Pitbulls aren’t just mauling people and pets in the U.S. If you haven’t set up Google Alerts for pit bull, pitbulls, dogfighting and dogfight arrest as I suggested in my BSL post, here’s what you’ve missed in international news. As you read, remember that France banned pitbulls, intending to let them go extinct, for a reason.
Antigua and Barbuda
March 2022: “Here in Antigua and Barbuda [dogfighting] remains big business in some quarters and, despite efforts over the years to stamp it out, it can be found in sequestered areas of woodland and wasteland alike, hidden from dissenting eyes,” the Antigua Observer reported. “Rachel Wood, of the Antigua Spay and Neuter Clinic, is set to embark on an educational campaign in local schools about animal welfare” — and dogfighting in particular because a child recently asked her for a puppy.
“He told me he needs to fight the puppy because that’s where he’s going to make all his money when he gets big and this is what everyone does,” Wood said. The other 7- and 8-year-old boys he was with agreed with him.
January 2022: Breast cancer survivor Alicia Barton was attacked by her neighbor’s four pit bulls as she arrived home from work. “I was just screaming for someone to help me,” she told reporters. “I couldn’t see anybody. [The dogs were] in every direction. When I tried to fight one, the other one would pull me on my back, my shoulders, my legs. Right now, both my arms, legs, back and my head especially — there was a big black one that was really muscular. He gripped onto my head and wouldn’t let go. That was horrible.” Head wounds exposed her skull, Eyewitness News said. Now, Barton has panic attacks when she sees a dog.
April 2022: “Pitbulls, the island’s ‘favourite’ dog breed, are getting put down in alarming numbers despite changes to the law intended to save pets from being euthanised,” the Royal Gazette reported. The island removed pitbulls from its banned breed list in June 2018 after pitbull advocates pushed their Punish the Deed Not the Breed campaign, but government veterinarian Jonathan Nisbett euthanized five pitbulls in one day in January.
“It is ironic that whilst the legislation allows an alternative to euthanasia of illegal dogs, Bermuda is now on track to kill more dogs than when policy and legislation were stricter,” he wrote in Envirotalk, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ quarterly newsletter. People treat pitbulls like they’re disposable. When dog wardens encounter dogs that cause them to wonder why the owner even has a dog, “It is usually a pitbull we find in these situations,” Nisbett said.
In a follow-up article, Bermuda SPCA executive director Kate Terceira “wholeheartedly agree[d],” as did Libby Cook-Toppan, a Bermuda animal advocate who helps find homes for pitbulls and “quickly realised [after the ban was lifted] that some saw it as an open invitation to freely breed their dogs.”
July 2022: A 9-year-old boy had to undergo calf reconstruction surgery after a pitbull attacked him and his brother as they flew a kite in their back yard. “The boys’ family said the dog first appeared in the area on June 26 without a collar and has been wandering the streets alone, adding that it was probably abandoned by its owner,” the Daily Star reported. “The pit bull fled the scene after attacking the two boys.”
March 2022: Pitbulls shredded an 80-year-old woman’s arms. [Graphic photo.]
December 2021: After a man had a heart attack, paramedics spotted nine pitbulls “tethered to chains attached to individual dog houses” in -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) weather. When the SPCA arrived a week later, they noted the dogs “appeared cold, were shivering and paw lifting, and had no access to food or water,” InfoTel News reported. “Some of the dogs were licking frozen water in their metal bowls.” The SPCA gave property owner Stephanie Briscoe and pitbull owners Christopher Pratt and Kevin Rauch water and food within an hour and a warmer shelter than doghouses filled with straw within four hours. When the SPCA returned the next day, while it was -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit), they hadn’t. After the SPCA told Briscoe the pitbulls would be going to a vet, Briscoe said, “Please don’t. I can’t afford it.” Briscoe, Pratt and Rauch appealed to have the pitbulls returned, denying the dogs had been in distress. The Farm Industry Review Board refused and fined Rauch, who fell asleep during the hearing, $11,816 and ordered Pratt to pay $1,477.
July 2022: A Witchekan Lake First Nation woman wants pit bull restrictions for First Nation communities after two pit bulls killed her brother June 1. “A family living near him had asked if he would cut their lawn. He agreed,” Battlefords Now reported. “[T]he family has two pitbulls, which have been a problem in the community before. When she found her brother, [he] was unconscious, laying on the ground, with blood filling his pants and surrounding his body.”
March 2022: A 25-year-old Columbian woman was attacked by her own pitbull while tying her shoes and tried to escape in her building’s elevator.
June 2022: Radio and TV personality Moshe Ndiki held a funeral for his 5-year-old toy Pomeranian, Sugar, who was killed by a pitbull. “People do it for their loved ones, their kids, and their parents and why can’t I do it for my pet? He was a constant in my life. I loved him. I don’t see a reason why not and I don’t see anything wrong,” he told reporters.
June 2022: A 13-year-old girl from Letchworth needs facial reconstructive surgery because a pitbull that “was off the lead,” the Mirror reported, approached her, jumped up and bit her nose. Police are now looking for the owner — a white man with red messy hair — who fled the scene with the dog.
June 2022: Someone with a balcony and a camera recorded a pitbull attacking a small dog on a Drayton Park street as the small dog’s owner screamed. “In the video, a woman is seen pulling on her dog’s leash in a desperate attempt to free it, but the other pet’s jaws remain firmly locked around its eyes and nose area,” the Mirror reported. When the pitbull finally let the dog go, the pitbull’s owner said, “He’s never done that, ever.”
June 2022: A neighbor’s pitbull attacked a 12-year-old boy’s stomach and then bit the boy’s mother’s face.
June 2022: A man with 13 prior convictions including “handling stolen property” was fined because the pitbull he’d been living with on a canal boat escaped and attacked a man in April. The dog had been living on the boat as protection but was given to a friend after the attack.
March 2022: A raid of 10 properties revealed a caged rabbit that was suffering, so it was taken to a vet and euthanized. “It is suspected the rabbit was being used as part of a ‘blooding’ procedure for dogs involved in either illegal hunting or dog fighting. In such circumstances, mauling the rabbit is used to enhance the hunting frenzy of the dogs involved,” Independent.IE reported. “Several months ago, a small dog was recovered in the north Cork-south Tipperary area with severe injuries. It is feared these injuries were the result of it being used in ‘baiting’ during dog fights. That led to concerns an illegal dog-hunting and dog-fighting ring may have been operating in the general area.”
February 2022: Irish tenor Paul Byrom’s girlfriend, Catherine McKeown, was attacked by a pitbull that belonged to close friends. He’d known the dog since it “was a pup” and the pitbull had been “trained to within an inch of his life by really responsible owners,” Byrom told reporters. “[I]t was really just a moment of sheer and utter madness that took him because as soon as I wrestled him off her, he snapped back into being himself. … [T]here was obviously just a little twinge in him that wasn’t right.”
February 2022: Italian soccer player Theo Hernandez’s pitbull killed a 7-year-old pinscher being walked by his 74- and 80-year-old owners. “My aunt and uncle are still very shocked,” their niece told reporters. “When a gate opened [to Hernandez’s home] to let in a car, the [pitbull] ran towards them. My aunt grabbed Milo and held him above her head, but the pitbull … knocked her to the ground and tried to rip her coat. She got up and threw Milo inside a parked car. But the pitbull ended up pouncing on the poor little dog.”
March 2022: Police arrested 46 dogfighters, including Sajid and Ameer Ali of Okara; Ibrar and Muhammad Yar of Pakpattan; Ashraf of Faisalabad; Shafiq of Sheikhupura; Israr of Sadiqabad; Imran of Chakwal and Ijaz of Layyah, but many others, including the dogfight’s organizers, fled. Police seized 12 vehicles, eight dogs, “a number of motorcycles” and thousands of rupees.
October 2019: The Scottish Sun reported that Mark Cuthbert, 42, had sicced his terriers on up to 50 cats he’d obtained from Gumtree (a site like Craigslist). Six years earlier, a Strathclyde Police spokeswoman had warned people not to leave pets unattended and Lost Dogs Scotland founder Linda Ess had warned people not to give pets to strangers they met online because the animals could be handed to dogfighters.
July 2022: After someone showed video of children as young as 7 years old teaching pitbull puppies to fight to the SPCA, the SPCA and Animal Control seized two puppies and two adult dogs and raided two other addresses where another four dogs were seized. “The pups were being trained to become fighting dogs,” Independent Online (IOL) reported. “When the pups did not want to attack each other, they were antagonised to continue fighting. The one puppy tried to get away but was unable to as he was held tightly on a leash, forced to defend himself.”
June 2022: Community members circulated a petition online to prevent five pit bulls that attacked four people from being euthanized.
March 2022: Three people from Strand, Cape Town, were arrested for dogfighting. Video from 2021 showed bystanders, including “[c]hildren as young as five years old” cheering the dogs on, Independent Online reported. “The court ordered [Nadeem] Madatt to pay a R5 000 fine or face three months imprisonment wholly suspended for three years on condition he is not convicted of further charges of animal fighting,” another article stated. The Cape of Good Hope SPCA welcomed the conviction but expressed their disappointment at the leniency of the sentence.
March 2022: After a gang leader denied owning four emaciated and injured pitbulls and ignored warnings from the SPCA to take them to a vet, police helped the SPCA seize them from him and onlooking gang members. One dog “had a huge gaping hole on the side of his face,” News24 reported. “The dogs were in a terrible condition.”
March 2022: Animal Welfare Society seized two starving pitbulls from their owner.
February 2022: Police helped the SPCA seize six pitbulls from three people who were illegally cropping ears and keeping the dogs in “dirty and unhygienic conditions,” News24 reported. After investigators found schedule 5 drugs, including Xyazine and Tramadol, and “a toolbox containing suture material, medical scissors and other equipment generally used for cropping ears, [t]he situation became volatile.”
February 2022: In an article titled Behind Cape Town’s Heavenly Beaches, the Hell of Dog Fighting, the writer says dogfights in South Africa are arranged up to eight months in advance.
January 2022: A 47-year-old woman is struggling to hold food in her mouth after her boss’ three pitbulls attacked her, tearing off her nose, lips and ears, South African news site IOL reported. “[T]he food comes out and she has to lie down facing up in order to swallow food or liquids,” her niece said. “I am scared to even look at her because she is not the same person I know, the woman who raised me has been turned into a different person. The owners of the dogs have never even bothered to visit my aunt in the hospital.” The pitbulls also bit Selina Kokolosi’s thighs.
October 2021: A 79-year-old woman, a 44-year-old man and a 22-year-old man were arrested for dogfighting, which is “rife throughout the country,” Cape of Good Hope SPCA Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse told News 24.
May 2021: The SPCA warned News24 readers that stolen pets are often used to train pitbulls to fight other pitbulls, but, occasionally, people allow their dog to be used. One such person was walking his dog when a pitbull owner challenged him to fight his dog. When his dog proved to be tougher than he looked, the pitbull owner broke the dog’s hind legs. The dog was surrendered to the SPCA. Unless schools start teaching children compassion for animals, this will continue because parents are teaching their children to fight dogs, SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abraham told reporters. “From a young age, children are learning that cruelty to animals is not only acceptable, but also entertaining. Instead of feeling empathy, kindness, and compassion, they learn that cruelty and violence are the norm.”
October 2020: A 3-year-old mute boy was killed by a neighbor’s pitbull, News24 reported. When relatives tried to save the child, the pitbull attacked them, too.
March 2022: Three pitbulls belonging to a monk barged into a family’s home. After 6- and 8-year-old children fled, the pitbulls killed a cat that bolted out a window.
March 2022: A 17-month-old girl was killed by the pitbull the family bought one week earlier despite the fact pitbulls are banned in the UK.
March 2022: A 6-year-old girl was mauled by a pitbull while walking the beach with three teenagers. Police are now looking for the dog’s owner, who fled.
March 2022: A guy who bought a pitbull off Gumtree despite the fact pitbulls are banned in the UK was sentenced to a slap on the wrist for November and December 2020 attacks on other dogs.
March 2022: A woman suffered leg injuries from a pitbull attack outside a grocery store at 11:25 a.m.
March 2022: A 44-year-old woman learned she wouldn’t have to pay a 9,000 pound (nearly $12,000) kennel bill her pitbull had racked up because she was out of the country when he “escaped through an open door without a collar or lead” and “attacked two other dogs, their owner and another woman who tried to help.”