Observations

Pit Bull Attack


I usually try to make light of unfortunate circumstances. No one wants to read a constant stream of “oh, ain’t it awful” invective, and it’s not fun to live that way, either.  I am angry tonight, though, so bear with me (or tune out – this is your “some content may be disturbing” warning).

I was attacked by a pit bull while I was out riding this week.  As I rounded a curve on the bike trail on Leon Creek Greenway in San Antonio, I came upon a large black and white dog on the side of the trail. The dog’s attention was focused on a deer in the underbrush, but I was closer and apparently more interesting. I had no time to do much of anything before the dog attacked. The dog bit my left leg in two places and knocked me from the bike.

Thank God for helmets and riding gloves; I landed on my head and rolled, but didn’t break any bones.  I was stunned and a little foggy, though. I tried to stand, but was stopped by a sound I hope never to hear again – a low, deep, blood-chilling growl.  I froze, and tried to be as non-threatening as possible, avoiding eye contact with the dog.  The dog paced and sniffed for anywhere from thirty seconds to an eternity (depending on your perspective), and then lost interest and trotted off up the trail.

After a quick self-assessment (the bike was damaged but rideable; I was leaking from several new holes, and was in some pain and in no condition to ride) I began making my slow way to the nearest trailhead. I met a San Antonio Parks department trail steward after less than a 50 yard walk, and she helped me with first aid and calls to the police and EMS.

I’m healing.  My deep brain stimulation device is undamaged even though I landed on it, due to outstanding thoughtfulness by my son-in-law (who gave me the helmet I was wearing as a birthday gift). My bites are uninfected and closing nicely already. They found the dog, and it had a whole three weeks left on its rabies vaccination, so I avoided the joy of a series of rabies shots. The trail stewards, EMS crew, and park police were wonderful; helpful, professional, and concerned. Amy, who I called first, has been a trooper, and my in-laws pitched in to drive me to doctors and various other appointments while Amy was in school. So, why am I so angry?

I’m not angry at the dog. Pit bulls are unpredictable killers and are bred to be that way, but it’s not his fault. And please don’t fill my inbox with stories of how sweet, gentle, and loving YOUR pit bull is – I don’t care. Perhaps your pit bull’s time just hasn’t come yet. The news is full of stories about “sweet, gentle, and loving” pit bulls that kill other animals, children, and adults (even their owners), and chances are that if you come across a news story about a dog having killed someone, at the heart of the story is a pit bull.

Here’s a short collection of statistics compiled from a variety of resources, including the American Medical Association and other public health sources:

…most alarming is the observation that when attacks come from unfamiliar dogs, the pit bull was responsible for 60% and 63% of all injuries and ocular injuries, respectively.

…pit bull breeds were more than 2.5 times as likely as other breeds to bite in multiple anatomical locations.

…unlike all other breeds, pit bull terriers were relatively more likely to attack an unknown individual (+31%), and without provocation (+48%).

…attacks by pit bulls are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs.

…in 2015, pit bulls contributed to 82% (28) of the total recorded deaths, the highest fatality count on record for the breed.

…in 2016, pit bulls accounted for 71% of all deaths, just over 7 times more than the next closest dog breed.

…in the 3-year period of 2006 to 2008, 18% of all fatal dog attacks occurred off the owner’s property. Pit bulls accounted for 81% of these deaths.

Breed-specific laws are out of fashion these days – it seems to me that it’s based on a misguided notion of the unfairness of holding a dog responsible for its genetic makeup.  I think that misses the point.  Clearly, the dog is not responsible for the breeding program that resulted in its existence.  That does not mean that we should ignore the very real evidence that dogs that are bred for aggression tend to behave aggressively.

The dog is not responsible, though – the breeders and owners are. I am angry at the complete lack of accountability and personal responsibility displayed by the owners of this dog. The dog was roaming loose in a public area. According to the animal control officer who found and captured the dog, this was not the first incident. And, the dog who attacked me was captured with another pit bull owned by the same owner, whose rabies vaccination had expired.

It’s a felony if through inattention or stupidity I leave an unattended firearm in a place where a child could gain access to it, and it should be.  That kind of wanton disregard for the safety and well-being of another human is inexcusable and indefensible.  At very least, however, an unattended firearm doesn’t go hunting for people to hurt and kill.

This dog was hunting for something to kill.  If I had resisted or stood up, I believe it would have been me. I’m extraordinarily lucky that my wife and children didn’t have to identify my mutilated body, and that pisses me off. There often is no one to blame when bad things happen, and I know that as well as anyone from personal experience. However, this time there is, and it’s the idiot owner of this dog who for whatever reason has no sense of responsibility or regard for other people.

Own whatever kind of dog you want – makes no difference to me what your motivations are.  I love dogs, in general – Izzy is a very important part of my life. But, be aware that you have a responsibility to protect the rest of us from the consequences of your choice, and you have an obligation to stand up and be accountable for the damage that your choice causes.

14 thoughts on “Pit Bull Attack

  1. Anonymous

    I am very sorry for your experience!!….I do feel it’s very unfair of you to judge the breed and not the situation. You came upon a dog that was in prey mode via deer you were a very unfortunate distraction! There is no excuse for what happened to you but it could have been any dog in that situation not JUST because it was a bully breed…I am a 36yo Parkinson’s patient with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and a blue fawn American Bully. They love everyone they come accross and are always by my side

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  2. Pingback: Defense In Depth | The Crooked Path

  3. Corey, this is really horrifying. I’m really sorry it happened to you and hope you’re healing. What can we do to reduce the chances of other people getting injured or killed by reckless, irresponsible owners of pit bulls (and other dangerous animals)? How can we get good laws passed?

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  4. Kathy

    Corey, I am so sorry this happened to you and pissed as well. I hope the owners are held accountable, and while I’m sorry it happened to you, thank God a small child was not the one in his path. I’m sure we would be hearing a much different story.

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    • Joanb@cableone.net

      Corey, thank God you knew how to react. I’ve long believed that pit bulls should not be breezed. I’ve seen the statistics. However drastic that may sound, no one else seems to have come up with a solution. I guess it would be too cumbersome to take a big stick.

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  5. Anonymous

    Oh Corey, that is so frightening! Thank you God, that you are OK. I do hope you have the ability to take this further in regard to the law. It certainly seems like there should be some responsibility for the dog owner to be held liable. I have never had to face that, but I can only imagine the lasting impact that would leave. May tomorrow be a brighter day🙏☀️

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  6. Corey, we are all so thankful that you were not injured any more than what you described. You are a special guy and a very important person in my life (BIL). I am genuinely sorry that you had this experience and wish you a speedy recovery. Really appreciate your comments regarding pit bulls. No matter how hard one tries to justify this breed as a pet, it just doesn’t make sense. Take care and we will talk soon. Scott

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  7. Corey, so glad that you are okay and that it wasn’t worse, which it could easily have been. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and express your anger, and to use it as an opportunity to educate others on the risks and responsibilities of owning any dog, let alone a pit bull terrier. Seeing the statistics was very helpful. I, too, have read or heard the stories of all the loving pit bulls, some of which are allowed to hang out and even sleep with babies and children. Reading of your experience and the statistics sends chills just thinking of those pit bull owners who are either unintentionally or intentionally exposing family members, themselves and/or others to their pit bull without regard for their nature, which could express itself at any moment. I will share your post in hopes that someone else is educated and makes a more responsible, and potentially lifesaving, choice. I hope you’re back on your bike soon!

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  8. Lyn

    Corey, I’m praising God that you are ok. I too share your anger! Your words, as always, are well written; thank you for your post. I pray that you continue to heal smoothly, and that you feel comfortable getting back on your bike and riding some more! (I too am a bike rider and have had a dog jump up at me. He was a friendly dog, but it still was alarming to be jumped at. And, even now, I’m cautious and stear wide when I am passing a dog on the trail.)

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  9. Kimberly Grant Pritchard

    What repercussions are the owners facing? I completely agree with you and I hope at the very least they are held accountable and pay for your medical bills. I was attacked by a dog (not a PB thankfully) while out jogging my sophomore year of college and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. If I moved, the dog took another chunk out of me. I know that your physical wounds will heal in time, and I hope the psychological damage from this does also. I’m a crazy dog lover, but after my attack it took years for me to trust again and I pray that doesn’t happen to you. It seems wrong to say that you got lucky, but you truly are lucky that the dog didn’t continue to attack.

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