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VICIOUS DOG: City Considers Pit Bull’s Future

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The dog is an unneutered male pit bull who can jump a fence, but that’s just the beginning.

“This dog does not like teenagers,” said West Des Moines city attorney, Jason Wittgraf.

He’s charged with biting at least three people in the last nine months; and his name is Killer.

“The kids thought that it was a cool name for the type of dog that he was,” said neighbor, Andrea Triana.

Triana spoke for Killer’s owners, Jorge Galvan and Reyna Tello who don’t speak English. They say Killer’s bites were provoked by neighborhood teens.

“They just know that he’s a pit bull," Triana said, "and that he’s outside, and that his name is ‘Killer’ so they taunt him consistently.”

Another problem: Killer’s home is on a corner lot, where there is plenty of foot traffic, and his owners leave him alone outside for long stretches.

“He has been tortured since day one when they put the fence line up," Triana said.

We asked her why it is they would keep the dog outside if he was being tortured.

"It’s not that they keep him outside on a constant basis," Triana answered, "he, he likes to be outside.”

West Des Moines has the dog impounded, and the police and the city attorney agree on what should happen, next.

“There is more than sufficient evidence to find, one: that Killer is vicious, and two: that he must be euthanized,” Wittgraf said, soberly.

But Killer’s fate may not be sealed just yet.  The owners would like to turn the dog over to Furry Friends no-kill shelter in hopes of rehabilitating him and placing him elsewhere.

The shelter director is considering the request.

“I think that certainly this dog would need to be viewed with a lot of caution in terms of the placement that would be available,” said Britt Gagne of Furry Friends.

Furry Friends won’t try to work with a dog they consider dangerous, but will take a close look at Killer and make a decision.

West Des Moines will make its final ruling, Monday evening.


  • Coffee Pot

    I understand the neighbor kid, teasing the dog problem. The problem now is the dog is mean. Now who would be responsible if the dog bites a kid in the face? Where would that lawsuit land?

  • Pit bull owner

    I have 2 pitbulls, let me just say they are the most adorable, loving, nice dogs…however, because of their nature every time i have visitors the dogs stay in their kennel.
    I know kids are always trying tease the dogs, so to stop that , we put up a private fance, now no body sees my dogs, and kids can’t tease them…and if they do and something happens it’ll be because kids where inside private property.
    people have to understand pitbulls are not killers, they are protective.
    If they do not know you + you are in their property + you are “trying” to hurt them, they definitely will defend themselves.
    Furry friends: you took care my 2 pits, i know you guys are wonderful ..
    I hope you can help this dog, i think he don’t have to pay for others mistakes.

  • Carrie

    1st problem with this dog- he’s not neutered. 2nd he’s left out side to his own devices. Pitbulls( all bully breeds for that matter) can be amazing dogs, however one cannot forget the immense power these dogs possess. I’ve worked doggie daycare and as a trainer. The biggest problem I found with pits/rotts/etc. is people don’t want to take the time to work with their animal. These dogs can be very strong willed and if you don’t stay on top of them you will have problems. In my opinion, no dog should be left outside for ” extended periods of time” as Killers owners did. I am all for rehabilitation but in this case it maybe best for him to be put down. Bully breeds are not for everyone, and unfortunately for Killer his owners had no business having one and he may end up paying the price for their inadequate care.

    • Mama Bear

      I agree, Carrie. Bully breeds are intelligent animals and they like to “work”. They need to be challenged mentally, and they need to have regular exercise. I had a bully breed and she was the smartest dog I’ve ever known. Owners need to understand that there is a time-committment necessary for “working dogs” such as bully breeds, hunting dogs, etc. And and un-neutered animal left unattended outside for long stretches is never a good idea!

      This poor dog has been taught by the irresponsible teens to were “torturing” or teasing him, that “teens are bad” and he’s reacting accordingly. Personally, I hope those teens are held responsible for their behavior.

      There is no need for this dog to be destroyed as a result of irresponsible humans. He needs to be placed with an experienced Pitbull owner and I would bet he would be an outstanding, well-behaved dog.

  • Mike Cee

    The owners live in an area where the dog has to be fenced, left outside and subjected to people walking past. While I’m a dog lover, I’m not a fan of “pit bull” type breeds, and find that many of the owners of such breeds are simply unable to property train and handle their dog.

    These people, given their living circumstances, location, and lack of responsibility, have no business owning such an animal. And given the poor upbringing the dog has had so far, it’s best to put the animal down before it harms more people.

    Some people shouldn’t be allowed to own dogs.

  • L. Nystrom

    please let the dog go to a no kill rehab facility! he shouldn’t be punished for being neglected and antagonized.

  • lindsay

    Killer’s owner should be the one getting the consequence and punished. Paying a fine is not enough. Killer needs a chance to get better and see if he can change things around. His owners did nothing to help him and now he could have a chance….why put him down so quick?? Pits are the most loving lap dogs. Pits and can be beaten and abused but they have the ability to forget about what others have done and they can show a loving side that many feel dont even exist in these dogs. Give Killer the right training and the right owners and he may be a completely different dog. I have a pit and he is best friends with his other roomates, one a wiener dog and one a shepherd mix. I knew when I got him that I had a responsibility to take time to interact him with other dogs as he grew up. IF a dog cannot be around others (people or dogs) it is the full responsibility of the owner to manage that. This dog owner failed, and in my opinion does not deserve the companionship of ANY dog in the future. I have a corner lot and when I moved in I caught some punk kids trying to mess with my dogs. That doesn’t go well with me and it hasn’t happened since, as it was my responsibility to handle it.

  • Grizzily

    This article makes clear the dog is an unfixed male. Unfixed males are involved in around 90% of serious dog bit incidents. That’s an actual risk factor, as opposed to the pseudo ‘breed’ of ‘pit bull’ which is not. Wait..could all those people ranting about ‘pit bulls’, with their ‘scientific statistics’, just be hysterical, ignorant people who are full of it!? Yup. *No* animal science or veterinary organization agrees with them and their policy of Breed Specific Laws.
    But if you have a particular individual dog which has shown it will bite people, you have to remove it. That’s a more dangerous situation if the dog is big and strong, but it’s even true for a small dog which proves itself inclined to aggression against humans. Whether or not some organization is willing to keep the dog the rest of its natural life isolated from humans is a different issue, but just leaving the dog with those people would be gross irresponsibility on the part of the local authorities. Refusal to take action against actually dangerous individual dogs is one way in which ‘pit bull’ hysteria is allowed to grow. Though irrational, it’s understandable reaction from ignorant people when the local authorities won’t enforce existing dog laws.

  • Mackenzie Hughes

    This touches on a bigger issue…in that, these situations will continue to occur, and will be debated upon, until we realize that we need to educate pet owners about responsible pet ownership. Much like driving a car or owning a gun (both can be dangerous) as a community we need to agree that owning a dog (especially smart and powerful breeds like a PBT) is a privilege, not a right.
    We require training for those privileges; many of these incidents could be avoided by educating ALL pet owners.

    Unfortunately for Killer, the damage is most likely done. “No Kill” shelters really mean “Limited Acceptance” and even if FF decides to take Killer, what quality of life will he have if he’s unable to be rehabilitated? Realistically, Killer may never be able to be fully trusted. Unable to be adopted out? Unable to be a part of a pack or a good dog citizen in our community? What KIND of life would have been saved? Not one I personally would want for any dog.
    And what resources could have been better used for a nice lab mix(or another pit for that matter) that may have had a rough start in life, but with no behavior problems?

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