WHY US, DOGGAMMIT?
An uptick in dog attacks has made it clear that not nearly enough is being done to protect sensible dog lovers from potentially dangerous dogs. Our pets are like family to us. doggammit.org is dedicated to ensuring the safety of our families.
Our mission is to reduce dog attack tragedies by increased accountability, oversight and regulation. Owners, Breeders, Shelters, and Animal Control- all need to be liable for a dangerous dog. We applaud the rise in lawsuits against these entities and the subsequent accountability of them. Thank you everyone for reaching out with your stories. We share your frustrations, are overwhelmed with your support, and look forward to our journey!
For almost a decade, I’ve spent every minute with Sparky, a small mixed-breed rescue. We’re inseparable- people call us Wallace and Gromit. They even say we look alike, and I’m not sure if that’s a compliment. We work near Tudor Street Park and know every dog, owner, and walker in the community. I’m very proud of my dog and the level of training that we’ve gone through together.
The first time that Sparky was almost killed, I had little knowledge of Molossers (Rottweilers, Pitbulls, Cane Corsos, etc) and their inherent strength. I can still remember him getting torn apart like a stuffed toy by a brown Pitbull, and it took only seconds. The sheer power of the attacking dog, and how quickly a life could be destroyed was surreal. After paying Sparky’s surgery bills, I inquired about responsibility and accountability when owning such a powerful animal with The City of Cambridge. Cambridge Animal Control dismissed my concerns saying that “it’s not the breed.” But I did not specify breed, I specified strength. How could someone whose job is to protect animals not consider the sheer bite strength as a factor? Dr. Chris Ulrich, a well respected Veterinarian in Cambridge, had different perspective after saving Sparky’s life. Pointing to Sparky’s throat, Dr. Ulrich’s cautioned: “1 inch to the right and Sparky is dead. Think anatomy when it comes to dog parks." I’d be lying if that reality does not still bother me: A sensible dog owner simply cannot enjoy a park because less sensible people need to own such powerful breeds, and worse- not spay/neuter them. In Cambridge, Mayor McGovern passed on a backyard breeding bill that is common in any city. Cambridge has also passed on a Spay/Neuter Ordinance. Why? I thought that I lived in one of the safest and more progressive cities. Not the case. Like our houses, guns & trucks in the U.S., our dogs are trending towards bigger and more powerful.
The second time that Sparky was almost killed was this past June, and the event has changed my life. After being ripped out of the air by a grey and white Pitbull, Sparky remained in the jaws of the other dogs for at least 15 seconds. The screeching distress wails echoing up Brookline Place that evening still ring in my ear. I’ve had to watch the video with lawyers & city officials, and it is beyond disturbing. The teenager who was harboring the Pitbull kicked it repeatedly to release, but nothing was going to stop it from killing. It was a playtime for this dog, with its tail wagging in its prey’s blood & fur on the sidewalk.
Luckily, Sparky’s leash was off during the attack and he miraculously escaped. The Pitbull was leashed, yet could still lunge 36” across a sidewalk and pull an animal who is running for his life out of the air. If Sparky were on his leash, he would be dead and my arms would have been shredded. He ran all night wounded in “flight mode” and was found the following morning in Kendall Square. I rushed him to Emergency Surgery in Boston.
On his intake, Dr. Kim Helmboldt wrote: “bite wounds to the left chest, abdomen, left lateral thigh, left inguinal region secondary to a Pitbull attack.” Dr. Helmboldt has unfortunately seen too many attacks this severe, and always from powerful breeds of the Molosser family. “A Beagle, no matter how mistreated or misbehaved, just cannot cause this trauma.” His left chest and belly were ripped open, but the surgeons were more concerned with the deep puncture wounds around his hip. My hopes were that they would stabilize him enough for me to say goodbye. Imagine: you hope to say goodbye to your dog as you pay a deposit of $4,000.00.
I slept next to him for 10 hours until morning, taking a few Dunkin Donuts runs while he was under. He didn’t know who I was. The next day, he ran a temperature of 106 and the concern was clearly infection. I would bend my upper body into his kennel and hold him while reciting our familiar catchphrases. After 48 hours of fluids and a lot of encouragement, his fever broke! Sparky ate a bit and went for a short walk around the waiting area. The Vet-techs were in disbelief that this 12-year-old was pulling through. I could see small but hopeful signs of my buddy.
It was the most challenging summer for both of us, but we made it. Sparky has some bronchial & intestinal issues, and his head tilts to the left a bit, but he’s as tough as nails and with me now. I cannot thank this wonderful community enough for all of your support and love throughout this difficult summer.
Please sign our petition and continue to reach out with your stories. They fuel doggammit.org. Your support has got us here! Thank you!
Establish the 7 Member Cambridge Animal Commission and review all policy.
Pet Liability Insurance. City based insurance program.
Re-introduce to Mayor Mark McGovern a bill that bans backyard breeding.
Spay / Neuter Ordinance. Are we not a progressive city?
Statewide/City public database on dog bite incidents.
Get in touch with doggammit to learn more about our work and how you can get involved.