Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Heartbreak: How gentle Bleu died

To close out pit bull awareness month, here is the story of a gentle family pet who didn't deserve the cruel manner of his death. This sort of thing is particularly hard for me to write about, but hopefully we can learn a lesson from this specific death, just one of the many similar sad events occurring daily. This is the story of a sweet, docile Weimaraner named Bleu, who was attacked on his own property, torn apart by a pair of roaming pit bulls and left for dead.

The most frustrating thing about this attack was that these same pit bulls had attacked him previously, but Bleu's owners were at home at the time and were able to break up the attack. The pit bulls ran home, but Bleu's reprieve was only temporary. The pit bulls returned to kill him when was all alone.

This tragedy underscores for me an important rule to protect innocent victims from needless harm, a rule that blogger Dawn James has long has long emphasized: "Never, under any circumstances, let an attacking pit bull leave your property alive". 

Let that sink in.

If the pit bulls had been killed during their first unprovoked attack, they would never have been able to return and kill this sweet boy. Hindsight is always 20-20 in these cases, but if this can serve as a cautionary tale for pet owners in the future, then Bleu's death will not have been completely in vain.

Bleu's owner continues below - 

"My husband found our beautiful Weimaraner, Bleu, just to the right of this blood-stained wall, under a utility trailer. He said when he found him he said "Oh Bleu" and Bleu, still alive, started wagging his little tail. My husband, a tough as nails bastard, still cries when he talks about this."

"Bleu was savagely killed by two pit bulls who live through the woods from us. It was the second time they had attacked Bleu. My husband was able to stop the first attack and he was assured that the dogs would never be let off their chains again. But they were let loose again, and last Friday they killed him on our property. Unbelievably, our county has no law allowing officers to remove these dogs or to even interview the owners. 

The owners of the pit bulls are completely oblivious to our loss, and to the danger these dogs pose for our grandchildren who play - or used to play - in our yard.
The pit bull owners referred to the grisly torture of Bleu as a 'dog fight', and boasted about how their pit bulls had killed another dog - a sweet, docile dog who had no blood on his teeth, which indicated he never bit either of his attackers. 

After I told my story, the pit bull lobby has attacked, slandered and threatened me. They don't want me talking about that fact that two dogs that had been in my yard often over 2 years, eaten with Bleu, been petted by me and my grandson, tore Bleu apart and left him to die in a blood-sprayed puddle behind one of our barns."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My pit bull experience

In observation of pit bull awareness month, we would like to offer this story as an example of a "teachable moment" - a pit bull experience that someone took the time to record, in order to help others understand the problems faced by pit bull rescuers. Like so many similar accounts, hers has largely been kept quiet by pressure from pit bull activists (who typically swarm angrily against any entity that dares to publish an opinion that these creatures, created and bred specifically for a violent blood sport, and currently leading all other dog breeds in the human death toll by a country mile, might actually be dangerous) Although her story has not gotten much traction, we're highlighting it here, for your edification. While there are many who could tell a similar tale, she has told hers particularly well, with meticulous attention to detail.

Sonya Marmeladov did everything right, thinking she was doing a good thing by adopting a pit bull. She followed the guidelines of the pit bull advocacy groups to the letter. She provided a wonderful home and every opportunity for the pit bull to live a wonderful life. She was patient and thorough, determined to help the timid, fearful pit bull regain its confidence, which it did. Her efforts were almost superhuman. Nobody could have done any more than she did to make it work.

Sonya didn't count on the vicious, sustained attack that the newly-confident pit bull launched on her other dog, a sweet, non-aggressive boy who didn't deserve what happened to him. That attack was the last straw, so after coming to the realization that her attempts to rehabilitate the violent and unpredictable animal were doomed to failure, she did the responsible thing and requested that it be euthanized. To her dismay, the local SPCA group refused to put the creature down, instead covering up its violent record and offering it up for adoption to unsuspecting families.

Unfortunately this sort of thing is not so rare as one would hope.

Read Ms Marmeladov's full account here

Read the insightful commentary by dog behaviorist Alexandra Semyonovhere

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pit bull awareness month: This was Rhett

On  May 30 2011, a sweet, shy, docile dog named Rhett was attacked inside his own yard by a pit bull from across the street that had smashed through a gate to get to him. Rhett was a good sized dog, but he was a lover, not a fighter, and he submitted to the pit bull. But pit bulls don't recognize normal canine etiquette, as many bewildered family pets have found out too late. After Rhett lay on his back and submitted, the pit bull continued to maul the vulnerable dog, and before Rhett's owner could come to his aid, he had suffered life changing and ultimately fatal wounds.

Rhett suffered for days, his condition steadily worsening. After his stroke and paralysis, Rhett's human companion made the painful decision to put him to sleep. Like most pit bull victims, Rhett's story never made the news, but we did write about it last year in this article. 

Even though the broken gate has been repaired, the murder scene washed and painted, the creature that killed her dog breathes still, and strains daily against it's screen door, a constant reminder of the injustice of the violation suffered. The sorrow of Rhett's end remains a poignant memory.

"My sister made a little monument for my garden, and I put in on the spot where Rhett was defeated by the monster. I've put plants and wind chimes on this spot, prayed but I can't get over the image of him on his back, and the blood splattered on the wall."

As animal lovers, we all sooner or later know the pain of losing a beloved pet, but when the end is so brutal, senseless and undeserved, the pain is worse.

"Every day, when I walk my other two dogs, there's that spot in the graveyard, where Rhett kept vigil, and I wonder if his spirit is still there, if he keeps vigil for the first owner who abandoned him and broke his heart, or if he's waiting for me."

"I hope that there is a kind of heaven for him"

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pit bull awareness month: a reader speaks

A reader (who requested anonymity out of legitimate concern for violence from pit bull activists) related this story about one of her co-workers:

My coworker owned a pit bull, which she described as very sweet - "wouldn't hurt a fly". She often dog sat for a friends large Akita, and the pit and Akita always seemed to be best friends. One night they were out in their yard together and they noticed that their play had escalated to a full on dog fight. The pit was no match for the Akita  who had size and a protective coat on its side. But despite the fact that the pit bull was losing badly, it continued to fight. Her husband had to beat her it a shovel to get it to stop. Once the pit stopped, the Akita stopped.

Japanese Akita

A few years later this same coworker decided to adopt a small, elderly chihuahua mix that someone found wandering in the road. I warned her not to trust her pit bull, but she seemed unconcerned. For a year the dogs lived together happily, often sharing a bed and seeming to enjoy each other. Then one night the pit walked over to the sleeping chihuahua mix and grabbed it around the neck and began shaking it with the clear intent to kill it. The chihuahua was screaming, the pit was silent. Again her husband had to stop the pit bull attack, but there was no shovel handy. He had to punch the pit repeatedly in the head to get it to stop, and he had to punch it so hard he broke his hand. 


The next day my coworker came to work and was clearly still shaken up by the whole thing. She kept saying "you were right, you were right..." She will never own another pit bull. 

Pit Bull

Wise woman.

It's a good thing when someone is enlightened, and begins to take seriously the safety and well being of  their pets, and the pets of others. It's even better when it doesn't require a fatal mauling in order for them to see the light.