Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The story of Max

Christmas morning should have been a happy time for Jim Reeve, Shannon Johnson and their son Jacob. After they opened presents with Shannon's sister Adrienne, Jim went out for a cup of coffee. That was the last time he would ever see their miniature poodle, Max, alive and well.

Upon returning home, Jim walked into a surreal nightmare scene of blood-spattered hallways and a traumatized family. Their beloved Max lay clinging to life, fatally injured by a large pit bull type dog which had rushed into their home and brutally attacked when Shannon answered a knock at the door. Max died hours later as the vet tried in vain to save him.

Unfortunately, their experience is not unique. Family pets are attacked by pit bulls in their own yards and even in their own homes with a disturbing frequency. In these all too common events, pit bulls are doing precisely what they were bred to do: attack and kill dogs.

This heartbreaking ordeal was hard on the family. Jim had purchased the poodle for his son Jacob in the hopes that he would be good for him and help him deal with the challenges of autism. Max had been helping Jacob relate to animals properly and was making a difference in Jacob's life. The boy and his dog were best friends, and for Jacob to see a pit bull tear his best friend apart in his own home was extremely traumatic.

Jim recalls that day: "After the attack we had to cancel two Christmas dinners.  We had family coming down from up north and had to tell them to stay home. And animal control released the pit bull back to the owners because my dog didn't die right away."

In other words, the fact that Max suffered for hours while thousands of dollars were spent trying to save him equated to a less serious attack than if Max had died immediately.

Jim continues "I also remember filing for freedom of information, in which I was denied anything of relevance.  The person that plead guilty to being the owner of the pit bull lives only a couple blocks away from me and never thought to call me when it happened."

And so, as if the Christmas day home invasion mauling wasn't bad enough, the attacking pit bull was promptly released back to its owner. 

For this family, Christmas is forever ruined. If this had been an isolated incident, some sort of freak accident, that would be one thing, but sweet, docile family pets are being mauled to death on their own property far too often. Unless society demands action, the problems with unregulated pit bulls will continue to worsen.

As if to rub salt in an open wound, the pit bull activists weighed in predictably on the attack, saying things like "why did your wife open the door?" and "that's what happens when dogs fight!" 

Max (RIP) shown in happier times

Original news story


  1. these home invasions are grotesque. they are like something right out of a bad horror film. i just can't wrap my brain around a dog being so bold as to charge into a strange home and start mauling.

  2. Thanks Jake. It's been about 17 months and it's still tough. Our next court date is June 8Th, but it's only a settlement conference. So, there could be another court date after that. I can't wait for this to be over.

  3. This is terribly horrific and sad. I'm so sorry this happened to you and your family, Jim. My heart goes out to you and especially to Jacob. I'm certain that you want this to all be over, and Christmas may never be same again. God Bless, you're all in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Jim and family, I'm so sorry your family had to go through such a tragedy. I'm buying a home this summer, and the first priority is to fence it with a 6' fence topped with barbed wire or a hot wire to deter pit bulls. Then something like this happens, and it turns out dogs aren't even safe when the owner opens the front door for a supposed guest.

    I hope you get a landmark settlement and the pit bull gets euthanized. Nothing will ever bring back your dog, but hopefully pit bull owners will think harder about restraining their dogs. I just saw a 1980's report from HSUS saying pit bulls are 20x more likely to escape confinement compared to other breeds.

    Good luck with your court date in June.

  5. I am really sorry to hear about this. It made my blood boil when it was said Pit bull activists blamed to woman for opening the door! So it's not the dog, it's the VICTIM's fault now?! Thank God it didn't go after a child!

  6. My heart goes to Jim, Shannon and Jacob. How traumatic...very likely they will always remember that it was Christmas. I feel the same way about Memorial Day, the day a pit bull type of dog (An American Bulldog mix) rammed through the wrought iron gate to attack my big strapping and imposing Chow mix. Nothing was done by animal control, because it took three weeks for him to die. Pit Bull advocates have scrutinized every detail of my account, calling me a liar, and blaming the incident on me. It took great effort to receive compensation for the damages done to my property, and the cost of the effort to save my dog. The insurance company didn't bat an eye at the charge of repairing the gate. I hope you find justice, that there is healing, and that your story gets out there for the greater good...inspiring vigilance in owners of dangerous breeds, inspiring better laws and policies, and preventing more of this carnage.

    Rest in Peace, Max.
    God Bless you.


Comments accepted only on current articles.

In order to keep the signal to noise ratio within reasonable limits, we reserve the right not to publish any comments deemed inflammatory, repetitious, inane, comments which contribute nothing other than drama, or comments which appear to be a copy and paste of talking points that have no discernible connection to the article at hand.

Note: If there is no apparent means of emailing you for clarification or follow-up, don't expect your comments to be published.