Monday, February 25, 2019


A man with leukemia and his dog are recovering after a dog attacked them earlier this week.

Roger Wilson, 58, and his dog, Baxter, were on one of their twice-daily walks Monday when a large dog that was adopted earlier that day from the Lake County Animal Shelter knocked Roger over and started mauling Baxter.

“He was just squealing; it was the worst sound in the world,” Roger said, choking back tears. “He had Baxter like a folded rag in his mouth.”
Roger and Baxter were walking around 6:30 p.m. Monday. An unfamiliar dog with reddish brown fur approached them. Roger thought he successfully shooed him off when the dog retreated. But a few minutes later, the dog came up behind them and knocked Roger to the ground. Next thing he knew, the dog had Baxter by the neck.
“We were blindsided,” Roger said. “We were prey.” He tried to fight the dog off with a citrus wood walking stick, which snapped in the process.  After about 30 seconds, Roger couldn’t physically keep fighting.
Responding to Roger’s screams for help, a neighbor came out and started hitting the attacking dog with a shovel.  It finally let Baxter go and ran off.
Roger’s arms are bruised from the fall and he’s still sore. Baxter, a 4-year-old miniature schnauzer, is in much worse shape. He had to have emergency surgery to the tune of $1,500, an amount the couple was planning to use to repair their roof.
“I knew we had to make a choice,” said Cindy Wilson, Roger’s wife. “I’m going to have to come up with that money or I’m going to have to put my baby down. He’s worth every penny, but it’s just a lot.”
Baxter now has stitches and a drain in his neck. He’s on a pain killer, which renders him aloof. To avoid infection, he’s also on two antibiotics. He’ll have to go back to the veterinarian in a couple weeks for another checkup.
Stacy Bates, who adopted the dog, said she feels terrible about the incident. In an interview Thursday, Bates could barely speak through tears.
“It was horrific,” she said.
She adopted the dog, Reno, Monday afternoon.  Bates said she was looking for a dog that could help protect her after a string of home invasions. When she got home from the shelter, Bates secured Reno, who weighed more than 60 pounds, on a steel chain in her yard. She then let her dog, Beasty, a Chihuahua mix, out.
“He got Beasty in his mouth and killed him,” Bates said. “He killed my best friend.”
Reno took off from there, eventually running into Baxter and Roger.
“This all happened in 30 minutes,” Bates said. “It was like a bad dream.”
Bates said she hasn’t yet spoken with the Wilsons, but she intends to.
Whitney Boylston, the director of Lake County Animal Services, helped catch the dog, according to the report.  She secured it and put it into an officer’s vehicle.
The report noted that shelter staff advised Bates that Reno was aggressive toward small animals and cats.  Reno’s bio provided by the shelter said he “should not be around cats at all,” though it didn’t mention small dogs. That document described him as “friendly on intake and seeking attention from staff,” “easy to handle,” and “has a happy demeanor and appears to be soft and wiggly.”
Bates said she felt she did her due diligence. She said she peppered the staff with questions.  She met with the dog, and did research on the breed.  TOSAS  were formerly bred for fighting, but are used now as watchdogs, according to the American Kennel Club. They are patient, composed, bold and courageous as well as quiet and obedient.
“Yes it was a guard dog, but that’s what I was getting: a guard dog,” Bates said. “But he was housebroken and he was playful and attentive. And that right there told me that he should have had some kind of training.”
In adopting Reno, Bates assumed ownership and liability for the dog. Bates was cited twice, once because Reno ran loose and another because he bit another animal. Because Reno was severely injured and considered dangerous, he was euthanized.
“The entire staff is saddened by the situation that led to the loss of Reno,” Boylston said in a statement.
That the shelter even adopted out Reno concerns the Wilsons.“  What if that had been a child?” Cindy asked. “They shouldn’t be letting anybody who has small dogs or cats adopt an aggressive dog like that.”
It also concerns Bates.
“I take responsibility for the decision I made, but they need to be held responsible for adopting out a killer dog,” she said.  In response to questions about the shelter’s vetting process, Boylston issued the following statement:
“The Lake County Animal Shelter has taken proactive steps to ensure that all prospective owners of animals adopted from the shelter are given detailed notes regarding their behavior. During our adoption counseling, our protocol requires that prospective owners sign off on these notes and are fully aware of any behavioral concerns prior to adoption.”
Days after the attacks, Bates and the Wilsons are still reeling.
Bates is mourning Beasty and dealing with the guilt she feels for the damage Reno caused.
Meanwhile, Roger is watching his “third son” recover.  Roger was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2007. It’s treatable, but it’s not curable. He’s been through years of chemotherapy and other treatments. Baxter became a comfort dog for Roger.
Here is a list of 33 dog breeds that display their fighting spirit, physically, if they are provoked. Note that these most dangerous dogs, like all others, are friendly until a stimulus triggers their hostility.

1. Tosa Inu

Tosa Inu training needs to be done
The list begins with the Tosa Inu, or Japanese Mastiff, a large, fawn coated dog originally bred in Tosa, a region in the Kochi prefecture of Japan. Breeders crossed bred him with large, European dogs until they came up with a hefty, strong dog that could trump others in fighting competitions.


Anonymous said...

In my opinion, there is a lot of stupidity here. Anyone who has dogs should realize it is unacceptable to put a recently acquired large aggressive dog on a chain. What kind of chain was used? One that broke easily. Then why would one turn a prey animal (Chihuahua) loose to aggravate this newly acquired animal. This dog's behavior was totally expected. I feel badly about his innocent victims. I bet he was neutered so that didn't help much.

Although I agree that euthanizing the aggressive dog was necessary because of temperament, how did he get seriously wounded? I guess I missed that.

Dayna said...

She would have been much better off by getting a gun and taking a firearms course on how to use it than getting a stupid dog.