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Silver lining after pitbull attacks dog

Welcome donation: Katherine Houston, holding her dog Nevada, with SPCA executive director Deborah Titterton Narraway

Katherine Houston described seeing her dog being attacked by a loose pitbull as a nightmare.

However, now with her dog on the road to recovery, Ms Houston is trying to turn the incident into a positive by using it to support the Bermuda Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“It felt like it would make everything right,” she said. “My son and I got our very first dog right here at the SPCA shelter.

“When these things happen, you have got to respond, and we have to do something to help groups like the SPCA. We have to be community minded.”

Ms Houston said that on August 28 she was walking her pet, Nevada, near Cut Road in St George’s when the dog was attacked by a loose pitbull who gripped the corgi-terrier cross by the neck.

“It was out of nowhere,” she said. “He didn’t even whimper. It didn’t last too long but from his neck to his shoulders his skin was ripped off.

“When I told Dr Jennifer Fullerton that he didn’t even whimper, she said he was in a strangle hold.

“It was pretty horrendous. It was a nightmare.”

She said a stranger drove her and Nevada to a veterinarian, and it was there she noticed that she herself had suffered a puncture wound to her forearm.

While Nevada was treated for his injuries, complications arose in the form of a series of bacterial infections which required antibiotics and a second emergency surgery.

Ms Houston said the owners of the pitbull involved in the attack stepped forward in the wake of the incident and offered to reimburse her for the cost of treatment, which over the last two months rose to about $3,000.

However, after some thought, she decided that she would donate the reimbursement cheques to the SPCA as they come in so that other animals could benefit.

Deborah Titterton Narraway, executive director at the SPCA, said the donation came at a time when the charity was working on improving its facilities so it can keep better care of dogs.

“The SPCA lives off of community involvement and everything we do is based on what the community gives, so we are grateful for any donation,” she said.

“The timing of this is just wonderful. We have had a full shelter now since I have been here, with every type of dog.”

While she said that redoing the kennels entirely would cost “a few million dollars,” there are a number of less costly changes and improvements that can be made.

“We have a donor who has come forward who has offered to help us put in acoustics to help the reverberation,” she said.

“A lot of the dogs that come here don’t have the best background, and most are coming in are nervous even if they come from a loving home.”

She said that the charity was also looking to install a “pocket door” so that people who come to see the cats don’t have to first walk past the kennels — something that can cause the dogs unnecessary stress.

The SPCA are also hoping to make use of an exterior run, improving it so that it could be used for large dogs or dogs that require additional space.

“We want to be able to better handle whatever comes in through the door, and that is exactly how these funds are going to be used,” she said.