Cute: Prince was pampered by his owner, who took him to beauty salons. Photo Supplied
Cute: Prince was pampered by his owner, who took him to beauty salons. Photo Supplied
A woman whose dog was killed by two pit bulls on Christmas Day fully intends to press charges and says there’s no way the dogs should be allowed to live.

The pit bulls tore Mary Janette Burgess’s two-year-old highland terrier ‘Prince’ apart on Christmas morning. The little dog had been tied up on the family property, completely defenceless.

The pit bulls are being held at Government kennels while the authorities wait for legal proceedings to begin. The attack has renewed calls for owners of pit bulls and dogs mixed with pit bulls to be more aware of their responsibilities.

The animals may be cute and loving towards people but extremely vicious and in this case, deadly, when it comes to other animals.

Mrs. Burgess said the pit bulls that attacked her dog are well known in the Hamilton Parish neighbourhood.

“They are a real nuisance to people, always running around, looking for food,” she said. Now, in killing her dog, it’s likely they’ll be killed too.

Animal warden Harry Bean was on the scene. He’s been on the job for six years. All he can do now is hope what happened will remind pit bull owners, and other dogs with aggressive traits, of their responsibilities. He said: “From my experience there are only a handful of pit bulls that would attack humans. Their nature is to be animal aggressive. They’re not the only breed that’s like that, but if you want to look at it that way, they’re top of the list.”

Because pit bulls can be so loving, some owners never see them as attack dogs, but they should always be aware of the possibility.

Government has tried to eliminate the breed and scores of others it considers dangerous by implementing a banned dog list, but litters are still being born and even if they’re not fully pit bull, the breed’s usually a significant part of their make-up.

The bottom line? There are a lot of these dogs on the island. Mr. Bean said: “People need to know what they should expect from a pit bull. Owners need to be educated on the nature of the breed. Most pit bulls are people friendly but they need responsible owners who know what they’re dealing with.”

The attack ruined Mrs. Burgess’s Christmas. Four days later she’s still shaking and can’t bear to think of the little dog she loved so much suffering.

She says she has to press charges because “someone has to be held accountable.” The dogs’ owner has since apologized, over the telephone. Mrs. Burgess, a 70-year-old mother of nine who is in a wheelchair after having a slight stroke two years ago, was unable to get the pit bulls off her pet when they attacked.

At one point the dogs even tried to get in her house and she had to shoo them away with a broom.

For people who are fit and able, however, what should you do if your dog’s being attacked?

Mr. Bean said every case is different and it depends on the individual.

However, he said: “If you encounter a situation like this, you’ve got to at least try to pull the dogs apart. Whether you are afraid or not, get a stick or something.”

He did add, however, that naturally, there’s a chance of being bitten, which is why the final decision rests with the individual.

Mrs. Burgess pampered her little Prince, taking him to the beauty salon and keeping his coat clean. She loves dogs, but once they kill, that’s it.

“I told the dog warden it’s time to put those pit bulls down. I’m going to go through the courts because I can’t run the risk of having other people suffer the way I have,” she said.