DECATUR When two pit bulls attacked Lisa Brown’s 12-year-old dog “Girlee,” Brown managed to defend her dog and kill one of the attackers with her bare hands.
Brown’s 13-year-old son, her neighbor Leianna Harr and Harr’s 2-year-old daughter were present at the time of the Oct. 6 attack, which occurred within sight of the Northside Elementary School and within yards of school property.
Brown’s dog Girlee was in the bed of her pickup truck and her truck was parked in her yard when the two pit bulls, belonging to a neighbor, jumped into the truck.
One of the animals latched on to Girlee’s throat while the other nipped at her rear-end looking for a way to join in.
Girlee is a medium-sized dog and suffers from cataracts and arthritis, according to Brown.
Brown had just parked her truck and gone inside the house for a few minutes with Harr and the two children when she heard the muffled fighting sounds and came outside to see what was happening.
As she stepped outside, the first thing Brown heard was Girlee’s terrible screams.
“I couldn’t bear to hear her cry, and the look in her eyes; it’s like she knew this was it,” Brown said.
The next thing Brown knew she ran to the back of the truck and lunged for the pit bulls collar but missed and fell in the truck face to face with the pit bull.
Fortunately for Brown, the pit bull was still latched on to Girlee’s neck and refused to let go.
Brown then successfully grabbed the pit bull’s collar and twisted it as hard as she could with one hand to attempt to cut off the animal’s air supply. With the otherhand Brown punched the pit bull in the back of the head, near the base of the spine.
During the fight, the other pit bull was still circling the truck. At one point, it jumped into the full-sized truck from the side, but jumped out when it couldn’t find a way to get to Girlee.
“He just flew into the truck like he had wings,” Brown said.
Meanwhile, Harr took the children inside the house and called the Decatur Police Department.
As Brown continued to hit the Pit Bull and pull on its collar, it loosened its grip for a split second, Brown said, and she pulled it loose from Girlee’s neck.
“I was pulling so hard on the dog’s collar we both went flying to the back of the truck. The dogs neck was across the tail gate and I thought ‘here’s my chance,’” Brown said.
She put all of her weight on the dog’s neck. Looking back, Brown thinks that she must have broken the dog’s neck and killed it at that point, but at the time she didn’t know that.
Brown and Harr continued to hit the dog in the head and neck and then Harr found a two-by-two piece of lumber and began hitting the dog in the neck.
The second pit bull ran home.
“I was just so scared, I wouldn’t let go of him,” Brown said.
While the two women still had the dog across the tailgate hitting it, the dog’s owner Neng Vang pulled up. He opened the tailgate and the dog fell down dead, according to police reports.
Vang told police he had let the two dogs out of their kennel and they took off running like they were chasing after something.
Shortly afterward, he heard a woman screaming and got into his vehicle to find out what was happening, he told police.
According to police reports, Vang still has four pit bulls in his kennels. He was issued two citations for dogs running at large, a violation of city ordinances, two citations for no rabies vaccination, and two citations for possessing vicious dogs.
Vang lives outside the city limits, under the jurisdiction of Benton County, and the attack happened inside the city limits. The City of Decatur cannot enforce its vicious dog ordinance on Vang, requiring him to keep the dog confined at all times, post warning signs and have at least $100,000 in liability insurance.
“She had the right to defend her dog and her property,” police chief Terry Luker said of Brown.
Girlee was left with massive gashes around her neck, across her chest and between her front legs. Oneof her ears was nearly ripped off, but the veterinarian was able to sew most of it back on. Girlee did lose the tip of her ear.
On Friday, Brown said Girlee was still stiff but doing surprisingly well. She still had two drains in her chest. Vang has agreed to pay the $183 in vet bills Girlee incurred from the attack.
“I’m still in shock,” Brown said of the traumatizing experience. She said she can’t stop thinking about the “what ifs.”
If Brown’s truck hadn’t been parked in the driveway with Girlee in the back, her 13-year-old son would have still been getting off the school bus and Harr and her two-year-old daughter would have still been walking up the drive.
Brown is concerned that the dogs could have attacked one of the children.
“What was he (the owner) thinking letting the dogs out at a time when children are getting off the school bus?” she said.
This is not the first time Vang’s dogs have attacked Girlee, Brown said. Three Pit Bulls attacked Girlee on her front porch two years ago. They cornered her against the front door and Brown was able to reach out the door and snatch Girlee into the house.
Brown is also concerned about the close proximity of the elementary school.
“I want to get something done before some child gets hurt,” Brown said.
News, Pages 1 on 10/14/2009
Print Headline: Mom fends off pit bull attack