FAITH HYNOSKI of seattle dog works
follow faith on twitter and FABB twitter as she follows the antics of the PIT BOSS, SHORTY ROSSI, promotes karen delise books and fight bust dogs, the ONLY truly dangerous breed: cocker spaniels and whines about not being able to walk around the neighborhood "without being assaulted by off-leash dogs!" right back at ya slick!
After listening to KUOW’s “The Conversation” on September 10 about pit bulls, as well as learning about the horrific recent attack in Seatac, I am compelled to write a letter to the editor with a story that is eerily relevant.
This past Sunday, September 7, my yellow lab Sam was viciously attacked by a pit bull owned by the founder of F.A.B.B. (Families Against Breed Bans), at the grand opening of a friendly new dog store (Zak and Zoe) on Phinney Ridge. The attack was witnessed by many, and all were horrified. Everyone was also struck by the irony of the incident: the attack happened after we had all been standing around outside the store, calmly listening to the owners tell us about the sweetness of pit bulls, and how it is the owner’s fault when pit bulls become violent. They had come to the grand opening event to make their cause known, handing out flyers and “educating the public” about pit bulls. And then, after 15 minutes of standing with them, chatting, all dogs on leashes, without any notice or provocation or visible signs of aggression whatsoever preceding the attack, their pit bull turned violently on our dog and locked his jaws on Sam’s neck. Let me be clear, this was not in any way a fight. Sam was just standing there (he’s known in our area as ‘the sweetest dog on the planet’) — this was an unprovoked attack.
After minutes (which seemed like hours) of watching our dog scream while their pit bull held Sam’s neck in his jaws, while no one, not even the dog’s owner was able to release him, finally somehow he was freed. We immediately took Sam to a quiet place nearby, where he stood shaking uncontrollably for nearly 1/2 hour, with a racing heartbeat. A dog specialist who happened to be on the scene generously offered to work with him to keep him from going into shock. She said that given what she had just witnessed, she was very surprised that half of Sam’s face wasn’t ripped off. Many of us believed he was about to be killed right then and there, at Greenwood and 74th, on the sidewalk, with our families (including our 5-year-old daughter) all around.
My husband and I did report the incident to the police, and it is going, uncontested, on public record, with a citation issued to the pit bull owners. The day following the attack I received a phone call from a member of the F.A.B.B. organization and was told that “the woman whose dog it was has stepped down and is no longer in charge of the group”.
You can imagine my irritation while listening to yesterday’s guest on KUOW, representing F.A.B.B., three days after this attack, as she defended the ever-popular notion that “it’s not the breed, it’s the owner,” and that these are sweet dogs, completely trustworthy in public. I believe these particular owners to be caring, well-meaning people, offering a loving home to their pit bulls. It is my understanding that the dog that attacked Sam had been through some training, and was thought to be very sweet, and fine in social situations with people and other dogs. These are the good, conscientious, caring kind of pit bull owners. They just happen to have a dog whose predecessors were bred to fight and to kill, and so there can be a predisposition in all these dogs that is genetic, and can lead to unpredictable, dangerous behavior.
I would like this story brought to light, and readers can make what they will of this incident. I would not feel right knowing that our story went untold, in the midst of this heated discussion. At the very least, as a public service message, I think people need to know that it is illegal for a dog to bite another dog in Seattle (as of 2003). Even our wonderful dog trainer (voted best in Seattle 2008) didn’t know that this was a reportable incident.