KILLER DECISION: Pit Bull Ruled ‘Vicious’

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A West Des Moines pit bull is accused of biting at least three teens in the last nine months.

Monday, the city ruled on a recommendation to have the dog declared “vicious" and likely euthanized.

He was never neutered and never given obedience training.  His owners named him "Killer" and kept him outside where he became a target for neighborhood teens.

"They just know that he`s a pit bull," said Andrea Triana, who spoke for the dog's owners who don't know English, "and that he`s outside, and that his name is `Killer` so they taunt him."

The West Des Moines City Council agreed Killer had the chips stacked against him.

"That`s not the dog`s fault," said councilman, Rick Messerschmidt, "that`s the fault of the owners of the dog."

But blame was immaterial.  All the council could do now, was vote on whether the administrative law judge who ruled on the case was right in finding the dog "vicious."

The vote was a unanimous "yes" but brought little closure.

"I think that he`s considered a burden to them," Triana lamented, "and they just want to let it go."

Killer`s owners don't have to let this decision go.  They`re considering an appeal to district court.

"I think they need to take a couple days to kind of talk about it a little bit more," Triana said. "I need to get some advice from other officials that might be able to help."

Furry Friends no-kill shelter would attempt to rehabilitate Killer, if the district court judge would allow it.

"We can`t provide any sort of 100% guarantee," said director, Britt Gagne, "this is a living animal, but we`re certainly willing to try."

The appeal would require a good lawyer.  Even a rehabilitated Killer would need a very special home.  Odds that have always been against him, don`t seem to have improved.


  • Unreal

    I know that pit bulls get a bad rap and a lot of pit bull owners come forward and say they are wonderful dogs. Never met one so I don’t know. I do know that how you raise, and treat, a dog is important. It doesn’t sound like Killer gets much interaction. As soon as the owners knew he was being teased and abused, rather than let that go on, they needed to change the situation. keep the dog inside, or, fence in a smaller portion of the yard so the kids can’t get to the dog. Kudos to Furry Friends for wanting to try to rehabilitate the dog. I think anyone who would ever take the dog would be taking a huge risk though. He is a known biter. We can’t always rehabilitate human criminals, we think we have…until they hurt someone again.

    • Sandy Madden

      who ever was teasing him is also at fault for doing that. An animal relies on humans to protect and train them, most of them will trust their owners but when they are teased and abused, they fight back.

      • Unreal

        I totally agree, Sandy. And I know that dogs are very intelligent. but, unlike a human, you can’t necessarily reason with him. This dog has bitten multiple times. It has jumped a fence to bite. If they can find the people that teased Killer, they should be punished as well. Maybe clean the horse barns at the ARL. I would not want this dog around my child even if you tell me it was rehabilitated. We don’t allow child molesters to work in day cares either, even though we say they are safe to be back in society. I hate to say ‘it is just a dog’. I don’t really mean that. My dog is part of my family, she sleeps in my bed every night. But, better the dog then a child. What if this rehabilitated dog gets teased again in it’s new home and really hurts someone?
        He looks like an extremely powerful animal. If he got ahold of you, he could do a lot of damage.
        I also don’t believe that his owners should be allowed to have dogs anymore, at least not outside dogs. I believe I read they are on a corner lot. That means more people going by. The dog is left outside in a situation that he could be teased continually, even after he bit. Doesn’t sound like the owners really care for him too much. They didn’t even bother to have him neutered. Not very responsible.
        There are always going to be stupid people that think teasing an animal is funny. That’s unfortunate. So, as an animal owner, you need to not put your animal into a situation where it will be teased/abused.
        No different than a parent with a child. There are always going to be people out there who want to hurt children. As a parent, you have the responsibility to keep your child safe to the best of your ability.

  • Sarah Hankel

    C’mon…give the dog a break. Let Furry Friends work with him. there’s no excuse for how these “guardians” “cared” for the dog…naming him Killer is just the tip of the iceberg. They supposedly don’t speak English so one has to wonder how he got that name. It’s an animal that was left alone to its own defenses and never given a chance. Do right…let the experts take over.

    • Unreal

      are you willing to have him in your house around your family and pets if they deem him rehabilitated? I certainly wouldn’t be. The ARL gets hundreds of wonderful dogs all the time that have no history of biting. Their only crime is that no one wants them anymore. Why not give one of them a chance?

      • Mama Bear

        Yes, I’m an experienced bully breed owner and I would be willing to have this dog in my house with my young children. Bully breeds are excellent family dogs!! They are loving and loyal and very forgiving. This dog is aggressive toward the age group that tormented him over and over, shot at him, threw things at him. He’s young, and he’s unaltered. He needs to be neutered and provided appropriate training. He’s a powerful dog. If he had wanted to do serious damage he would have. His actions appear to be “defensive”, he’s biting them to tell them to go away, likely out of fear. He needs to be given to the rescue group to try to be rehabilitated. If they determine that he’s too far gone, then he will have to be euthanized. But at least give this dog a chance to prove himself.

  • Unreal

    so, Mama Bear, your answer is spend the time and resources on a dog known to attack and let the ones at the ARL die? So, would you let your children go to a daycare center where their teacher is a known pedophile as long as they were declared rehabilitated?

  • Jaime

    The dogs that Vick fought were rehabilitated and some are even service dogs now ! Doesn’t matter wtf the breed is- any dog left chained up outside and taunted by ignorant people are going to bite!! I’d the dog was raised inside like he should have been AND neutered things like this wouldn’t of happened! And comparing this situation with a pedophile is ridiculous !!! If a dog is shown love, trained and neutered they can be rehabilitated !! Pedophiles can’t be rehabilitated and should be neutered altogether!! This is just ridiculous!!

  • Pitlover

    Comparing this situation to pedophiles is ridiculous!! Any breed of dog left chained outside without any love and taunted is going to bite!! I sure would bite someone if I was a dog being tortured like that!!! If the dog was inside , loved and neutered this never would of happened!! Blame the ignorNt owners and stupid people taunting the dog! Even Vicks dogs were rehabilitated and some even are now service dogs!! Any dog can be rehabilitated if they are actually shown love and trained plus being neutered changes the behavior dramatically. Unlike pedophiles who should be neutered too and but them scumbags could never be rehabilitated !!! What a dumb thing to compare this situation to…

    • Susan

      you are right, because in one situation you are entrusting your child’s safety to someone who has been known to injure children. In the other situation, you are entrusting your child’s safety to someone who has been known to hurt children…yep..totally different. The only difference is, the pedophile KNOWS it is wrong, the dog, on the other hand, is just doing what he was created to do.

  • Rebecca

    If Killer wasn’t a pitbull would some people feel differently? He is still young enough to be rehabilitated.I agree with Pitlover.

    • Susan

      Nope. a dog that attacks 3 times has a problem. They say he was provoked each time. If you read the accounts from the neighbor on another blog, TWICE the dog escaped out of the house to attack someone. Now, if the dog was in the house, how much could a person out on the sidewalk truly be taunting him? I think the biggest problem here is irresponsible owners..i give you that. But, pit bulls are dogs that were bred to fight bulls…for sport. Yes, I looked it up. I am not just someone stupid repeating what I have heard. I HAVE DONE THE RESEARCH!! why own a dog BRED to torment and kill other animals?

      • Susan

        Yes, I do think pit bulls are a problem breed. But, as I sad, ANY dog that attacks 3 times, busting out of a house to do so, has some aggression issues.

  • mom2cairns

    Pit Bulls are dual-natured, and they can appear to all intents and purposes to be cute, funny, goofy characters who would rather ‘lick you to death’ than maul you into an early grave – however, the evidence shows that they can switch from play to slay in a heartbeat and often require NO catalyst to revert to overwhelming violence. These dogs, unlike other dogs, can go on to pass Temperament tests/aggression tests following the killing of a human being that they loved; they simply do not know that what they do is wrong. To a fighting breed dog, it is RIGHT. In all areas, with all types of owners – if you want to protect your community of humans and pet/livestock animals alike, you will be duty-bound to legislate against Pit Bulls NOW in order to avoid creating hideously mutilated or dead victims after the fact.

  • mom2cairns

    “Yeah, but this is a different breed…the power that comes behind the bull dog, pit bull, presa canario, the fighting breed – They have an extra boost, they can go into a zone, they don’t feel the pain anymore. … So if you are trying to create submission in a fighting breed, it’s not going to happen. They would rather die than surrender. If you add pain, it only infuriates them…to them pain is that adrenaline rush, they are looking forward to that, they are addicted to it… That’s why they are such great fighters. Especially with fighting breeds, you’re going to have these explosions over and over because there’s no limits in their brain.”.

  • mom2cairns

    maybe the individuals listed below or their famlies should be consulted as to Killer’s fate..

    dead are children.
    Stars indicate people killed by a ‘family’ pit bull – ones that had 
been raised and cherished as an indoor pet, ‘never showed aggression 
before’, and knew the victim. 

    Child fatalities by pit bull type dog : 

    Christian Gormanous – 4 yrs old Montgomery County, TX 

    Isaiah Aguilar – 2 yrs old Sabinal, TX 

    Ryan Maxwell – 7 yrs old ** Galesburg, IL.
Dax Borchardt – 14 mos old ** Walworth, WI. 

    Monica Laminack – 21 mos old ** Ellabelle, GA. 

    Tyler Jett – 7 yrs old Callaway, FL. 
Jordyn Arndt – 4 yrs old ** Prairie City, IA. 

    Beau Rutledge – 2 yrs old ** Fulton County, GA.
Ayden Evans- 5 yrs old ** Jessieville, AR. 

    Nephi Selu – 6 yrs old ** Union City, CA. 

    Arianna Jolee Merrbach – 5 yrs old Effingham, SC.
Daniel (surname as yet not revealed) – 2 yrs old (Gilbert, Arizona) ** 
Samuel Eli Zamudio – 2 yrs old** Colton, CA 

    Jordan Ryan– 5 yrs old Baker city, Oregon 

    Levi Watson-Bradford-4 years old** White County, Arkansas 

    Jah’niyah White – 2 years old ** Chicago, Ill


Adult fatalities by pit bull type : 

    Betty Todd – 65 yrs old ** Hodges, SC
Elsie Grace – 91 yrs old ** Hemet, CA 

    Claudia Gallardo – 38 yrs old Stockton, CA. 

    Pamela Devitt – 63 yrs old Littlerock, CA. 

    Carlton Freeman – 80 yrs old Harleyville, SC. 

    Linda Oliver – 63 yrs old Dayton, TX.
James Harding – 62 yrs old -Baltimore, MD 
chased into traffic by two attacking pit bulls
Juan Campos – 96 yrs old Katy, Texas.
Terry Douglass 56 years old. **Baltimore, MD
Katherine Atkins-25 years old ** Kernersville, NC
Nga Woodhead-65 years old Spanaway, WA. 

    Joan Kappen, 75 years old Hot Springs Ark 

    Michal Nelson, 41 years old Valencia County, New Mexico ** 

  • Monica Craker

    I can’t believe how ignorant some of you are. If your kid hurt another or acted aggressively you wouldn’t want them to be put to death for it! Anybody who speaks badly against pits is ignorant and has probably never owned one. Makes me sick.

    • Sandy Madden

      I personally believe this dog was aggravated repeatedly and was provoked. Owners should have recognized this and did the necessary thing. Pets are at our mercy we have to be smarter than them!

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