There are animal lovers, and then there's this
What would you do if your dog attacked your elderly mother? What would you do if that same dog later KILLED your elderly mother?
A plastic surgeon spent three hours sewing up Linda Mittino's face after her son's dog first attacked her in November.
But she insisted the 7-year-old German shepherd, called Bear, deserved a second chance.
On Monday, the animal lover's loyalty cost her her life when the dog once again turned on her — this time attacking in her bedroom.
"She called him her protector. She loved that dog," said her son, Joe Mittino, the dog's owner.
"I don't know what happened. My mom isn't here to tell me and the dog can't talk."
...Bear, whose registered name is Baron von Valentine, was the seventh German shepherd the family had kept as a pet over the years. Linda Mittino also kept a greyhound and eight cats.
Joe Mittino said Bear was always aggressive about protecting his owner and territory.
"I took him to obedience school, but we didn't do too good," Joe Mittino said.
His sister, Lisa Boenzle, said she feared the dog, especially after it attacked her husband, who went to the hospital with serious bite wounds last year.
"You always had to keep an eye on him," she said. "You couldn't know for sure what he was thinking. The dog needed to be put down after the first attack," Lisa Boenzle said. "But my mom didn't want to take the dog away from my brother."
Joe Mittino said he intended to get one-on-one training for Bear after the attack. He scheduled an appointment to have the dog neutered Jan. 25. He hoped the procedure would curb his temperament.
Police said they expect no criminal charges from the attack, since the animal killed one of its owners, the first such case in memory in St. Louis County.
Most family members insist that the dog should be euthanized now.
"He needs to be put down. He killed my mother," Lisa Boenzle said. "He's a threat to every human."
Officials were holding the dog Tuesday at St. Louis County's animal control shelter. Delores Gunn, director of the St. Louis County Health Department, will determine if the dog should be euthanized after a hearing if the family does not request it to be put down.
But Joe Mittino wondered about other options Tuesday. He said he wished the dog could live in seclusion in rural Missouri.
"I bet he'd be OK there with no one around," he said. "I'd keep him in a pen."
I mean-- What the HELL is wrong with this guy? His dog has attacked people in the family at least three times, twice in the last two months. The animal killed his mother. And he wants it to go live in a pen in the country? First of all, if he loves this animal, that is hardly humane. Second, he has shown precious little intiative in attempting to control this animal-- they often say there are no bad dogs; there are only bad owners. No matter what, however, the animal has not been socialized to be around humans, and he has killed.
I love, love LOVE my dogs. But this is crazy.