My part-time volunteer work is rescuing animals, mainly dogs, off the streets of Georgetown. Over ten years of witnessing man’s cruelty to animals I thought I had seen it all: dogs starved to death; dogs covered with mange and ticks; dogs hacked nearly to death with eyes protruding; and some dogs with all the above. Well all this pales in comparison to the horror of seeing three pit bulls attacking a man. Some might say the dogs are just getting their revenge, but unfortunately the ones who get killed, maimed or just frightened are normally innocent bystanders: for example, the North Ruimveldt jogger, the two Tucville residents, the two employees of GSPCA, the security guard at Ogle, the Goedverwagting, ECD, housewife, two pupils at the Eccles Nursery School, and just last week, a 20-year-old trying to earn a few dollars picking mangoes in a vacant lot. In fact, the next victim could be your mother, your child, your boyfriend or just someone you know. It could even be a minister of parliament out for a Sunday stroll.
On Tuesday, May 20, 2008, I had just arrived home. Upon entering my house I heard the particular bark of pit bulls. This was not strange since my neighbour has many pit bulls and I know their sound, but I was thinking: Why are they all barking so loudly at this time of day? Sensing something was not right, I ran upstairs to the kitchen and looked out the window. I saw three pit bulls going after something and my heart began to beat fast. My first thought was they had trapped a stray dog, but then I saw human arms and legs up in the air, above the tall grass. My heart started beating faster and I prayed it wasn’t true; then I heard his screams; my own screams seemed to drown out his. One of the pit bulls paused for a second and looked up; his white face was covered in blood. I ran into my partner’s office, told him what was happening, called the owner of the pit bulls (on his cell phone) then I called the police. I felt helpless, thinking the man could die at any moment. All I could hear were the man’s screams as I kept hoping someone with a gun would arrive in time. I called back the police who soon arrived, a few minutes after the owner of the pit bulls. I must admit the owner showed courage running into the empty lot and separating Rawle Ramsaywack from the three attacking dogs. He then half carried/walked the victim to Forshaw Street while stopping periodically to yell at the dogs to get back. The victim was then placed into our Hilux and driven to the Georgetown Hospital accompanied by the pit bulls’ owner and a police officer.
Although I never want to go through another such experience it was definitely eye opening for me. I saw first hand the terrible damage that uncontrolled dogs can do to humans and I understand more than ever the importance of responsible ‘dog ownership.’
I wrote this because I believe in the saying: ‘To say nothing, to do nothing, stops nothing.’
If you think you needn’t be worried by uncontrolled dogs, just look at the person you love most and imagine how she or he would look without skin or hair from the eyebrows to the back of the neck.
While Pit Bulls are getting most of the blame for the recent rash of attacks by vicious dogs, the real culprits are the irresponsible owners and negligent dog breeders who fail to maintain appropriate controls on their animals.