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How I Survived a Pit Bull Attack!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How I Survived a Pit Bull Attack!

I was 19 years old when I was attacked by a pit bull.  It's been a long time, but I remember it like it was yesterday.  

I've always been an athlete, so it wasn't unusual for me to go jogging whether rain or shine.  On one rainy summer day I decided to head to the track, despite my mother's disapproval.  I assured her that I wouldn't be long.  "I should be back before dark," I said.  I wish I would have listened to her that day and stayed home.

By the time I parked the car in my high school parking lot, the rain had tapered off to a light mist.  It was a very muggy day.  I was wearing my blue spandex with one of my old high school t-shirts.  I got out of the car, closed the door, tightened my shoe laces, and began a light jog onto the field.  I had decided to do laps around the entire field instead of just running around the track.  I figured that I'd get more of an intense workout, since I scarfed down a brownie sunday the day before.  Anyway, it didn't take long because within seconds of hitting the field I saw a pit bull, without a leash, running in the distance.  He was probably about a quarter of a mile away at the time.  But, in the blink of an eye he was within inches from me.  I will never forget the look in his eyes, as if I were his next meal.  He didn't waste any time charging after me.  His brown, solid frame wasn't the least bit fazed by me pounding away at his head.  In fact, it must have made him more angry.  

By this time, he had my right leg in his mouth.  The owner, who must have been no older than myself, told me to keep still.  "How am I supposed to keep still?" I yelled.  I fell to the ground, and then a voice in me said, "Get your ass up!  If you don't, then you're done."  By the grace of God, I got up.  I kept fighting.  The owner kept trying to control the vicious animal.  I remember he kept punching the dog in the side.  I'm not sure what that was supposed to do, and  I 'm not sure it helped the situation.  That pit bull was relentless!  He didn't seem tired in the least bit.  After what appeared to be an eternity, he finally let go of my leg.  Then within seconds, he came after me again.  I thought I was dead for sure.  I remember tears flowing down my cheeks like waterfalls.  I remember the young man saying, "walk away slowly."  I then turned halfway and limped back to my car with my blood soaked, torn, blue spandex.

Once I got into the car, I broke down.  I couldn't believe that I lived through that attack!  You're probably wondering if I reported the incident, or sued the owner.  The answer to both questions, NO!  I just wanted to get out of there with my life and all of my body parts.  I don't think I told my mom until days later.  Thankfully, I didn't need any stitches.  If I didn't fight like hell, I could have needed surgery or even loss a part of my leg.  Who knows? In retrospect, I should have been tested for rabies and gotten a shot.  I know now that not reporting the incident probably wasn't the brightest decision.  It's one of my biggest regrets.  I also shouldn't have gone running.  Ever since that day, I don't think I've been the same.   

I've always been terrified of dogs my whole life, and this incident made it worse.  As a matter of fact, I thought I had gotten over my fear before the attack.  But, it ended up setting me back big time.
To this day it's extremely difficult to even walk down the street without thinking that a dog is waiting to pounce.  I would never forget the look in this dog's eyes.  I can close mine and a picture of him pops in my head.

This isn't the actual dog that attacked me.  But, looks very similar.

Luckily, the actual scar on my leg has faded.  But, the images will probably be forever etched in my brain.  I don't think I will ever forget this experience.  If I had it my way, I would erase it from my memory completely because it affects me to this day.  Now that I have my little Princess I want to protect her from these kinds of animals.  

The attack was like a chain reaction because I can recall hearing about so many similar situations not too long after that.  Moreover, 
recent pit bull attacks have been cropping up in the news lately, and it has brought me back to that place.  One story in particular was featured in almost every news outlet in New York City, including the Daily News.  A four year old boy was mauled by a pit bull in his own home in Bensonhurst, NY over the Memorial Day weekend, right in front of his young siblings.  His mom was in another room, when it all started.  This story in particular struck a cord with me because the family also claimed that this young boy was afraid of the animal.  It's also been reported that this dog was trained to fight which begs the question.  Are dogs responsible for the horrible attacks? Should we blame the owners for not training these animals properly?  Are pit bulls or any other dogs safe around young children?  It's just sad and it breaks my heart when I hear or read about stories like this little boy.  My heart breaks.  Every time I feel like I've moved on from my personal attack, stories like this brings me right back to that place.  There was another incident this week where a father and daughter were attacked by two pit bulls as they passed out religious flyers door to door in Greenburgh, NY.  The scene got so violent that cops ended up shooting and killing one of the animals.  It's sad, but that officer had to protect himself and others in the vicinity.  I think he made the right choice in this particular situation. 

Let's be clear, I am not a dog hater.  I just wish stories like this would never happen.  Now that I have a child of my own, it makes it even worse.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Good or bad, agree or disagree, I appreciate the feedback!



At June 1, 2011 at 11:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Stace,
terrifying - traumatizing story. so sorry to hear, so thankful it wasn't worse. I too am terrified by pit bulls. and i am a dog lover. I feel (either correctly or not) that some breeds (ie. pit bulls, rotweilers) have an inherent viscous trait. BUT, I must admit, I've met a few (very few) pit bulls that are gentle and seem to be meek.even so, I don't trust the breed. I fear that sooner or later, that viscous streak will appear. I also strongly believe that people purposely train them to be viscous. How sick is that ?! It's amazing walking the streets of the Bronx, how many people have pit bulls. if you ever consider getting a dog, I strongly recommend a Bichon. Our Benji is the sweetest, most loving, most sensitive dog you could ever want. only problem, he doesn't have any clue that he's a dog. He truly believes he's a person- evidenced by his taking my spot in bed before I enter the bedroom for the night. (LOL) Stacy-Ann, always figured you were an athlete. AHH,the visual of you wearing spandex ... you're such a beauty !
your FB friend-social worker

At June 2, 2011 at 10:03 AM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

Thanks for the post. It's such a shame pit bulls are beautiful dogs. I know they get pretty bad. Please share pics of Bengi! I'm sure he's a looker!:)

At June 10, 2011 at 1:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a Pit Bull, which is actually an American Staffordshire Terrier, there are different types of the is a link from some uncovered photos showing how Pit Bulls were family dogs early simply comes down to being a responsible has nothing to do with the dog. I was bitten by my aunt's dog as a child and also attacked by a cow, which I realize was a one time incident.

At June 10, 2011 at 10:00 AM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

Thanks for the link! I checked it out! How cute are those kids with their dogs? But, the injured dogs are sad. Cruelty to animals is just wrong! I cringe, when I see pics like that.

You're right, these owners need to be held responsible. It sucks!

At November 18, 2011 at 4:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow im sorry to hear this! I hate those dam dogs!!

At April 6, 2012 at 9:13 AM , Anonymous Justice said...

There are way too many inconsistencies in this narrative. At a quarter of a mile this dog wouldn't be there in a blink of an eye. Some common sense would have saved you a lot of pain. That could of been any dog, not necessarily a Pitbull.

At July 2, 2012 at 6:04 PM , Blogger Nylse said...

you were lucky;
i've never been bitten but i've been chased by many a dog - apparently they smell the fear on me.
as an adult i've become more rational with my fear - it's no longer a fear, it's a preference - i dont really care for dogs.

At July 2, 2012 at 9:11 PM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

Thanks Nylse! I like that word, preference. That's a great way to describe it.

At July 8, 2012 at 10:45 AM , Anonymous Sharon said...

(I saw this post in the sidebar and had to click on it. Thankfully the comments were still open. I close mine after a month.)
I digress
Two years ago, I was attacked by a neighbor's pitbull. Luckily, it was the female and the smaller of the two he keeps tied in his yard. If that male had been the one . . .I don't even want to think about it. To this day when I want to walk that way I freeze in fear and turn around. With two children and in a neighborhood were children play in the freely in the street, I am always thinking about what if those dogs get loose again. I won't even tell you what I decided to do if it happens.
I love dogs. I own a dog. I am a dog person. But, thanks to that incident I fear pitbulls even though, I do believe it is the person raising the dogs who determines how the dog will behave. This owner has his dogs tied all year long in a yard. No training, no socializing, and no love.

At August 1, 2012 at 5:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try your hardest to overcome your fear for the sake of your beautiful daughter. I had to do this for my two children and it has made such a difference. One thing I made sure to do is to teach them that abandoning fear DOES NOT mean abandoning common sense, go with your gut. If you feel antsy about a dog, go with that initial feeling and protect yourself--even if it's just a poodle.

BTW, I know this post is a little old, but I got here by way of the post regrading your new wig (which I think is too cute on you). Big ups to you and congrats for making it to five months! I have been natural for almost two decades but I will never forget the day I decided to go natural.

At August 1, 2012 at 6:21 PM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

Funny you should mention that Hungry Hippo! My mother in law has a dog and Princess loves him. We've been slowly introducing her to him. When I say slow, I mean there is a fence up! haha. I rather take things slow because I'm not sure how the dog will react. My hubby and I are always around to watch. Believe it or not, he doesn't look anything like a pitbull. But he does have it in his genes. My mom-in-law checked!

Btw, I stopped by your blog. Love the post about your kids. Kids are so fearless. Hope you little one didn't get hurt trying to fly.

At August 7, 2012 at 8:18 PM , Blogger Nicholas Lariviere said...

Pitbulls are not necessarily prone to be vicious, but they are high strung. It comes down to a responsible owner taking the proper outlets to exercise and discipline their dog. Truth is if you weren't afraid of the dog and/or didn't run the dog would have likely stopped right in front of you... I don't say this to place the blame on you but can't blame pitbulls for the fact that you were bitten by a dog. A pitbull is after all just a dog... If every good pitbull had a story written about them the breed wouldn't be so feared. I have actually taken in a gigantic pitbull that was fought and left for dead in my neighborhood and the experience of rehabilitating him has changed my mind on pitbulls forever.

At August 26, 2012 at 7:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it's late but I just had to comment on this. I agree with the above poster, Nicholas. I didn't know anything about dogs before I worked at PetSmart for two years as a teenager. I had been chased by one before, as well so I know what you mean about the fear. When I first started working there I would stand as far back in the cash register area when people with big dogs came up to buy things but of course, I had to get over that eventually.

Like others have said, Pitbulls really do have a bad name because there are so many stigmas and people kind of exacerbate it when they're not really informed about them. From working at Petsmart where dogs walk freely (they are leashed, though), I learned that dogs most of the time, will take your lead. If you remain calm and still, they will back off of you. Trust me, I've had to test that theory several times working there even with the most anxious dogs that have just gone through surgeries and etc.

Another thing I learned is that pitbulls are the sweetest family dogs you can get when raised with love. I think it depends on the type of neighborhood and people around you that will determine how their dogs are taken care of. I live somewhat in the 'burbs so if your dog even LOOKS vicious, people will most likely call authority to have your dog taken away!

One last thing is that allowing your child to interact with a dog is a beautiful thing and something that you definitely shouldn't be afraid of. Seeing that bond they have as they grow up is the best feeling ever. However, I would never recommend leaving them alone with a child just as you wouldn't leave another child with a newborn. If people followed these rules, I think there would be less casualties and news about dogs altogether to report on.

Sorry for this traumatizing situation that happened to you but I hope you learn to overcome your fear and equip yourself with knowledge about what to do if that happened again. And...sorry this post was so long, I wouldn't call myself a dog enthusiast but I do love pitbulls and know them very well with different ones being in my family for years now. So I get a little concerned when I hear the "bad breed" thing. ;)

At August 28, 2012 at 12:43 AM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

Thanks so much for the kind words. Some people aren't as understanding. Since writing this post, my daughter has grown to love animals, gods especially. Her grandma has a dog and they're developing into fast friends. No pets in our future. But, at least she has one close by. It's all about baby steps for us. Thanks again!

At October 17, 2012 at 9:56 AM , Anonymous Sheila Skillingstead said...

I was once surrounded by a pair of mastiffs. I yelled and threw two rocks at them simultaneously. I was sure I was going to be dead. My daughter was inside and I was so afraid that she would come out to check on me and they would get her. I think that fear helped me be aggressive enough that they held back. I called animal control. He knew about the animals and kept saying as an owner I had the right to protect myself. I was so in shock I didn't know what he was talking about. Later when my husband was home and called he found out that the pair had attacked people, children, and other animals and that animal control wanted someone to shoot them since the owner wouldn't take responsibility. You have my sympathy. I've never forgotten that day and even writing about it makes my stomach tighten. Visiting from SITS after seeing this post button.

At October 17, 2012 at 10:46 AM , Blogger Kat Biggie said...

WOW! What a scary story! I am terrified of any of those types of dogs that can be violent... so glad you were able to get away!!! Visiting from SITS!


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