Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pit Bull Attacks

Fox ran a story on Pit Bull attacks last night that includes an interview with a MLGW employee who saved a 13 year old from a pit bull last week. Click the title to see the video.

Dog Attacks Growing Problem
Study Finds Half of Attacks Stem from Pit Bulls


MEMPHIS, Tenn. - There have been multiple pit bull attacks in our community, even a death attributed to dog attacks. After researching the city's numbers on dog bites, its clear there's a problem.

"Yeah I got stitches," said Tony Woods who was attacked by a pit.

At 13 years old, Tony Woods is scarred for life. He has 16 stitches on his leg now after a pit bull attacked him on Denver Street in Frayser last week.

"It was just loose and it got me," said Woods.

MLGW employee, Billy Diotte happened to be working in the area when he saw the attack.

"The big pit bull cam across and it just tackled him, it literally attacked him," said Diotte.

The MLGW worker said he was the only adult around, big enough to take on the pit. He rescued the boy.

"I got out of the truck went over kicked him tried to get him off I had pepper spray so I took pepper spray and sprayed dog, me and everybody else, we got the dog off that way."

Diotte said that wasn't the end of the dog's rampage. He said the pit then took off down the street towards another kid. He said the dog's owner finally reeled it in.
So we went to talk with the owners.

"(Reporter) is any adult here? Your mom's at work? Is this the house where the pit bull attacked the kid a couple weeks ago? Is there anyone who can talk with us about that?"

No adult was home.

The teenage girl who answered the door said she wasn't home at the time of the attack but confirmed the dog was now at the pound. The 13-year old being bitten is just the latest in the string of dog attacks plaguing Memphis.

In July, 71-year-old William Parker died from a heart attack after he was bitten by two pit bulls running loose near his home near Manassas in the medical district.

In April, 8-year old Hailey King was attacked by a pit bull on her birthday.

The city of Memphis records show there were 388 dog bites in 2009.

Of those, almost half were pit bull bites. Others include German Shepherds and Chows.

Those numbers are right in line with national figures. According to www.dogbitelaw.com, 23 Americans died from dog attacks in the last 7 months.

More than half the deaths were caused by pit bulls. Others included Rottweiler, German Sheppard and Siberian Husky.

"The dogs seem to be getting worse every year," said Diotte.

Diotte, who's on the streets of Memphis everyday, said he sees pit bulls running wild, on almost every call he responds to for MLGW. In fact, as we were shooting this interview on North Bellevue, 2 pit bulls were roaming the streets.

Diotte said the pits seem to be the aggressors.

"I've never heard another species of dog that would eat a kid or attack for no reason just to attack. I've never seen a story about any other kind of dog doing that," said Diotte.

"(Reporter) what do you think the answer is? (Diotte) outlaw them. That's my opinion or make them get a permit."

Outlaw pit bulls?

Mario Chiozza, who runs a pit bull rescue in Memphis, said that's ridiculous.

"It's not a whole breed. Don't blame the whole breed on irresponsible or neglectful owners," said Chiozza.

Chiozza said most dog bites are the result of abused or neglected dogs. He owns 3 pits including Savior, who was thrown from a pickup truck driving down I-40 last year. Yes, a dog thrown onto the interstate at full speed in the middle of traffic!

"We need responsible dog owners, period. Whether pit bulls, Sheppard, whatever it is," said Chiozza.

Chiozza has countless examples of abuse and neglect in Memphis. He just rescued an 8-month old pit bull that kids threw in a storm drain.

"It was stuck there 3 days. Now this is the kind of abuse and neglect you're getting here," said Chiozza.

Chiozza said Memphis has a law that requires all dogs to be on leashes but admits it's hard to enforce. He said strays are out of control and animal control officers are severely out numbered. He hopes a new Memphis ordinance, requiring all dogs to be spayed and neutered will help curb attacks.

But the bottom line, he said it comes down to responsible owners.

"We need more animal control officers, better record keeping going after these people and holding these people accountable," said Chiozza.

The mother of the 13-year old, bitten last week, said her son's injuries could have been a lot worse. She agrees with Chiozza and also thinks owners need to be held responsible.

"If they can't take care of them, they don't need them," said Margaret Upchurch.

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

It is the dog owner not the DOG. I have a pitbull. And it makes me sick to keep reading this crap about the breed. They are loving dogs. Do some research...this dog is not bad it is the people that raise this dog to do bad things that need to be locked up.

Micahel Mantion said...

The dogs are not bad, its the breed, they were bred to kill, that is what they do. Don't blame them for their instinctual behavior. Every pit deserves a chance to run free and try to kill.

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