Pit bull attacks SLO County boy

June 2, 2011

A 4-year-old boy was badly bitten in the face by a neighbor’s pit bull after he tried to touch one of her puppies on Wednesday at Heritage Ranch in San Luis Obispo County. [Tribune]

The boy’s nose was partially severed and his upper lip was injured during the attack. He was treated at Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton.

Jim Milender, the owner of the 2-year-old pit bull, has been ordered to quarantine his dog for 10 days.

Milender’s wife, who is currently unnamed, was watching the boy and three other children at the time of the attack. Milender told the Tribune his wife was in another room when the boy was attacked.

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As a kid in elementary school one of my friends got mauled by a St.Bernard right in front of a whole bunch of us. The first cop that got there shot that dog dead immediately. The owner never said a word.

I would be very worried now that the dog attackeed a kid like this. What’s to stop it from doing this again? The dog should be put down, as soon as the pups are wiened.

I wish the child all the best and will keep him in my prayers.

The lady doing the baby sitting is responsible for this 100%.

Not quite, but not way off. Unless you mean she is an idiot for having a dangerous animal AND allowing unsupervised kids near it. But I think you are only referring to the latter. Let’s say a Golden Retriever (the best critter on the planet) was the mother dog in this case. If absolutely everything had gone wrong she might have growled and even bitten (once) the offending kid. Yet in this case the kid was mauled, way overreaction. Let’s say it was almost any other dog, same thing- a growl and then maybe one bite.

I guess I will modify my earlier claims that pit bull owners are either evil or dumb as a bag of rocks, they could just be ignorant (but almost criminally so). Aside from some exceptions I stick to my assertion and just cannot figure out why any decent and clear thinking person would have one of these ‘loaded guns’ around when better alternatives are numerous and available. Society makes many rules to maintain order and safety-the only legit response to this problem is banning this breed and increasing punishment for the dopey humans who do not teach their dogs any manners.

Pit Bulls have such a bad rap because of ignorant people like you making unsubstantiated claims. Please try to get your statistics straight. First of all the term “Pit Bull” is actually referring to three different breeds: American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), American Staffordshire Terrier (AMSTAFF), and Staffordshire Bull Terrier (STAFFY). Combining three breeds under one name, let’s say Golden Retrievers, Golden Labs, and Black Labs will certainly and unfairly drive the numbers up. Pit Bulls were bred for hundreds of years for the primary purpose of dog fighting and certain traits such as high pain tolerance and high prey drive were developed and any signs of human aggression were culled. Human aggression is not tolerated by dog fighters because fighting dogs requires extensive handling prior to and during their fights as well as clandestine treatment of the injured dogs.

Many Pit Bulls work as therapy dogs in hospitals and nursing homes and although they are increasingly being used as police dogs they do have one complaint:

“The main problem we’re finding with pit bulls is that they’re too darn nice. All they want to do is just sit at your feet or crawl in your lap. They’re very nice dogs,” said Deborah Thedos, Cook County K9 Unit.

read it for yourself..


How many lives are Pit Bulls saving?

Here’s a link to a Pit Bull Search and Rescue Team:


Finally, the American Temperment Testing Society statistics have listed APBTs at 86.4% AMSTAFFs at 84.2% , STAFFYs at 89.7% and Rottweillers at 83.7% of dogs passing the temperment test. Golden Retrievers were tested at 84.9%, Chihuahuas and Lhasa Apsos at 71.1% and 70.4% respectively and all the test results can be seen here:


Breed specific legislation is not only unfair, it’s un-American.. Punish the deed, not the breed..Don’t come and try to take my dog, she saves my life almost daily..

The fear in the neighborhood wasn’t the Pit Bull, but that a car would hit one of the many children associated with both houses on Meadow Lark Lane. The kids are allowed to play in the street while the parents drink beer on the front porch, out of view of the children. There answer was to place a yellow plastic figure out in the street with a message, Slow, Children Playing. I pray this never happens, but my gut feeling is that it will.

The neighbor interviewed on the TV about this does not support your comment, she was afraid of the pit bulls wandering around in the area. I wonder what your agenda is.

I love seeing kids playing in the street, if it can be done safely. Kids and dogs gleefully playing in public areas is marvelous, I see that all the time when friendly dogs meet friendly kids.

While I agree with your comments, be very cautious of what is aired on TV. Often they will find the “right tone” and only air that. Not saying that was the case, but be skeptical of all media.

I mean, what gets more eyeballs: “Dangerous animals that maul children” or “Horrible accident that leaves many sad.”

Sadly you are right. Sometimes media people make lawyer look good, but only sometime The reason I even cited that was because I feel that often and know others do too.

A few months ago I was driving home and heard a ruckus, I looked over at the nearby park to see a giant pit bull attacking a tiny dog on a leash, held by an elderly woman. I slammed on the brakes and rushed over to drive the large dog away (by yelling and kicking). He ran off to a couple of guys who came over to get him, I suppose the owners. They just grabbed him and hurried away, to my yelled insults.

How do we suppose that woman and her little critter will feel for years now? Their freedom and safety have been compromised by this event, they might never recover. Yet the crappy dog and miserable people who own him are probably doing just fine. My sense of justice is outraged by this, I wish I could throw the jerks in jail and kill the dog. They are all a menace to society, sort of like these folks in the article.

As the ‘puppies’ grow up they will have to have homes. Since decent (friendly and well balanced folks) will probably not want any they will go to the low lifes, or the pound. Great, the cycle continues….

From the ASPCA website:

Pit Bull Bias in the Media

Animal control officers across the country have told the ASPCA that when they alert the media to a dog attack, news outlets respond that they have no interest in reporting on the incident unless it involved a pit bull. A quantitative study by the National Canine Resource Council of dog-bite reportage in a four-day period proves that anti-pit bull bias in the media is more than just a theory—it’s a fact.

August 18, 2007—A Labrador mix attacked a 70-year-old man, sending him to the hospital in critical condition. Police officers arrived at the scene and the dog was shot after charging the officers.

This incident was reported in one article in the local paper.

August 19, 2007—A 16-month-old child received fatal head and neck injuries after being attacked by a mixed-breed dog.

This attack was reported on twice by the local paper.

August 20, 2007—A six-year-old boy was hospitalized after having his ear torn off and receiving a severe bite to the head by a medium-sized, mixed-breed dog.

This incident was reported in one article in the local paper.

August 21, 2007—A 59-year-old woman was attacked in her home by two pit bulls and was hospitalized with severe, but not fatal, injuries.

This attack was reported in over 230 articles in national and international newspapers, as well as major television news networks including CNN, MSNBC and FOX.

Along with over-reporting, false reporting is a major contributor to the public relations nightmare currently facing pit bulls. There is an emerging tendency for all short-haired, stocky dogs to be called pit bulls—and when a dangerous dog’s breed is unknown, the media is not above assuming that the dog involved must have been a pit bull. The National Canine Resource Council terms this phenomenon “Everything is a pit bull, whether it is or not.” In the rush to publish, the pit bull label is often inaccurately applied—and even if a correction is later made, the damage is done. Not all media bias is necessarily intentional, but it forms an impression on the public and on legislators nonetheless.




NCRC is the only organization that does not rely on media sources for information on dog bite-related fatalities.

There were 31 dog bite-­related fatalities in 2009. NCRC contacted officials on each case in order to obtain the most accurate and comprehensive information available. We have re-­interviewed sources that the media has reached, and located others that they have not, among whom may be police investigators, animal control officers, coroners, veterinarians, health department officials, dog owners, and eye witnesses. We have obtained incident reports, bite reports, human and animal autopsy reports, summaries of judicial proceedings, and crime scene data and photographs.

Official reports often do not agree with news accounts and/or contain important information that was either unavailable or not of interest to reporters. The NCRC 2009 final report on dog bite-related fatalities is released at the end of 2010 because we believe that our mission of preserving the human-­canine bond obligates us to be as accurate about these emotionally charged incidents as we can, so that they are calmly, correctly and, therefore, usefully understood.

Accuracy takes time, work and research.

I think any mother dog would react strongly if a stranger touched her puppies.

I don’t think the majority of them would maul a young child over it, however.

This is part breed, and part inexcusable lack of supervision of small children around a mother dog and her puppies.

I know, I know, pit bulls aren’t all bad, and even some of those who were used at Michael Vick’s Chamber of Dog Horrors dog-fighting facility have been rehabilitated to be family dogs.

However, breeds have specific types of stimulation. They all have specific reactions to threat/surprise/challenge.

I had a retriever for years, and that dog would retrieve anything, to the point of exhaustion. We wouldn’t throw things to him to the point where he would get exhausted, but he would, when we stopped, get rocks and roll them down a very steep hill on our property, then chase and retrieve them.

The dog I had before that–a cocker-ish Heinz-57 mix–I tried for a very long time to teach her to retrieve and she just didn’t get it.

Pit Bulls react like most guard dogs–they will react physically to any challenge to something they consider theirs or a threat to theirs (especially anything with a fence around it), only more severely and will more easily carry it out to a very serious or fatal injury.

A mother pit bull in what she might interpret as an uncontrolled situation (multiple kids in the vicinity of her puppies, with the leader of the kids (the mother) not controlling them, would be expected to attack anyone who she felt threatened her puppies.

Let’s take a poll! If you have ever been bitten by a dog, and that dog was a mean little apartment sized dog like a chihuaha or a poodle, vote this up. If the dog was a large dog like a rottweiler or a pit bull, vote this down.

Another reason to ban backyard breeding of any dog. Irresponsible in so many ways no matter what the breed.

Way right on. We have way too many unwanted dogs (so many are pit bulls), breeding should be banned.

This would be more valid if we all reported on known bites rather than our own. I suppose only older folks are reading all this and your poll ignores my comments about the nature of vicious dogs that usually prey on the young, small and defenseless. I’ve known plenty of ghastly dogs-they all avoided me for the reasons I have mentioned twice already, they are usually cowards and will not attack when their own safety is in danger.

It’s really just for fun and curiosity… I wll not claim any rhetorical victory based on the results.

I have witnessed at least 3 unprovoked pitball attacks, dog on dog. The first and probably the most horrific, was a pitbull the barreled across Broad St to lunge and rip open the neck of a sweet black lab that followed us on a walk. The owner threw bricks at his dog, no response. Someone came out ot a house and shot water on the dog with a hose, luckily, that stopped the attack. The pound is flooded with pitbulls, that are taking up space that could be used for other dogs. These dogs should never be in families with small children. Every year we hear of them killing a baby or mauling a child or killing other dogs. They should be illegal, and if not that, at least illegal to reproduce with severe fines imposed. I have been bit by both large and small dogs as a child, when I reached out to pet one and once walking home and once riding my bike. I love dogs, and own a dog. I am always nervous when I see a pit at the beach when I am walking my dog. Two of the other attacks were on the last sweet golden retreiver we had, luckily, he had that huge mane. This is horrible.

Wouldn’t it be more pertinent to consider how much damage is done when the dog bites? I think we’ve all been bitten and I admit that I am generally more wary of certain small breeds than of most larger breeds. But if a bite requires major reconstructive surgery, shouldn’t we be cautious?

This just sucks all around. I don’t think I’d leave a 4-year old (depending on intelligence and/or size) alone with any animal, that’s just not a good idea; however, that said, it is common to have household/family pets that are very protective of little children, so it goes either way.

I think BeenThereDoneThat‘s point is well-taken: it was a mother hound with her pups… and little kids rarely know how to act or handle small animals properly, so I’m betting the reason the wife is not named is that she will be the one with charges brought against her (if any are brought), since she “was watching the boy and three other children at the time of the attack.”

I’d also say the child’s parents bare some responsibility, unless they did not know about the dog and her puppies at all…

Either way, it is sad all around. A terrible tragedy for this poor boy, and all parties involved.

A lot will be said here pro/con pit bulls and other dogs. Most of it will be self-serving bull or from people who don’t know anything about dogs and these types in particular. I have plenty of experience with dogs and some with pit bulls. There is only one rational response to this issue-pit bulls should be banned forever and that type of dangerous and erratic animal wiped out.

Pit bulls take great delight in attacking small dogs and small people, usually without any provocation. They are canine nazis; their human caretakers (I use the term lightly) are often no better. Duh! sure there are exceptions, but way too few. The record is clear.

Doubters: check the pound-its full of pit bulls captured from jerks from Nipomo and the valley. Go to the valley (like Bakersfield) and just take a walk in almost any neighborhood; you will be assaulted by vicious pit bulls on huge chains snarling at your every move. I suppose it is the same in our ‘low class’ areas. It’s all so low class, having a disgusting creature like that. Almost the same with Rottweilers. Same attitude, same type of owners. Jerks who get off on terrorizing others.

Unfortunately the conversation about this subject is dysfunctional and irrational. So called official dog lovers will scream about comments like mine-idiots. If you cannot let your dog wander around small kids and domestic pets with little supervision you shouldn’t have it. These critters are supposed to be our friends, not weapons.

I can cite plenty of examples of what I speak of. It is useless to whine about how ‘cute and passive’ your darling little pit bull is- take it out on a walk and see if it charges other critters in its compulsion to kill. We don’t allow humans to JUST be safe and legal with their family, we have to be like that to all we encounter. So should be those in our care, our dogs.

I can’t wait to see the ignorant whiners blast my comments.

Frankly, the meanest dogs I have ever encountered, and the only dogs I’ve ever been bitten by, are poodles. Every pitbull and rotweiller I’ve ever encountered was a big pile of slobering love. I’m no animal expert, but every expert that I have ever read on the subject says the complete opposite of what you just said., So combining my ersonal observation and what I’ve read, I think your basing your view on anecdotal evidence.

I bet if we took a poll we’d find that most people who have been bitten by a dog were bitten by a poodle or some other mean little apartment sized dog.

I can’t argue with your experience for you alway express rational comments here. I just laid out mine, then you yours. I have been bitten once, by a medium sized dog with, the usual, no training by lame people. It is almost always the same, lame people make for lame dogs. But this breed, in particular, seems to have picked up a gene for violence, and always the cowardly (nazi like) attack on the small and defenseless. I have been around pit bulls who attacked little things, then never went after me (good luck for them!).

OK, take a walk downtown or anywhere else. Watch others as they approach a pit bull, or even check your own emotions.

When I walk down the street with my dogs (ALL of them, for the last almost 40 years) people with kids cross the street Towards me to feel the love. Those same people cross the street to avoid the pit bulls and rottweilers.

I have know some great people with pit bulls who swear by them-but they NEVER let them out of their yards! My dogs are free roam…

Rottweilers make great guard dogs, are you kidding me? Sure, they’re not the “bundles of slobbering love” we’d love all dogs to be, but sometimes we need them to do a specific task (queue in the “Junkyard Dog”). I don’t know what percentage is training vs. inherent traits, but I do know there are tasks for dogs that are not exactly “people-friendly” and for a reason.

I’d love to think that any dog is capable of area protection (patrol, grounds keeping, etc.) – but it appears certain dogs just excel at it. Perhaps specific licensing requirements should be enabled for specific breeds and/or desired uses.

rOy, I think your comment is in reply to mkaney, not me.

You are obviously correct in many of your assertions, but the sort of guard dog you mention is not the sort of thing we are all commenting on here, the one mixed up with kids or walking our streets (restrained or not). We are talking about what most would call family pets, in fact if you wanted to get a dog out of the pound for any other reason they would not let you have one. Using dogs as alarm systems or killing machines is not readily accepted by society.

See Lulu’s comments for the truth. See mine for the truth. All who are reading these comments should seek the truth, and avoid their preconceived and baseless notions of what they want, versus what is. There must be 100s of breeds, of those there are about 5 known dangerous ones (I’m guessing). Why would any decent person in their right mind pick one of the five? I can only assume they are idiots. The mean and evil people are obvious in their thinking, but the others? Must be just plain stupid. Go to the pound, check out the dozens of dogs taken away from low lifes.

I’m going to approach this leaving the type of dog out of the equation but just commenting on the comments of Jim Milender.

First off he says they felt comfortable as the dog had not shown aggression before. Of course they only had the dog for FIVE short months. Not much to base history on.

Second. He says that any type of dog would be protective of it’s young. I agree. So Jim WHAT IN THE HELL were small children doing left unattended by a mother dog with pups? WHY wasn’t the dog outside or in the garage away from children? You mentioned that you told the children not to go near the dog? These are children all around the age of 4? Do all children around the age of 4 always follow everything we say?

I see only one thing here and one thing only. EXTREME NEGLIGENCE!!

I do agree about the negligence, but feel “attacked” is pretty harsh for the headline. Any mother on this earth animal or human would take unthinkable action to protect their young. “Child bitten by mother protecting pups” really tells the truth in this story. It is always a shame to me that the media puts such a negative spin on everything. Of course, I wish the little guy well and a speedy recovery; however I don’t blame the dog as much as the humans.

ITA. However, not all breeds would do that kind of damage to a small child. Many breeds are quite tolerant of small children, even with their puppies.

The child didn’t even touch one of the puppies…he TRIED to touch one of the puppies.

All breeds have different reactions to stress. Most dogs can become good family pets, within the limitations of the nature of their breeds.

Personally, I would not have a pit bull, certainly not as a family pet with small kids in the family, because I can see no reason to take on the added risk. If I did get a pit bull, however, I would be ever aware of the natural instincts of the breed.

Just waiting to hear from the “Pitbulls are just sweet and misunderstood” crowd.