Pit Bull attack prompts controversial call for stronger laws

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 10:02 PM

Updated Friday, May 31 at 10:31 PM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: mhernandez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

WESTWEGO, La. – “I kept calling the Lord, just saying ‘Don't let me die. Don't let me die.”

(Warning: Some of the video is graphic)

Linda Henry is lucky to be alive after two of her four pit bulls attacked. She lost both of her arms. Her eye and mouth must be reconstructed. Chunks of skin are missing from her leg. The dogs ripped apart her scalp.

“Blood was everywhere. Because I had them braids, and they chewed all them braids up, the hair was all over the floor, all of the outside, just blood was everywhere,” said Henry.

Henry had just walked into her Westwego home, holding a small terrier, when her pit bulls turned on her in March. A neighbor heard the screams and called police, who had to shoot the dogs to end the attack.

Henry said she could have never seen this coming.

“They was good dogs and sweet dogs and all that. And when they turned on me, it just made a whole u-turn you know,” said Henry.

The attack has one local councilman calling for stronger laws about pit bulls.

“My ordinance is not to ban or get rid of pit bulls. It is to make the owners more responsible for their animals,” said District 1 Councilman Glenn Green, who lives a block away from the site of the attack.

If the ordinance passes, owners would have to get a pit bull license. To qualify, they would have to spay or neuter their pit, put a microchip in it, and have $100,000 in liability insurance. Other requirements would include posting a warning sign about pit bulls, and keeping a muzzle on it while it’s outside. The ordinance would also limit residents to owning no more than three dogs.  

“If anyone had seen Ms. Henry the day she got attacked, they would understand ,” said Green.

Already, the proposal has garnered opposition. An online petition created by the group, “Westwego is for the Pits” had gathered 1700 signatures by the time of publication.

Green said unless the people signing are fro Westwego, he is not taking their opinion into consideration.

And a local pit bull advocacy group says breed specific laws don't make the public safer, especially if they're difficult to follow.

“What that means is, more dogs are going to be on the streets, more dogs surrendered, more dogs in shelters,” said  Kelly Cottrell, training director of The Sula Foundation.

Cottrell says the vast majority of pit bulls are stable, safe animals, and that attacks are rare.

But  Henry said if it happened to her, it could happen to others. She hopes the proposed ordinance passes as she continues on a long road to recovery.

The council is set to vote on the proposed ordinance July 8th.

 

 

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