A reader left a comment that speaks to a number of serious issues: the risk of rehabilitating dangerous dogs; naïve "rescue" pit bull owners; experiencing an unprovoked pit bull attack and the failure to trust his own instincts. This commenter is not alone in failing to trust his instincts -- ask Wendy Blevins. Mankind's rich and extended relationship with dogs leads all of us to believe that a dog will not attack unprovoked and with malevolence.
Comment: I do not believe in rehabilitation. Too risky. I have been wary of pit bulls for at 6 years now. It could be longer but I remember well an event 6 years ago, when my daughter was but 3 months old. I took her and my son to a children's fair. A man had a pit bull with him, albeit on a leash (like a leash really matters) and he brought that dog right next to my daughter in her stroller. I was terrified, but tried not to show it, and moved her as far away from that time bomb as quickly as I could. Flash forward 5 years: while outside eating lunch at work, I saw a former co-worker and her dog on the lawn, with about 8 people around her. I decided to go say hi and as I got closer, I saw it was a pit bull. I stopped dead in my tracks, but for some reason decided to still go say hi. Turns out this was a rescue pit and she was going to get it "certified" and she was there to "socialize" the dog; show that others could pet and walk the dog without it harming them or showing aggression, etc. They were all talking to this beast like it was just the sweetest, cutest thing going. When the former co-worker brought the beast around the circle to me, the dog leapt up and in mid-air, lunged at my face with all teeth bared. Not a sign, or tell, that this was about to happen. I was shaking and sweating from my head to my toes, and left that circle cursing myself for being so stupid as to get anywhere near a pit bull. I'm lucky to still have a face. For some stupid reason, I think I entered that circle to give those damn dogs another chance -- maybe I was just stereotyping? Well, I got my answer in spades...
Wendy Blevin's daughter Charlotte was attacked by a pit bull while strapped into a wagon. The dog ripped off part of the child's scalp. Amaya Hess was attacked by a pit bull while in her stroller. The dog had Amaya's head in its mouth for 5-8 minutes. It took the claw end of a hammer to pry open the dog's jaws. When the dog released, half of Amaya's scalp was missing, her right eye was not in its socket and her right ear was torn from the side of her head.
08/20/08: Letter: Wendy Blevins Writes Letter to Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey