Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Fremont, CA - Angela Silva was attacked in her garage by a neighbor's pit bull last September. At the time, she was holding her son in her arms. To protect her son, she placed him in a nearby trashcan and endured the attack alone. Angela vainly tried to swat the enraged animal away and was left with serious wounds to both arms and debilitating injury to her left.
The Violent Attack:
"These are my battle scars," Silva said, glancing down at the purplish marks that run down from her elbow. "I'm proud I was able to save my son's life. But they're also a reminder of people's ignorance and what happened to me that day. I know everything happens for a reason. But I'm just trying to find a reason for this."Change of Life:
It's been almost four months since Swisher, the muscular pit bull from next door, charged into Silva's garage in Fremont as she was cleaning out her car, and lunged for 7-month-old Thomas Jr. Thinking quickly, she hid TJ in a garbage can to protect him, and used her left arm as a shield.
That horrific moment comes back each time a stranger stares at her gashes, or when it takes what seems like forever to click on hoop earrings or change TJ's diapers, relying mostly on her one good hand. The image of Swisher chomping down, again and again, is almost always there. It's too difficult to discuss it with her 12-year old daughter, Julesa...
Silva, 32, still doesn't know whether she'll regain complete use of her left wrist and hand, or whether her thumb will ever fully extend. She may know more in a couple of months when the swelling goes down and her surgeon will decide whether he can repair her tendons. For now, her doctor has warned her not to drive.Medical Cost:
While Silva considers herself a fighter with a positive attitude, she is haunted by fears she can't shake. She has yet to take a walk outside. She moved several neighborhoods away to get away from the dog's owners. She gets fresh air by sitting on her porch swing, surrounded by a new wooden fence that her boyfriend, Tom Ekman, built.
Sleep isn't the same any more, either. Her dreams are filled with visions of mad dogs. And her financial situation is a mess. The medical bills are piling up, and she's unsure of how she'll pay them. Silva hasn't been able to return to her job teaching special education for the Fremont Unified School District. And because she is part time, she isn't covered by the district's health insurance.The owners of Swisher, Charles Shelby Jr., and Kristi Willis are scheduled to appear in court soon. Each face two felony counts of failure to control their animal which caused serious injury and one count of conspiracy because they allegedly hid Swisher for two days after the attack. The charges could send them to prison for three years.
In the days after the attack, the community raised $12,000 for her. But that money was quickly spent. Half was spent on a round of hospital expenses, the rest on moving away from Swisher's owners, who are facing three felony charges.
Silva also intends to sue Willis' insurance company because Willis was supposed to have taken out a policy on the dog after police deemed Swisher dangerous last spring when it attacked another neighbor.
| 7/02/2008 5:03 PM |
I can really relate to this story. I was mauled in 2006. The fear never goes away & I don't want it to. If you burn your hand on a stove you learn not to touch it. When you are mauled by a pit bull you learn what they are capable of. There is no doubt in my mind that dog wanted me dead. How could you not be afraid of that?
| 2/06/2009 4:41 PM |
I haven't been attacked, but when I let my dog's outside I have to go with them to keep an eye on my neighbor's dog. The whole time I'm out there he goes crazy growling and charging the fence. I have actually started getting physically ill when it's time to take my dogs out. Unfortunately, there is no law to stop him, we have to wait til he gets over the fence and attacks me to get something done.
| 1/13/2010 3:45 PM |
Typically the victim laws that you mention require that the dog owner is convicted of a "felony" (aka victim felony funds). Few U.S. states have such laws regarding dog owners. Texas is way ahead of the curve.
| 1/25/2010 5:05 PM |
I was bit by a half pit bull 2 1/2 months ago and am still in the care of medical staff. I recieved the same reaction that I've seen on this site by the owners, "Your injury isn't that bad". I recieved eleven stitches in the ER and had vascular surgery, it became infected, spent four days in the hospital, and was left with two holes im my leg the diameter of a quarter, and one inch deep-where the upper and lower teeth of the dog had clamped on. The infection really did a number on me. The holes are conected by a cavity, where a nurse takes guaze and threads it from one hole to the next to help with the healing. which is painful.She does this twice a week. I am a combat vet, and when that thing clamped on I was back in combat mode fighting that thing off (not everyone has the luxery of slipping into combat mode when being bit by a pit bull). I hurt the dog, I also got bit in the hand when I punched it in the face. What if I hadn't been a 6'3" 245 lb combat vet, but rather a child? Did the dog want me dead? I was also the third person that thing bit!!