Location: Walking dogs in my neighborhood, Connecticut
Year of attack: 2013
Tell us about the attack
I was walking my two small days on Memorial Day 2013 when two loose pit bull type dogs came running from a backyard. The dogs ran across the street and one dog attacked my small dog. I screamed for help while I tried to get my dog loose from the pit bull, but no one came out to assist me. I was able to free my small dog and lifted her above my head, but the pit bull grabbed her by the legs to continue mauling her. After several minutes, the pit bull owner came running from his backyard and was able to call off his dog. He put his dog in his parked car and asked if my dog and I were okay. He must not have securely latched his car door because the pit bull pushed out and came back to grab my injured small dog. The dog owner again put his dog in the car and securely closed the door.
How has your life changed as a result of the attack?
I was fortunate that my small dog recovered and my injuries were minor. I had been wary of pit bulls, but I had no idea of how often and how severely they attack. I was not aware of how inadequate our laws are for victims of dog attacks. I was astounded that no action was taken against the dog owner and that neither the police nor Animal Control seemed to consider the attack a public safety issue. I was outraged by the lack of concern expressed by every public official I contacted. As a result of this attack, I became very active as an advocate for victims of dog attacks.
The police did not charge the pit bull owner with roaming. Animal control did not impound the dog. The dog owner was a renter and neither he nor the homeowner would supply insurance information. I found out that the two pit bulls had recently been adopted from the city’s pound. The dog owner stated in the police report that he would reimburse medical bills, but later refused when he learned the vet bill was $2000. Letters from me and my attorney sent by certified mail were never picked up. After numerous complaints to AC, they told the dog owner he needed to pay the vet bill. I received partial payment before he wrote a check for the balance on a closed account. I reported the bad check to the police, but they were not able to locate the dog owner.
What would you like people to know as a result of your attack?
I would like people to know that dog attacks can happen anywhere including nice neighborhoods close to your home. I would like people to know there are resources for dog attack victims available including the very helpful “If You’re Attacked” checklist on the NPBVA website. I learned that the lack of response after a dog attack is both appalling and frustrating and that the pit bull lobby is pervasive and well-funded. I learned that victims are often attacked by pit bull advocates on social media and are blamed for their own attacks. I learned that well-meaning friends and relatives still refuse to believe that pit bulls are dangerous. But I’ve also learned that there are groups where dog attack victims are heard. We’re outnumbered and under-financed, but we’re not alone.