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This is Akira's StoryAkira

I awoke to the sound of barking and a woman’s screaming. It was six twelve in the morning and the darkness of night still lingered, but I was now fully awake for I recognized both the screaming of my wife Noelle and the barking of my dog.

I jumped out of bed, scrambled for some clothes and ran out of my bedroom conjuring up dreadful visions in my head of what could have caused my wife to scream like that. Was our girl Akira hit by a car during their morning walk? Was Noelle hit by the car? Was it something much worse? I did not have to wait long for an answer.

Halfway across the living room the front door burst open and there was my distraught wife leading a blood stained Akira into the room. My eyes focused on the blood pouring out of her neck, down her chest and the front of her legs.

“.. attacked!” was all I heard. I then saw blood on Noelle’s hands and quickly came out of my shock.

“What happened?!” I asked frantically.

Noelle was very shaken, her voice cracking, “a dog ran into the street and attacked Akira. It came out of nowhere and grabbed onto our girl’s throat. Oh my God!” she uttered, as if just now the moment sank in. But quickly she continued, “Make sure she is okay, the police are coming and I need to wait for them outside.”

 “Wait a minute, “I said, “Are you okay?” I motioned to her hands and the blood.

“Yes, I am fine, it’s not my blood.” And with that she was out the door to wait the police. I turned to Akira who had blood pumping profusely out of three large holes in her neck and got some towels and called the vet.

On the way to the vet Noelle gave me the full details of the attack. She had been returning home for her morning walk with Akira, the same walk she has taken for two years, when only two houses away from us a small terrier bolted down a driveway, across the street and went right for Akira’s throat without a bark of warning.  It latched onto Akira’s throat and had a fatal grip for Akira did not even try to fight but stood her ground. Noelle screamed and tried to remove the terrier but could not. The dog’s owner, a thirteen year old boy, stood motionless in fear and did not so much as call out the dog’s name.

Noelle was screaming at the dog and the boy and for help when the boy’s father came out of the house and ran down the driveway. He too, however, failed to make any effort to help Noelle.

Just then a minivan drove by and slowed down but before it stopped a teenage boy jumped from the passenger seat and ran to Akira’s rescue. The boy grabbed both jaws of the terrier and was able to open its mouth enough for Akira to back away and out of its bite.

The terrier’s owner then stepped in and took the dog and as Noelle checked Akira over the woman driving the minivan used her cell phone to call the police. Had it not been for the bravery of the teenage boy, who knows what might have happened?

The vet found three large puncture holes in Akira’s neck and chest. She also noted that much of the Akira’s skin had been torn away from the muscles. The vet said because of this she could not simply stitch up the holes, but had to surgically insert two drainage tubes in her neck to allow fluids to drain out to prevent infection.

AkiraThankfully, Akira did not seem to be in any pain, but she would have to be left at the animal hospital overnight and go under anesthesia for the surgery.

Upon our arrival back home without Akira, we were anticipating a visit or at least a call from our neighbor, the owner of the terrier, to offer their apologies. Their house was across the street and a single house down from us. Although we did not know them, we assumed they would wish to express their concern and offer their apologies for what had happened. There was nothing. In fact, even after the police came to our house and theirs to fill out their report and after the Animal Control Agent attempted on three different times to contact them, there was never any call, letter or visit from them. Nothing at all.

We picked up a very groggy Akira from the vet the next day. Even more alarming and heartbreaking than seeing our girl’s shaved chest and two tubes sticking out if them, was the fact our girl could barely stand nor keep her eyes open. This is such a disconcerting experience to see our typically a very aware and active dog in such a lethargic stupor.

Again, she did not seem in any pain or discomfort which was a good thing for it would have made our tasks of draining her for the next two weeks that much more awful.

Because her skin was torn from her muscles, a large cavity opened up that could not be allowed to gather fluids, hence the drainage tubes. So although these tubes constantly allowed blood and puss to drip out in a near steady stream – forcing Noelle and I to follow her around the house to mop up tiny puddles of bodily fluid off floors, stairs and rugs – even more fluid was being trapped in this cavity. We were thus forced to ‘milk’ our girl several times a day.

Milking Akira entailed using a moist washcloth and pressing it against her neck and chest. You could easily feel the sack of liquid just under her skin and the task was to squeeze this fluid out of the tubes. It was a disgusting endeavor. Sometimes the fluid poured out the tube, other times it squirted out from between the stitches that attached to tube to her flesh.

Several days later, even after the tubes were removed we had to continue the milking, only now before starting we had to remove the scabs that formed over the puncture holes. Akira did not seem to mind too terribly, she only reacted with a start – we did as well – when the act of pressing the liquid sack caused a farting noise as air and fluid squirted out of her.

A week of this and the fluid was not draining properly. She had to have yet another surgical procedure to once again have drainage tubes inserted which began the process all over again.

During Akira’s healing, Noelle and I were becoming outraged at our neighbor’s lack of compassion and communication. All our other neighbors stopped by to check on Akira, as did the Animal Control Agent, but there was no word from the owners of the terrier. This angered us and led us to believe that maybe this was not the first time this had happened? The Animal Control Agent was unable to contact the owners, thus never actually saw the dog. Maybe they got rid of it? Maybe they were hiding it? Maybe they were hiding something else?

Our neighbor across the street came over one day to ask about Akira and it was then she told us what her son had learned from the boy who owned the dog, the one who stood there frozen in fear the day of the attack. Apparently, after Noelle and I leave to go to the vet, the school bus came and the boy and our neighbor’s son wound up sitting next to one another. As the bus pulled away, the boy who owned the terrier sadly uttered in a low tone, “I cannot believe it happened again”.

Upon hearing this, we figured this may be the very reason why the Animal Control Agent was unable to make contact or why they never once reached out to us in any way to see if we or our dog were okay; they have a past history. We needed and wanted to know, so we wrote them a letter to give them the benefit of the doubt and give them a chance to respond directly to why they have been so allusive. They responded a week after receiving our letter to inform us they were animal lovers like ourselves and they fell terrible about what happened to our dog and they would pay for any/all medical expenses that was the result of the attack (a promise they kept when we submitted them the bills), but nothing about the past or why they were not available to meet with the Animal Control Agent.

In the end, Akira healed nicely and is back to normal and only now and again casts an expectant look across the street and up the driveway where the terrier attacked. Noelle and I did all we could to legally report the incident in the hopes if another attacked occurs there is a precedent and preventative measures could be taken. But, we feel this is not enough.

If it is true there was a history of violence with this dog, I feel strongly that as neighbors we should have been made aware of this and that at least the Animal Control Agent should have known. I also find it unacceptable that after three unsuccessful attempts to meet with dog, the Agent simply gave up. Maybe if there was a prior history giving up would not be an option for the Agent?

More should be done to protect our neighborhoods from potentially violent dogs. In this case, our dog was serious hurt but recovered fully but there are many such cases where attacks such as these results in more serious harm and death to not only our pets, but our friends and family members.

The technology exists and the precedent set (see Megan’s Law) to enforce an awareness of the presence of violent dogs or other animals in our neighborhoods and towns, it is just up to us concerned citizens everywhere to demand our voices to be heard.

Join the Petition!

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