Name: Avery Notheis
Location: A friend’s farm, British Columbia
Year of attack: 2017
Tell us about the attack
In the summer of 2017 I was sleeping over at a friend’s house. This friend was the owner of two pit bulls. Later in the evening my friend and I were outside, about to walk into the home when one of the pit bulls ran straight for me and lunged at my neck, knocking me to the ground and ripping a chunk out of the side of my jaw. Luckily, this pit bull did not clench his jaw onto my neck but instead continued to bite me on my breast and arm, ripping large chunks from both areas. I remember screaming and trying to fight but quickly realizing I was no match. I ended up getting 13 stitches and nerve damage in my breast as well as an infection in my breast that had me getting around the clock care in the hospital.
How has your life changed as a result of the attack?
I went from an active, happy, healthy and optimistic child to an anxiety and depression-riddled human that could barely leave the house. I had extreme PTSD and chronic pain in my breast from the nerve damage. My grades in school went from straight A’s to failing classes and barely passing the others. I quit all the sports and extra-curricular activities I did because I was too scared to be outside and things like loud noises and objects quickly coming towards me (e.g. basketballs or bicycles) would send me into panic mode. I developed a binge-eating disorder, using food as a coping mechanism which was followed by a deep self-hatred and suicidal thoughts.
I contacted animal services and the pit bull was put down. I contacted a lawyer and started the process of suing the owners of the pit bull as well as the owners of the farm that the owners resided on. Four years later, we just finished settling the case. I did indeed “win”, although it did not feel like a victory in any way. The lawyer of the pit bull owners was so extremely disrespectful, rolling her eyes at me as well as laughing/smiling while I was in tears telling my story in a professional environment.
What would you like people to know as a result of your attack?
To put it simply, I would like people to not put as much trust in pit bulls as they do. In my opinion, the owner of the pit bull genuinely believed that her pit bull was kind and safe, as many other pit bull owners do. They don’t research the breed and if they see a story of someone being attacked by one, they find any and every excuse to say that “it wasn’t the pit bull’s fault”, but how many times are you going to let the same thing happen before you realize that it is the pit bull’s fault? Not a single person can look at the statistics of these dogs and tell me that it isn’t the breed. So look at them, and next time someone tells you “my pit bull is nice”, don’t just trust it just because they said so.