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Pitbulls ‘killed my dog’, says father in plea for policy change

A black pitbull terrier

A call for action on pitbulls was made by a St George’s couple who reported that their dog was killed in front of their two young children.

The husband and wife said that their King Charles spaniel was attacked by a pair of loose pitbulls in their neighbourhood last week.

“We are frustrated, really, of hearing time after time of pitbull attacks on people and on pets,” the man said.

“Bermuda is no longer safe. People and pets are no longer safe because of these dangerous dogs running loose, these dangerous dogs.

“Is it really worth the risk of having this breed on the island if they are known to be problematic dogs that attack or even kill?

“People need to influence the Government to put the appropriate level of legislation and policies in place to make Bermuda safe again. Our neighbourhoods are no longer safe.

“It is simply not worth the risk with this breed, knowing its history of attacks.”

The husband told The Royal Gazette that his wife had taken their dog out for a walk at about 7.20pm on June 11 in the company of their young son and daughter.

As they approached a neighbourhood playground, they came across a pair of unleashed pitbulls.

“There was no dog owner in sight,” the man said. “They were just running around the neighbourhood.

“The dogs came towards them, attacked my dog. They killed my dog.

“During the incident, my two-year-old son fell and suffered some minor injuries. My daughter was frozen in fear.

“My wife was screaming and crying for help. A number of neighbours could hear her screaming from what I gathered after the attack.”

He said his wife rushed their children home and he went back out, only to find their dog dead near the entrance to the playground.

“The two loose pitbulls were still there roaming around the area and passed by me,” the husband said.

“I recognised the dogs because they were the same two pitbulls that attacked and wounded my dog last year, but in a different area of the neighbourhood.”

He said that while his dog was injured in that incident, he was able to get the pet to a veterinarian and the matter was subsequently settled out of court because the owner was remorseful and promised to fix his gate.

“My kids and my wife weren’t with me and I was able to save my dog,” he said. “I was able to manage the situation and I could pick him up and save him.”

He urged the Government to take action, noting media reports of other pitbull attacks on the island.

“I haven’t heard from the press or from the dog warden that they had to take a poodle because they killed another dog or attacked someone,” he said.

“It is mostly this breed. It’s mostly pitbulls.”

While restrictions on pitbulls were lightened after a prolonged campaign, the wife of the couple argued that the breed itself was dangerous.

“Some people say it’s the irresponsible dog owners to blame. However, one could be a responsible dog owner and make a mistake, or something goes wrong that is out of their control,” she said.

“It’s not always the dog owners, it’s the breed, too.

“The question we need to ask is, is it really worth the risk to human life and our beloved pets to have this dangerous breed?”

She said that as a mother she was traumatised by thoughts about what could have happened if the dogs had attacked her children.

“As a result of the horrific attack witnessed, my two-year-old son won’t allow to be put down to play outside our house,” she said. “He now wants to be carried.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed that the incident was reported and that animal wardens had spoken to the victim.

“The offending dogs were also turned over to the wardens,” the spokesman said. “As this matter is under investigation, no further details can be shared at this time.

“As the junior minister confirmed just last week, a report with suggestions for dealing with restricted dog breeds and protecting the community from dog attacks will be submitted for the consideration of the Ministry of Home Affairs this week.”

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Published June 19, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated June 19, 2024 at 7:33 am)

Pitbulls ‘killed my dog’, says father in plea for policy change

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