Name: Karen Porreca
Location: In the neighborhood, Virginia
Year of attack: 2018
Tell us about the attack
I was out of town visiting my parents when I got a call from my dog sitter, who told me that my elderly beagle, Chloe, had been attacked by a pit bull. They had gone for a walk in my dog sitter’s neighborhood, and they had stopped to chat with a neighbor who had his 11-year-old female pit bull on a leash.
The pit bull had played regularly with smaller neighborhood dogs, and she had been near Chloe the night before. This pit bull had been raised in a loving home and had no history of violence toward anyone. But suddenly, unprovoked and with no warning, the pit bull violently attacked my sweet 13-year-old beagle. She bit her on the back with her entire mouth and wouldn’t let go. It took three people to get her off. I didn’t realize the severity of the attack until I got back into town and saw how much pain and distress Chloe was in.
How has your life changed as a result of the attack?
The wound was massive. It took seven weeks for Chloe to heal, but I never will. My heart aches when I remember what she went through, and I kick myself for leaving her in someone else’s hands. During Chloe’s last year of life, I was petrified about walking her outside because many pit bulls lived in that neighborhood (I’ve since moved).
I began to read about pit bulls and learned about their fighting genes, their unpredictable behavior, and their gameness. I have become increasingly upset about all the factors that are making pit bull maulings more and more common.
After Chloe died, I vowed she would be my last dog. It’s so depressing, because I love dogs (I’ve had twelve), but I can never share my life with one again because I’m too scared that there could be another pit bull attack during a simple walk outdoors.
The pit bull’s owner was apparently as shocked and horrified at his pit bull’s behavior as I and my dog sitter were. He paid all my vet bills, and he promised not to let his pit bull near the other neighborhood dogs again, so I left it at that and didn’t pursue legal remedies.
What would you like people to know as a result of your attack?
When it comes to pit bulls, everyone loses. Although some pit bulls may never attack, there is no way of knowing which ones will until it happens. And if an attack does occur, the consequences can be devastating. As much as she suffered, I know that Chloe got off relatively easy because she survived and had no organ damage. But I think of the toddlers who have been bitten in the face and will grow up looking grotesque because of the scars. I think of the tens of thousands of domesticated animals who get killed every year by pit bulls. And I think of all those who lost a loved one to a mauling. Pit bull attacks are so savage — it’s a terrible way to die. It is not safe to keep perpetuating the breed. Sterilization of all pit bulls should be mandatory so that the breed can disappear.