Monday, December 5, 2011


The trigger for the attack may have been a “territorial” response.

* * * * *

Normanda Torres was standing in the kitchen of her family's home on Brian Road in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, when she was attacked by Rex, the family's pit bull.

Normanda was taken to Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, where she remains in critical condition after several days. If she survives, she will undergo surgery for facial reconstruction. Rex was taken to the New England Animal Medical Center (NEAMC), where he was euthanized so tissue from Normanda's face could be removed from his stomach. Had the family not given permission for Rex to be euthanized, he could have been quarantined for ten days and then returned to the family.

According to Lou Berman, a hospital administrator for NEAMC, attacks by pit bulls in which human body parts are consumed by the attacking dog are extremely rare. While Mr Berman may be unaware of attacks of this intensity, they are not at all uncommon. Disfiguring and fatal pit bull attacks on humans are now occurring at the rate of two every three days.* There have been at least 16 human deaths attributed to pit bulls in the current year (Fatal Pit Bull Attacks), and numerous additional attacks which have left the victims permanently disfigured, often with the loss of tissue.

After each pit bull attack there follows a period of trying to understand the cause of the attack;  unprovoked attacks by our animal companions in our own homes are unexpected. Yet there are the inevitable, awkward attempts by pit bull advocates to explain the attack, or to deflect the public's attention from news of the attack.

According to Eric Badger, who serves as Bridgewater's animal control officer, the attack may have been triggered by a "territorial" response on the part of the pit bull. As SRUV has previously noted, the "territorial" explanation offered by Mr Badger is widely employed by pit bull advocates when there is no apparent cause for an unprovoked attack.

At the risk of explaining the obvious, SRUV will note that very few family pets respond to perceived "territorial" threats with unprovoked disfiguring attacks. Such an attack is an inherent risk of pit bull ownership.

* * * * * 

In October the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) launched their annual "Pit Bull Awareness" campaign; this took place within weeks after two children were killed by pit bulls in separate attacks. This annual campaign amounts to a month-long blizzard of pit bull advocacy, with the goal of placing more surplus pit bulls in family homes.

With increasing numbers of pit bulls being placed in family homes by rescues, shelters, and humane societies, the number of pit bull attacks on family members by shelter dogs has climbed to unprecedented numbers. Thirty-two people have suffered disfiguring or fatal attacks by shelter or rescue dogs since 2007, the vast majority of which were pit bulls.*  As these numbers climb, the cost of liability payouts to victims has reached millions of dollars. If Rex was adopted out by a rescue or shelter, that shelter may bear liability for this attack. In addition, the cost of insurance premiums for the shelters balloons. There are other hidden costs of these pit bull attacks, including the immeasurable human cost.

In a recent post SRUV called on MSPCA to cease placing pit bulls in family homes, and to cease all media and legislative advocacy for pit bulls. SRUV suggested that the resources be used instead for legitimate humane causes. Furthermore, SRUV calls upon the MSPCA and other humane agencies to establish funds for the human and animal victims of pit bull attacks. The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly, but we hope that the news of attacks like the attack on Normanda, which will occur again today or tomorrow, will encourage the MSPCA to finally act.

* * * * *

Related posts: MSPCA, Rapid Response
News source: Woman mauled by pit bull  (Enterprise News)
                      and other sources
Today's pit bull attacks on Google news -- Click here!

* Statistical and other information included in this post is from
   More Adoptions Will Not End Shelter Killing of Pit Bulls,
   the editorial feature of Animal People, October 2011, pg 3.

Bridgewater MA pit bull attack; New England Animal Medical Center, NEAMC, facial disfigurement

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please do not cut and paste comments or include extensive linking. Comments are moderated but we will post all comments which do not include profanity or ad hominem attacks. Play nice. The SRUV comment section is not a forum for the advocacy of fighting breeds.