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Pit bull attack inspires petition for Imperial Beach ban

Poodle mix had his jaw “ripped out,” lost his lower front teeth

Simon
Simon

A lifelong lover of dogs who says she lives in fear of them now is asking the Imperial Beach City Council to ban pit bulls along the shoreline.

Caesarina Kelley planned to present a petition of some 50 names to the council at its regularly scheduled meeting last night (Jan. 15).

Kelley, her daughter, and a four-year-old poodle mix named Simon that her daughter owns, tussled with a pit bull on the beach on December 22. Both women and Simon required emergency care.

The incident took place around noontime on a stretch of beach near a jetty where the borders blur between the cities of Imperial Beach and Coronado. A naval communications installation nicknamed “the elephant cage” is nearby, as is the YMCA Surf Camp. Especially in the off-season, dogs are often seen running free on this section of beach.

As Kelley recalls, Simon was unleashed, chasing balls of kelp around, when it approached a dachshund and a pit bull, both being held on leashes by a woman on the beach. The pit bull also wore a muzzle. Other unleashed dogs joined the get-together.

As Simon sniffed around, the pit strained at its leash, broke free, somehow shook off the muzzle, and went for the poodle, which wound up between its jaws. Kelley said her daughter forced her knee onto the pit bull’s neck while, with Kelley' s help, she dragged the dog into the water up to its head, where it let go of the poodle. Simon lost several teeth while trying to break free of the dog’s jaws.

Animal-control officers paid visits to the owners of both Simon and the pit bull the next day. Later, authorities ordered the pit owner to carry liability for the dog on her home-insurance policy for $500,000 minimum. They also ordered that the pit bull be neutered.

Kelley said pit bulls — and other potentially unruly big dogs — should be banned from the Imperial Beach shores "in the interest of public safety." She's also advocating mandatory insurance for dog owners and a hike in the local licensing fees for dogs that have not been neutered or spayed. Right now, she said in phone interviews and by email, she has "hopelessness and a feeling of being trapped" in the house with her two dogs, afraid that venturing onto the nearby beach might bring another encounter with an unruly canine.

"I'm getting a lot of support,” Kelley wrote in an email. "We just had our dog's outer stitches removed…. The inner stitches in his gums and mouth are gut and will melt eventually. The poor little dog had his lower jaw ripped out and lost his lower front teeth."

Kelley's hands

After they took the dog to the vet, mother and daughter went to the emergency room at the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. They were there for three hours, said Kelley. They were given dry clothing and then treated for an assortment of cuts and bruises.

Kelley's daughter, who was visiting from Bakersfield, where she works for the Kern County jails in the mental-health field, does massage therapy part-time for extra income, and her hands are too injured for her to be able to do that work right now. Kelley teaches and plays piano professionally; she said she still has hand pain and a swollen finger.

Medical and vet bills aren't fully tallied, but they amount to several thousand dollars so far, said Kelley.

On January 15, Kelley said she got a call from the pit bull owner's insurance company and was offered $100,000 to settle. Kelley said she is consulting her attorney about it.

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Simon
Simon

A lifelong lover of dogs who says she lives in fear of them now is asking the Imperial Beach City Council to ban pit bulls along the shoreline.

Caesarina Kelley planned to present a petition of some 50 names to the council at its regularly scheduled meeting last night (Jan. 15).

Kelley, her daughter, and a four-year-old poodle mix named Simon that her daughter owns, tussled with a pit bull on the beach on December 22. Both women and Simon required emergency care.

The incident took place around noontime on a stretch of beach near a jetty where the borders blur between the cities of Imperial Beach and Coronado. A naval communications installation nicknamed “the elephant cage” is nearby, as is the YMCA Surf Camp. Especially in the off-season, dogs are often seen running free on this section of beach.

As Kelley recalls, Simon was unleashed, chasing balls of kelp around, when it approached a dachshund and a pit bull, both being held on leashes by a woman on the beach. The pit bull also wore a muzzle. Other unleashed dogs joined the get-together.

As Simon sniffed around, the pit strained at its leash, broke free, somehow shook off the muzzle, and went for the poodle, which wound up between its jaws. Kelley said her daughter forced her knee onto the pit bull’s neck while, with Kelley' s help, she dragged the dog into the water up to its head, where it let go of the poodle. Simon lost several teeth while trying to break free of the dog’s jaws.

Animal-control officers paid visits to the owners of both Simon and the pit bull the next day. Later, authorities ordered the pit owner to carry liability for the dog on her home-insurance policy for $500,000 minimum. They also ordered that the pit bull be neutered.

Kelley said pit bulls — and other potentially unruly big dogs — should be banned from the Imperial Beach shores "in the interest of public safety." She's also advocating mandatory insurance for dog owners and a hike in the local licensing fees for dogs that have not been neutered or spayed. Right now, she said in phone interviews and by email, she has "hopelessness and a feeling of being trapped" in the house with her two dogs, afraid that venturing onto the nearby beach might bring another encounter with an unruly canine.

"I'm getting a lot of support,” Kelley wrote in an email. "We just had our dog's outer stitches removed…. The inner stitches in his gums and mouth are gut and will melt eventually. The poor little dog had his lower jaw ripped out and lost his lower front teeth."

Kelley's hands

After they took the dog to the vet, mother and daughter went to the emergency room at the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. They were there for three hours, said Kelley. They were given dry clothing and then treated for an assortment of cuts and bruises.

Kelley's daughter, who was visiting from Bakersfield, where she works for the Kern County jails in the mental-health field, does massage therapy part-time for extra income, and her hands are too injured for her to be able to do that work right now. Kelley teaches and plays piano professionally; she said she still has hand pain and a swollen finger.

Medical and vet bills aren't fully tallied, but they amount to several thousand dollars so far, said Kelley.

On January 15, Kelley said she got a call from the pit bull owner's insurance company and was offered $100,000 to settle. Kelley said she is consulting her attorney about it.

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Comments
4

I am sorry for the Kelley family and all the scars both physical and emotional that the will carry.

All I can say is that's why I carry my brass handled walking stick when I walk my border collie mix at dog beach now. If the owner of the dog that attacks my dog, my kids or me can't stop the attack, I will.

Jan. 16, 2014

OK lets try this again.

This is an individual dog and a human problem. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 20 year study on fatal dog attacks is often used by "you people" to validate your anti-Pit Bull position. However, even the (CDC) does not support a ban on specific breeds of dogs (BSL). Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) “A CDC study on fatal dog bites lists the breeds involved in fatal attacks over 20 years (Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998). It does not identify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not appropriate for policy-making decisions related to the topic. Each year, 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs. These bites result in approximately 16 fatalities; about 0.0002 percent of the total number of people bitten. These relatively few fatalities offer the only available information about breeds involved in dog bites. There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill. Many practical alternatives to breed-specific policies exist and hold promise for preventing dog bites. For prevention ideas and model policies for control of dangerous dogs, please see the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions: A Community Aproach to DogBiteprevention(https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reports/Pages/A-... (http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/dog-b...

The Humane Society of the United States does not support BSL. There is no credible evidence to demonstrate that any particular breed or type is overrepresented among biting dogs. Professional animal expert organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, have found that no breed is more dangerous than another. Identifying breeds is often subjective and unreliable. For example, the term “pit bull” usually encompasses three separate breeds, along with any mixes of those breeds. Any medium-sized dog with short hair and a squarish muzzle could meet most people’s visual perception of a “pit bull” dog—including hound mixes, retriever mixes, and other dogs with no “pit bull” ancestry. Clearly, the larger the dog, the greater the potential damage if he or she bites, but no one breed or type is more genetically programmed to bite than others.

The list of organizations that oppose BSL is very long and can be found here. http://www.animalfarmfoundation.org/files/5L-Orgs-...

One more thing the number of fatal Pit Bull attacks from 1979-1998 was 66. The Pit Bull population was 5,256,000. So let's do the math 5,256,000 - 66 = 5,255,934 Pit Bulls that have done nothing wrong and "you people" want to ban them all. Really ? Since when is it right to condemn all for the actions of a few. http://www.1800petmeds.com/education/pit-bull-fact.

Jan. 25, 2014

David Gripon,

I have listed in my previous post numerous professional animal expert organizations that oppose Breed Specific Legislation. I would say that their credentials are self-explanatory. I was wondering what your credentials are ? A small minority of Pit Bull owners are irresponsible and that is the root of the problem but to say that about the vast majority is just ignorant. Judging from your use of the English language, I would say that you are a well educated intelligent guy. I used to think that to be ignorant one had to be stupid. But now I see that ignorance has more to do with being hateful than being uneducated. You wrote "They refuse to face the facts...", well I have provided facts with references that contradict your beliefs. There is even a four-day study of dog bite media coverage in 2007 that shows media bias against Pit Bulls. http://www.1800petmeds.com/education/pit-bull-facts-and-myths.htm The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states “There has never been any evidence that breed bans or restrictions contribute to improved public safety.” These are the facts.

Oh and one more thing let's put a ban on ignorant people. This world would be a much better place without them. This is not fact nor do I have any references. It is just my opinion

Jan. 25, 2014

Mr. Clifton,

Regarding Ontario's provincial breed ban on Pit Bulls:

"In The Star's column, it takes a quote from Merrit Clifton stating that without the provincial breed ban -- "all hell would break loose."

However, there is no evidence that would support Clifton's claim.If you look at the number of dog bites by year in Ontario, there has been virtually no change in dog bites since the ban was put into place at the end of 2005 -- in fact, bites have remained very constant (except for 2003, before the ban took effect, numbers were dramatically lower). Maybe even more telling is that in the past 45 years, the entire nation of Canada has only seen one fatal attack by a pit bull type dog.

So there appears to be no evidence that all hell had broken loose in the years before the ban -- and no evidence that if the ban were recinded there would be any problems either. So it appears to be yet another attempt by the media (and Clifton) to stir up a fear of all hell breaking loose without any evidence that it would."

Is this true Mr. Clifton ? http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/2010/05/creating-fear-in-the-media-and-politics-on-terrorists-pit-bulls-misinformation.html

Jan. 26, 2014

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