Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hear this, Verizon

Another unattended child killed by a chained dog (a pit bull) employed as a guard dog in MS. The dog owner tells it better than any of us ever could...

"Let me set the record straight ... That child wandered into my yard when no one was watching him. And had Chassidy asked me to watch him, I would have. And I probably would have saved his life."

Reason said he got Blue Eyes as a guard dog. The dog was always chained and never allowed to roam, he said. "Believe me, this was no pet" ..."I've had more stuff stolen from this driveway. You wouldn't believe it. The dog worked because it scared people away."
News Article
Our sincere condolences to the victim's family, to the dog owner, who has to live with this terrible memory, and to all the families who will lose their cherished pets to BSL because of avoidable tragedies like this.


Anonymous said...

Chaining a dog definitely makes him or her more likely to attack-- for more information (statistics, history, articles, posters, printable flyers, local contacts, etc.) on chaining dogs, check out In California, we are fortunate to have the law on our side (California is one of five states in the country that addresses dog-tethering); however, it is a difficult law to enforce. Education (as always) is going to be the most effective way of promoting change. For more information on tethering legislation on the local level, visit

Anonymous said...

Yet one more time, the dog and the child pay the price of adult stupidity. I know the mother is grieving, but who lets a 3 year old wander outside WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION. The dog did exactly what it was supposed to do-attack anyone who was coming near the property. The owner of the dog should only be held liable for the inhumane treatment of the dog, not for what happen to the child, as sad as that is. This is a unneutered, chained, under socialized dog. Now this dog will sit alone, after being shot, without any human kindness or love. Putting him down will be a blessing for him under these circumstances and the owner should never have any animal ever again. THIS WAS A TRAGIC LESSON FOR ALL CONCERNED. P.S. I do Pit Bull rescue in the California bay area.

Anonymous said...

Now, as sorry as i feel for the kid, the family and the public rep of pit bulls everywhere... nothing illegal or even, wrong, happened here. I don't condone gaurd dogs or chained up dogs (i find it reprehensible actually), but if the city/state laws allow for chained dogs, this dog owner was well within the law and the child was tresspassing on private property. Was the dog roaming? No. Was the dog put in a position to attack people? No. Was the dog in its own yard when and where the attack occured? Yes. Do the laws allow for gaurd dogs? Yes. Was there a sign posted stating the dog was potentialy dangerous? Yes. Were the parents around to make sure their kid didn't wander into the yard? Noooo... The parents are the ones at fault here. I remember being 3 years old, and i don't remember being allowed to wander about my neighborhood unsupervised, whether or not there were older kids with us or not. My parents kept an eye on us. even then, bad stuff happens. i got bit on the hand by a german shepherd when standing next to my parents. They were there to quickly intervene (i did nothing to the dog, it came up to me and bit me, plain and simple) so that nothing further happened. that is the main difference here. Blame the parents... how i wish a blood alcohol level/drug test had been conducted on the parents at the time of the discovery. That would have been the most telling aspect of all.

Anonymous said...

Another child has been killed.
Of course this isn`t spreading like wildfire because it`s not a Pit type dog.
This time in Pittsburgh by a dog described as an English Sheepdog mix.
It will be interesting to see if this is another unsupervised child left with a dog.(A "safe" one)
It apparently was the family dog.
I wonder what it`s going to take before people start listening to the Canine Experts.
How sad and tragic for all.
All because of this insistence on making it about Breed,rather than educating people about dogs and children.

Anonymous said...

Looks like they finally took the commercial off the air!!

Donna said...

We just saw it play last night, but would love some confirmation on the pull if that's the case.

Anonymous said...

Actually while there is a very strong correlation between dogs being on a chain, and dogs that bite, there's no proof of a causal relationship.. at least not in the "chains make good dogs go bad" sense.

Rather, it's as likely that the situation is that bad dogs get put on chains, and then they bite.

(or in other cases, though probably not this one, some chained dogs, even if not generally "bad", feel trapped at not being able to escape unwanted attention)

Unknown said...
I have just spoken with Steve Schwartzman, Executive Coordinator, who told me that the offensive ad has been pulled in all markets. Thank you to all who signed this petition and made the calls! Mr. Schwartzman was very understanding of our feelings, and admitted that they have received quite a bit of heat over this commercial.
Each and every one of you made the difference.

Thank you again.


Renee Brace and the ASPCA Online Community

Anonymous said...

I received the exact same email as the poster above mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Thought you might like to see this retraction about a supposed Pit Bull(140 lbs?) attack in Pittsburgh.
Investigators said an American bulldog, not a pit bull as originally believed, mauled Rocco Doman Saturday.

Don`t really expect it to be posted on THAT SITE which so faithfully gathers up all the alleged Pit Bull attack stories.

Donna said...

Thanks Horatio

Don't celebrate until it's clear that Verizon actually pulled the ad, as opposed to pulling it out of its cycle.

If they decided not to schedule it again, that means it will continue to air for several more weeks, for however much airtime they purchased.

But if the ad goes completely dead, then that means they really truly honestly did pull it.

Donna said...

Interesting news about the breed mix-up, anon. It sure would've been nice to see the retraction spelled out in the headline rather than tucked in the article, but so it goes. Poor little kid. That must have been so freaky scary for him.

Anonymous said...

Yeah it doesn`t matter which Breed/type attacks you.
It`s frightening to say the least.
He still has 200 stitches and I`m sure he doesn`t feel any better or less traumatized because it wasn`t a Pit Bull.
I`m hope he recovers well and I hope people leash and properly contain ALL dogs so we see less of this.

Anonymous said...

Would any of you leave your 3 year old unattended... without some sort of adult supervision? I wouldn't. Very sad and Blue Eyes was doing exactly what his owner wanted him to do. NO DOG SHOULD BE CHAINED... and pit bulls are not guard dogs. They are family dogs and need their packs. As bad as I feel for the family who lost the child, I also feel bad for the dog who thought he was doing what he should be doing. Will we ever learn?

Boris' Mom

Unknown said...

Can we save this poor pitti bully, Blue Eyes? is there anything we can do so he is not put down? I feel awful for the little boy who was left unattended, parents need to be more responsible. Blue Eyes has no priors , he doesn't deserve a death sentence.
...The owner of the dog didn’t violate any city ordinances because the dog was chained and confined to the property, Jones said.

Animal control will conduct an investigation to determine if the pit bull should be labeled a dangerous dog, Jones said. If labeled a dangerous dog, the pit bull can be euthanized, or the owner can be required to follow several stipulations, which are outlined in the city’s dangerous dog ordinance.

Anonymous said...

Here here for leashing all dogs when they're out in public! Let's not forget about securing a dog inside a vehicle with the windows rolled down. It's not all that difficult to put a dog in a harness, loop a leash through something secure inside the vehicle (try the hardware securing the seat to the car, or any hand-holds ) and clipping the leash to the harness. The leash should be long enough to allow the dog to move around the car without getting tangled up, but not long enough to jump out the window. A six foot leash works well with my dog. I can't tell you the number of times I've watched dogs jump out of open car windows...and the owners at a loss to explain how their dogs got out....the dog is "at large" at that point and the owner is responsible for whatever happens to the dog or whatever trouble it gets into. Love your dog -- protect it!

Donna said...

O Horatio - You have a big heart, but I can't think of anyone who'd want to rescue, much less adopt a dog that's killed a child. It's not the dog's fault that he was chained up and used to guard & intimidate, but that situation is just too far gone.

Anonymous said...

Sad end for that little boy. Pathetic looking dog, scared, frightened, confused. Heart-breaking on all accounts.

Another sad story out of Michigan: Family dog kills 1-yr-old girl and injures another. Dog is chased down, shot and killed.

And while the MS case, on google alone, garnered the attention of at least 40 news agencies, the death of little Addison was only attractive to 12. Every single title of the 40 news articles in the MS death showcase pit bull in the headline, none of the 12 mention English Sheepdog (which is, admittedly, not as pithy as pit bull).

It seems, like with so many issues, a death is only as sexy as the spin - and the media has glomped onto "pit bull" as sexy, a way to sell. And in that way, the deaths of these children (and dogs) are trivialized.

Of course, it isn't all doom and gloom. We can all do our own parts to educate, to foster compassion and responsible guardianship, and to make a difference for dogs and the people around them. My pit bull did her part a few days ago by giving the neighbor's son a kiss...the mom's response, "Oh, I didn't know pit bulls could be so gentle." (I decided not to tell her how Mina knocked me over during a zoomie-fest...). Who knew changing minds could be as easy as receiving a pit bull kiss? :)

Thus endeth the lengthy discourse. :)

Caveat said...

Rinalia said it.

This is such a depressing story, on so many levels and the pictures make it worse. That dog doesn't look too good and the little boy is dead.

The description re dragging Tony into the dog house is chilling, to say the least. The comment 'Kill it' to the police, is too. It.

The dog is better off dead, due to his upbringing and history. Where would you place him safely? He'd just end up at the end of another chain, or worse.

For those who are criticizing the parents, it's not easy to be perfect, especially when you have little kids. Everybody makes mistakes but that mother will never get over the one she made.

What's needed are some measures to improve the quality of life in neighbourhoods like that one, so people don't need dangerous outdoor dogs to guard their stuff.

It was a pretty detailed report though, gave some insight into the scenario for a change. Whether it was accurate I can't tell.

Anonymous said...

in response to the former post:

"(or in other cases, though probably not this one, some chained dogs, even if not generally "bad", feel trapped at not being able to escape unwanted attention)"

This IS an example of causation - not correlation. Chaining causes frustration, inability to exercise flight, and places dogs in an environment where there is a high and prolonged state of arousal and can CAUSE more aggressive behavior as your example alludes to.

Saying it is mostly bad dogs that get chained is blaming the dogs for a situation that their people put them into.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry caveat, i completely blame the parents in this situation and it is completely irresponsible of you to espouse the idea that parents can't look after their kids. This wasn't just a mistake, it was pure carelessness or laziness. 3 year old kids should not be wandering around unattended, plain and simple. watching your kids isn't called perfection, its called being a parent.

I do believe though, that a dog like this is a perfect case for proving that a dog, regardless of the breed, can be rehabilitated. this dog has never been loved or nurtured of anything of the sort that would lead to a good dog. I'm not saying its ever going to be a dog you bring about town, but it could be a great companion one day to a person with a strong will, experience in training and tons of patience. Huge liability yes, but a worthy cause.

Donna said...

Maybe the reality is right in between both of your views - caveat, Ted. Tony's father is in jail. And mom is "doing the best she can" by asking the older kids to watch the toddler. We used to have to watch the neighborhood toddlers when we were kids, and we did a lousy job of it too.

Mom should've done better, and so should've dad. But we aren't from their worlds and we can't begin to know everything that came into play that lead up to this moment. This looks to be another family living in a depressed neighborhood, and no doubt there are a thousand different ways for kids to get hurt in that neighborhood that don't involve dogs. As a parent, that must just wear you down.

I actually feel worse for the dog owner right now. Tony's mother can blame the dog for the rest of her life and that will work for her, but the dog owner is right back to where he started with being preyed on by thieves, and absolutely nothing's changed except now there's a dead child. He seems very aware of the realities that led up to this situation and I can't imagine he's sleeping very well tonite.

Unknown said...

I agree with Ted 200%, there must be something that can be done for a bully who has no decent life all his life. I raised 3 kids and have had several dogs al through my life; I have lived in Harlem and in poor towns in South America. So I am familiar with similar situations, as a kid you were told to stay away from areas where there were dangerous dogs, if an older kid watched you there were several adults looking out for both of you. Accidents do happed but I am sorry to say this child was just not watched by any one responsible, and now the bully is going to pay for doing what he was suppose to be doing, keeping people away. Shame on that owner for treating Blue Eyes so inhumanely.
Blue Eyes deserves a chance, people should be accounted for their irresponsibility, not this bully. I as a mother of course feel awful that a child died, a tragic death, that little angel is in God’s hands now.

Caveat said...

I'm betting that Ted doesn't have kids. They're agile, clever determined and have opposable thumbs.

Trust me, I get it. I'm just saying that nobody is perfect and that this is a high price to pay.

And Donna is right about the dog owner.

It's just a sad, one in sixteen million or so event.

More ammo for the dog-haters, more ammo for Peta and its ilk, more ammo for tyrannical legislators.

More work for us.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with the sympathy expressed toward the dog's owner. I am sure he is feeling horribly about the death of the child, but he put the events in motion by keeping a dog "always chained" - his words. Wasn't there some way for him to protect whatever "stuff" (again, his words) he had in the driveway other than mistreating a dog? And then he begs the police to kill the dog, apparently by shooting it? Take a look at the dog's photo - that's a dog who has been shown no kindness.

Anonymous said...

A dog that kills a person IS to blame. (with some exceptions for freak accidents)

That dog is seriously dangerous, whatever the breed or the circumstances
There should be no excuses made for a dog that kills a person. It wouldn't matter if the dog was chained or not.

Normal dogs don't kill people, whether the dogs are chained or not, or whatever the provocation.

We don't need abnormal dogs living in our world.

Anonymous said...

Another child killed by a non Pit
My heartfelt sympathy to the family

When oh when will we stop "demonizing" certain dogs and heed the advice of Experts?

Anonymous said...

[quote]I'm betting that Ted doesn't have kids. They're agile, clever determined and have opposable thumbs.[/quote]

Having kids doesn`t make one any more knowledgeable about kids or parenting than those who don`t have kids.
If it did there wouldn`t be so many abused children(by their parents).
People who choose not to have children are very aware that they are agile,clever and have opposable thumbs.

Donna said...

Anon -- I just saw the news about the baby killed in Tulsa. Reportedly by a labrador puppy and/or pug?

It's been a bad summer for dog related deaths. Four children dead due to that perfect storm of everything gone wrong at once, and you can bet 2 of those incidents will be written off as horrible accidents and buried in their local news. Nothing learned, no one smarter.

Anonymous said...

"A dog that kills a person IS to blame. (with some exceptions for freak accidents)

That dog is seriously dangerous, whatever the breed or the circumstances
There should be no excuses made for a dog that kills a person. It wouldn't matter if the dog was chained or not.

Normal dogs don't kill people, whether the dogs are chained or not, or whatever the provocation.

We don't need abnormal dogs living in our world."
Any dog has the ability to cause harm to a child( Family dog kills 1-yr-old girl and injures another. Dog is chased down, shot and killed.)It is up to adults to keep children safe, no excuses or circumstances.
You probably have never lived with several dogs of different personalities in your life! Dogs do what their owners make them do, they want to please you! Don't blame the dog, he never had a normal life!Blame the dog owner who wanted a cheap way to keep people out. This society needs to stop throwing away animals and people just because they are not the "norm", or old or retarded or abused. We are all God's creatures, even the dogs!

Unknown said...

"The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated" Gandhi‏‏‏‏

Anonymous said...

well, you are all certainly correct in assuming i don't have kids. I prefer my two pit bulls. I have however seen parents do really dumb things with their kids and my dogs. My big guy, bubba, is about 70 lbs of bouncing, wiggling love and energy. Although he would never intenetionaly hurt a kid, he's big and could knock them over or whap them in the face with his head or tail. So what do parents do after i say," oh, he's too big and clutzy to play with little kids..." they wait 20 minutes and say "go play with the doggie," open up the door to the back yard and let their kid go. being a responsible dog-parent to my dogs, i quickly scoop up the kid when they're two steps out of the door and forcefully remind the parent,"really... he's very energetic and not a great play buddy for your kid." At this point, not trusting the parents, i put my dog in my room and locked the door so that they couldn't try and do this again. Now, even though there were things happening at my house that could've distracted me, i think i acted the same way with my dogs that any parent should with children; you survery their surroundings and you look to diffuse situations that could be detrimental.

Now, if we look at the newsstory, we see this, "Vardaman said Tony was a CURIOUS CHILD. He was FASCINATED BY CATS AND DOGS."

To me, that means that a parent should have seen a potential problem and eliminated the possibility of something going wrong. the gaurd dog's [blue eyes] aggression/intended purpose seemed to be a known quantity to the neighborhood and i fail to see why the mother didn't make sure an incident didn't occur. This incident did not occur because a dog was on the loose, this incident occured because the parents weren't keeping their child out of serious harm's way.

Obviously i hate see any dog or any breed being chained up for use as a gaurd dog, but the laws where this occured allow for it, so you can't blame the owner. he had his dog under his control and on his own private property. the child wandered onto this property because he was not properly supervised and we have a tragedy. I feel bad for the kid, but i really have a hard time being empathic towards parents who let 3 year olds wander about. that just doesn't make ANY sense to me.

Anonymous said...

[quote]and you can bet 2 of those incidents will be written off as horrible accidents and buried in their local news. Nothing learned, no one smarter.[/quote]

I fear you are right but I hope and pray that you are wrong.
I don`t know how many deaths it will take but I hope we reached that "magic" number this week.
Surely there will be some lights come on across the Nation for the sake of the children and in memory of the little ones who have lost their lives.
None of these dogs were "abnormal" dogs.
It`s absolutely amazing that more children aren`t badly injured or killed.
Dogs put up with a lot of rough handling both by kids and adults.
One dog was just doing his "job".
Unfortunately no one told him to go off duty when the intruder was under a certain height.
A "perfect storm" as a smart person said.
No, "abnormal" applies to the conditions under which some dogs are kept and "abnormal" applies to people who think only certain Breeds can injure or kill a child.
That`s "abnormal" thinking.

Donna said...

>"abnormal" applies to the conditions under which >some dogs are kept and "abnormal" applies to >people who think only certain Breeds can injure or >kill a child.

Good point.

It does seem that society has dumbed down about dogs to the point of being complete simpletons. Then again, dogs have been killing children for centuries - so maybe humans are just slow learners.

Anonymous said...

I feel for that poor dog and that poor child for being born into such an awful situation. Not for his owner (who was just using him) and not for the horrible family of that child. If it wasn't this poor chained up dog, it could have been a car or a kidnapper or any number of others that 3-year olds aren't capable of handling themselves.

I don't let my pitbulls out in the yard on their own, much less my child. What kind of mother does that? Maybe she should have focused on being a real mother instead of the idea of it---love that she mentioned that she has the kids named tattooed on her, like that means anything. Sad to say, but the kid is probably better off than being with a mother like that and having a daddy in prison.

Things like this will keep happening as long as people have children and dogs that they don't love or really want. Kids and dogs are optional, no one is forced to have them. Dogs shouldn't be security systems and babies shouldn't be meal tickets. I really hope that mother never has another child and that man never keeps another dog on a chain.

Anonymous said...

If anyone has more energy --
go to:

"... PETA members sent more than 7,000 Emails to the wireless company's top execs.

...... PETA says the reason the ad shouldn't be on the air is because, "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that chained dogs are nearly three times more likely to attack than dogs who are not chained." ... In a press release from the PETA Media Center, PETA says "a bouquet of flowers from PETA with a heartfelt thank-you note is on its way to Verizon's executive headquarters." .....

Flowers should go to the graves and families of injured children.