Pit Bull News Highlights - Week of July 11th, 2010

A heroic pit bull rescues his human family from a burning home, a new group is formed to help with pit bull PR problems, and an innocent pit bull barely escapes a death sentence thanks to a dogged owner. Plus, yet another heartwarming rescue story, because we at pitbulls.org like heartwarming rescue stories.

Thor to the Rescue

Thor the Pit BullOur first story began around 3 AM last Thursday, when fire broke out in a Bristol, Indiana home while the family slept. As the flames spread and smoke gathered in the home, Kemper Hunter and Sarah Laughlin slept on. But their pit bull, Thor, awoke to the danger and leapt into action. Hunter and Laughlin groggily came to as Thor jumped on them, barking and nipping at their ears.

Thor had already dragged the 3 month old baby's bassinet to the door. "We turned around to look for the bassinet that was at the head of the bed, and it's at the door," said Hunter. "All we got to do is open the door and go out. [Thor's] like 'Let's roll, dad! It's time to go, I got you.'"

Hunter continued, "Thank God for [Thor], because if it wasn't for him, everything else is replaceable, I think we'd still be laying in that bed."

While the family escaped injury, their home was badly damaged and they did not have renter's insurance. The local Red Cross has set up a fund to help, and may be reached at 574-293-6519.

Telling the Truth about Pit Bulls

While dogs like Thor are certainly doing their part to improve the image of pit bulls, a new group of humans recently formed in Atlanta, Georgia to help combat the breed's PR problems. In response to numerous local reports of pit bull attacks, Atlanta Pit Bull Parents have been seeking out local media coverage to tell the truth about pit bulls.

While the group acknowledges actual instances of genuine aggression involving pit bulls, they correctly identify malicious and irresponsible owners as the problem, not the breed. However, founder Liz Henderson points out that "Most times, the dogs get a bad name because observers who might see an attack or someone being attacked don’t know much about the dogs. So they think any dog that attacks them is a pit bull. Then that gets portrayed incorrectly to the media and into the statistics.”

Liz, events prove your statement correct nearly every day.

For example ...

Bella the Pit Bull Exonerated in Vanessa Carlton Attack

Pit bulls made the wrong kind of headlines when pop singer Vanessa Carlton was bitten in the leg while jogging on May 2. Carlton was treated for puncture wounds at a Shohola, Pennsylvania hospital, and a 9 month old pit bull puppy named Bella was hauled off to canine death row for her supposed offense.

In most instances, that would been the end for Bella, given the prevailing ethic in some quarters that it's perfectly acceptable to execute a puppy for biting a jogger in the leg. But Bella's human was absolutely certain that there was no way Bella could have escaped her fenced yard and then gotten back in without leaving a trace, and she was sure her puppy wouldn't bite random joggers in any event. Fortunately for Bella, her human had the resources to hire experts to compare bite marks and dental records.

A six hour trial ensued last week. Canine behavioral experts who examined Bella testified that she seemed unlikely to attack anyone. More conclusively, several forensic specialists in canine dentistry testified that the bite on Carlton's leg couldn't have come from Bella. Case closed. Puppy execution averted. Bella is now happily back at home. We can all be glad that the innocent puppy had a human who believed in her and had the resources to prove her case.

A Second Chance for Chance

Four months ago, two abused pit bull mixes arrived separately at the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan. Donations poured in for their medical care, and three weeks later, the healthier of the two, Fiona, was adopted by a loving home.

For the other pit bull, it was a longer road. Named Chance by workers at the shelter because "he needs a second chance," the approximately 1 year old pit bull was found dying from malnutrition and exposure. One of his legs was so badly infected it required amputation. On three legs, a recovered Chance waited in the shelter.

On June 25, Chance finally got lucky. Don Robinson, a disabled former computer technician, came to the shelter in search of a playmate for his other pit bull rescue, Sadie. Sadie had also been abused prior to her adoption by Robinson, and previously had been defensive around other dogs. But she and Chance took to each other right away, and are now best friends. Robinson reports that Chance plays fine on three legs.

He does warn visitors about a potential danger from Chance, however. "He'll lick you to death," Robinson says.

I love hearing stories about pits like Thor and Bella, true images of what a pit bull is really like. I don't usually speak poorly against people, but it bothers me how most who view pit bulls as vicious have probably never met one; never mind what they hear on the media--they believe that as fact, no matter what anyone tells them. I have a family member who told my husband and I to not have children during our dog's life. They said, "Losing a child will hollow a person out; you'll never be able to forgive yourself." Well, I have news for this family member--we have taken the steps necessary to ensure our dog lives a happy, socialized life...he continues to meet other dogs and people everyday, takes obedience classes...and yes someday, we will bring a child into this world, at which time our pit bull is sure to love and honor the new member of the family. :)

"A six hour trial ensued last week. Canine behavioral experts who examined Bella testified that she seemed unlikely to attack anyone. More conclusively, several forensic specialists in canine dentistry testified that the bite on Carlton's leg couldn't have come from Bella. Case closed. Puppy execution averted. Bella is now happily back at home. We can all be glad that the innocent puppy had a human who believed in her and had the resources to prove her case."

Wow, hardly a kernel of truth in that paragraph. Yes the trial lasted 6 hours. The behavioral "expert" runs a landscape business and a dog rescue. She has NO training in animal behavior. "Several" forensic experts was actually one vet with NO expertise in dental forensics. The judge didn't believe either of the so-called experts. HE did however believe the the victim and the third party eye witness who came to Vanessa's aid. The judge said Bella could return to their owners ONLY after a fence was built and was approved by the dog warden. That still has not happened.
Bella is not an innocent puppy. At the tender age of 9 months, Bella bitten 2 people.

The Pocono Record and Maria McKenna, Dr Karin all LIED. Here is the judge's decidion.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/35080492/Vanessa-Carlton-Ruling-Involving-a-Pit-Bull-Named-Bella-Commonwealth-vs-Ben-Teichberg

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