Location: While victim was taking a walk in the street to retrieve mail, Massachusetts
Year of attack: 2020
Tell us about the attack
My 64 year old mother was visiting and decided to walk down the road to our mailbox (private drive so the mailbox was on the public way). As she was walking by our home, our neighbor let her dogs out (off leash). They immediately ran to my mother barking and without stopping the pit mix lunged and ragdolled my mother’s leg and bit her knee. The neighbor called the dogs off, saw how much blood there was and immediately drove her to the local urgent care, which sent her to the ER because her injuries were too severe. Just 45 minutes earlier she had been taking my child (2 years old) for a walk in that exact spot. The ER physician said her injuries would have killed my child. A professional specializing in aggressive dogs classified the bites as Level 5 on the Dunbar scale, warranting euthanasia.
How has your life changed as a result of the attack?
Our neighbors refused to get rid of the pit bull, claiming “its not like he mauled your mother.” It was beyond traumatizing. We stopped speaking with them after they allowed their teen to walk the pit bull past our house on a 30 ft double lead w/ their other 90lb dog, no muzzle, no leverage over the dogs, no adult. For 2 months I did not take my child in our own yard to play because this pit bull was right across the street and I didn’t trust, on the basis of their statements being clearly in denial and history letting their dogs off leash, that they wouldn’t slip up and let it happen again. We ultimately moved away when 5 months later my husband was offered a job out of state. Very traumatizing. Ruined our enjoyment of our property and our relationship with our neighbors.
Owners fined. That was it. Absolutely shocking. Animal control said their hands were tied because prior bite victims on our street didn’t report. Not even a muzzle order – they initially refused to even look at photos of my mother’s injuries! The police were demeaning to me when I inquired about pressing charges against the owners since they knew of prior bites and let the pit bull off leash anyway. They told me to ‘seek mental help’ because I was crying realizing my irresponsible neighbors who didn’t believe their pit bull was dangerous were all that stood between us & another attack. We got a professional opinion it would happen again; it made no difference. My parents got a lawyer to complain to our town for a more severe punishment but with COVID the required hearing never happened.
What would you like people to know as a result of your attack?
To pay attention to concerning behavior in dogs before it escalates, and report dog bites or other aggression to ensure public record accurately reflects the dog’s history in the event of a more serious incident. This pit bull always exhibited aggression and was often off leash *in our yard* yet we never said anything cause we didn’t want to be mean neighbors. Then the other 2 bite victims on our street didn’t report their minor incidents. Then my 64 year old limping mother was severely attacked on an unprovoked basis in the street just walking to get mail. Absolutely no consequences because nobody had the courage to report before – and our neighbors were shocked like this came out of nowhere. Our lives changed in an instant. 45 minutes earlier and that could have been my toddler dead.