Saturday, October 11, 2008
Seattle, WA - The Seattle Times newspaper published an article today that addresses victims of serious dog attacks. The piece focuses on the many hardships victims face immediately following an attack, as well as for the rest of their lives. Too often, after a violent attack makes headlines, the issue disappears in a week and reignites only after the next attack.
The article talks about a victim named Ona Deane-Gordly, 63. She told writer Christine Clarrige that she knew that once she left the hospital and the pain medications and shock wore off, she would be in for some deep hurt. An attacking dog had peeled her scalp from her skull and ripped her teeth and gums from her jaw. More than 70 bites left the skin and muscles of her arms hanging like rags from her bones.
Details of the Attack:
She had been conducting a survey at the Maple Glen Apartments in Mountlake Terrace two years ago when she was attacked by a male pit-bull mix that leapt onto her from a second-story balcony. Deane-Gordly said she fought mightily, but the more blood she lost, the slicker and more uncontrollable the uncollared dog became. "Blood, pieces of hair and flesh were everywhere within an approximate 50-square-foot area," a Mountlake Terrace police officer wrote...Thousands upon thousands of stitches and hundreds of staples were used to piece her back together at the trauma unit of Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. What she didn't expect was that the pain would be so bad it would take her more than a year to realize she also had a broken foot, or that permanent nerve damage meant she would never again feel the difference between satin and velvet with her fingertips.
The dog's owner, who was unable to pull the dog off Deane-Gordly, told police that numerous surgeries and months of illness had prevented her from training the dog correctly. When police arrived, some 15 minutes later, the dog was still locked onto Deane-Gordly, according to police reports. An officer tried in vain to get him to relinquish his hold, and ultimately fired a shot that wounded the dog...
The state Department of Labor and Industries balked at paying for Deane-Gordly's plastic surgery and dental reconstruction. She said they told her, "Why do you want your face fixed if you're not going back to work?" Through her husband's job, however, she was able to obtain reconstructive surgery. Henri Gaboriau, a Sammamish plastic surgeon, who also has a voice in this article, treated Deane-Gordly.
In addition to the physical suffering and scaring, she said that for a long time she couldn't walk outside for fear of dogs, and she made a point of parking near the shopping carts at stores to be sure that dogs couldn't lunge at her through the windows of cars. Other unexpected changes occurred as well. "The truth is," she said, "after something like this, you have an entirely different body." Some of these changes included:
- Extensive nerve damage lightened the overall color of her skin
- Her allergies changed, as did her sense of smell and taste of food
- She found herself eating ketchup and pickles, foods she once despised
The legislation (House Bill 5092) includes, but is not limited to: mandatory sterilization of dogs 12 months and over; limits the number of reproductive events per female dog to one litter per year, with few exceptions; eliminates the practice of tethering; allows cities and towns to impose breed-specific ordinances and establishes nuisance laws that can result in dogs being sterilized and or removed (prior to an attack).
At the end of the article, Deane-Gordly said, "As a society, we can't afford this kind of danger and mayhem, we can't afford these kinds of injuries. They aren't cheap." Although her attack occurred over two and a half years ago, she has only recently been able to talk about what happened. "It's like having the same nightmare over and over. I can still remember the feel of his teeth," she said. "That kind of thing you never forget."
The owner of the dog that attacked Deane-Gordly was not criminally charged or cited in connection with the attack.
11/09/09: Collection of Pit Bull Scalp Attack Victims - DogsBite.org
06/16/08: Flashback: Amaya Hess 2 Years After Violent Pit Bull Attack
02/21/08: 7 Years After Pit Bull Attack, Victim Speaks Out
12/08/07: The Scars of Angela Silva: The Enduring Effects of a Pit Bull Attack
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| 10/14/2008 10:20 AM |
Her story is heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking. I commend her for speaking out. It would break my heart to see her confront any pro-pitters, because I can just imagine how callous they would be to her suffering, yet so so fanatic about BSL, and laws which require them to have high liability insurance to pay for her suffering. My Heavens -- how absolutely insane it is -- the irony of a dog that is so vicious and dangerous and lethal, that people in lawmaking positions see that the dog owners need to have high liability insurance -- but that means, when the insurance is used, that someone is suffering greatly because of those dogs. Forget the insurance and Ban the Breed entirely!!!
| 11/09/2008 4:09 AM |
PRIOR to this article, Seattle Times writer, Christine Clarridge [email@example.com], told a pit bull advocate that she planned on buying a pit bull-mix from the pound. This was brought up by "gone-shooting" in a comment section. Who knows, perhaps since Ona, she has changed her mind.
September 20 (appx date)
Christine Clarridge [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Thank you for writing. I just came across your email and wanted to respond, even though I am so late getting back to you. I was among the people who had not known much about the so-called pit bull breed (breeds) before I had to cover an incident in SeaTac in which a older woman was attacked by two unneutered males. Since then, I've read a bunch of books and gone out of my way to meet some wonderful pit bulls and their owners and i can't believe how much I've fallen in love with them. In fact, I've become convinced that my all time favorite dog of literature. (jack, the brindle bulldog from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books) is a pit bull and while i'm not quite ready to get a new dog after the death of our family dog earlier this year, I'm pretty sure that when I am, it will be a pit bull mix from the pound.
Thank you so much for writing. Best wishes, Christine Clarridge
| 11/09/2008 4:18 AM |
Pit bull advocates always have to go as far as possible to prove their point -- including breaking well established Internet privacy rules.
I'm sure Christine did not intend her "personal" email to "Tommy" to be broadcast onto the web. Just goes to show you that you can't trust pit bull advocates even if you like the breed!
| 11/09/2008 4:24 AM |
I would be interested to know if she has changed her mind since writing about Deane-Gordly. I kinda doubt it. Anyone who can write about two different pit bull attack victims, who each sustained a good half a million dollars in injury damage, and still wants to own a pit bull -- as a first time owner at that -- has to have a few screws absent.
| 11/09/2008 12:35 PM |
This is a person working for the paper who just has no common sense.
I'm sure she will go to a shelter and get a pit bull. A dog she will know nothing about---how far is the dog removed from a fighter? This is a person who could view one pit bull tragedy after another and explain it away---Good luck with that pit honey after you by pass all the wonderful dogs who wouldn't and couldn't hurt a person like the people you wrote about.
| 11/09/2008 12:44 PM |
Most of the pit bulls around in Laura Ingalls Wilder's time were in the hands of dog fighters. Dog fighting was perfectly legal. Laura's dog was most certainly a guard dog. Pioneer's animals always worked or had a job. Whether the dog was a pit bull or not it certainly does not apply today. Our world has changed people---. When my grandfather was a little boy of ten years he had his own rifle. He hunted and killed animals for dinner. Today children don't carry around rifles--our times don't allow any kind of guard dog to run loose all over the countryside. Laura's stories are great but who knows or cares (except the pit activists) about Jack the dog.