I recently read a story of a 56-year-old Wausau woman who was mauled last month while trying to save her dog from a pit bull that attacked it now is pushing the city to ban all pit bulls from Wausau.
Cindy Ryder was attacked June 19 by a neighbor’s pit bull after it charged from its home on the 900 block of Washington Street, just feet from her home. Ryder bent to protect her Chihuahua, Bartok, as the pit bull came at her and was bitten in the arm, wrist and back of the head. The pit bull eventually was brought under control by the father of the dog’s owner, but it was too late for Bartok. Ryder was taken by ambulance to the hospital as Bartok took his last breaths in the arms of a neighbor.
This story wouldn’t have made it on my radar because there are so many other animals getting mauled to death every day by pit bulls. But this story jumped out of the page to me because of a certain woman being quoted in the article, Laurie Hoffman.
From the article:
Owners of pit bull breeds also have been stigmatized. Laurie Hoffmann, founder of Watertown for Responsible Dog Ownership, said that popular myth — “a punk and a pit” — is being dispelled. Programs such as the Majority Project are trying to demonstrate that pit bull breeds are owned by “people from all walks of life,” said Hoffmann. The project, initiated by the Animal Farm Foundation,
asked pit bull owners around the country to submit photos of themselves and their dogs to their website and discovered a diverse ownership. Click here to read more about Animal Farm Foundation.
“Because of this and other facts we know about dog behavior and breeds,” Hoffmann said, “cities are overwhelmingly rejecting and repealing breed-discriminatory ordinances.”
How much do you really know about dog behavior Laurie Hoffman? How much do you know about the history and purpose of the American Pit Bull Terrier?
I really don’t think Laurie Hoffman has any business whatsoever being quoted in news articles when she was caught flat out LYING about the circumstances involving the death of my son. How DARE she call us “negligent?” Who do you think you are Laurie Hoffman? You are an EVIL woman and a LIAR that will say or do anything to protect the image of your precious breed that was created by man for his blood thirsty sport of dogfighting.
The following is a copy of Laurie Hoffman’s letter to the editor to the Watertown Daily Times.
Voice of the people
Editor, Watertown Daily Times 8/23/13
By Laurie Hoffmann (Watertown, WI)
“I cried when I read the tragic story of Dax’s death – for the baby, and also for the conscience of the father and baby sitter having been negligent in putting the child in a situation with the dogs that were obviously unruly. Dogs don’t become unruly overnight. Any dog of any breed can bite. Incidents like this don’t happen because of a dog’s breed or appearance. There are always warning signs and it’s the responsibility of the owner to read the sign and know their dogs.
I also cried when I heard National Public Radio report about the Wisconsin grandmother who put her grandson in a car seat on the floor with her Jack Russell terrier. That one act resulted in the death of her infant grandson.
I have only one child, and even though she’s grown, I can’t imagine the pain of losing her and the guilt that would haunt me if my negligence caused her death. When NPR reported the tragedy, they passed up a chance for a teachable moment – surely for the purpose of saving the grandmother the pain of additional guilt. They could have spent time on dog bite prevention right then and there and may have prevented the negligence that led to Dax’s death.
People don’t talk about the negligence aspect of stories like this because the parent, baby sitter or grandparent is assumed to already have enough pain and guilt. Unfortunately, Dax’s parent and baby sitter are not reflecting on their own actions. They’re blaming one breed of dog, when almost any breed can kill a child if parents and caregivers are negligent.
They are placing blame on local governments far and wide for the tragedy they were responsible for. This mentality puts our entire community at risk – creating a false sense of security with dogs other than the targeted breed.
Alderman Smith was quoted in the Times as saying, “It will be a miracle if we don’t have a tragedy in the city all too soon.” (If the new dog law is defeated.) What the council failed to recognize when they passed the law is that, when they imply that they’re preventing a tragedy by limiting ownership of one breed of dog, they create a false sense of security for the public. Some people will assume that it’s safe to repeat the negligent actions of Dax’s father and baby sitter with another breed of dog and another child will suffer the consequences.
Alderman Smith, Alderman Zgonc, Alderman Stocks and Alderman Tietz may believe that they are preventing a tragedy with this law, but the truth is that they’re setting us up for the next one. Is the safety committee going to amend the dog law after every tragedy the media reports to include the next devil-dog-of-the-day? When will the council realize that the world is full of dangers when people are careless? Parents are responsible for the safety of their children. If there is a loose dog in the neighborhood should parents disregard it because it’s “only” a Husky, Akita, Rottweiler, Mastiff, Jack Russell or Lab?
Is the council going to pass a law concerning trampolines, parade horses and swing sets next? Please call your alderman to let him know how you feel on this topic.”
-Laurie Hoffman, Watertown, WI
My response to Laurie Hoffmann that was printed in the Watertown Daily Times:
“My name is Jeff Borchardt. I am the father of 14-month old Daxton Borchardt who was brutally killed by two pit bulls owned by a family friend on March 6th. It was a prolonged attack that lasted up to 15 minutes. The dogs crushed my son’s skull and ripped off the entire right side of his face. My friend Susan, was also sent to the hospital due to the injuries she received fighting off her own pit bulls to protect my son’s life.
In Laurie Hoffman’s letter to the editor (August 23, 2013), she made grievous errors about the circumstances of my son’s violent death. Being the father, I spoke at length with the Walworth County detective. Had there been any negligence on anyone’s part, criminal charges would have resulted. Susan’s dogs have never shown any signs of aggression prior to March 6th, both were also spay and neutered. These dogs appeared to be the nicest, friendliest family pets you could ever imagine. The only mistake I made was believing the myth, “It’s not the breed, it’s all how you raise them.”
I have no idea where Hoffmann got the story of the Jack Russell terrier that supposedly killed another Wisconsin boy. It never happened. The only recorded fatality by a Jack Russell in the past decade occurred in Kentucky. That infant was lying on a bed; there was no grandmother present or car seat, his name was Justin Mozer.
The desire of some people like Hoffmann to portray pit bulls as anything other than the ticking time bombs that they are is a great disservice to the public. Dogs selectively bred for hundreds of years for the repulsive sport of dogfighting. When Susan walked into her back yard carrying Dax on that snowy day in March, they viciously attacked them. The result of Susan’s two well-raised pit bulls turning “dead game.” It was a struggle so violent that the metal gate to the dog run was ripped down. Blood covered her backyard along with all of my son’s clothing. In addition to inflicting catastrophic injuries, the dogs stripped my son naked.
My only desire is to honor the memory of my son by sharing the truth about pit bulls with other people who believe the myth that I did. If the truth in this letter can contribute to a safer Watertown, my son will not have died in vain.”
– Jeff Borchardt
Susan Iwicki’s response to Laurie Hoffmann that was printed in the Watertown Daily Times:
“My name is Susan Iwicki. I was caring for my friend’s 14-month-old son, Daxton Borchardt, at my home in Walworth, WI when my own two pet pit bulls attacked me while Dax was in my arms. It was the most violent and bloody 15 minutes of my life. This was not just “a dog bite” incident. This was a vicious and prolonged attack on our flesh. This was a mauling by “normal house pets” that without warning reverted to what their breed was initially bred for: killing. No amount of force I exerted, including gouging at the female’s eye, was enough to stop or even create pause in their attack.
I never saw a single flash of aggression in those dogs since they were brought into my home as puppies three years prior. I truly believed, “It’s all how you raise them.” And they were raised with love, attention, and proper discipline. They were each spayed and neutered as early as the vet allowed and had regular veterinary visits. Both dogs were socialized, played with numerous children and small animals throughout their lives, and loved to cuddle. I was their “mama.” My dogs never experienced a day of neglect or abuse in their existence. The false sense of security is in believing it is the owner, not the breed.
On March 6th of this year, my so-called “babies” attacked their “mama” and ended the life of a real, human baby. A sweet, curious, happy little boy named Dax. In Laurie Hoffmann’s letter to the editor on August 23rd, she refers to the “negligence aspect” of pit bull victims’ stories. If the breed is so safe and truly are “nanny dogs,” how could any owner of a pit be negligent for having a child near their “nanny dog” that was raised well?
I urge you to look at that “friendly” pit bull you or your neighbor owns. Perhaps you believe the myth that I did, “It’s all how you raise them.” It certainly sounds attractive to believe, doesn’t it? It isn’t. It is an outright distortion of reality and one of the most dangerous myths to believe and perpetuate. From 2005 to 2012, pit bulls killed 151 Americans, about one citizen every 19 days. By 2016, pit bulls are projected to maul 275 Americans to death since 1998, the year the CDC stopped tracking fatal dog attacks by breed.”
– Susan Iwicki
There is so much more to this story in Wausau if you keep reading.
“Mary Kirlin, executive director at the Humane Society, said a dog’s behavior is influenced by both its bloodline and its training. In her experience, all breeds have the capacity to attack.”
I’ll agree with you about one thing Mary Kirlin. Dogs behavior is highly influenced by it’s bloodline.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is, like all the ‘bully’ breeds, one of this group of descendants of the British ‘bull and terrier’ type fighting bulldogs. Once imported into the United States, it was bred up to be bigger again, and again used in baiting animals and in dogfighting. The American Kennel Club (founded 1884) was unwilling to register these fighting dogs, so in 1898 the United Kennel Club was founded by Chauncey Z Bennett specifically to register working pit-fighting dogs and to promote dogfighting. In order to be registered, a dog had to first win three pit fights. The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) became a ‘breed’. As dogfighting declined in popularity in the 1930s and 1940s, Colby (the most famous and prolific breeder of these dogs) began to search for a new market and began promoting the APBT as family pets. This despite the fact that his breeding lines included child killers.
Mary Kirlin goes on to say:
“I have seen it from awesome dogs, I have seen it from poodles, from shepherds, from pit bulls,” Kirlin said. “I have seen it from just about every breed that is out there.”
Shall I continue?…OK. I will. Back to the article.
Mary Kirlin goes on to say this:
“To prevent attacks, training and socialization is key, said Kirlin. She said anyone who owns a dog should be prepared to raise it just as they would raise a child — with love, attention and discipline.”
This is a picture of one of the pit bulls that killed my son. Susan and Steve had raised their dogs from puppies with all the love, affection, proper care, exercise (One acre fenced in dog run) and food that is required. For some unknown reason, Susan’s 2 pit bulls attacked her while she was carrying Dax and mauled him to death for FIFTEEN minutes. She was punching them, kicking them and gouging their eyes out to get them to let go. Nothing she could do to get them to let go of my son’s head. Click here to read the full story.
“You get what you put in,” Kirlin said. “We are supposed to be the smarter species.”
Shame on you Laurie Hoffman. Shame on you Mary Kirlin. How many more Americans must die a horrible and tragic death before you pick a different breed to save? There is a reason the shelters are over run with pit bulls. NOBODY WANTS THEM!!!!
2014 Dog Bite Related Fatalities
Updated after each fatality following fact finding research
42 Dog Bite Related Fatalities
27 by Pit Bull / Pit Bull Mix
3 by Bullmastiff / Mastiff Mix
4 by Rottweiler
1 by Cane Corso
1 by Shepherd Mix
1 by Catahoula Leopard Dog
4 Unknown Breed
1 Mix Breed
TX – 7 deaths
AL – 3 deaths
OH – 3 deaths
FL – 5 deaths
NC – 4 deaths
MI – 2 deaths
AZ – 1 death
CA – 2 death
CT – 2 death
DE – 1 death
IL – 1 death
LA – 2 death
MS – 2 death
NJ – 1 death
MO – 1 death
AR – 1 death
WI – 1 death
WY – 1 death
SD – 1 death
IND – 1 death
Names and ages of the deceased:
Christina Bell-Burleson – 43 – Houston, TX – 2 Pit Bulls [01.05.14]
Betty Clark – 75 – Canyon Lake, TX – 2 Pit Bulls [01.06.14]
Kara Hartrich – 4 – Bloomington, IL – 2 Pit Bulls [01.17.14]
Annabel Martin – 89 – Corona, CA – 3 Rottweilers [01.26.14]
Klonda Richey – 57 – Dayton, OH – 2 Mastiff Mixes [02.07.14]
Je’vaeh Mayes – 2 – Temple, TX – Pit Bull [02.17.14]
Braelynn Coulter – 3 – High Point, NC – Pit Bull [02.24.14]
Summer Sears – 4 – Tallassee, AL – Shepherd Mix [02.26.14]
Kenneth Santillan – 13 – Paterson, NJ – Bullmastiff [02.28.14]
Raymane Robinson, Jr. – 2 – Killeen, TX – Bullmastiff [03.01.14]
Nancy Newberry – 77 – Phoenix, AZ – Pit Bull [03.14.14]
Mia DeRouen – 4 – Houma, LA – Pit Bull [03.25.14]
Christopher Malone- 3 – Holmes County, MS – 2 Pit Bulls [03.31.14]
Dorothy Hamilton – 85 – Kaufman, TX – 2 Pit Bulls [03.31.14]
John Harvard – 5 – Riverside, AL – Pit Bull [04.06.14]
Petra Aguirre – 83 – San Antonio, TX – Pit Bull Mix [04.11.14]
Jessica Norman – 33 – Sebring, FL – 3 Pit Bulls [4.30.14]
Katie Morrison – 20 – Phenix City, AL – 3 Pit Bulls [05.03.14]
Nyhiem Wilfong – 1 – Caldwell County, NC – Rottweiler [05.04.14]
Kasii Haith – 4 – Kent County, DE – 3 Pit Bulls [05.07.14]
Rita Pepe – 93 – Branford, CT – Pit Bull Mix [05.25.14]
Holden Garrison – 10 wks – Davisburg, MI – Catahoula Leopard Dog [06.09.14]
Logan Shepard – 4 – Riverview, FL – 2 Pit Bulls [07.19.14]
Jonathan Quarles – 7 mo – Dayton, OH – Pit Bull [07.20.14]
Craig Sytsma – 46 – Metamore Twp, MI – 2 Cane Corso [07.23.14]
Cindy Whisman – 59 – Madison Twp, OH – Pit Bull [08.04.14]
Joel Chireieleison – 6 – Fanning Springs, FL – 2 Pit Bulls [08.07.14]
Deriah Solem – 22 mo – St Charles County, MO – Pit Bull Mix [08.09.14]
Javon Dade – 4 – Miami, FL – Pit Bull [08.13.14]
David Glass Sr.-51-Benton County, MS – 3 Pit Bulls [09.20.14]
Alice Payne – 75 – Cave City, AR – 1 Pit Bull [09.26.14]
Juan Fernandez – 59 – Modesto, CA – 4 Pit Bulls – [10.14.14]
Logan Thomas Meyer – 7 – Hustisford, WI -1 Rottweiler – [10.24.14]
Alemeaner Dial – 83 – Robeson County, N.C. – 4 Pit Bulls – [10.31.14]
Deanne Lynn Coando – 40 – Wind River Indian Reservation, WY – Unknown – [11. .14]
Stella Antanaitis – 91 – Stamford, CT – Mix Breed – [11. .14]
Jayla Rodriguez – 8 – Pine Ridge, SD – Unknown – [11.18.14]
Bobbie Cheveallier – 85 – Grant Parish, L.A. – Unknown – [12.1.14]
Jose Robles – 62 – Madison, N.C. – Pending – [11.23.14]
Christopher Camejo – 2 – Crystal River , FL – Rottweiler’s – [12.6.14]
Rita Woodard – 64 – Corpus Christi , TX – Pit Bull – [12.15.14]
Edward L. Cahill – 40 – Porter County, IND. – Pit Bull – [12.25.14]
Non – Bite Related Canine Deaths
Demonta Collins – 13 – Augusta, GA – Chased into traffic by at large Pit Bull [04.10.14]
Davon Jigget – 17 – Fulton County, Ga – Chased into traffic by at large Pit Bull [04.11.14]
Ryan Brown – 15 – Fayette County, TN – Killed by pan thrown by brother when attempting to break up dog fight [08.08.14]
On average in 2014 someone was killed by a pit bull every 13 days. Some of these pit bull attacks were from the family dog that was well trained and had never shown signs of aggression before. The only common in these severe and often fatal attacks is not abuse or lack of training it is breed. Choose the breed of dog you trust the lives of your loved ones with wisely.