ANIMAL WATCH - A family pet Pit Bull brutally killed an 82-year-old retired schoolteacher who was the mother of its owner on July 12.
The dog was confiscated and impounded but was recently reportedly returned to the owner with an order to get training, after eight private parties and an NGO “rescue” organization informed the Lucknow Municipal Corporation where the dog was held they wanted to adopt the dog.
We have to wonder why so many people would risk taking into their family a dog that had just killed a helpless elderly woman who loved him?
Sushila Tripathi, was mauled to death in Lucknow by the Pit Bull, named Brownie, in July, after the dog had been living in the home for three years. The mother was alone with him and attempting to feed him when he attacked and killed her, according to India Today.
When her dead body was found, it was determined she was bitten at least 13 times. Her son, a gym trainer, found her lying in a pool of blood.
She was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead, due to “excessive loss of blood.”
The dog was impounded for 14 days and ultimately was returned to his owner, with an order to obtain training.
One report called the brutal killing of a helpless woman an “accident.”
One of those seeking to adopt Brownie, Amit Jani, said he decided to adopt the dog after he was labeled as vicious following the July 12 incident. He said he already has one Pitbull dog and it never got aggressive.
Brownie was ultimately returned, apparently with no restraints and only an order to obtain training for him. He later stated that he gave it to “close relatives,” the report states.”
We hope there is no repeat of the attack on his mother—his last “close relative” to care for the dog.
(See Pit Bull Attacks are Not Accidents)
ARE WE OBSESSED WITH DANGEROUS PIT BULLS?
This is certainly not the only case of an overwhelming desire to “save” a Pit Bull that has maimed or killed. It does not appear this dog was in any way mistreated. There is an almost unending list at any animal shelter of “rescuers” who will take “misunderstood” Pit Bulls, and one rescuer was even attacked at a Los Angeles shelter while attempting to administer a drug to sedate the dog enough to handle it and get it into her vehicle..
So, why are so many adult humans absorbed in risking their own and others’ lives and well-being to “rescue” a dog that has already indicated it doesn’t like or respect humans or it just can’t control its instinct to kill? Is it this unpredictability that fascinates?
If it was not a Pit Bull that brutally killed this helpless woman, would we have even read the continuing reports about this incident? Does this revert back to our primitive attraction to those who refuse to comply with rules, and whose independence is loathed, feared—and envied—in a world of increasing restrictions on what we can do and say?
Has this breed established itself as the “Bad Boy” of the canine world with a hypnotic, visceral attraction to both women and men?
In the case of Brownie, his appeared to be an especially appalling decision because of the old adage that has so often proven true, that past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior (attributed most recently to Dr. Phil but historically to Mark Twain and several others). But, with thousands of Pit Bulls homeless around the globe, why would this dog be singled out by so many unknown adopters to be kept alive and given an opportunity to kill again?
We are asking that question a lot lately as the attacks on Pit Bull owners is reported in the media and increasingly, they are women who believed their dog adored them—until it had its mouth on their throat or was attempting to kill their child.
Women’s roles in society are changing and are far more independent and dominant, in general, than that of previous generations. And, they certainly have far more choices in a world where social and sexual relationships are often decided merely by a text message, rather than a long period of “courting.”
It appears that women’s desire for danger has also increased—more are in law-enforcement and the emulated “stars” of today’s entertainment world are seen as bold and daring, rather than seductive.
Women are no longer seeking a “knight in shining armor,” but a Pit Bull can provide a feeling of safety. The flip side is that same strength and lack of inner inhibition that makes them desirable can allow it to attack and/or kill someone it loves and then wag its tail happily.
But, as an ex-cop friend of mine says, “Everyone loves a train wreck.” Have Pit Bull attacks become a “train wreck” that some believe they could have stopped or can control?
The Appealing “Bad Boy” Syndrome
A 1990’s TV drama “COPS” was famous for its theme song “Bad Boys,” written and recorded by a Florida-based reggae group, called “Inner Circle” and taunting with the question, “Bad boy, bad boy, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”
The song, like the popular series appealed to young and old and bridged the gaps and the similarities in traits shared by all living creatures but more apparent in criminals and police officers—both “adrenaline junkies,” and both somehow sexy.
Seemingly, the more dangerous or reckless their behavior or past had been, the more seductive they were. And, not just to women. Men who worked in dull office atmospheres experienced a vicarious abandon into a world of risk they would never take in reality.
The days of romance and seduction are essentially gone, largely because men have become terrified to even tell a woman she looks good in the alluring dress or tight jeans she’s wearing for that purpose—for fear of a sexual-harassment lawsuit now or 20 years in the future.
Are some humans experiencing their inner need for base behavior through Pit Bulls? Have Pit Bulls become—not only the “bad boys (and girls)” but also the new sex symbol of danger and living “on the edge?”
We definitely expect to see them more often in areas where their existence may be tied to protecting a property or drug and other criminal activity, but now both men and women appear to be seeing the dog—and its past aggressive behavior—a challenge, rather than a warning and, thus, also endangering others. The ultimate and self-serving goal is to “save” it—whatever that means.
In Signs of a Bad Boy…, Daryl Young tells us , Yes, girls prefer bad boys to nice guys. Girls prefer bad boys because bad boys have attractive traits like genuine confidence, assertiveness, carefreeness, unpredictability, leadership, sense of humor, lots of passions and being straightforward.
Girls don’t prefer nice guys to bad boys because nice guys are predictable, never take risks, indecisive, take themselves seriously, have a lot of jealousy, insecure, lack confidence and always want to follow the girl’s lead.
Does this relate to Pit Bulls? Underneath the social sanctity of being a “savior,” do we love them because they are fearless in new situations, they walk into strange places with assurance; they are not afraid of strangers—but do we consider that if they decide to attack, they don’t warn us or ask permission?
LEARNING ABOUT PIT BULLS
Sadly, too many people are learning about Pit Bulls by being victims of attack. And, until the moment the dog(s) came running at them or someone they love (human or animal), they have not given the breed much thought. But an attack is an awful experience, even if you manage to escape injury.
I have been present and stopped Pit Bull attacks and also not been able to stop them. It is a terrifying, exhausting, and painful experience you never forget.
A reader wrote to CityWatchLA this week and questioned my experience with the breed, so I am going to write briefly how I have learned and why it is important that we encourage the media to continue posting these reports.
I knew nothing about Pit Bulls when I took in my first stray Pit Bull female and her pup after returning to Los Angeles. At that time, I did animal control work with a small humane society in another state. I also have California humane officer training and have worked with numerous municipal animal shelters. My BA degree is in Criminal Justice, and I have also been employed by a CA police department and fire department.
Pit Bull Rescue
I started the first Pit Bull rescue in L.A. when there were only six listed on the entire City shelter impound list. It did not take long until the heartbreaking truth was obvious, which was extreme dog aggression—in both genders. But they exhibited no human-aggression.
In the early 1990’s, a serious attack on a man in the Valley by Pit Bulls was the beginning of a new education and era of Pit Bulls. The man went to the front of his house early one morning to bring in his trash cans and was attacked by two Pit Bulls, which inflicted 19 separate identifiable bites as they continually dragged him back down to the ground each time he tried to get up, news reports described. He miraculously survived. I was volunteering at the Los Angeles City animal shelter and the officers who responded were traumatized by the viciousness of the attack and then the calm cooperation of the dogs when they put them in the truck. (For those readers in Los Angeles, Capt. Wendell Bowers—then an ACO—was one of those officers.)
I had written animal articles prior to that, but that event generated my first letter to the L.A. Daily News, warning that with the increasing number of Pit Bulls being reported loose in communities, the City needed to have enough officers, fully equipped to respond.
Gangs had already begun openly using Pit Bulls to protect locations of criminal activity and keep law-enforcement off the property. They were brutal to the dogs and began to breed them not only for fighting but also for human aggression. Some dogs that lost fights were set on fire in the streets, and our Chief Veterinarian, Dena Mangamele, got up in the middle of the night to go to the scene to treat them and stop their suffering.
I continued to write about the developing storm of Pit Bull attacks on innocent victims. (Read “The Pit Bull Dilemma” to understand how this problem spread across the nation.)
Not all Pitties were aggressive of course, and I loved the breed. During the entire time I was rescuing them from the streets and getting them into shelters, I worked with hundreds of them and saw the obvious and reported aggression increasingly. I personally kept two which had zero aggression—one I took directly out of a staged dog fight after responding to a call from East L.A. He was losing badly and my offer to buy him was accepted. He, unfortunately, had a congenital heart condition—or perhaps caused by the fear he experienced when fighting for his life in the pit. He was with me the remainder of his life.
I was featured in an L.A. Times article, “Half Dead and Other Dogs from Hell,” in 1996, which is still on-line and can be seen on the Dogsbite.org site here.
My “rescue” years—which had been filled with many tragedies—ended when I took very friendly young male Pit Bull out of a County shelter and sincerely believed after testing him that he’d never hurt a dog or human. A few months later, during play, he punctured the jugular vein of a sweet female Schipperke he seemed to love (through her thick coat) and she bled to death internally. I took him to the vet immediately to euthanize him because he would never be a “safe” pet, and it was the responsible action that needed to be taken. It is likely he was from a dog-fighting bloodline, because that was his first attack on a dog (his playmate and friend) and it was fatal.
I have since spent thousands of hours in investigation regarding dogfighters and their dogs and communicating with them incognito and own probably one of the largest dog-fighting memorabilia, books and magazine collections in the U.S.
Owning a Pit Bull is a tremendous responsibility and requires constant vigilance. The sadness of Pit Bulls—a breed which maims and kills for sport and by nature—is emotionally overwhelming.
But, not writing the truth about them increases the possibility of good-hearted people succumbing to the myths that may result in tragedy and leaves the innocent vulnerable.
(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a contributor to CityWatch and a former Los Angeles City employee.)