Letter to the Editor

Tough love

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dear Editor,

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.

Adrianne Baumfalk,


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  • Adrianne, you make it sound like this was the first time you've had problems with your dogs. Hmmmmmmmm?????

    -- Posted by Rural Citizen on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 10:40 AM
  • You mentioned a bunch of things you COULD HAVE done.

    I agree. You most certainly COULD HAVE done any or all of those things.

    But you didn't.

    -- Posted by Owen McPhillips on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 5:48 PM
  • If the kid was on their property, wouldn't this be trespassing? I believe it's posted on their property? yes? no?

    -- Posted by marlin on Fri, Aug 7, 2009, at 1:15 AM
  • Let's just say the entire true story isn't being told here and it wasn't the first time their dogs have been involved with incidents.

    -- Posted by Rural Citizen on Fri, Aug 7, 2009, at 8:04 AM
  • With all due respect for the love one feels for a family pet, I believe that anytime a dog attacks and injures a child, the dog has to go. Regardless of the circumstances, children are precious and must be protected at all costs!! And I'm not sure I would consider eight-year-old neighborhood children as trespassing when they stop to talk with me!! There is probably more to this story that has not been told!!

    -- Posted by farmer's daughter on Fri, Aug 7, 2009, at 2:11 PM
  • farmers daughter: "There is probably more to this story that has not been told!!"

    Count on it.

    -- Posted by Owen McPhillips on Sat, Aug 8, 2009, at 11:37 AM
  • Yes, protecting children should be everyone's #1 priority. You should protect your own children. While it's a nicew thing to do, you shouldn't have to watch every one else's kids either.

    I see this all the time in every neighborhood. Small kids are letf outside all day while parents either work, sleep, play video games, facebook, etc. Kids are always strying into places they shouldn't be.

    However, I also believe while it's a fre country, you should own a dog that suits your needs as there are hundreds of breed swith varying qualities. Some people will buy a particular breed just to look cool or tough. Then the dog sufferes as we've seen here.

    If you own a guard dog, you should have something for him to guard, not have him hooked on a chain in a yard with no fence. You wouldn't buy a Chuahau and try to take them hunting right?

    I feel bad for the dog here, not the owners. They clearly loved the dog, but he had no clear sense of his duty or boundaries, nor did the neighbor kids. This whole thing is just stupid from the get go. This is what makes other dog owners look bad, specifically guard dog owners.

    You have to know something about your dog in order to won one or you can screw them up just as if you were beating them with a stick. Dogs are bred for specific purposes most of the time.

    -- Posted by Justin76 on Sun, Aug 9, 2009, at 9:56 AM
  • "And I'm not sure I would consider eight-year-old neighborhood children as trespassing when they stop to talk with me!!"

    That's the thing, they were not home, the kid was playing on their property/yard. I'm fairly sure when I was a youth, many a times people would yell at me to get out of their yard etc, they have a dog etc. I'm a huge dog lover, always have and always will be! In all of my dealings I've found dogs do not attack unless they feel threatened, again, IN MY DEALINGS, not scientific, not proof so stfu before you start that nonsense on me.

    Further more, I still remember the day I watched McPhillips pull out his gun and shoot at a stray dog, in the middle of town, with kids all around, all because Mayor Dennis Berry said the dog had rabies....it didn't, Owen also miserably failed to shoot the dog(he fired a shot, with kids all around) who was walking around...and had a fury of angry parents...The kids pet the dog, watered and fed the dog...yet it was a VICIOUS dog with RABIES...Point being, some people are deathly afraid of dogs...the problem is, dogs aren't "human" according to people, dogs can't talk and since we are the "superior" being, to hell with them, kill them! So why can't one human be superior to another??? I think stupid, vicious people need to be killed too, but it doesn't happen, instead I pay tax dollars to have them food, a roof and other things I bust my *** to pay for...sweet deal eh?

    -- Posted by marlin on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 12:08 PM
  • Regardless of the situation, the point is easy to make. PUT THE DOG DOWN if it bites a child or adult. Yes, I have compassion and I own two large breed dogs ages 10 and 14. Even though I consider them a part of my family and have cared for them extremely well over the years, I have no hesitation to putting them down if they bit someone. A human's life is much more precious than the chance of a dog biting someone else in the future. These people have had numerous chances with their dogs...THEY DID NOTHING. Then they want you to feel sorry for them. DON'T

    -- Posted by Rural Citizen on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 1:17 PM
  • Hmm, valid point, in your opinion. But what about those who murder, rape, kill children and adults, etc, that get to do nothing but rot away in jail/prison, all the while we pay for it, why not kill or put them down as we do a dog that attacks, doesn't even kill a "precious human"??? That to me, makes absolutely no sense...It's not that I "pity" their situation, I'm just saying the fact of what I know from reading and others comments...I find a human that kills another to be just as horrid as you do a dog that bites some kid that antagonizes it...That's the problem with the world...evolution has been halted, the weak no longer die off...it's a sad shame really.

    -- Posted by marlin on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 4:37 PM
  • I fully agree with you Marlin. Without a shadow of a doubt if you kill someone, you too should be killed. That's why we need to continue supporting the death penalty in the State of Nebraska!

    -- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Aug 11, 2009, at 8:48 AM
  • Marlin, it's so nice that you can read people's minds. I, myself, cannot.

    But you might want to fine-tune that skill of yours, because you got a few things wrong.

    I remember that particular incident quite clearly.

    It was right at shift change, and I heard another officers get sent on a VICIOUS dog call about a block and a half from my house. So, I walked that way. When I got to that house on the northwest corner of the intersection, I stepped around the corner of the fence, at which time I saw the dog....AND the dog saw me. It started coming towards me, growling. I backed away, diagonally across the lawn, shouting at the dog, but it kept advancing. I decided that if it KEPT coming after me, once I had a safe backstop, I would fire. (Yes, I was very aware that there were children and others around.) When I saw a good foot worth of green lawn behind the dog from my vantage point (which was only about 10-12 feet from the dog), I fired. And missed the dog.

    Later on, some chucklehead called down to the station and claimed that I endangered others, and that my bullet hit a house. (Might that have been you?) I and another officer went back to the scene and found the bullet in the lawn which both I and the dog had been standing in. It had gone in at an angle and was stopped by the edge of the sidewalk, about 2 inches below the surface.

    It was my focus upon the safety of those around me...upon my BACKSTOP....that caused me to "miss". I was concentrating so intently upon making sure I saw green grass behind the dog (instead of sidewalk or asphalt, for instance) that I ended up AIMING at that green grass, which, unsurprisingly, is exactly what I hit. Fortunately, the noise was enough to change the dog's thought process.

    Furthermore, I never even had the opportunity to speak with Mayor Berry before the dog came after me. Even afterwards, I heard no allegation that the dog had rabies.....until your post here.

    I NEVER endangered the public, and I never would.

    I am not "deathly afraid" of dogs. I have three of my own, and am always happy to play with friendly dogs belonging to others. But I'm not about to allow a mean dog to bite me, or anybody else, if I can prevent that from happening.

    -- Posted by Owen McPhillips on Wed, Aug 12, 2009, at 8:56 PM
  • staffordshire terrier = pitbull

    -- Posted by president obama on Tue, Aug 18, 2009, at 12:53 PM
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