Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Getting to know pit bulls, continued

A reader at Craven Desires recently left this comment, which we felt was too important not to share. Consider this a Public Service Announcement.

About 7 years ago, I was presented with a 10-12 week old apbt puppy. Actually, my brother in law left us his favorite pup from the latest litter for "a few weeks" in hopes we would fall in love and keep him and stupidly, we did.

For years before this, I had (wisely) regarded these dogs as unpredictable creatures that kill and maim, and was leery of being around them.

But having this dog left with me, and after some years of being exposed to the "pit bull community" (aka myths and lies) and having made many new friends who had these dogs, which always seemed friendly and playful, I started to believe the myths.

I was never totally snowed, I knew full well they could be dangerous and they are fighting dogs, but the myth of the "good owner" overcame this so, when my brother in law dropped the pup off, I figured "well, I know the breeder, the (dog) parents, grandparents, and I'm an experienced dog owner with a big fenced yard, no kids, and time to work with him. What could possibly go wrong?" The only objection was from my parents, who begged and pleaded for us to put him down for safety sake. but like any "too smart for advice" 23 year old, I ignored them.

As it turns out, a lot could go wrong .

The first year or so went well, we did all the "right" things: positive training, treated him like he was part of the family, walked and played vigorously, and socialized him, etc. He seemed to be a sweet dog, friendly, got along with the cats and the chihuahua. i didn't have kids then, but wouldn't have feared for them anyway. He grew into a little larger than average size, maybe 70 lbs with a big, but not massive, head.

When the apbt was around 1 1/2 to 2 years old, I was asked by my friend to look after her mini pinscher, a smallish dog that was very friendly. I told her it probably was not a good idea, as I didn't think having a strange dog in the home was a good idea, even though he hadn't shown aggression to dogs. I also didn't want the extra work of keeping them separated at all times. But she begged me, claiming no one else would take him, so I reluctantly agreed.

So, my friend brought her little dog for me to watch for an extended period, and the morning after she'd brought him over, the apbt was in my room, and my friend's dog was in another. I took the little dog for a walk, and the neighbors pit bull rottweiler mix started barking and climbing the fence, so we rushed inside. I took off his lead, turned to go hang it up, and like lightning, my apbt burst through my door. I have no idea how he opened it, as it was closed when I went outside. I'd double checked.

Before I could even react, and silent as a crocodile, the pit bull snatched up the little dog and shook it, snapping its neck. He didn't even have time to cry. It was so fast, I didn't have time to grab anything to try to stop it. I can't explain how fast and quiet it was.

I screamed. I looked around, and cursed myself for not having a gun, bat, or anything useful. All I had nearby was my chihuahuas old collar, and that dogs small lead. I grabbed them, and tried to figure out what to do, while he was chewing on the dog. I was sick. I'd never seen anything like it.

Then the apbt looked up at me. I knew I was next. Thankfully, he was distracted by his kill. My 30 year old brother came down the stairs, saw the scene and freaked out. He frantically asked "What to do? who to call? wheres a phone?" I told him we didn't have time for this, we had to act now. We were on the other side of the room at this time.

The apbt looked up, dropped the now chewed up dead dog, and started coming at my brother. As it lunged at him, I body checked it, and jumped on its back, like it was a horse. I guess my brother managed to move quick enough. I got the collar around its neck and started to choke it. It did everything to get me off. It was like being on a bucking bronco, but with teeth.

I don't recall much, it seemed like time stood still. My brother was screaming and trying to hold the apbt's back legs, I was on it's back, using every bit of my strength to stay on, not get bit, and strangle my own dog. I was crying, screaming, and terrified. It's neck was so thick and strong, and my hands were tired, the collar was so small. I had my legs clamped around him as I pulled the collar as tight as I could.

I can remember my brother begging me not to kill it, to take it to the vet to be put down, instead. I remember asking him how he thought we were gonna get this killer dog in the car and to a vet safely? It was frantic, desperate, thinking, as we had never seen anything like this, nor killed anything before.

I don't know how long it usually takes to strangle something, but I swear it took forever. The size of his neck and my weakness made it drawn out. When I jumped on the dog, I was on one side of the large living room, but by the time the dog was dead, I had been carried all the way across that room, and half way into another. He was that strong, shaking to get me off the whole time. But when he stopped moving, then urinated and defecated, I hoped it was over.

We weren't sure if t was dead, or just unconscious, so while I remained sitting on it, my brother went out to his car and got a thick chain and a lock. we tied him up, in case he woke up. that is how scared we were. it was bizarre, to tie up a dead dog, but we were seriously shell shocked and terrified of it, even in death.

After about 10 min, we knew it was dead. I was still bawling. Vicious or not, it was my dog (and my husbands), which I had witnessed kill and eat another dog, attack my brother, and then I killed him with my bare hands. I was shaking. I called a coworker, who came over and wrapped the dogs up, and took the bodies for cremation.

I couldn't even look at the small dog as he was being wrapped up, he was mangled. what a sweet little guy he was, I felt horrible, evil, for his death. I have never felt such guilt, and haven't since then. Next I called my husband, and told him I'd killed his dog. I told him a short version and he cried. Still hysterical, I called my mom, and said "I know, you told me so! I feel like a fool", but she comforted me and talked me down. my brother just sat, shocked, for hours.

My house was covered in blood, all over the carpet, plus the contents of both dogs intestines and bladders. it was very hot, and the smell was unique, awful, and penetrating. I called a carpet cleaner, and in tears, explained what happened, and they rushed over. An hour later, the rug was clean, and I scrubbed the walls. It was cathartic. Both dogs were cremated that same day as well.

Never had I been so scared, so guilty, and never had I felt like such a damn fool. I knew I had done everything right, so why had this happened? My dog killed a dog in my home, busted out of a door to get to him, and then lunged at either me or my brother (we were next to each other, so I'm not sure, its hazy). We were lucky to escape physical harm. Had I been alone, I don't know what would have happened. Why had my well trained, well loved, socialized, etc, dog turned into a monster, a killing machine?

To this day I thank heavens that the apbt was so engrossed with his kill that he did not immediately attack us, and I had time to get my brother, the collar, and make a hasty plan. Had he not been intent on eating/dismembering the dead dog, we wouldn't have been able to get far enough away, and may have been mauled, instead of just lunged at.

Anyway, I've never been through anything so traumatic. I've had a terrifying, near death motorcycle accident, seen all kinds of horrible things, been attacked and beat up, and also raped twice, but nothing was like this. This gave me nightmares and made me doubt my own judgement, as I proved I was totally ignorant in having that dog in the first place.

I think of how many times it could have happened, how close I was to what was basically a land mine, and I cringe. I think of all the other victims that have been killed or disfigured, all the kids changed forever, if they even escaped with their lives. This was not reported to anyone, thus did not figure into the statistics.

I have never written it down, but this seems like a fitting place to do so. I hate thinking about it, but people need to know:

No matter how awesome you are with dogs, no matter how careful you are, no matter how much you love, no matter how well you train, no matter how well socialized the dog is, no matter how responsible you are - I even had insurance - its a killer. crocodile jaws on a dogs body. You cannot train or love away the fighter in them.

The apbt is a quick, stealthy dog that greets you with a smile and a tail wag, then tries to tear your face off. I've been told I'm "mean", that I shouldn't blame the breed (whatever that's supposed to mean), or that its my fault for having a little dog in the apbt's territory (locked behind a door???). all I say to that is: I hope you don't have to learn the hard way.

Why have a dog that can kill you? Especially when there are so many types of cool, good natured, dependable dogs that would never maul you to death.

Well, I did own one, and I was a damned fool, an ignoramus, and a totally misinformed jackass that put lives at risk just by owning such an animal. I was 23 years old, and at 130 lbs, thin, and not super strong, I could never have stopped it if it had gone berserk in public.

The guilt over the deaths has never gone away. but now I know better.

I haven't added any identifying info because it's possible the owner of the little dog could read this. She doesn't need the horrible details of how her dog died.

Reference: The original discussion thread was
Full Post

No comments:

Post a Comment