AR Behavior: “What Not to Do” Example 10yr Later…

Dog-attack victim fought back

Tracy Hon is recovering from an attack from a bulldog in her Chico home Thursday. With Hon is her 7-year-old boxer, Sarah.(Ty Barbour/Enterprise-Record)<p class='dotPhoto'>All Chico E-R photos are available <a href=''>here</a>.</p>
Tracy Hon is recovering from an attack from a bulldog in her Chico home Thursday. With Hon is her 7-year-old boxer, Sarah.(Ty Barbour/Enterprise-Record)

NOTE—Dog in picture was not the attacking dog.

Among the many things Tracy Hon learned from being savagely attacked by a dog: the most important may be a reminder of something she knew very well.

No matter how much people love dogs, consider them their friends and even their “children,” dogs are, in fact, animals.   Hon was well aware of that. She blames herself for momentarily forgetting it. Two weeks after the mauling, Hon is grateful to be alive.  The 62-year-old Chico grandmother has been a lifelong dog lover, a dog trainer and, for the last 15 years, a rescuer of unwanted boxers and other dogs. She runs Canine Retreat, a boarding kennel for dogs in north Chico.

A few months ago, Hon and a friend, Patricia Vaughan, rescued a 4-year-old female American bulldog.  The dog had lived a hellish life, Hon said. Her owner hadn’t given her heartworm protection, and she developed a bad case of heartworms. Also, she was part of a pack of dogs, and the other dogs, realizing she was ill, picked on her constantly.

The bulldog seemed gentle enough, and Hon and Vaughan had hoped to find a new home for her. Then they discovered she had terminal cancer. Their goal became to make the bulldog’s life as pleasant as possible in the time she had left. Hon kept the dog at her kennel.

On the morning of June 7, Hon was working alone at the kennel. When she went into the bulldog’s pen, she said, the dog went wild for some reason.  With her teeth, she grabbed Hon by the foot and pulled her down. And once she had her on the ground, she attacked, biting again and again.

“It was horrendous,” Hon said. She couldn’t get away.

The dog bit her face, legs and arms. It kept going for her left arm, she said. “My arm looked like a bowl of hamburger meat.”  Hon said she kept talking to the dog, telling her, “You have to stop,” but it made no difference.

The biting was ferocious and relentless.  The bulldog grabbed her by the throat, and Hon said she heard her trachea crack. She realized if she couldn’t stop the attack, she would be killed.  With the dog holding her by the throat, Hon tried to pry the animal’s jaws open but couldn’t.

So she bit the dog — twice, as hard as she could.  “Something told me to bite her,” she said. “Something told me, ‘If you’re going to win at all, get on her level.”

The biting worked, Hon said. “She backed off, but then renewed the attack.”  “All of a sudden, I found myself outside the gate,” she said.  She was outside the pen, holding the gate shut, but the dog kept hitting the gate with its head and biting Hon’s hands.

The gate had a latch that had to be lifted up, turned and pulled down to lock it in place.

In the shape she was in, it didn’t seem possible she could do that, Hon said. But finally she managed to latch the gate.  Then she had to crawl about 40 feet to a phone.

She succeeded in that. With her hands bitten and bloody, she didn’t know how she was able to dial 9-1-1, but she did. And even though she had a crushed trachea and larynx, she was somehow able to talk on the phone and ask for help.

After the attack on June 7, animal control officers had the bulldog euthanized. Hon said she thinks the dog’s disease probably caused the attack.  She said a veterinarian told her advanced cancer can sometimes go to a dog’s brain and cause it to lose its mind.

Hon said she blames herself for not seeing that the time had come to put the ailing dog to sleep.  The dog was losing weight and was starting to become a little aggressive, she said. But somehow she failed to acknowledge what was happening and do what was necessary.  “I learned a valuable lesson,” Hon said. Next time she won’t let her attachment to an ailing dog keep her from recognizing that it’s becoming dangerous.

Besides training and caring for dogs, Hon said she tries to educate pet owners.  “I make sure they understand it’s healthy to have respect for dogs,” she said. “People can lose sight of the fact that they are animals.”  Her knowledge as well as her toughness saved her from the attacking bulldog, she said. “Thank God I knew enough about dogs to fight her. Thank God I won the battle.”

———————————— AR conduct learning lesson:

NEVER pick out animals that are picked on, appear to be ill, and where such dog clearly has not only multiple issues, but you as the “rescuer” are not logical, aware, and you believe you should save everything.  AVOID unknown dogs with no history, not socialized, not trained, and with bad behavioral issues in place.  In the above story, the rescuer was lucky to survive. She left the state and did not rescue animals afterward.


NEVER pick out dogs that are grown and where no one knows the temperament for a factual basis; where such dog has been in 4, 5, 6, 7+ or more homes; where dog is likely to have been bred down with any fighting type dog, fighting breed, large guardian breed, or where dog exhibits whale eye, suspicious of people generally, never wags tail, stares down people and other animals, attacks animals/or people; shows little to no common signs of dog behavior which indicates awareness of humans present.  Dogs that have these traits are commonly killed in shelters before being considered for adoption.  UNFORTUNATELY, unless the laws have changed, in California, the shelter has a duty to allow messed up dogs to go to “rescues…”

And there must be a reasonable possibility of rehabilitation.  The problem is, NO ONE who is an expert will test the dogs for the reasonable possibility………….they just let animal control people make the call????  That doesn’t mean all of such dogs will harm people, but it certainly increases the chances.  That is why when “rescues” these days pull dogs from kill shelters, how do we know they know what they are doing?  Many of them do not know what they are doing, we have witnessed it first hand.  There is NO criteria or law that states anything about what education, knowledge, experience, or common sense one must have to “rescue” dogs.

The past 10 years proves that there is no increased awareness of these facts. Many dogs have killed many people, including children, the elderly, and the people that just happened to own dogs but really know little about such ownership.  VERY very few of these owners raised the dog from a puppy.  Most people obtained the dogs secondhand without any knowledge of the animal’s past behavior or conduct.  Many young people seeking to get into dog rescue have no clue what they are doing, but just dive in and never research a damn thing.

To see ARs these days continue to push “rescue, rescue, rescue” is inherently wrong.

IF one is actually going to do “rescuing” properly, then one should be required to have knowledge and some experience with dogs (doesn’t apply so much to cats who likely don’t kill people..) and there should be some type of testing required to even DO rescuing of canines.  There should also be limits on how many they keep, where they obtained them, and how they track the dog inventory. Each animal should have a bite record, and such record should come with the dog when it is sold. Many rescuers never disclose animals that have bitten. That is a travesty. It should be grounds for a lawsuit. In fact, all rescues should be required to have liability insurance for every animal they sell.

ARs want all PET STORES to guarantee their animals, BUT when it comes to selling rescued animals, ARs throw caution to the wind and simply do whatever they want.  In fact their contracts often claim they still own the very dogs they sell to people?  They will not take liability for selling crappy dogs.  They make new owners look like idiots by overscreening them, then not selling the dog to people unless they are totally AR and treat the dog like a human. We are not running a child adoption agency people………….these are dogs that often come with terrible habits and no training. There is absolutely no law that forces rescues to do anything in particular, with the exception of ALTERING the animal. Other than that, we seriously doubt in this age of idiots, that we would buy any rescued animal, from any rescue.

Nope. We would take our chances on a breeder that knows what they are doing.

NOT THIS:  NOTICE: Below in blue is 2 pages of the actual adoption data posted to get the dog [that maimed/ tried to kill the rescuer]   a home…Thank God no one was dumb enough to adopt such a horrible dog………..  Boxer rescue Nonsense07072017_00000