On Sunday, February 16, 2014, my partner, Rusty Fox and I were walking our 6 ½ month old Yorkie, Vargas, on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, CA (Studio City is a neighborhood in Los Angeles), when all of a sudden a pit bull came bounding out of a store (the owner was shopping and let go of the leash) and attacked Vargas (who was on a leash that I was holding—Vargas was at my feet). ). My partner and I attempted to rescue Vargas. In order to get our dog from the grips of the pit bull, we had to physically engage her: I used my fists on the pit bull; I attempted to pry the pit bull’s mouth open in order to release our dog; my partner, who walks with a cane, used the cane to defend against the pit bull; a bystander from a local bakery threw water on the dog, and I took a chair from the bakery sidewalk cafe to beat the pit bull. This dog was vicious and relentless. We were eventually able to get Vargas from the grips of the bull dog, and in the process, my partner, who was, at the time, approximately 6 weeks post-surgical from an extensive spine operation, was knocked down into the ground by the pit bull, and I had part of my right middle finger bitten off.
A bystander phoned 911 and requested that the Police and EMT be sent; due to the gravity of the situation, and the delay in response time from the Police and EMT, another bystander took us to a local Animal Hospital, and then took me to a local ER. My partner remained with Vargas. Although we did recover the severed portion of my finger, the attempt to graft it back on failed and I had to have a formal amputation and finger shortening surgery on March 5th. When I got back to the Animal Hospital a few hours later, they were working to stabilize Vargas so that he could undergo exploratory surgery to ascertain the extent of his injuries. Although Vargas held on for over 8 hours, it was determined that the injuries were fatal, and we had to have Vargas put down.
It is now over 3 months since the attack, and Animal Services has yet to schedule a dangerous dog hearing to determine the fate of the pit bull that attacked us and killed our dog. We have been told that it is unlikely that the attacking dog will be put down; the common outcome of these hearings is to issue a “restricted license” which requires that the dog attend obedience class and be required to wear a muzzle in public. After a predetermined period of time, and assuming the dog is not involved in another attack, the owner can request that the restricted license be revoked and a regular license be issued. As we await the hearing, the dog is required to be muzzled when out in public.
The owner of the pit bull reported that, to her knowledge, her dog has never attacked a human before, but that she does become agitated and animated at the sight of another dog. The pit bull was a rescue that the owner had adopted 7 months prior, making her knowledge of her dog very incomplete. We were told that this same pit bull had lunged at another dog just minutes before attacking us and killing Vargas. We were told that when the pit bull lunged at the other dog, the pit bull had been muzzled. Despite the fact that she was in violation of several City/County ordinances, the owner of the pit bull has not been issued any citations.
The owner of the pit bull does not have any form of liability insurance, nor does she acknowledge having any major assets; she has made no attempt to reimburse us for our ongoing medical expenses, which will likely total in the neighborhood of $20,000.00. And we now have to deal with the loss of our beloved little puppy, Vargas. We miss him so much and would give anything to have him back.
Thanks to Daxton’s Friends for helping to get the message out and for making Vargas’s story known.
Pit Bull Terriers need regular vigorous physical activity. They crave mental and physical stimulation. Regular long walks and plenty of play time can be ideal ways to burn energy. If their exercise needs are not met, they can develop destructive behaviors. They can often excel at physical activities, such as jogging and weight pulling. Some clubs admit them to agility and fly ball; others don’t because it is dangerous to have APBTs off leash near other dogs and the clubs don’t want to bear the liability in the event of an attack.
The American Pit Bull Terrier needs early socialization and training. Since they are active dogs, they can become unmanageable quickly. They need a firm and consistent handler that can maintain control at all times. They are eager to please and can learn tricks if trained patiently. They are very active both indoors and outdoors. Despite proper training and socialization, many dogs may be hard to manage and can still have unwanted behaviors.
The American Pit Bull Terrier has a history and bloodline deep rooted in the blood sports of animal baiting and dogfighting. As with all breeds, they retain their original traits. They often to do not accept other animals, especially dogs, and can be extremely aggressive towards them. They may accept animals they are raised with, but have been known to kill other family pets even after years of living together happily.
Vicious dogs that attack and maim people and other dogs are being put back on the streets because of lax oversight by the agency that’s supposed to protect the public, the NBC4 I-Team has found.
Poor enforcement of city laws and policies by the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services leaves the city’s residents and surrounding communities vulnerable to attacks by dangerous dogs.
Fifty thousand dogs per year, including at least 34,250 pit bulls, attack other animals, according toANIMALS 24-7 analysis of dog attack data from 2013-2014.
Of the 82,000 animal victims per year, 59,000 die; 23,000 survive their injuries. Among the dead are 15,500 dogs, 95% of them attacked by pit bulls, and 6,000 hooved animals, 93% of them attacked by pit bulls.
Pit bulls also inflict at least 60% of the 29,000 fatal attacks on domestic birds and small mammals, and at least 60% of the 8,250 fatal attacks on cats. About a third of the fatal dog attacks on domestic birds, small mammals, and cats are by dogs who are not caught and identified, so might also include many pit bulls.
Pit bulls appear to have inflicted not less than 60% of the total fatal attacks on animals (68,500), and probably considerably more, since pit bulls might also have inflicted a significant share of the 49,000 fatalities on other animals in cases where the attacking dogs were not identified.
Altogether, pit bulls inflicted 95% of the fatal attacks on other dogs (30,466); 93% of the fatal attacks on livestock (10,583); 95% of the fatal attacks on small mammals and poultry (56,400); and at least 61% of the fatal attacks on cats (21,226), of which 35% involved unidentified dogs.
About 90,000 pit bulls were involved in attacks on other animals in 2013-2014: more than 90% of all the dogs inflicting attacks who were identified by breed.
There are about 3.5 million pit bulls in the U.S. at any given time, according to the my annual surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption via online classified ads. (See “Large retrievers still nearly twice as popular as pit bulls,” http://wp.me/p4pKmM-BA.)
Thus in 2013-2014 more than one pit bull in 40 killed or seriously injured another animal, compared with about one dog in 50,000 of other breeds.