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Grieving woman suing pit bull owner after attack

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Updated: 8/16/2013 9:41 am
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- A St. Johns County woman is grief-stricken, and seeking justice for her dog, after two pit bulls bit her dog to death.

Kathy Doolittle has waterfront property in Ponte Vedra Beach but has been a prisoner in her own home, and hasn't been able to step foot on the beach since that attack about a month ago.

"You watched your child get murdered while you held it in your arms and that is what plays in my head every day of my life," said Janice "Kathy" Doolittle.

Doolittle is still emotionally broken, since that gruesome attack on July 19.

She's spent each day grieving the death of her 8-year-old pomeranian.

Having never had children of her own, Doolittle tells Action News she considered Cassidy her baby.

''This was her little blanket she always put it in her bed at night and she would just snuggle up in it. The hardest thing for me is I haven't been able to sleep since," she said.

Doolittle says, for years, neighbors feared taking their pets to the beach when Sunshine and Bosco were around, because the two pit bulls had a history of violent attacks. Action News dug up at least seven reported attacks involving those dogs. Several happened even after St. Johns County deemed the two dogs dangerous in July of 2012.

"The deputies would come out, or the sheriff, we'd been calling animal control and all of that, and that did no good," said Doolittle.

The dogs' owners, Julie and Frank Shumer, were cited several times for letting their dogs roam the beach without a leash or muzzle, and this last time it got little Cassidy killed.

"They were ripping her in two and there was nothing you could do to get them off," she remembered.

Shumer wrote in a statement that he strangled his own dog, trying to pry it off of Doolittle. The other pit bull was later put to sleep.

Doolittle suffered severe bites on the head, hands and legs and even broke a finger. She tells Action News she's traumatized and is now seeking legal action against the Shumers. We went to their house with some questions of our own, but no one came to the door.

Still, Doolittle says she won't stop until they take responsibility for their actions.

"I also want to make sure that people aren't apathetic when they see dogs off leashes, that they take this seriously," she said.

When Doolittle does finally make it back down to the beach, at least the first thing she will see is a picture of Cassidy and the memorial she set up to remember her by.

The State Attorney's Office is investigating this incident and is seeking felony charges.
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JasonF - 11/28/2013 6:35 PM
0 Votes
To Oyvey: "Shaka" is a drug-sniffing dog, not a "police dog." There's a difference. The reason pit bulls are not used as regular police dogs, i.e., dogs that chase down suspects is because, unlike other dogs, pit bulls cannot be "called off" once they begin an attack.

Oyvey - 11/13/2013 7:07 PM
0 Votes
Shaka the Pit Bull Police Dog! Enough Said...

HarlequinDane - 8/31/2013 9:45 PM
2 Votes
APBTs do NOT have locking jaws, nor do any other canines (domestic or wild). Many bully and giant breeds DO have powerful jaw/neck/body musculature that were specifically bred for when various breeds were being developed. It is very unfortunate that breed traits have been exploited for nefarious reasons. It is also unfortunate for hundreds of thousands of dogs that have irresponsible owners that 1) do not maintain their pets safely and not put other people/pets at risk 2) do not RESEARCH their pets/breed and make LIFETIME commitments to them.

CaptA60 - 8/15/2013 12:22 PM
1 Vote
I can imagine the horror she went through I witness 2 pit bulls Kill my beloved pet, Animal Control of Jacksonville is a JOKE, after we reported the attack and found out who the animals belong to, after giving animal control the pictures of the dogs and affidavit from all who identified the dogs: We were told they felt the dogs were not dangerous: The same dogs killed other pets in our neighborhood, because the dogs did not actually attack a "PERSON" Absolutely nothing was done about it: The person who owns the dog had his friends contact animal control to tell them the dogs that did all the attacks belonged to a different person: There is a big difference between a German Shepard and Pit Bull: The people who own the dogs were fighting them did animal control do anything about that NO:

whosaysnocan - 8/15/2013 6:20 AM
2 Votes
I cannot imagine what it was like for this woman to witness her beloved pet being torn apart by those 2 pits. These dogs appear to be "okay" when it is not accompanied by another. Having 2 or more of them is dangerous in that the "pack" mentality kicks in to attack. We have seen it enough to know that there is a problem with the breed. Knowing these dogs have a history of attack behavior is unconscionable in that these "owners" appear to have done nothing to prevent this killing of the little dog. I pray that this woman wins the law suit against these people. Cannot bring her little dog back but at least hitting these people in the wallet will make more people aware of the volatile nature of this breed especially when there is more than one. Also, liability insurance should be mandatory for anyone owning this breed. Also there is the stereo type/status of having a pit bull dog when one is making a living by illegal means. I know a few people that have pit dogs, they defend it saying it would NEVER hurt anyone. Only time will tell for them.

Thomas McC - 8/15/2013 3:48 AM
1 Vote
The Pit Nutters exposed credo: Media manipulation is their watchword, their attempts to give their mutants a make over can not hide the evil in their eyes nor the moral stench that exudes from their being, pit bulls are one of satan's more natural creations, a set of horns and pitchfork would have been a far more appropriate visual reality presentation then the cute pitty poo farcical misrepresentations they present to the public.

Thomas McC - 8/15/2013 3:47 AM
1 Vote
RSPCA Victoria president Dr Hugh Wirth blogs on the pit bull problem in Victoria. THE RSPCA has renewed calls for a ban on American pit bulls after a man was attacked and his pet dog killed yesterday. RSPCA Victoria president Dr Hugh Wirth said the dogs were a menace and were not suitable as pets for anyone. "They are time bombs waiting for the right circumstances,'' Dr Wirth said. "The American pit bull terrier is lethal because it was a breed that was developed purely for dog fighting, in other words killing the opposition. "They should never have been allowed into the country. They are an absolute menace."

Thomas McC - 8/15/2013 3:46 AM
1 Vote
MELANIE PFEIFFER, Veterinary Assistant: Working in a veterinary hospital, you are exposed to all kinds of animal trauma. One of the more common ones is dog fights. I can honestly say that in three out of four cases, an American pit bull terrier is involved. Many times, we are able to save the life of the afflicted, but yesterday, we were not. As an animal lover, I was feeling all kinds of emotions, sadness, at first, but then anger... I propose that all owned American pit bull terriers be registered and all breeding be halted indefinitely. How many mutilated faces, mangled limbs, butchered pets and even human deaths does it take to convince us that this breed needs to be phased out? Proponents for the American pit bull terriers will tell you it's unfair to ban a breed. Tell that to the rat terrier yesterday who had his trachea ripped from his throat. That's unfair

Thomas McC - 8/15/2013 3:46 AM
1 Vote
ANDREW FENTON, M.D. As a practicing emergency physician, I have witnessed countless dog bites. Invariably, the most vicious and brutal attacks I have seen have been from the pit bull breed. Many of the victims have been children. In a recent study from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, pit bull attacks accounted for more ER visits than all other breeds combined. In young children, the most common part of the body injured was the face. Numerous studies have proven that the number-one cause of dog bite fatalities is the pit bull breed. I am certain that many attacks are due to owner negligence, but the fact remains that many were unpredictable and were perpetrated by formerly "loving and loyal" pets. Dr. Chagnon has every right to leave our town as she claims she will if pit bulls are banned, just like every one of her patients has the right not to attend her clinic where she brings her pit bulls. I applaud Mayor Pro Tem Joanne Sanders for bringing this issue to the forefront. In the interest of public safety, I recommend we enforce a spay/neuter requirement on pit bulls while reviewing and revamping all of our policies relating to animal bites.

Thomas McC - 8/15/2013 3:45 AM
1 Vote
DR. PATRICK BYRNE, Johns Hopkins Hospital I can't think of a single injury of this nature that was incurred by any other species other than a pit bull or a rottweiler.
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