Citizens Need Protection
Eustis, Fl - We recently wrote a post about 22-year old Tracy Lindsey, who was brutally attacked by two pit bulls while out for a jog. Lindsey's wounds are so severe she cannot even hold her two daughters, 3-year-old Gabriel and 18-month-old Annabel. On Monday, Lindsey underwent a three-hour surgery during which doctors assessed the nerve damage in her leg. She faces six more surgeries to repair muscle and reconstruct the limb with skin grafts.
Her mother, Jane Phillips, said, "When I heard 'pit bulls' and 'airlifted,' all I could think was 'Oh, Lord, please, please let her be OK. Let her be alive." Phillips also gave thanks that Lindsey had not taken her daughters along with her on the jog. Phillips said Lindsey and her husband, Dustin, 23, a supervisor at a plastics company, do not have health insurance. The owners of the two pit bulls, Jessie and Jesica Iaquinta, have been issued several citations.
Who is going to pay for Lindsey's $60,000+ medical bill? Does anyone believe the pit bull owners have liability insurance?
Writer Lauren Ritchie, of the Orlando Sentinel produced an excellent editorial that addresses many of the issues involved in this case. On page one, she comments on the number of surgeries Tracey will endure, and after the 6th surgery, "If all goes well, the cutting will end there." The 22-year-old mother of two toddlers can start learning to walk again without the muscles the pit bulls ripped from her left leg as she was jogging on a public road near Eustis. Ritchie adds:
"When a pit bull attacks, the pain isn't leaving. In Tracy's case, it will go on for many years to come. These are not the sort of injuries that heal and vanish. Two pit bulls running loose have sentenced this young mother to hideous scars on her legs and likely to limited physical activity for the rest of her life. Thanks so much, imbecile owners."
Ritchie points out that these attacks are "all too common" and asks the obvious question, "How many maulings does it take? How many, before the dimwits who keep these meat rippers as 'pets' get the point?" She then lists recent serious and fatal pit bull attacks that have captured headlines once again (and have been doing so since the mid 1980s). When is enough enough? At what point will many policymakers take the issue of dangerous dogs seriously?
- "On Tuesday, a 7-month-old infant momentarily left alone with the family pit bull was mauled to death in San Antonio, Texas. Gee, what do you suppose that kid did to "provoke" the dog? Whimper for his bottle? Fatal mistake."
- "A week ago, a 2-year-old Luling, Texas, boy was attacked by a pregnant pit bull in the backyard of his family's trailer while his mom slept inside. When she got up past noon, she learned he was dead. Neighbors who watched the attack — is this a grisly spectator sport? — told a television reporter that the dog "kept going for his head."
- "On Jan. 5, a 5-year-old Thomas County, Ga., girl was savaged by her family's three pit bulls. She was jumping on a trampoline in the backyard with the dogs when a pregnant female started the attack. The girl died."
- "A month earlier, in Newport News, Va., a 2-year-old neutered male pit bull belonging to a baby sitter tore the face off a 7-month-old infant. The child survived."
On page two, Ritchie comments on the "novel" excuse by the dog owner, Jessie Iaquinta, regarding how his chained pit bulls broke free and attacked Tracy. Iaquinta told reporters, he was "unsure" how his dogs got loose. The county issued three citations to the laquintas after the attack -- the fines equal $168 dollars. Ritchie states, "That's not good enough." She then comments on other municipalities that have stronger laws regarding dangerous dogs.
"Hundreds of cities and counties around the United States have stronger laws governing dangerous dogs. In Kansas, California, Indiana, Wyoming, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado and other states, owners have been prosecuted criminally and sentenced to prison for negligently allowing their dogs to attack someone. In California, at least one owner was convicted of second-degree murder. Typically, the convictions come after a series of warnings and citations."
Ritchie sums up her editorial by demanding accountability. She writes that Tracy's injuries are a direct result of the actions of dog owners who disregard the rights and protection of others or who are "lackadaisical" about keeping their dogs confined because they are "too vacuous" to contemplate the consequences victims suffer after a severe attack. "Pit bulls are dangerous weapons," she writes, "and it's time to hold people who insist on keeping them accountable."
03/23/09: Animal Control: "This is Not Just a Bite. This is a Mauling."
01/21/09: Pocatello Animal Control Officer Severely Attacked by Vicious Pit Bull
04/21/08: Flashback: The Pit Bull Problem is Over 20 Years Old