While Jeff Borchardt was at work on March 6, 2013, a close family friend who babysat his son, Daxton, dressed the 14-month old and put on his jacket and hat.
Even though the two pit bulls the babysitter raised from puppies had never shown signs of aggression, as a precaution, Daxton Borchardt was not to be around the dogs, Jeff Borchardt said.
But after the baby sitter dressed Daxton, she picked him up and decided to let the dogs out of her house in Walworth County, Wisconsin, Borchardt said.
She also had Daxton in her arms when she called the dogs back into the house, he said, and that’s when everything went wrong.
Without warning, the dogs attacked.
First, the pit bulls went after the babysitter, who fell on top of Daxton and stayed there to try to protect him from the relentless mauling that ensued, Borchardt said. But it didn’t take long before the dogs dragged her off of Daxton, and no matter how hard she tried to stop the pit bulls, even attempting to gouge their eyes out, there was nothing she could do, he said.
The gruesome mauling lasted 15 minutes, Borchardt said. It was so vicious, a metal door was torn down before it ended. And by the time the dogs stopped, Daxton was barely clinging to life, his father said.
“He was rushed to Milwaukee Hospital. It wasn’t the crushed skull, or the eyeball hanging out of the socket that killed him. It was ultimately his broken spine that killed him,” Borchardt said. “It actually was a blessing that he died. If he would have lived, he would have been so disfigured.”
There are no words to adequately describe the pain and unbelievable sense of loss Borchardt and his wife, Kimberly Borchardt, felt after the attack.
But, the Borchardts were determined to make sure their son didn’t die in vain. And with that in mind, they established a nonprofit called Daxton’s Friends for Canine Education & Awareness.
Jeff Borchardt said he has been “stalked” and his property has been vandalized because he speaks out about the dangers of pit bulls.
But he said no amount of taunting or bullying will ever keep him from spreading awareness.
“From what happened that day, I am in this now,” he said. “I will be talking about this the rest of my life.”