It is with great sadness that I write this post. Five year old Makayla Woodward was attacked and killed yesterday by two pit bulls owned by her next door neighbor. Makayla's grandmother was critically injured trying to protect the child. I didn't personally know Makayla or her grandmother, but I do know several family members and this family will never recover from this. How could they?
The day that Makayla was killed by the pit bull, I found news reports of two other children attacked in the United States on this same day by pit bulls, January 12, 2011. A 10 year old boy in Vallejo, CA was mauled requiring over 100 stitches in his leg - and in Palm Bay, Florida a 5 year old boy was mauled - crushing facial bones and one ear partially ripped off.
There are laws in place in some states, counties and communities that require "responsible ownership" of aggressive dog types. In fact, the county I live in, Lancaster County, SC has a vicious animal ordinance - requiring Pit Bulls and Rottweilers to be confined inside a house or within the confines of a chain link fence - but there was a pit bull within 100 feet of my house today - no leash, no fence - simply running free. I called Animal Control but these laws are rarely enforced. The town that Makayla lived in has a similar ordinance. The owner of the dog had been warned and neighbors had complained repeatedly; however Makayla's little body lies cold - never to live or laugh again. These ordinances simply do not work. I'm not sure that there is such a thing as responsible ownership of an animal that is capable of killing a human being.
Owners of these animals are in constant denial that their dog could do such a heinous thing. There are websites defending these animals. There is even a YouTube video that is titled "Pit Bull Viciously attacks Baby". When you click on it, it shows dozens of pictures of innocent little babies less that a year old, being licked and "loved" by their family pet - a pit bull. The video's purpose is to show you how "sweet and gentle" these dogs are with babies. I found the video appalling! These babies have no choice but to lie there with the dog - how quickly could this parent get the dog off the child if it were to have one hair trigger response and decide it wanted to kill the baby. It is reprehensible that a parent would care so much about a dog that he/she would take even the remotest chance with their child's welfare. Pit bull owners, please wake up before it's too late. Take a look at the following link (blogspot) for what these "sweet and gentle" beasts have done and the blog is by a former pit owner who's dog turned on him. Copy and paste the link into your browser bar: http://bslforpitsmakessense.blogspot.com/ - however, if you are squeamish, you may not want to look.
In all fairness (if you can be fair to a pit bull), pit bulls are not the only dangerous breed of dog - there are also rottweilers, dobermans and even some crazy chows are known to attack and maul. But the highest number of attacks and deaths are by the pit bull type. I have spent the last two days doing research and pit bulls are hands down the biggest killers.
A 2009 report issued by DogsBite.org shows that 19 dog breeds contributed to 88 deaths in a recent 3-year period. Pit bulls accounted for 59% followed by rottweilers with 14%. Of the 88 fatal dog attacks recorded by DogsBite.org, pit bull type dogs were responsible for 59% (52). Even the pit lovers can't argue the facts. This is equivalent to a pit bull type killing a United States citizen every 21 days during this three year period. It is what it is.
There are many aggressive wild animals and reptiles in the world. The United States alone has mountain lions, grizzly bears, alligators, wolves and even coyotes are considered dangerous around children. But these are animals that you encounter in areas that are known to have a concentration of them and we know to beware. It's different when we are attacked in our own backyards - especially innocent children who have no fear and innocent parents who don't know that there are threats lurking around the corner. For instance, the next door neighbor who keeps his animals inside, but just that "one time" lets the animal outside without a leash. We lost six beautiful pet chickens to a neighbor who did just that. They didn't deserve to die that way. And we almost lost a grandchild to a neighbor's "sweet" family pit bull who had one minute been playing with their niece inside and within seconds had run out their door to our daughter's backyard making a vicious, growling run for our six-year old sweet Genevieve. If their family eskimo spitz had not intervened and my daughter's husband had not been at home, she would have been another statistic. He had the presence of mind to run for his gun. The animal is no longer alive but thank God, my grandchild is.
Out of all my research and the words I have written here, with one short sentence my husband just summed it up much better than I have with all these paragraphs. I should have let him write the blog:
"It makes me so mad - that pretty little girl - dead - over a mangy-assed dog. It's sickening!". Me too, Henry....me too.