Saturday, July 6, 2013

Getting to know pit bulls, continued

A US reader sent this story - and sadly, this sort of thing and worse is happening to people regularly -


I have two Boston terriers. I'd researched every breed of dog, looking for the one that best suited my life, had minimal health problems, and was, in particular, great with children, dogs and people in general. I looked everywhere for the dogs. I had health concerns about breeders and rescues, but after some months of search, I found Dixon (4 years old in October), and Helena (just turned 2). Both dogs were at the dog park on the big dog side playing with large dogs at 4 months old. Dixon even played with American Bulldogs, Pit Bulls, Boxers, Mastiffs, etc. None of us had any fear of big dogs.


I rented a condo in December of 2011. The management told me two dogs would be allowed, so mine wouldn't be a problem. In August of 2012 my next door neighbors with a common wall brought Zulu home. Zulu is a 2 year old, 130 lb "Razor" pit bull. When they first brought him home they walked him with a muzzle and I thought it was just due to him being in a new environment or something. At times they would stop while walking, when another dog was present, and I thought it was just a training exercise. At the time, I was under the impression that dog attacks rarely if ever happened, and when they did happen, it was some fault of the owners, and being so rare, it would never happen to me.


The Event:

My life took a change for the worse on March 15, 2013. I was getting ready to leave for work and to take the dogs out for their last morning walk. I had a temporary cast on my right hand and had just gotten back from taking the trash out. I must not have latched the gate properly and Dixon ran out. I was right behind him, when all of a sudden Zulu grabbed Dixon by the neck, less than five feet from my gate. As soon as I saw what happened, I jumped on top of Dixon and held him between my legs to stop Zulu from throwing him, while trying to pry Zulu’s mouth open with my cast. Zulu was being walked by his owner, Elaina Maxwell, on a leash. Elaine is a professional MMA fighter and a purple belt; she was punching the dog in the face the whole time trying to get it to release us. I don't know how long the attacked happened, but my screams still echo in my mind. Somehow we all ended about 20 feet up a grass hill. Zulu still had Dixon by the neck, Dixon was still between my legs and the dog was pulling us up a hill! Finally Zulu released and I immediately pulled Dixon to my stomach; as soon as Zulu released Dixon it went for my face. Fortunately, Elaina was able to pull Zulu away at that moment, and took him into her house. I ran into the bathroom with the dogs and locked the door until I could catch my breath and my head stopped swimming.

After a close call

I went to the ER and Dixon went to the vet. He had numerous punctures around his mouth, and a gash in his neck. I had punctures (one if it was any closer to my eye would have made me lose my eye) a broken nose (broken in two places), and broken teeth. The dog pretty much bit into my mouth, covering my nose and getting the right side of my face. The ER filed a report with animals services. Animal Control came out on Sunday, the attack happened Friday! After meeting with me, seeing everything the dog did, and then talking to Elaina and her husband, THEY LET THE DOG STAY NEXT DOOR! The officer’s reason was that “it saves the owners money.” I told the officer that I didn't feel safe with that and he still let the dog stay.

They City of Milpitas deemed the dog a level four danger and the owners appealed it. They lied in court, swearing that Dixon started the attack, but the appeal judge didn't fall for their story. The best thing of all was seeing the letter sent to Elaina declaring in bold letters that her pit bull is deemed a level 4 danger. In a way, though, I feel violated by the city for allowing the dog to remain there. The only thing that we had separating us from a dog that wanted to kill us was a wall. I had to sit and listen to that dog barking every freaking day! Two weeks after it attacked me, Zulu broke out of its muzzle and went after another dog, and I have statements from that dogs owner.

In the aftermath of the attack, I was officially diagnosed with PTSD. I was in a support group and counseling, and it's been a struggle, but I graduated last week. Now I'm just dealing with the flashbacks, anxiety, being paranoid 24/7. I have only let the dogs be around one dog. I can't let my dogs out of my sight. So, I'm basically a mess. Both of my dogs are on anti/depressants and anti-anxiety medication. Dixon broke down at the vets when he heard a big dog barking, it was so bad he peed himself in the middle of the room. It saddens me to know that I've tried hard to do things correctly but this one day has altered these poor dogs for the worse.

When I finally hired an attorney, he showed me the the CCCR for the condo. The owner of the place had never shown them to me. Two items of interest are that (1) you can only have one dog, and (2) pit bulls are strictly verboten. The condo owner didn't have insurance, and of course Elaina didn't have insurance, and had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy the year prior. So now we have to try to go after the HOA and the security company (the security guard knew about the pit bull and never notified the HOA). Kaiser won't fix my nose, even though they said I needed it (gotta love HMOs). Elaina Maxwell and her husband had to pay a mere $500 for what their dog did to me. It's almost always the case that the victims of pit bull attacks get nothing.

The end of April I moved to house 65 miles away from the attack, built on a hill, on a corner, with a fenced yard, and only one neighbor on one side, who has no dogs. I don't know how things will get better; I just know they will. I don't know why this happened to us; I just pray that it all happened for a reason.

They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger; I would have gladly gone my whole life without getting this particular dose of strength. Me and my dogs are very lucky. We walked away with minimal damage, things could have been much worse. I'm grateful but I ask why: Why do people show so little care; why do they make excuses for these dogs; why don't we start protecting people instead of protecting an animal? 


  1. personally i see no need at all for pitbull type dogs and would have no problem obliterating them of f the face of the earth . on the other hand these dogs are created by and for the humans that want them and THEY would still be here for us to deal with .

  2. i like the direction this blog is taking. it is so important for people to be heard. thanks for sharing.

  3. My heart goes out to the victim. Thank you for sharing this!

  4. Dixon is a handsome little fella and I thank you for sharing this intimate, moving story with us. I jumped in my seat when I saw that photo of your bloody face. That photo says it all. Your story was told with remarkable grace and restraint.

  5. Zulu's face...that breed is a Caliban among dogs, it's face wearing it's purpose, drive, and limitation, an evil mask of avid cruelty, nominally in dog form, but without a normal dog's kindness, civility, discernment, or adaptability, remarkably monstrous, an animal that seems essentially, primitively, committedly, criminally insane.

  6. sadfalada, huge fan. i am feeling inspired again.

  7. Unfortunately there are some "pit bull" owners who will never take full responsibility of their dog. It includes, IMHO, putting the dog down when it's obvious that I can't handle it or can't find a proper place for the dog to be. A confined space for any 130 lbs. dog is questionable. I would've been suspicious from that fact alone.

    I am sorry that terrible event happened to you. I don't know if this dog is even a pit. My girl is 50 lbs. and 22" tall. She is considered big for a true pit bull. Even then, she is still strong, I use prong and shock collars to keep her in control. It might be cruel to some people, but I'd rather make her a little uncomfortable for the safety and reassurance of the public.

    1. Pits were bred to ignore pain while attacking. A bite prevention muzzle would be FAR more reliable where the public's safety is concerned.

  8. There is a great treatment for PTSD that's proven in clinical trials and not even expensive.


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