I just lost my best friend on Friday, July 31, 2009. I've had (determined by the Red Willow County Court) to euthanize my dog, Ace ... of course at my own expense.
Ace was a beautiful, vibrant, healthy Staffordshire terrier, less than 4 years of age. If the incident leading to his demise had not occurred, he prayerfully would have lived a very happy, long life with us, his family.
Here is our story:
One afternoon in April, my husband Paul and I left the house for approximately 10 minutes. My two dogs, Ace and Tito had a very unreliable backyard fence so, of course, they made their escape. As Paul and I were returning home, a kind friend sat with both dogs to keep them from running farther. We thanked our friend and packed the dogs back up into the car where they belonged. As we were pulling into the driveway, we noticed the neighbor's 8-year-old children, both unaccompanied by their parent, on our property once again.
We became slightly frustrated because we have spoken with the parent about keeping the children off of our property, as we did not want to be financially responsible for any accidents that might occur. Nevertheless, Paul and I heaved a heavy sigh and prepared ourselves to listen to the children (whether we wanted to or not).
This is where the lack of proper judgment occurred on both mine and Paul's part; as we were listening to the children we proceeded to open the car doors to exit the vehicle ... Ace flew out, biting the child. Before we knew it, this child was making an E.R. visit after receiving a laceration and puncture wound in his groin area. Not good. Not good at all. Although, thank God, the child was physically OK, actually jumping up and down on his trampoline the very next day.
Without dragging this tragedy for everyone involved into a long winded story, I just want to warn people ... keep your pets and your children safe! I never imagined this would happen and become the total tragic situation that it has become. Know for a fact that if you are receiving unwanted attention from uninvited visitors to your home, your dog will respond and do everything in his or her power to stop the unwanted attention. And they are not able to discern the difference between a child or an adult. I often wonder ... if the child that was bitten by the Ace had been an adult intruder, would Ace be sitting proudly at my side continuing to love and protect us as he was destined to do? Would Ace have been considered a hero? I think you and I both know the answer to that.
And if my Chihuahua Amy bites someone, leaving a puncture wound, are the courts going to euthanize her as well? She has been known for her unacceptable behavior far more times than Ace has!
I also ask myself ... was Ace negatively labeled as other poor canine breeds have become? You tell me. The word pitbull alone sounds scary enough!
Ace was protective. Yes. Vicious? No. Could there have been a way to retrain Ace with dog behavior classes? Possibly. Could I have muzzled him at all times while outside the home or around visitors to the home? Possibly. By the way, a brand new, durable secure backyard fence was built the very next day after the incident. Did anyone want to give my dog some slack? Another chance? No.
I do realize the ultimate fault lies with one person, myself. But why was euthanization for my dog the absolute only answer? I'm willing to pay a hefty fine, accept the misdemeanor charges, put Ace on "puppy prozac" ... whatever it would take, but this?!
In the event that I was willing to keep Ace after all this (which I was) our homeowners insurance policy doubled (after my current homeowners insurance policy was canceled). I would have looked at paying $500 a year to license my "vicious" dog, possibly in the future. It remains an ongoing warlike situation between myself and my neighbors, and I've never been in trouble with the law, but I've seen the inside of the Red Willow County Courthouse more times than I would like.
All you dog lovers out there, especially you Staffordshire terrier lovers, let's put a stop to this anti-pitbull legislation! Because I can see it in Red Willow County's future. Our dogs need our protection just as much as we need theirs. I also firmly believe our dogs, with the proper care and love, are not out here to play "Cujo." They are here to protect, serve and love the families they belong to!
In a six-year study of fatal dog bites occurring in our country between 1989-1994, more than half of the victims were under 10 years of age, and more than half the attacks occurred on the dog owner's very own property! Parents, please know without a doubt where your children are at all times, at least if they are younger than 10! They also need your good judgment and protection to keep them safe!
This has been one of the saddest times of my life, not only for me, but my family as well.
Please don't let it be yours.