Santa Paula Times

Pit bull: Neighbors want dog that killed cats removed

November 01, 2000
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesThe residents of a normally docile westside neighborhood have found themselves now living in fear for their small animals - and children - because of a pit bull that has killed twice in less than two months. In fact, most of the residents have signed a petition asking for the permanent removal of the pit bulls, fearing another - and perhaps more serious - incident.The victims of the attacks were cats snatched from yards on Moultrie Place by a gray pit bull and killed, one in August and the other on October 22.The first cat victim, 13-year-old Henry, was killed when a pit bull left its own yard, snatched up the 22-pound cat, and broke its neck. Animal Control was summoned to the Moultrie Street neighborhood and the pit bull owners instructed to make sure their dogs were kept in the backyard.On Sunday, Oct. 22, the pit bulls again got out and one went to the home of Val and Fred Oliver where their elderly cat, 14-year-old Razzle, was outside. The pit bull grabbed the cat in front of its horrified owners and neighbors.“The pit bull crushed Razzle’s back legs,” said Val Oliver, and although a neighbor sprayed the dog with a hose and he dropped the cat, he snatched Razzle up again, inflicting more injuries.Fred Oliver and the family - including the Oliver daughters, 12 and 13 - were just driving out of the neighborhood when they saw what was happening to their cat; the girls jumped out of the car, screaming at the dog, which finally dropped the cat and ran home.
The police were called but it was too late for Razzle: he died in the “arms of his family, my children seeing every awful moment of the incident,” said Val Oliver.Animal Control was called and picked up the two pit bulls, who were outside their own yard. Their owners were not home when Razzle was killed. One of the dogs has been returned to its owner, but the other is in custody awaiting a hearing to determine its fate.“We’re really sad but frightened that it’s going to happen again,” said Oliver. And it could be worse: “If it had been a 4 or 5 year old child with a cat on its lap who knows what would have happened? I love all animals, I love dogs and have one, have a cat and even a tortoise, but if it was my dog I wouldn’t want this to happen ever again. I just want people to be aware.”There are about 50 homes in the Moultrie Place neighborhood and Glen City School is right around the corner, fueling fears that the next time the dog escapes it could invade the campus.According to SPPD Commander Mark Hanson, depending on repairs the unidentified owners make to backyard fencing, the pit bull might be able to be “bailed out” pending a city and County Animal Control hearing, overseen by the County Pound master, who will consider the “violations here, which are pretty serious,” added Cmdr. Hanson.