http://www.federalwaynews.net/articles/ ... tory02.txt
"Pit Bulls blamed in death of neighborhood dogs"
By Seth Bynum, Federal Way news
"Toney Mikesell still feels haunted by the violent image of the vicious attack that robbed him of his two beloved canine companions.
The sales rep from Anderson Merchandisers returned home from work on the afternoon of January 17, expecting the same affectionate greeting he's received for the past year and a half.
He opened the garage door to an unusually quiet house and the suspicion that something horrible had happened. Puddles of urine covered portions of his hardwood floors. Smeared mud and large paw prints stained his carpet and furniture. Calls to his two pugs, Cola and Lola, went unanswered.
Now desperate to find his dogs, Toney walked outside, only to find the body of Cola, half-buried next to the fence that divides the property between his home and the neighbor's. After an hour of searching, he found Lola, who had suffered the same fate: Her small bones crushed by the force of three powerful pit bulls.
In the few short months in their new home of 356th Street, Toney and his partner Michelle Jaroszek admitted they felt some reservations about the pit bulls their neighbors kept as family pets next door.
Before that day, Toney said he had almost convinced himself that the pit bulls posed little threat to him or his pugs.
"They always seemed afraid of me and cowered when I would grab them and run them out of my yard," Toney told the Federal Way News last week.
But something changed that Tuesday.
The three dogs broke through the wooden fence and attacked Toney and Michelle's dogs, and then entered their home through the dog door.
The blood-thirsty and pack-like nature of the attack came as a complete surprise to Michelle, who felt confident their neighbors had properly trained and socialized their dogs.
"Every time we've seen our neighbor's with their dogs," Michelle said, "they seem like a loving family."
"Our neighbors always told us 'It's all in how you train them and take care of them,'" Toney interjected.
"We never expected the dogs to have any aggression at all," Michelle added, "but whatever happened was instinctual. Eventually their instincts just take over. They're just a vicious breed."
The original breeders of the American pit bull terrier bred the dogs for loyalty and strength, as well as prowess in the fighting ring.
Inside their home, Toney and Michelle played a clip of the King 5 television piece that aired shortly after the incident. Sound bites spun the story into a tale of rampaging pit bulls that wrought havoc on a Federal Way neighborhood, but the couple insists the real story is far more complicated.
Michelle emphasized that she still believes that her neighbors did everything they could to raise friendly and peaceful pets. When the police informed the owners what had happened, they immediately and voluntarily sent the pit bulls to be euthanized.
The experience, while traumatizing for both families, has motivated Toney and Michelle to take action to prevent another pit bull attack in the city. The couple said they plan to seek the ear of the city council in presenting their case.
They hope to build a coalition of concerned citizens to push Federal Way to join other Washington cities like Kirkland, SeaTac, Algona and Enumclaw to impose restrictions or outright bans on the breed.
"There's a reason why these cities have chosen to impose these bans," Toney said. "What would have happened if those dogs would have attacked a person, a child?"
More than 200 municipalities in the US have put similar bans in action.
Before that fight begins, however, Toney and Michelle said they still have some mourning to do.
Michelle brought out a contact sheet of photographs and a digital video clip the two pugs playing with a stuffed toy.
"We're hurting really bad," Michelle said, "but we're healing quickly just by talking about it."
"And I just keep thinking," Toney said motioning to the house next door, "that they've lost their dogs, too.""
(edited to add quotes as requested....)