In Wisconsin, a 14-month-old was left with a crushed skull, severed spine, hundreds of cuts and a dangling eyeball before he died from his injuries.
It took more than 1,000 stitches and facial reconstruction surgery to set a 7-year-old on the path to recovery in Tennessee. He has four more surgeries to look forward to before his treatment ends.
A 10-year-old’s face was sewn together with more than 75 stitches in Philadelphia in 2012, and she will face scar minimization surgery in a few years.
An 82-year-old Palmyra man suffered a broken femur and pelvis, a head injury, and multiple injuries to his arm last month.
The one thing these horrific injuries have in common: They all were inflicted by pit bulls, which were responsible for 25 of the 32 dog bite-related deaths in the United States in 2013, according to www.dogsbite.org, a nonprofit public education website that focuses on “dangerous dog breeds, chiefly pit bulls.”
Central Pennsylvania has seen a few shocking pit bull attacks during the past month.
A pit bull attacked and killed a miniature dachshund and went after another dog in Carlisle’s Thornwald Park, where the elderly and children often walk and play. The dog, adopted from a New York rescue organization, was euthanized following the incident, Mayor Tim Scott said.
Sieglinde and William Smith discuss the pit bull attack that left their miniature dachshund, Schatzie, dead
A pit bull attacked Sieglinde and William Smith’s miniature dachshund, Schatzie, in Carlisle’s Thornwald Park in June. Schatzie died shortly after the attack.
A little more than a week later, a pit bull attacked a police officer who shot and killed it in North Middleton Township. And on June 16, a Cornwall man was charged following the pit bull attack that left the unidentified 82-year-old Palmyra man seriously injured.
These recent attacks re-ignited the local debate over whether pit bulls, with the right attention and care, are family-friendly pets, or just natural killing machines genetically apt to attack without warning.
Murray Katz, whose 80-year-old mother, Esther, suffered a broken hip, leg and arm injuries when she was mauled by a pit bull in uptown Harrisburg in 2011, said owners have to do more to ensure no one else suffers like his mother did when she was attacked as she was walking home from a beauty salon in uptown Harrisburg in June 2011.
The dog was in the back yard with its owner when suddenly it jumped the fence and pounced on Esther Katz, her son said. The owner was able to command the dog to stop, but not before Esther Katz suffered the multiple injuries, Murray Katz said.
On the other side of the issue are advocates such as Jessica Blouch, vice president of Pitties. Peace. Love., a pit bull rescue group based in Elizabethtown, Lancaster County.
Blouch contends that pit bulls, once the U.S. mascot, make the best family pets if raised appropriately. Owners are generally the ones at fault when the dogs attack, she said.
“The pit bull used to be referred to as the “nanny dog,” due to how good they are with children, respectful children,” she said. “They are loving, social dogs who crave love and being included as a cherished member of the family more than any other breed I’ve known, and I’ve worked with a lot of them.”
Jeff Borchardt, of Wisconsin, whose 14-month-old son was mauled to death by two pit bulls on March 6, 2013, doesn’t buy it. Pit bulls are bred to be strong killing machines, and no matter how tame they might seem, they can’t be trusted, Borchardt said.
He said blaming the owners, and not the breed, every time a pit bull attacks is what left him and his wife, Kimberly, without a son.
“Pit bull advocates will tell you over and over, it’s the owner’s fault,” Borchardt said. “They didn’t have to see their son torn to shreds.”