Tough New Laws Proposed After Pit Bull Owner Linda Henry Loses Eye, Ear and Both Arms in Attack

| by Denise A Justin
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A New Orleans suburb will soon be considering a tough law to either ban or make it “costly to own certain vicious breeds of dogs,” according to a Westwego, Louisiana, city councilman, after a shocking attack on local resident Linda Henry by her own Pit Bulls.

Linda Henry, 54, is still hospitalized due to the devastating injuries she received on March 13, when she was mauled by three of the four Pit Bulls she and her boyfriend had raised in their home since they were puppies, reports The Times Picayune. The attack was so vicious that Ms. Henry lost an eye and ear and both arms had to be amputated.

Westwego police officers were forced to shoot and kill all four dogs when they attacked the officers who responded to rescue the woman at 341 Avenue A, only a block from Westwego City Hall, about 3:30 p.m. on March 13, Police Chief Dwayne "Poncho" Munch told reporters.

Linda Henry was taken to LSU Interim Hospital in New Orleans in critical condition. (Westwego is a suburb of New Orleans and lies along the west bank of the Mississippi River.)

Her boyfriend, Clarence Allen, told Paul Purpura of The Times Picayune, "I don't know why they did it. We had those dogs like kids in there. They never had a fight. I don't understand it." Neighbors later confirmed that the dogs were kept inside the home and not allowed to roam..

Allen said he had just gone to a corner store and he passed Henry on Avenue A. “She was going home,” he said.

"When I got to the store, my little cousin called me on the phone and told me the police was down here shooting my dogs," Allen said.

Police Chief Dwayne "Poncho" Munch said two detectives shot three of the dogs while Sgt. Robert Huff dragged Henry to safety. Later, as animal control personnel went through the house, the fourth dog attacked Sgt. Huff. When his Taser failed to stop the dog, Lt. Daniel Johnson shot it, Munch said.

"It's the worst dog bite I've ever seen in 25 years of police work," Munch said. He added that some wounds were so deep they exposed the victim’s bones.

Police say that Ghost, a 4-year-old female, apparently attacked her owner as she walked through the front door. Then Zeus, a 4-year-old male, and Brutus, a 2-year-old male, joined in the attack. A fourth pit bull, Big Lucy, 8, was in a back room at the time, Allen said.

A neighbor told police she was outside when she saw Henry walk into her home, and within moments she heard Henry screaming, "Get off of me." She said she yelled for her neighbor’s son-in-law to call the police. The man ran to the house and tried to get in, but one of the dogs attacked him, she said.

The three officers arrived and, "They could hear the woman screaming in the house," Munch said. "They saw all three dogs biting her."

An officer shot and killed one of the dogs as it charged them when they opened the door, the Chief told The Times Picayune. A second pit bull then turned on the officers and was shot Munch said. The third dog was still mauling Henry and also had to be shot.

As an officer dragged Henry outside to wait for an ambulance, a police officer went through the house with animal control. That was when Munch said the fourth dog, Big Lucy, attacked him and he tried to subdue her with his Taser, but the Pit Bull "was on the attack” and had to be shot by another officer."

One of the dogs, apparently Ghost, recently had puppies, which were taken away in a carrier, Munch said.

As Linda Henry still lies in a hospital bed, recovering from the massive crippling wounds she received in the gruesome mauling, 1st District Councilman Glenn Green said Monday he hopes to introduce an ordinance next month that could ban certain breeds of "vicious" dogs inside city limits or at least make it “costly for residents to own certain types of dogs.”

I don't care if you don't like it. Unless you've been across the river to see Ms. Henry, you can't complain," he declared.

"And I'm going to make sure your insurance company knows what's going on," Green stated at the Westwego City Council meeting on Monday night.

City Attorney Joel Levy said he knows of no case law barring Westwego from banning certain types of dogs from the city. He said, however, it would be "very difficult" to prevent a repeat of an attack like Henry's, which happened in her own home, by her own pets.

Sources: NOLA