The afternoon of Nov. 18 was going perfectly for Gerada Louks. The weather was beautiful. Children were playing outside her Peace Valley townhome. Her 10-year-old cat, Peppie, was lounging on the porch—secured to the front door with a harness and leash so he wouldn’t roam the neighborhood.
Louks was in the house getting Christmas decorations when she heard a scream.
“Dog! Oh my god, dog!” her 17-year-old son, Noah, yelled.
She ran out of her home to see that a pit bull had clamped down on her cat’s rear end. Noah held the leash and yelled at the dog to let the cat go, but the pit bull refused to yield.
“This wasn’t just a dog. This was a dog (out) to kill,” Louks said.
Louks didn’t know it at the time, but her cat was one of two pets a pair of pit bulls attacked that day. At 1:42 p.m., officers went to a home on the 700 block of Eighth Avenue South—kitty-corner from Louks’ home on Ninth Avenue South.
One of the dogs had first attacked a Shih Tzu—grabbing it and shaking it around, said Police Sgt. Michael Glassberg. The Shih Tzu’s owner was able to chase the pit bull away with a bamboo pole, Louks said. The Shih Tzu escaped the attack with minor wounds that were treated with a $120 trip to the vet.
Officers responded to the scene of the attack and started looking for the at-loose pit bulls, Glassberg said. They couldn’t find them until they heard Louks’ screaming.
Back at her home, Noah continued to fight off the pit bull. The 17-year-old kicked the dog in the ribs twice, but the pit bull wouldn’t release Peppie. It was only when Noah kicked the dog in the throat that it let go. Noah swung the cat into the house as officers came running.
They arrived to find “a severely injured cat,” Glassberg said. The dog’s bite had removed a piece of bone from Peppie’s leg, Louks said. They initially feared that his leg would have to be amputated, but the surgeon was able to save it by pinning the top of the cat’s thigh to a piece that was still hanging onto the hip.
The operation cost $5,000, but Louks said there was never any thought in her mind of euthanizing Peppie.
“He’s just part of the family. Hopefully, we’ll have him another 10 years,” Louks said.
(The owner of the pit bulls paid the vet cost for the Shih Tzu’s treatment but not for the cat’s, she said.)
Officers were eventually able to corral the pit bulls with the help of the owner, whose name isn’t being released yet, Glassberg said. The dogs have been quarantined, and the case has been sent to the city attorney for review.
Peppie has a long recovery ahead of him. He’s on antibiotics. Because he’s not allowed to jump for six weeks, he has to be kenneled whenever the family leaves the home.
Meanwhile, Louks is worried about what could happen if the dogs are allowed back into the community.
“The lady across the street has a child. They would’ve chomped it in half.” Louks said. “It could happen to anyone in my neighborhood.”
Police remind pet owners to keep their animals leashed and under control. Those who see misbehaving animals running loose are encouraged to call police. “If there are dogs at large and they’re aggressive, we need to know about it,” Glassberg said.