Four Pit Bull attacks in four days have divided Garland County, AR, in an emotional debate over whether the breed should be banned entirely.
Dan Bugg, Director of Hot Springs Animal Control, is currently housing one Pit Bull accused of biting a Garland County Deputy and another dog accused of biting a little girl celebrating her birthday. On Wednesday morning, Bugg put down another Pit Bull after a serious attack on a 12-year-old boy over the weekend. Then a beloved Black Labrador, Bear, was killed by two Pit Bulls, which attacked the helpless animal in his own yard. The two dogs that killed Bear were wearing collars but are still unidentified and “on the loose, “according to FoxNews.
VICTIM MISTAKENLY REPORTED “CASTRATED” BY PIT BULL
Two teenage boys were victims of attacks on Saturday, August 25. A 13-year old was reported as “having his hand bit open," and 12-year-old Tiger Barnett described for Fox News that he had gone to visit a friend when a Pit Bull came after him and repeatedly bit him.
Tiger Barnett had deep gashes in his legs and the dog also bit him in the groin area. He was first reported by news outlets as having been “castrated” by the attack in which he ran from the dog and jumped over a fence. “Garland County Sheriff Deputies initially believed the severe bite to his groin would likely end with the drastic procedure,” according to the report.
But Tiger’s mother, Shana Barnett, clarified that her son was seriously injured in the groin but was not castrated. He received numerous stitches at St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center and was released to return home and is now walking, she said.
However, the mother admitted she was shocked to see the extent of her son's injuries and said it was terrifying for her as a parent. "If it would have been my youngest, he wouldn't have been able to get away," she said.
She does not favor a ban on Pit Bulls, but Tiger told reporters he'd like to never see another one. "'Cause you don't know if they are going to attack or not," he said.
Shana Barnett told FoxNews, "I don't think a pit bull ban will do anything," she said. "I'd rather see stronger laws. They tried to ban pit bulls in Little Rock and owners just moved them to North Little Rock."
SURVEILLANCE VIDEO CAPTURES 2 PIT BULLS KILLING BLACK LAB
David Roeck, whose black Labrador, Bear, was mauled to death by two roaming pit bulls Monday afternoon feels differently about a breed ban. A graphic home surveillance video captures the Pit Bull attack and the futile efforts of the pet to protect himself. Roeck returned home to watch how his beloved pet died under relentless attack.
"It was just too tough to protect against being outnumbered, and "Bear" died at his favorite resting spot, reported KATV.com. "He was viciously attacked by two different pit bulls," said Roeck, "and you can see in the video when they just kept coming back and coming back and attacking him and locking on him until he was killed."
"He was so loving and caring and gentle and he could be so protective on the other side," said David Roeck, of his 2-year-old "Bear." The grieving owner told KATV reporters that he is devoted to identifying who the dogs' owners and finding justice for "Bear."
TOUGHER LAWS OR “ALL-OUT COUNTY-WIDE BAN”?
The attacks now have the attention of local officials. Mary Bournival, Garland County Justice of the Peace, said, “We haven’t done enough to protect the people. I would prefer to ban the breed than to continue allowing these to happen."
David Roeck plans to fight for a pit bull ban in memory of Bear. "He was like one of my children. I have suffered every emotion imaginable since this event and I'm sure it's not over yet," he told KATV.
Misdemeanor charges were filed against the owners of the dogs believed to be responsible in the attacks which injured the two juveniles on Saturday. The dog that bit Tiger has already been put down and has been sent to a lab to be tested for rabies.
"I'm appalled at the county that all they got charged with were misdemeanors and these children were disfigured and changed their entire lives," said David Roeck.
We want people to be safe," said Animal Services Director Dan Bugg. He believes the county's laws could be clarified or strengthened, but points out that any new restrictions would require more manpower.
Bournival says changes which range from leash and fencing laws to an all-out county-wide ban on pit bulls will be discussed at next Quorum Court meeting on September 17.