On December 15th, 57-year-old Dino Cerda of Del City, Oklahoma, reacted quickly when he heard a woman crying and yelling, "They got him. They got him."
Three pit bulls belonging to a neighbor, Antwon Moore, were mauling five-year-old Xavier Gomez in his grandparent's backyard. "They were feeding on him," Cerda said. "If I had got there five minutes later, they would have ate him up. That guy (Antwon Moore) never did feed those dogs. That's why they got out," Cerda said. The Vietnam veteran jumped the fence, fended off the dogs with a shovel, and saved the boy.
The youngster had surgery on his head and received stitches under his left arm, right leg and both ears. Moore is in custody and will be charged with 27 city misdemeanors related to pit bull possession, dog at large, animal cruelty and failure to give the dogs rabies shots. Among other things, one of Moore's nine pit bulls was laying dead in Moore's back yard. Del City is one of only a handful of cities in that state that bans possession of pit bulls. (To read the article, click here.)
This horrific incident illustrates a pattern in the more sensational pit bull attacks. The victim was a young child, there were multiple dogs, the dogs were running at large or trespassing, and they were pit bulls. Additionally, their owner was obviously irresponsible, even criminally irresponsible toward the dogs let alone the neighbors.
When you hear about pit bull attacks, note the location of the attack and the details about the owner. There is a link between irresponsible people and dangerous dogs. The canine homicides almost always feature dogs that are owned by people who can be described as less than staunch citizens.
This underscores the fact that it is not wise to attempt to deal with the dangerous dog issue by banning selected breeds. Far more than that has to be done. When the dog lobby jumps in and devotes its energy to defending pit bulls or Rottweilers, instead of promoting a wide-ranging series of reforms such as found in Preventing Dog Bites, the argument can be made that the lobby is defending not the dogs but the horrible, irresponsible and even criminal element that has given these breeds their bad reputation. And that is a pure waste of time, and a dangerous miscalculation on the part of the lobby.