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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi!

Happy 2017 to all. I have just returned from visiting my daughter and her family in Marshall, MI for Christmas. They had just moved into their new home and was celebrating the first Christmas there. My 40 yr old daughter is also expecting a baby in May.

We had just purchased a motorhome to travel from Texas to visit them and bring our two beloved shih tzus with us when we travel. Who likes airline travel anymore?

It was to be a most joyous occasion until.....

Their 4 year old pitbull Opie, a most loved member of their family, attacked and killed our male shih tzu, Smokey Beau. Smoke, Sissy and Opie are all neutered/spayed. Smokey was exercising his alpha role in our family protecting his sister from Opie for the first part of our visit. This "murder" as my husband refers to it, occured the day after Christmas and three days into our visit with them.

Opie had one prior incident when he was kenneled for a weekend. He got a smaller dog in his jaws but thank God it was just the dog's ear that got attached. They had a very hard time getting him to let go. My daughter had to pay the vet bill and her dog was banned from the kennel again.

My daughter insisted we bring our two into the house with her dog. We were reluctant but didn't want to "hurt" her feelings so we did. 95% of the time we were together, the dogs were completely supervised and seemed ok. It was that one time we were preoccupied that the pit bull took advantage and attacked our beloved Smokey.

My question to all of you is, Was I irresponsible in giving in to my daughter which ultimately cost my dog his life?

It is devastating for both of us. My daughter was so upset as we were. It's affected us in so many ways.

We don't trust her dog any longer and wanted him rehomed. She is refusing to do that just yet and wants to have more training for him.

It's the second incident of aggression.

Need advice and counsel.

Regards,

C Hutchison
 

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A few years ago my sister had the same thing happen to her Shih Tzu x Maltese. It was a little different in that they owned both male dogs. The Airedale Terrier had never shown any aggression but something happened one day and he killed their little dog. They had the Airedale put to sleep as they did not want to rehome him and have him do the same thing to someone else's dog. That may seem harsh but they could never guarantee that he would not do it again as they now knew he would kill another dog and retraining will only go so far.
 

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A few years ago my sister had the same thing happen to her Shih Tzu x Maltese. It was a little different in that they owned both male dogs. The Airedale Terrier had never shown any aggression but something happened one day and he killed their little dog. They had the Airedale put to sleep as they did not want to rehome him and have him do the same thing to someone else's dog. That may seem harsh but they could never guarantee that he would not do it again as they now knew he would kill another dog and retraining will only go so far.
That was our first request of my daughter. She is not going for it at all! I am afraid it will be a problem for us to return to the home (and it's one I bought for them) if the dog is still there. This is very selfish to say, but I am really upset that she hasn't offered to replace our dog or anything to make up for our loss. It's all about their desire to keep their dog. :(
 

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That was our first request of my daughter. She is not going for it at all! I am afraid it will be a problem for us to return to the home (and it's one I bought for them) if the dog is still there. This is very selfish to say, but I am really upset that she hasn't offered to replace our dog or anything to make up for our loss. It's all about their desire to keep their dog. :(
Am very sorry for your loss in such a tragic way. You shouldn't feel your being selfish. My Dads wife was not an animal person so me coming to their home with all my large dogs I was willing to do what it took to make it right for her in her home. And when they came to my home. I made it right for her. I spent alot of thought working with my dogs to be fine with the changes and the different routines that would make it right being a guest and having guest. When my uncle came to visit me with his group of Chi's,,, (they could not be outside without supervision because of the large birds of prey lurking around ) I wouldn't let him do it, I again moved my dogs to accommodate our guest. Dogs are not the center of attention at all times and all situations.. They are dogs , animals and unpredictable in strange and new situations. Again am so sorry for your loss, but do not feel guilty or selfish....
 

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I'm so sorry for your loss! I would not judge you or your daughter for rehoming or euthanizing. I am not suggesting either, but just saying... It is tragic, and such a personal decision.

However, I will say that it is not unheard of for this to happen. I adore pitties but like many terriers, they are terriers... A class of dog with very high prey drive and a history of being bred to hunt. I am also not surprised to hear Kyllobernese's anecdote with an airedale TERRIER as well. Northern breeds (huskies, malamutes, etc) have also been known to have high prey drive, even if the target happens to be a small dog. It is hard to tell if what happened was prey drive or animal aggression. They are different. But both traits are common in pitbulls. You also wrote that Smokey was 'protecting' his sister. Terriers in general are known to not back down, whether the adversary is a rat or a boar, or a dog. This means that some terriers escalate and push back when they are challenged. This might have also been a contributing factor. There is a likely possibility that this would happen again if this dog was mixed with another small dog. I would recommend muzzle training for public situations and strict management (total isolation) when it comes to other dogs coming over. I love pitbulls and would have one for myself if life circumstances were different. But responsible pittie owners face a level of management the average dog owner may not. Nothing I am writing is meant to imply that it was 'okay' for this to happen. Definitely not! But I hope understanding where it comes from might help.

Regardless, I am so sorry that this happened. And I hope you are able to find peace and healing with time.


ETA: For your information, I would suggest never mingling any dogs that have a history of aggression (Opie and the other small dog in a kennel situation). At least, not if there is a huge size difference, not without a muzzle, not without good reason, and not without 100% direct supervision. Even then, I think management is far wiser (ie, one dog in a crate, in a different room, etc.).
 
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