Mending at home a week after being badly bitten by a PIT BULL SHE WAS FOSTERING IN HER HOME, the town's assistant animal control officer remains distraught over signing the order to put the animal to death.
The attack the night of June 11 came without warning.
"HE MADE A NEGATIVE MOVE TOWARD MY YOUNGER SON," CAVACINI SAID. THE NEXT THING SHE REMEMBERS WAS OTTO JUMPING UP AND CLAMPING HIS POWERFUL JAW ON HER FOREARM. CAVACINI'S HUSBAND, HARRY ILLINGSWORTH, SAID OTTO WOULD NOT STOP. CAVACINI ASKED HER HUSBAND TO GET SOME PEANUT BUTTER, A FAVORITE OF OTTO'S , BUT IT DIDN'T LURE HIM INTO RELEASING HIS GRIP.
ILLINGSWORTH FINALLY REACHED INTO OTTO'S MOUTH AND DOWN HIS THROAT TO CUT OFF HIS AIR.
"It was very chaotic," Illingsworth said, who suffered bites to his finger and thigh.
Cavacini was flown by Life Star emergency medical helicopter to Hartford Hospital that night and had successful surgery there Tuesday.
On Friday at home, both of Cavacini’s forearms were wrapped with bandages. SHE WAS UNABLE TO MOVE HER LEFT ONE.
“She will eventually have her arms functional,” Illingsworth said. “She eventually will fully recover. The surgeon we had up in Hartford was unbelievable.”
Cavacini praised the people who responded to her home that night, including her colleagues at Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments animal control center, one of whom was at the movies at Lisbon Landing when she responded to a call from Cavacini’s son.
In addition to her post in Griswold, Cavacini works at NECCOG part-time as an animal control officer.
She also praised two state troopers who arrived and applied tourniquets to stop the bleeding from her mangled arms.
“If they hadn’t applied the tourniquets, I might not have my arm,” she said.
She doesn’t blame his breed, which has a well-earned reputation for being dangerous. Pit bulls account for a majority of fatal and serious dog bites nationwide, according to a study by dogsbite.org.
A TRUE PIT NUTTER SPEAKS
Cavacini said something triggered Otto to attack that night, but neither she nor her husband know what it was. “This is not a breed-specific thing,” Cavacini said. Rather, she said, it was the way his previous owner raised and trained him. Cavacini, hired last year, came across Otto in January. She guessed him to be younger than a year old while roaming the streets, weak and emaciated.