Our 2 large male pits were chained to their dog houses. I went out and fed them. snow was predicted. James was out at work overnite.
I decided to go to HomeDepot to see about a larger kennel or to get wood to build one on the front porch. I had a few other errands to run near there so I left.I got to Home Depot too late, so when James came in later on that night, he went out to bring in 'the boys'.
To our horror, both had injuries from a fight although they were tied nearly 30 feet apart. Boots had the shorter chain near his house on the rise so he could go in 8-10 ft in all directions. Bruno was tied to a 30 ft runner that came up the rise to a pine tree from the shed. Although they could perhaps reach tail to tail, they couldnt reach face to face, so whatever happened to them both, was by something else, perhaps another dog we initially thought.
Then when looking them over once in the house, we saw Bruno's front leg above the paw was horizontally cut open -deep- straight across as though a knife slashed him and he had numerous puncture wounds. His head was swollen. The corners of his mouth were cut as was below his eye. Still good natured as he is, he sat still while I took a washcloth with warm water to wash his eyes and face, removing dried mud.
His fur felt stiff . I dared not wash to hard as I didnt know where his injuries could be under the fur and didnt want to make him bleed. His leg looked bad, so James got on the phone trying to find emergency vet services. Boots meanwhile was put on the back enclosed porch, fed and quietly laid down. He didnt look so bad compared to Bruno, so we didnt think he was hurt , or at least didnt think he was hurt bad as he showed no complaints.
We contacted a vet who said to bring in Bruno at 8am, so he did and they sedated him, cleaned him up and prepped him for surgery. He was in bad shape.
While he was in surgery, we went home and looked Boots over and found he too had numerous punctures, although no tears, but his head was now swollen and one eye was cloggy and so I washed his face and when we looked at his legs,one had swelled up tremendously from all the punctures he had. We called the vet back and were told to bring him in when Bruno was ready to come home as the Vet had limited space and the injuries didnt seem life threatening as he was eating and drinking alright and not bleeding.
So a while later we brought Boots down but Bruno had not yet awakened from the anesthesia. He had a cast on his leg and multiple stitches on his face and neck. The vet said his thick wide collar probably saved his life~!! Whatever attacked him had 2 inch fangs~!!much larger than any dogs~
We went out into the driveway and as I watched my step going to the car when we were going to drop off Boots to the vet for his treatment, I looked down at the ground as I walked watching my step when I saw this large print on the ground, It was larger than my hand when spread and longer than my foot. I called James back to get the camera. He took this picture . It looked like "BigFoot" to me... perhaps a bear.
When we go to the Vets, they took in Boots but Bruno was still wobbly so they said to leave him overnite and get both dogs today.
Initially the vet thought the attacker/s might have been a pack of coywolves - or eastern coyotes, that are the second largest predatory problem in Pennsylvania and are numerous in this region. Complaints by other residents on our road have been placed for months that the den on the hill is getting louder with their howling and they have had sightings closer to their homes. The owner of the valley, our landlord, a farmer has been trying to get hunters in to trap them and the Game Commission has also been alerted but seems each place responsiblity on the other- the GC say the landlord has to get rid of them and the landlord said it is the GC's fault for introducing these animals to our area for deer control and their free roaming from state lands onto the bordering farm lands is causing alot of damage and livestock is being killed off as well.
Meanwhile we have our boys- 2 full grown pitbulls~ over 55 lbs each. The vet said, had they been smaller they would have died for sure and must have put up a good fight to chase off whoever had attacked them.
With the print found, we contacted the GC who said they would be here sometime today to check the prints and put out a large live trap for a bear as they said the print looks more like a large black bear~ They are known to maul chained pets and not always kill them, so they felt with the size of the punctures that the coywolves didnt do the attack.[so they dont have to go after the den]
Another consideration was a mountain lion. We have those too. Our neighbor said she was home all evening and didnt hear any unusual barking, which would have occurred had a bear been there, since they too growl and bark and are noisier. She said on the other hand if both of the boys were in their dog houses and sheds, that a large cat could have gone by the dog house since his food bowl was sitting outside the house. Then the dog would have woke, cat pounce the dog by the face, so barking wouldnt have been an option. It would however have woke the other dog in the shed on the runner...
Makes sense, since Bruno was the one on the runner and had he gone to Boots defence since he was stronger, that he received the worse injuries as Boots would have already been injured and probably went back into his little dog house once the cat turned to attack Bruno... Being chained would have stopped the cat from being able to drag off either dog and if both were defending themselves, they would have had to put some injury back on the attacker..also the whole incident would have been quieter than a bear attack would have been...
Still then both dogs were quietly laying down in their dog houses when I returned home and later when James returned is when he brought them in and we discovered that they had both been attacked.
Today, the vet called and both of the boys are ready to come home.The GC hasnt arrived or called back about trapping. James checked the print in the driveway but it has almost washed away in the sun yesterday, so he and his friend Colby walked up near Boots dog house to find alot of prints, but none had the large heel section that the photo we have does. We are not experts. We have other prints in the driveway from our sneakers and boots, so we are wondering if it was a large cat print and not a bear print- that maybe the cat simply randomly walked over one of our shoe prints and that the heel is not part of the same print.
If that is the case then it is not a bear print. Another thing to consider is only 4 toes clearly showed and that the claws were retracked. Large cats on the other hand have only 4 large toes up front and the large prints around the dog house were identified by a friend who has encountered large cats as definitely being a large cat. He said the tracks didnt have the large heel of a rear bear print and that bear prints have 5 toes that even if one toe was not showing in some it would have shown in some prints during the attack.
We now have by process of elimination come to understand that it was not the coywolves or a lone bear, but a large cat that had to be after Boots as he was on the rise with the dog house and frequently lays on the ground rather than in his house and that the cat went around the shed after coming up the driveway and then pounced on Boots.
Bruno then came out of the shed on his long runner, engaged the cat with a ferocious fight. Bruno had his front paw nearly severed off~!! His face was ripped openbelow the eye and the puncture wounds were gaping 2 inches deep~ The cat ran off.
Boots went into his dog house as Bruno went back into his shed. I returned home in the dark. The boys were quiet so I assumed they were okay and went into the house.James later returned home and brought them in, which was when we discovered that they had been attacked~!!!
Now both of our 'boys' are home , inside with the rest of us and their siblings.We are building an inner kennel on the closed in porch for them.We are still waiting for the GC to come with their 'experts' to examine the tracks and determine for sure what size the cat was and to trap it. It had to be injured as well, since both our 'boys' are full grown pit bulls and obviously put up quite a fight, although both have mild temperments and are good natured, the evidence of the attack will be with us for a long time to come.
I cant help but wonder that had I not gone out to the store, that had that fight happened while I was home, I would have gone out into the dark to check it out and stop the fight, but not knowing they were fighting off a large predator, that I could have easily been killed instead, since we have no lights on out along the driveway and the streetlight doesnt shine that far up. I never would have seen it coming.
Having seen bears on our road and in the fields on numerous occasions, I am always leary when having to go outside after dark and keep my car parked by the front door on the grass, so I can go in and out quickly. We often left the 'boys' out over night since they prefer being outside and they would bark to chase away any animals coming near the house. We never thought that any animal would bother them since they have been going out for 3 years with no incidences which led to eventually letting them stay out overnight as well. That will never happen again as now we know that even full size pitbulls are not immune from attack by large wildlife predators.
Injuries are heeling well.Both dogs had to undergo alot of shots to prevent anything like distemper and rabies and are on antibiotics to prevent infection. Bruno has stitches below his eye and has his paw back together. Thank God no arteries or tendons were damaged and no bones broken. He is back to being jovial and lovable but bares his battle scars from saving his brother. Boots had no tears and his punctures are all closing over after being irrigated and cleaned out.The swelling is already down on both dogs and they are walking normally.
The vet was very impressed that they survived the attack since the fang holes were 2 inches deep in each of them.We are proud of how they teamed together and survived, but regret the attack ever happened to them and that they were hurt. We are grateful that they are on the mend and that they still have their great lovable good natures and are now behaving as though nothing ever happened to them.
Mans best friend can be and is very forgiving.Why people have such wrong attitudes about the Pitbull breed is so unfair as they are wonderful dogs and while I tend to be afraid of large dogs, I have no fear of Pitbulls whatsoever. They are smart and affectionate and generally good natured dogs as ours have proven to be again and again.They are like big kids, always looking for acceptance, love and approval.Even when they were injured, they never complained, snarled or snapped but patiently accepted help with no need of muzzling or fear.
ART SHOW GOING ON NOW!