Monday, January 20, 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 here


  1. Thank you for your courage and sharing this story.

  2. It's sad it takes something like this blood sacrifice to convert minds.

  3. Thanks for posting it. It makes me sick rereading it, and also realized how lucky we were., I'm a woman.

    It is sad, I should have known better. I was an idiot to believe those myths. I never knew anyone's dogs that had attacked, nor seen footage. The only bad info I heard always included "thugs", "fighting", and "abuse", so I figured all the stuff about "its all the owner!" Was true. Yeah, foolish. I am sorry a living creature had to die in order to teach me a lesson, and I will be eternally guilty for that.

    And people still chasten me for killing the gripper! I'm the bad guy (girl) for not letting a killer live. What the????? Did they expect me to let it live to attack again? I was dumb, but not that dumb.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story! If more people share their stories perhaps it will change someone's mind and save a life, or hospitalization. No one breed of stupid dog is worth one person.

  5. You did nothing wrong and there was nothing wrong with your dog. THIS is what a good game bred pit bull does-attack without warning or provocation, and finishes the job. Pit bulls do not attack due to anxiety or lack of positive associations and trust. They do not attack because of resource guarding. They attack because they have a genetically determined, strongly heritable brain dysfunction."..."The idea that you can socialize a pit bull to be a peace-loving dog is a fairy tale. In the past thirty years, I have seen people try this experiment again and again. They get a pit bull puppy, determined to prove that if only you raise them kindly and socialize them with other dogs, the pit bull will turn out to be just like any other dog. This has every single time resulted in tragedy." How and why training and socialization fails in pit bulls.

  6. It takes far too long for the cops to come to your home to dirt nap pibbles,all pit owners should own a gun.

  7. As others have said, you did the right thing and have no reason to feel guilty.

    1) You really couldn't have known something like this would happen. There is a lot of disinformation about pitbulls. Whole sites dedicated to dismissing the truth about them as "myths". So, why would you believe the truth about pitbulls? Which is that they are unpredictable and dangerous.

    2) You defended yourself and saved others from being maimed by the dog. There should be no guilt there, but I know how hard it is to deal with the decision to end a life.

    My friend had a pitbull that was a great dog. Then it had puppies. One male puppy was kept and that dog kept going after people and sucked its mother into its bad behavior. It took forever, but finally animal control put down both dogs before they hurt someone.

    I loved the female. It was a very smart, very nice dog. But, it became out of control. I was saddened to hear it got put down, but certainly understand it now that I've aged some.

    Regarding the door thing: We had a pug. We could close an inside door very securely (or so we thought), but that dog would somehow push and bang on the door until it opened. It was a real trick and we never figured out how it pulled it off.

    At this point in my life, after all my dog experiences, I have come to the conclusion that dogs should be banned from cities. There are too many people suffering because of irresponsible and ill-informed dog owners. Your story just adds to my support of banning them.

    I'm not name calling here or trying to make you feel bad, but you are just another victim of the dog fantasy. They are not easy animals to take care of. None of them.

    1. I agree. I have lost my legal right to enjoyment of my own property due to my dog collecting neighbors and their barking lawn ornaments. I have no recourse except to get another neighbor to sign a co-complaint with that's going to happen? Why isn't the onus on the dogs OWNER to take proper care of the animal they CHOSE to have? Almost every neighborhood smells like a barn and sounds like a kennel anymore. And no one is accountable until someone winds up in the hospital or morgue.

    2. Exactly.

      Bark laws don't work, because people don't want to file a complaint. We have cops patrolling for speeders, but no one patrols for barking dogs.

      I can't own chickens in my city, because they would disturb my neighbors. Why the hell then are dogs allowed to be owned?

  8. Your well loved pit bull was ALWAYS a killing machine, a monster. That's what is was BRED to be. You failed to believe it until you had no choice.

  9. Thank you for your courage to speak and write the truth. I hope that many people will listen to you and do the right thing.

  10. Like MOST pit owners, these people were clueless. 1 1/2 to 2 years old is EXACTLY that age at which most pits 'turn on' and go pit. And like most, they didn't have a BREAK STICK, much less having several where they could actually get at them.

  11. Pitbulls are brutal and should all be shot and so should the dumb owners who have a pea sized brain.


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