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Dog attack victim, 91, describes bloody fight for life with 80-pound pit-bull
Auburn Journal ^

Posted on 05/04/2010 8:25:48 PM PDT by Chet 99

His hand thickly bandaged, 91-year-old Ken Heffren described Tuesday how he fought off a vicious dog attack in his backyard.

Heffren, a feisty World War II veteran and retired telephone company employee, said he was fighting for his life as he tried to fend off the 80-pound pitbull-Rottweiler cross on Sunday afternoon with a hammer and a gardening trowel.

With no-one home, Heffren said his calls for help from neighbors went unanswered for several minutes as the dog came at him. The pitbull cross dug below the fence between Heffren and his neighbor to enter his yard, Auburn Police reported.

Heffren said he had gone into the backyard of his Dairy Road property to bury a piece of concrete to mark a water line. He’d walked toward the back of his one-acre lot with a ballpeen hammer, the trowel and a piece of concrete.

A neighbor at home on the other side of his property had been napping but eventually woke up, heard the commotion and, once he knew what was happening, immediately called the Auburn Police, Heffren said.

Heffren said the pitbull cross had been barking and fighting the wire fence between the two neighbors for the past 1½ weeks and five days earlier, his wife had decided against going into the backyard.

“She warned me,” Heffren said. “She said the dog was crazy.”

Heffren said the dog emerged from the underbrush in his yard and attacked him, grabbing the handle of the hammer he was holding in the same hand as the trowel and ripping it away.

Heffren said he held the trowel against his palm to prevent the dog from using its lower jaw to bite upward and clamp down as the upper jaw ripped into his veins and stripped away the skin.

“It saved my life,” Heffren said Tuesday, as he examined the trowel.

His pants soaked with blood and his hand bleeding profusely, Heffren hung onto a bush with the other hand. He ended up with more than 30 stitches after Auburn Police were summoned by a neighbor and drew enough attention away from him to allow his escape.

“The dog came at the police too,” Heffren said. "Every time the policeman came forward, it would go at him.”

Police used a stun gun to control the dog but it escaped down Dairy Road to Luther Road, where it made its way to the Woodside Village Mobile Home Park, near Highway 49. A second attempt at stunning the dog into submission was unsuccessful.

“Due to the aggressive tendencies of the dog and the danger to residents walking in the area, the dog was shot on scene and subsequently died from the gunshot wound,” Sgt. Dave Lawicka said in a Monday news release.

Lawicka said Tuesday that Auburn Police are continuing to investigate the incident as one of a vicious dog at large, which is an offense under the municipal code – not a criminal offense.

Two neighbors, who declined to give their names, expressed concern about Heffren’s injuries but said that they needed to talk to a lawyer before deciding whether to tell their side of the story.

Three other dogs were taken from the neighbors’ residence and impounded – including a 2-month-old pitbull cross puppy now with the Animal Medical Center. Also in police custody and housed at the Placer County Animal Shelter were a Shetland sheepdog mix and a female pitbull mix.

Mike Winters, Placer County Animal Services manager, said the dead pitbull mix was tested and came up negative for rabies.

The other three dogs are being kept while Auburn Police decide whether the Dairy Road residence the dead dog came from was secure enough to safely house the animals, he said.


TOPICS: Pets/Animals
KEYWORDS: apitbullatemysister; chet99; pitbull

1 posted on 05/04/2010 8:25:48 PM PDT by Chet 99
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To: Chet 99

Kill it.


2 posted on 05/04/2010 8:28:11 PM PDT by allmost
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To: allmost

I used to side with the “Pit Bulls are good dogs, it’s the owner” crowd here for a long time. I still sort of do but prefer to handle this the way laws regarding people are handled. that is, on an individual basis.

That is, when a white man commits a crime, you don’t jail all white people. Likewise with these dogs. To be frank, they are more POTENTIALLY dangerous than a toy poodle, and owners should take responsibility for that when they make the choice to own them.

So it’s pretty simple: When ANY dog attacks, make the owner fully responsible for the outcome. And if serious bodily harm or death is the result, the owner should be held fully accountable, to the point of “involuntary manslaughter” in the latter case. And if it can be proven that he provoked his dog to attack, third degree murder, unless it was a self defense move.


3 posted on 05/04/2010 8:43:05 PM PDT by RobRoy (The US Today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: allmost

Yeah, couple of my neighbors have pits but they all seem pretty easy going. Stories like this are enough to make a man consider working in his yard with a .40 on the hip or a 12 ga. nearby.

80 lb. dog is gonna be hard to subdue by hand. Any breed.


4 posted on 05/04/2010 8:44:32 PM PDT by West Texas Chuck (US out of the UN - UN out of the US)
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To: RobRoy

I think the dog should be put down. What do you think?


5 posted on 05/04/2010 8:46:41 PM PDT by allmost
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To: Chet 99

This is the fourth serious pit bull attack in the past 12 months or so in my small town of Auburn, California. People are getting fed up with the irresponsibility of the owners ... and we have black bears roaming around up here that don’t cause this much trouble!


6 posted on 05/04/2010 8:46:54 PM PDT by glennaro
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To: allmost

Kill it.


7 posted on 05/04/2010 8:48:14 PM PDT by allmost
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To: Chet 99

Hope it didn’t have rabies.


8 posted on 05/04/2010 8:48:52 PM PDT by Freddd (CNN is down to Three Hundred Thousand viewers. But they worked for it.)
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To: Chet 99

They should have shot it right away. Forget this tazering crap. I wish it were me and not the old man. They’d have had to surgically remove the trowel and the hammer from the dead carcass.


9 posted on 05/04/2010 8:50:26 PM PDT by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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To: Chet 99

Dogs of Peace (TM)

Freedom doesn’t allow you to keep a bengal tiger in your backyard because improper care and caging places innocent bystanders in danger. The procedure for owning a pit bull should be the same for owning any other dangerous animal.

And before you cite the 2nd amendment ... there is no right to own a dangerous animal. States and localities can constitutionally regulate.

SnakeDoc


10 posted on 05/04/2010 8:55:37 PM PDT by SnakeDoctor ("The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant [...] that even a god-king can bleed.")
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To: allmost

Absofrickinlutely.

For starters.


11 posted on 05/04/2010 8:56:33 PM PDT by RobRoy (The US Today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: SnakeDoctor
there is no right to own a dangerous animal. States and localities can constitutionally regulate

I think an Auburn city councilman proposed this after the last vicious attack by three pit bulls that nearly killed a young man, but discovered his idea ran counter to California law.

If that's so, then I say let's raise the license fees to an extraordinary level to reflect the extraordinary risk these vicious animals pose to innocent people in populated areas.

12 posted on 05/04/2010 8:59:54 PM PDT by glennaro
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To: West Texas Chuck

They are bred to snap.


13 posted on 05/04/2010 9:00:47 PM PDT by allmost
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To: pissant
You are right & the cops should have shot the dog asap. When I worked for animal control the cops had no problem shooting pits when they were busting the drug dealers so I don't see why on earth they would use a stun gun on the pit. IF a dog attacks a person that badly I don't care what breed it is shoot it. I remember being given a can of Mace to protect myself. Mace didn't so anything to the mixed breed dog I was trying to catch & I was lucky to have a car to jump up on. I am an animal lover but when a person's life is at risk you shoot the darn animal IMO.
14 posted on 05/04/2010 9:06:50 PM PDT by pandoraou812 (timendi causa est nescire)
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To: glennaro

General assumption is you left the sarcasm tag off your post.


15 posted on 05/04/2010 9:07:02 PM PDT by Blue Jays (Rock Hard, Ride Free)
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To: RobRoy

I completely agree with your suggestion. If a person wants to own a dog that has a higher potential for serious injury or even death, then the owner should be held responsible if that dog does attack another person (and held monetarily responsible if their dog attacks and kills someone else’s pet).


16 posted on 05/04/2010 9:49:52 PM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud Papa of two new Army Brats! Congrats to my Soldier son and his wife.)
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To: Chet 99
Pit-bulls should be made extinct. Since that is unlikely, their owners should be made to take out a mandatory $1 million dollar insurance policy, or no dog.

Pits are useless. Even the military won't use them.

17 posted on 05/04/2010 9:59:20 PM PDT by muleskinner ("You know the Germans always make good stuff')
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To: SnakeDoctor
Freedom doesn’t allow you to keep a bengal tiger in your backyard

Exactly. Dangerous animals should require both licenses to legally obtain/maintain and legal liability should they commit these types of attacks.

18 posted on 05/04/2010 10:06:11 PM PDT by douginthearmy
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To: muleskinner

Muleskinner thanks for a moment of common since and reality. There are some who will not look at the clear numerical facts of this discussion and defend these dogs even when they kill.


19 posted on 05/04/2010 10:20:59 PM PDT by oldenuff2no (Proud vet)
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To: West Texas Chuck

All dogs are ‘easy going’ until they snap.

I don’t know how many pit bull owners I’ve heard quoted in these kinds of stories that have said ‘my dog has always been fine, it’s the first time they ever did that’.

Conversely I never hear that kind of statement from any other kind of dog owner.


20 posted on 05/04/2010 10:23:35 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Chet 99
Lawicka said Tuesday that Auburn Police are continuing to investigate the incident as one of a vicious dog at large, which is an offense under the municipal code – not a criminal offense.

The pit bull lovers will love this suggestion. Since they say it is the owner, not the dog, make it a criminal penalty with manadatory jail time mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year.

21 posted on 05/04/2010 10:24:44 PM PDT by gunsequalfreedom
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To: douginthearmy

Yup. Owners MUST BE in control of their animals at all times. That’s either in the house, on a leash, on a line that is more than strong enough, high fences with warnings, electric fence, etc.

It isn’t fair to the animal either. It puts the animal at risk of destruction if they aren’t secured if they get free and attack someone.


22 posted on 05/04/2010 10:25:57 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: West Texas Chuck
Yeah, couple of my neighbors have pits but they all seem pretty easy going.

They are ticking time bombs. If you have children, do not let them out of your house.

23 posted on 05/04/2010 10:26:43 PM PDT by gunsequalfreedom
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To: allmost
I think the dog should be put down. What do you think?

All pit bulls should be put down.

24 posted on 05/04/2010 10:27:18 PM PDT by gunsequalfreedom
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To: Chet 99

I do not like nor trust pit bulls period. Here is the logistical problem in controlling them. As soon as you start raising fees or outlawing them, the owners will release the dogs to the community instead of taking them to be put down.( and you know that is what they would do) Then we are going to have a huge problem.


25 posted on 05/04/2010 10:57:54 PM PDT by Walkingfeather
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To: glennaro

Perhaps there’s a CA state law that should be changed.


26 posted on 05/04/2010 11:13:17 PM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: Chet 99

But he was such a nice-gentle friendly dog, just like a sleeping lion. The man must have done something to provoke him! /s


27 posted on 05/05/2010 5:31:16 AM PDT by rawhide
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To: glennaro
We just bought a house in the country. My nine year old is freaked out about bears...I told her I was more worried about other people’s dogs!
28 posted on 05/05/2010 5:39:31 AM PDT by teenyelliott (www.thewaterrock.com)
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