Dog bites are complicated things, but one rule is not: NEVER place a Pit Bull in a home with kinds under age 8, or with adults over age 70.
Look at serious bite statistics, and the numbers jump out at you.
In my own state, The Virginia Pilot reports that a self-styled Pit Bull “rehabber” sent a dog with a history of bites into a home with a 91-year old woman, sparking new legislation.
Planned legislation would give animal adopters greater protection by making sure they know the bite histories of dogs and cats before they take them home.
The move comes after a 91-year-old Virginia Beach woman was mauled to death in May by a dog with a history of biting. The woman’s daughter says the Pit Bull’s history of bites was not relayed to her when she adopted the dog.
The daughter of the 91-year old that was killed told the newspaper that she was a fan of Animal Planet’s “Pit Bulls & Parolees” and wanted one of these "lovable" animals for herself.
So where did she go for a dog? Straight to a place that claimed it was an expert at rehabbing Pit Bulls.
Her mother was dead less than 8 hours after the dog was dropped off.
The "Forever Home Rehab Center" says it “rehabilitates dogs in shelters that will be overlooked by potential adopters.”
The dog that was dropped off, Blue, came with an e-collar, and the dog and e-collar combined came to a whopping $80. The daughter said the woman from the shelter was focused on showing her how to operate the "obedience collar" which was described to her as sending a “signal” to the dog by remote control. The daughter thought it sent out sound waves. She was told to keep the collar on the dog during the day for about two weeks, until Blue acclimated to his new environment.
For anyone who knows dogs, the alarm bells are already ringing off the hook. This was a self-styled "rehabber" of Pit Bulls? They did not do meet-and-greets and dog training in-their-own location? Uh-oh!
Even with what little we know the danger signals were everywhere. A good e-collar costs about $200 and takes a few hours to learn the basics. And it does not train; it proofs. Clearly this was a cheap piece of old Chinese-made crap, and there was no training at all on how to use it. And the dog only had to wear it for a few weeks, and it was going to be fine? Jay-Zeuz Crispus Attucks.
But wait, it gets worse.
It seems Blue had come from New York where it had bitten someone last December. The dog was then transported to "Forever Home Rehab Center" in February, and subsequently adopted out when it bit someone else in Virginia Beach. The dog was returned to the rescue and then adopted out again to Linda Patterson, the daughter of the 91-year old woman who was killed. Patterson told police she was never told about the dog’s bite history before she adopted Blue.
Jamie Cochran, the owner of the "Forever Home Rehab Center" was subsequently charged with illegally importing dogs into Virginia from New York without the required veterinary inspection, and her rehab is being sued for $5 million by Linda Patterson.
So what transpired with this dog on the day it killed this old lady? Was it an evil Hell Hound?
I suspect not despite the very problematic bite history. I suspect this was simply a Pit Bull that was a victim of the "we just have to love them" school of tom-foolery that sees these dogs over-bred, over-bought, and then bounced into the hands of one unstable and/or inexperience hand after another. Jamie Cochran was one of those hands, but so too was Linda Patterson. Two other inexperienced hands had preceded them.
Linda said she was in the backyard with the dog when she noticed that shock and canvas collars seemed to be tight so she took off both.
It was around that time that she noticed that her mother – who was diligent about keeping the doors bolted – had locked her out.
Linda knocked and called out to her mother, but the woman had fallen in her room and couldn’t get up.
Linda said she grabbed a hammer and broke a window pane to get in.
She was walking into her mother’s room when Blue ran behind her mother and playfully put his paws around the woman’s shoulders as she struggled to get to her knees.
Linda said her mother seemed irritated by the dog’s actions and yelled at it.
“She said, ‘Get the heck off of me,’ or something like that. I think it riled the dog up.”
Soon the dog was biting her mother’s arms, abdomen and thighs. Linda tried to pull Blue off to no avail. She even swung the hammer that she had used to break the window and tried zapping him with the shock collar, but he would not stop. The dog turned on her, biting her in the upper arm, leaving teeth marks and a large wraparound bruise.
The whole time her mother pleaded with her to get him off.
So this was a dog that was highly excited and agitated, was in new surroundings, and his brand-new owner was banging loudly on doors, screaming at the house, and smashing windows to get in? And the first person the dog encountered was on the ground inside yelling at the dog and hitting out at it?
A perfect scenario for a mauling, and why you NEVER place a Pit Bull in a home with kids under age 8, or with adults over age 70, or with people who have no experience with large dogs with serious drives.
Seriously, does this STILL have to be said?
Have there not been enough articles about Pit Bull bites and maulings?
Have there not been enough articles on the nearly one million Pit Bulls that are killed in shelters every year?
At what point do we realize that this is a breed AND people specific problem and that "Pit Bulls and Parolees" is the name of the disease, and not the name of the cure?