Debbie and I have been asked many questions about Jasmine's attack during the Group Stays. It has been very difficult to discuss the occurrence. But, we wanted everyone know what happened. Hopefully, this will help with questions about the incident.
In early May 2008, during the long downs stays of the Open B Obedience Trial in Big Spring, TX, Jasmine, our eight pound four year old black Pomeranian was lying perfectly still and had dozed off awaiting my return from out of sight. Two steps after the judge called out "Return to your dogs" the sixty pound strong male Dalmatian, placed next to her, leaped up and pounced on her with extreme aggression and shook her like a rag doll. She screamed in terror as she tried to escape from his jaws.
Just a few moments before the attack, the environment was a good as anyone would want; nice clean indoor show on mats, quite room with only two rings for obedience with respectful spectators (competitors, families with children, etc). Conditions were perfect. Jasmine had been in stays, previously, with this dog. Harm from him was not a concern. We will never know why it happened.
25 feet away, I could not have gotten there fast enough. When the owner of the Dalmatian and I got to within three feet from him he broke off the attack and let her go. Jasmine took off behind the row of downed dogs. With horrifying screams, she ran from the other dogs as they broke their stays and pursued her at an amazing speed. It was total chaos. Some dogs ran in fear, few were contained by their handlers and most were running free in prey mode. Having the dogs arranged by height would not have made any difference. As Jasmine ran around the ring screaming in terror, I placed my self in a position where I thought she would run, the ring gate. I was amazed that she did run in my direction and actually saw me standing away from the alerted crowd of scattered teams. When she jumped to me, my first priority was covered - to get her away from the pursuing dogs, of which, at least four were closing in from behind. Her screaming did not stop until long after we left
the room and made our way to where we thought the Vet was located. There was nothing any steward, judge or bystander could have done to prevent or stop the attack quickly enough. I firmly believe if the attack had occurred while we were in the out of sight portion of the exercise, then Jasmine would have been killed.
Jasmine had surgery Tuesday, May 20, to remove a large cyst and scar tissue that had formed as a result of the bite wound. The Vet had to remove a large amount of tissue deep in her muscle. It has been very painful for her and heartbreaking for us. But, we are thankful that she is making a good recovery.
We will send the American Kennel Club a petition, complete with signatures, asking for the removal or replacement of the Group Exercises in Novice and Open. We just can't bear to think of another dog being attacked, large or small. If you would like to sign and ask others to sign the petition, you may contact me at [email protected]
We would like to have the petitions signed and returned by 8/1/08.
Thank you for your interest and concern,
PH and Debbie Cantwell