The front page of this morning's Telegram & Gazette newspaper was an article about a dog attack in my town.
Dog injures pets; owners fearful
Louie's wounds cover his body
By Ellie Oleson
AUBURN -- "Louie the dog survived Hurricane Katrina but nearly died during a Thanksgiving Day attack that was a nightmare for one local family.
Christine V. Herbert was in her kitchen at 15 Elizabeth Drive Thursday morning, basting a turkey, while her husband, Wiliam M. Herbert, and six relatives were visiting.
Outside, the Herberts' dogs, Maggie, a 90-pound, 9-year-old Portuguese Water Dog, and Louie, a 27-pound, mixed breed the family had adopted from a rescue organization after Hurricane Katrina, romped with a relative's 1-year-old, 40-pound Goldendoodle. All three dogs were outside, within an electronic invisible fence that surrounds the Herbert's 3-acre property.
"My stepdaughter said Louie was barking strangely and there was another dog out there," Mrs. Herbert said.
She raced out in time to see Louie being shaken back and forth in the mouth of a huge, black Newfoundland, 5 feet from the kitchen door. Blood spattered everywhere.
"I kicked the dog as hard as I could. The boy that owns the Newfoundland grabbed its tail and tried to pull it off. Louie got free and hobbled into the house. The dog chased him inside, knocking over my 13-year-old daughter. My husband grabbed that huge head in a headlock. Blood dripped down my husband's pants and all over the kitchen," Mrs. Herbert said tearfully, still badly shaken.
While the son of the owner of the Newfoundland left with that dog, Mrs. Herbert rushed Louie in his crate to the Foster Hospital for Small Animals at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Grafton.
"I thought he was dead," Mrs. Herbert said yesterday. "There was so much blood. We stayed for three hours whle he had X-rays and got stitches all over his body. He came home Sunday night, but has been very quiet. He has a cone around his neck and is so uncomfortable. He's hardly eating or drinking. He didn't even lift his head when I came into the kitchen this morning." She spoke shortly before taking the dog back to the Cummings School to be checked.
"I'm so afraid he'll die. He was protecting us and the other dogs, but what can a 27-pound dog do against a 150-pound monster? I can still see that huge black head with blood dripping for its teeth."
Mrs. Herbert said she is afraid to go out of her house without a baseball bat for protection and has even considered getting a license to carry a gun since this isn't the first time her dogs have been attacked by the Newfoundland.
In June, her other dog, Maggie, was outside when she was attacked. "Maggie's old and sickly, with Cushing's disease and Lyme disease. She has arthritis and is obese. She went out at about 9 p.m. one night when that same Newfoundland attacked her," Mrs. Herbert said.
The family rescued Maggie and the owners of the Newfoundland took their dog home.
"It was about 10 p.m. before I got the bleeding stopped," Mrs. Herbert said.
When the dog's wounds appeared not to be healing, Mrs. Herbert took her pet to the Cummings School.
"Maggie had emergency surgery and more than 100 stitches. It was awful. She had a wick in to drain her wounds and had to wear a cone around her head. Cleaning the messes was awful. I called the town for help. I was afraid the Newfoundland would kill my grandson. He loves dogs," Mrs. Herbert sa
She called Dog Officer Kathleen M. Sabina and was reassured that there had been no other complaints about the Newfoundland, and that the owners of that dog would pay for the veterinary bills.
After the Thanksgiving Day attack, Mrs. Herbert said something more had to be done. She spoke with Ms. Sabina and several town officials.
Mrs. Herbert did not appear at Monday night's selectmen meeting, but the owner of the Newfoundland did speak there.
Sally E. Tantinarawat of 26 Barnes St., which is less than a quarter-mile away from the Herberts' house, said her Newfoundland, Casey, is a 2-year-old, unspayed female, who is dearly loved by her family.
"I'm doing everything I possibly can. We are heartbroken. She is a sweet dog. I don't want anyone hurt by a dog in my care," Mrs. Tantinarawat said.
"She said Casey escaped from her family's car and then wandered into the Herberts' yard last week.
Since Thanksgiving, Casey has been quarantined in the house or in a large pen in a garage until the 10-day quarantine is lifted Sunday.
Andrew R. Pelletier, director of public health, said that the law requires a 10-day quarantine when a dog bites a pet.
"On two separate occasions, the owner failed to restrain the dog," he said.
He said a decision to remove the dog from the home was "based on the fact that the animal has a history of escaping."
Mr. O'Connor said he wanted the dog in a secure facility and wanted it there immediately.
"Mr. and Mrs. Herbert are very upset about the ferociousness of the attacks."
Ms. Sabina said she will hold a hearing on the attack tomorrow. Both the Tantinarawat and Herbert families will be notified of the hearing.
"My heart is broken for both these families. These are all good, caring people," Ms. Sabina said.
Some dogs are dog aggressive, and their families either need to get a good handle on the dog or give it up to someone who can manage it. This dog probably would not harm a person, dog aggression does not equal people aggression.
My goodness! Is this in Massachusetts? I am sorry for both families. If my dogs were to ever be like that, I'd do something to ensure it would never happen again! I wish people would learn more about owning dogs! I try to be very responsible with my 2 & try to educate others at my work. We had a crazy nussence of a Golden Retriever come in today. No rules what so ever & probably never leaves his yard, unless to be groomed or vetted. He yanked his owner all over the place this morning. Jumping all over the place. When I got to the leash, he got a good qiuck pop & told to behave & he did as he was told without a problem! The only other thing he did was try to boss around a Mastiff in the next kennel. The Mastiff really wanted to play.
Sabrina, I agree but I cannot help but think that this dog's behaviour was quite predictable. While I never trust an invisible fence to restrain the dogs controlled by that fence, at least the owners of the injured dog were making an effort to avoid their dogs being a nusiance to anyone else.
So this Newfoundland has a history of escaping? More like the animal's owner has a history of being a negligent dumbass! I think this time the owner will be forced to pay attention and maintain control of the dog; if indeed their dog is returned.
Some dogs are just dog-agressive. At least one-half (1/2) of mine are this way and there is not much I can do about it other than maintain control of the dog. At times this control has been accomplished with a prong collar and a muzzle. When I have a dog with me in public it is seldom a problem, but one never knows when some idiot wants his/her dog to meet your's, and of course many dogs are off-leash and roaming.
At the very least, the owner of the Newfoundland must prove beyond doubt that the dog can never escape again, and pay all of the veterinary bills and associated expenses for the care of the injured dog. The expression "dogs will be dogs" does not apply here, as the injured dog was in its own yard when the attack occurred.
Been There And Paid For It,
the owner said she was thinking of getting a permit to carry a weapon. i'd just make sure a shot gun or .22 was close and my dogs would never again worry about this dog. once is an accident. twice is unexcusable. there would never be a third time.
Yes, this was in Massachusetts. Such a sad thing to happen on Thanksgiving Day, plus the accident could have easily been avoided.. Just a very ignorant owner with a big dog... I have a friend who lives right off that street, and most of the houses have pets and/or kids who could've been in danger..
I also do not believe in electric feces for dogs either. I heard many horror stories first hand by owners here in Rutland.
One was a story of a small dog that was almost taken by a coyote. This coyote was very bold & not afraid of humans that came to chase it. I think those type of fences should be outlawed for dog owners. JMO