When Linda Henry (pictured) of Westwego, La., was viciously attacked by three of her four pitbulls last March, the attack left her without an eye, ear and armless.
Bitten throughout her torso, the dogs’ bites were so deep that parts of the 54-year-old woman’s bones from her arms and legs were exposed.
Henry recounted to WGNO the horrific incident by the dogs, whom she and her common-law husband, Clarence Allen, loved and treated like their children. “They grab my left leg and rip all that up. Then they tried to get my eye ball out,” Henry said. “They ripped my eye lids off, they bit my lip, then they grabbed my head. In the hospital, they had to take skin off my leg to put on my head.”
The brutality of the incident motivated one Westwego City Councilman to propose a pitbull ordinance that would place strict restrictions on the owners of these dogs. When news of the proposed ordinance leaked, a firestorm followed and pitbull owners across the country are up in arms, according to WGNO. Many are even trying to make moves to block the legislation by petitioning it online.
Councilman Glen Green says his proposed ordinance “is not anti-pit bull.” “All of these people submitting petitions did not get to see Linda Henry after that dog attack,” Green said in his defense. “Had they seen this lady or went to visit her in the hospital like I did, I probably wouldn’t be getting very many petitions.”
The city’s mayor, John Shaddinger, says the public is divided on the issue. “Some people have called for it; some people have called and written against it,” Shaddinger said.
Henry and Allen are behind the proposed pit bull legislation wholeheartedly. And they have data to back up their support. According to DogsBite.org, from 2005 to 2012, pitbulls have killed 151 Americans, about one citizen every 19 days. Of these deaths, fifty-two percent involved a family member and a household pitbull. Notably, in the first 8 months of 2011, nearly half of those killed by a pitbull owned the animal.
Meanwhile, the proposed legislation has been postponed until July, so that other in-coming city council members can debate it.