of a dangerous animal that attacks or injures a human, one count of a dangerous animal not permitted beyond premises unless restrained, and one count of a rabies control chapter. 

Just a few more minutes—or seconds—of attack might have seen him charged with manslaughter for Kyleen’s death. Even though she was saved, what will the future hold for her? 

“Minor was released last month on a $15,000 bond and may still face a penalty of $5,000 or a sentence of three years in prison. His case will be sent to a grand jury,” Daily Mail reports. 

Wynne said her sister is not ever “going to have a normal life now, her quality of life is gone.” She said the laws in South Carolina are very lenient regarding dog attacks. 

“Minor is not on house arrest, and he can do whatever he wants,” she added. “My mother saw him leaving a store carrying beer meanwhile my sister is not able to do anything anymore.”  

There is no better statement to end this article, except to add a reminder that until action is taken from the top of government to the owners of the dogs, this will not be the last victim—and someone you love could be next.

 

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