This was in the Maryland Gazette, or as I like to call it, The Anne Arundel County Enquirer. I found it horribly sensationalized. There was huge text at the top with the quote, "The dog's "chest was covered in blood," she said. "Her face was covered in blood. She had blood dripping from her mouth."
I thought about email the author of the article, Joshua Stewart (firstname.lastname@example.org). Would it really do any good? I just dread the rumblings of BSL in AA County.
The farm animals at Wendy Cozzone's rescue ranch in Odenton typically live a quiet life, safe from their old owners who abused them.
But on Sunday morning, harm found them again.
A pit bull broke into their enclosure and viciously attacked the animals, tearing into the faces of several sheep, seriously wounding one goat and killing another.
At about 8 a.m., the pit bull and a mastiff ran away from their owner's property and found their way onto Cheryl's Rescue Ranch. The mastiff found a shady spot under a tree to rest, but the pit bull went after the livestock - animals that Cozzone had rescued from abusive owners to care for until they die.
Cozzone said she was feeding the dozen goats, roughly six sheep, rabbits, ducks, pigs and horses when a goat named Anna Banana started making panicky sounds. Cozzone ran around the barn and found the goat's neck in the pit bull's jaws. The large black goat was flailing and had suffered cuts all over her face and side.
Cozzone said she had fed the dog before and it was always friendly. But now it was as though a switch had flipped in her brain, Cozzone said.
The dog's "chest was covered in blood," she said. "Her face was covered in blood. She had blood dripping from her mouth. And when I went in, there was blood all over my face."
But as soon as the dog spotted a person, its temperament changed.
"As soon as she saw me, that switch flipped back again and she was like a playful puppy," she said.
Wendy jumped over a fence and put the blood-soaked pit bull in a headlock before stowing it in a shed and tending to her animals.
Anna Banana still was in pain, having survived the attack, but Buckwheat, a pygmy goat, was killed, its throat crushed by the pit bull. Wendy said she thinks the two goats sacrificed themselves, diverting the dog while the other animals ran to safety in the back of a pasture.
The pit bull was returned to its owner before it was turned over to county Animal Control. In all, three goats and four sheep were hurt, in addition to the one pygmy goat that was killed.
The pit bull was euthanized Monday morning, a county Police Department spokesman said.
Pit bull protection
In the wake of the attack, Cozzone said she wants the county to ban pit bulls. They can be aggressive animals that can do horrible things when they are not under someone's control, she said.
"I work so hard to keep them (the farm's animals) safe and then people think they can have these pit bulls as pets," she said.
According to a 2000 Centers for Disease Control study, most of the victims of deadly dog attacks against people were children.
Pit bulls - a catchall term that refers to any number of breeds with muscular, stocky bodies, snub noses and short hair - and Rottweilers accounted for about two-thirds of fatal attacks in 1997 and 1998. But during other time periods, other types of dogs were responsible for the majority of attacks.
"It is extremely unlikely that (pit bulls and Rottweilers) accounted for anywhere near 60 (percent) of dogs in the United States during that same time period and, thus, there appears to be a breed-specific problem with the fatalities," the study said.
The study also said breed-specific rules have constitutional and practical issues, while there are practical ways to prevent dog bites without targeting one type of dog. This includes things like sanctioning dog owners whose pets wander off, enforcing leash laws, or making the owners of problem animals legally responsible for their pet's behavior.
Still recovering from the shock of the attack, the rescue workers at the farm had a joyous occasion: Darla, the daughter of Buckwheat, the goat mauled to death, gave birth to two kids in the barn.
Their grandfather, with a bandage wrapped around a bloody ear, was in the adjacent stall as two balls of slime, tufts of tan fur and wobbly knees were born.
The first out was Bucky, a male named after his grandmother, followed by Jamie, named after her father, Jim Bob. They were just a bit larger than a football. Within minutes they were walking, nursing and bleating like two out-of-tune violins.
Darla wasn't expected to give birth until the end of the month, but the stress of the day before probably forced her into labor, Cozzone said.
Besides helping in the birth, workers at the rescue ranch spent the day nursing the wounded animals, changing their bandages and injecting antibiotics. Anna's wounds had stopped bleeding, but her face was oozing pus. Others had bandages wrapped around their heads.
Cozzone said she doesn't know how the dogs made it onto her property. After the attacks her husband examined the ranch's fences, but didn't find any holes.
"The death (Sunday) was absolutely heartbreaking, and I'll never get over it," Cozzone said. "Now she sends us these two little guys. It's emotions gone crazy. I thought I had cried it out yesterday, but these are happy tears."