It wasn’t the first time Chuck Hale’s golden retriever was the target of a neighbor’s pit bull. After a 2012 incident, the Hales’ spent thousands of dollars fencing in their backyard.
On Thursday, it happened again. That’s when a 4-year-old pit bull named Hennessey managed to escape its home and enter the Hales’ fenced backyard.
“By this time, I’m in fear that my dog’s going to be dead,” Hale said. “I mean, she’s got him by the throat.”
Hale wouldn’t show his face to the television camera, saying he is being threatened by angry dog owners who are posting their comments on social media.
When the pit bull locked onto his dog’s neck, Hale says he punched and pulled at the animals without any luck. That’s when he called in to his wife to bring him a kitchen knife.
With three stab wounds to the pit bull’s abdomen, it unlatched and rolled onto its side, dead.
“Unfortunately, I had to take that dog’s life in order to save my dog’s life,” Hale said. “And as this unfolds, this is the third attack these dogs have made on my dog, in my yard, on my property.”
Juan and Sonia Ochoa are Hennessey’s owners and say Hale went too far by stabbing their dog. They claim they could have separated the two dogs had the Hales only yelled to them for help.
They also said that their son was coming around the corner of the house when he saw his dog being stabbed.
“There are so many other ways of stopping something like this, you know,” Juan Ochoa said. “Like a simple grabbing a hose and wetting the dogs just to distract them, they’ll stop.”
The incident prompted inflammatory comments against both parties on social media.
Reading from one of the posts, Kim Hale said: “One of them said, ‘I know who he is, where he works, where he is, he better watch out.’”
Neighbors now hope the emotions of the recent incident will cool and that both parties can take responsibility for a scene that got out of hand.
“It just hurts me to see what happened,” Ochoa said. “Us being neighbors, you know.”
According to Owatonna police, the pit bull was listed as a “potentially dangerous” dog. That’s in part due to the previously reported dog attack.
It’s also among the factors weighed in the decision not to charge Hale with killing the pit bull for attacking his dog.
Sonya Ochoa says she’s starting a local dog social that will meet monthly. She intends to bring in dog trainers and the Humane Society in hopes of teaching owners how to handle tough situations.
“I hope some good will result from a very tough situation,” she said.