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Pit bull attack: Child's death reignites official's call for banning breed

A Lowell, Massachusetts, city councilor plans to call for a citywide ban on pit bulls following the death of a 7-year-old boy. Police told WFXT that the boy was brutally attacked by two dogs of that breed. 

>> Watch the news report here

Candles and flowers now sit at the place where a little boy was mauled to death Saturday night.

While the Middlesex District Attorney handles the investigation, a local lawmaker is calling for a citywide ban on the breed that caused this tragedy.

City councilor Rodney Elliott believes this is an issue of public safety. Although he knows banning pit bulls is a controversial issue, he believes that's the necessary measure needed to keep people safe.

>> On Boston25News.com: 7-year-old mauled to death by dog in Lowell

Elliott believes the city of Lowell is too crowded, and therefore there's no room to safely keep pit bulls. 

"I just don't want to see this happen again," Elliott said. 

However, this isn't a new cause for Elliott as he's been calling for a pit bull ban for years. In 2011, following a number of pit bull attacks, he helped spearhead an ordinance to regulate pit bulls and pit bull mixes within the city limits – and it passed. 

"We're an urban city. We have 108,000 people living in 13 square miles. You can go to some very densely populated areas in the city and I think that would be appropriate," Elliott said. "I don't think the law in the books is effective enough, and I do think the responsibility is on the owner, but if we didn't have pit bulls in the city, this attack would never have happened."

>> On Boston25News.com: Neighborhood mourns 7-year-old boy mauled to death by pit bulls

The state then passed its own law prohibiting cities and towns from labeling specific breeds as "dangerous" and regulating them. Elliott believes it should be up to each community to make that decision.

"At the very least, give us the authority to implement strong measures as we did in the past to hold dog owners accountable," Elliott says.

However, many strongly disagree with Elliott, saying the majority of pit bulls are gentle, loving creatures. 

WFXT reporter Stephanie Coueignoux spoke with Mike Keiley, the director of adoption centers for the MSPCA by phone. 

Keiley told WFXT that proper training, socialization, and spaying or neutering a dog play a large role in their behavior. 

>> On Boston25News.com: Family and friends hold vigil for 7-year-old killed by dogs in Lowell

"These particular dogs are the dangerous animals that we are talking about. There are so many other pit bulls out there that never would be involved in this type of situation," Keiley said.

Elliott said there are 74 registered pit bulls in Lowell, but he says many more are being illegally bred. Overbreeding is a problem that can easily lead to overly aggressive dogs. 

Keiley said the issue arises when people who aren't properly trained mate two overly aggressive pit bulls together and can end up breeding an increasingly aggressive generation of dogs. 

"I think that's why you're seeing aggressive dogs continuing to be in the community because they're continuing to be allowed to breed and continued to give a bad name to this breed of dog," Keiley said.

>> Read more trending news

Keiley said pit bulls are loving and gentle by nature, but lack of training and care can lead to aggressive behavior. 

The department of public health said the number of injuries caused by dog bites is a "pretty rare set of circumstances." 

In 2014, 189 people were hospitalized due to dog bites, which accounts for a total of 0.3 percent of all hospitalizations in Massachusetts for that year. 

Elliot said that if Lowell can ban raising chickens because of health concerns, the city should be allowed to ban pit bulls for safety reasons. 

"That makes no logical sense to me. There are other animals and species in this city, in this state, in this country so when we feel there is a problem with a particular breed – and there is," Elliott said.

Last year, on Oct 3, a citywide ban on pit bulls went into effect in Montreal following a pit bull attack that killed a woman in Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec. 

The attack has since been contested by animal rights organizations and pit bull owners who say the ban is senseless and that there was no forewarning regarding the ban. 

Elliott plans on raising the issue at a council meeting Tuesday.

The MSPCA said Lowell is one of a number of local cities with what they call an overpopulation of pit bulls, so the organization is now offering free spaying and neutering of pit bulls in those communities. 

More information regarding their "Pit Pals" program for spaying and neutering pit bulls and to check if you're eligible to receive those services for free, check out their website here.

Hank the pit bull, wrongly accused of killing livestock, set free

A pit bull named Hank that was wrongfully blamed for killing livestock last year is now free.

>> Read more trending news

A judge in Thurston County, Washington, on Wednesday voided a Lewis County euthanasia order and ordered that Hank be released to his adoptive family in Centralia, Washington. 

Though witnesses said the pit bull that killed the livestock was not Hank, a Lewis County judge ruled Hank a dangerous dog and directed he be put down.

Hank's owners have been fighting in court for five months and finally won on Wednesday.

“It feels wonderful! It's like I can't tell you how great it is,” Hank’s owner, Jann Propp-Estimo, told KIRO.

The family said they planned on spoiling Hank.

WATCH: 'Izzy's here!' Men find family dog thought killed in California wildfire

A tearful reunion was caught on camera as two men located their family dog alive after a wildfire tore through their mother’s home in California.

>> Click here to watch

The men hiked for miles to survey the damage and said they figured their beloved dog, Izzy, was killed in the blaze.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

But to their surprise, she was completely unharmed.

“It was one of the greatest moments of my life,” Jack Weaver said. “It was elation. We came walking around the corner; we didn’t expect to see her. We were just there to video the house for my parents.”

>> Read more trending news

The men said their mother was ecstatic to learn that Izzy was alive.

Izzy is now resting comfortably at home with the rest of the family.

Groomer gives matted, abandoned dog a much-needed makeover

A Florida dog groomer is being praised for her quick work in helping save an abandoned dog in distress.

The groomer’s husband told WFTV's Angela Jacobs on Friday that the dog was found late Wednesday after good Samaritans saved it from being hit by a car along a road in Oviedo.

The dog was so severely matted, the groomer’s husband said, it could barely see through its neglected and overgrown hair. The dog also had to be carried and was unable to walk or wag his tail.

>> Read more trending news

BGE Grooming was contacted due to the dog’s poor condition. The dog groomer, Kari Falla, immediately opened the salon at midnight to begin working on the dog. 

WFTV learned Falla worked on the dog until after 3 a.m. to return its coat to good condition.

A viewer familiar with the incident contacted WFTV and said, “She (Kari) didn't stop there. Today she got with a local vet and they took the dog and they are currently housing and going to find a forever home.”

While the dog undergoes its medical evaluation, Falla reported on her Facebook page that the dog is playing happily with lots of tail-wagging. 

Puppy with 6-pound tumor left at shelter with note to euthanize him

Staff at an animal shelter in Ohio said they found a dog dropped off on the shelter’s premises, and the dog’s former owner wrote a note instructing the dog be euthanized. 

 

Staff workers at Gallatin County Animal Shelter and County Animal Hospital ignored the note attached to the dog, who is about a year old, and instead took him to an animal hospital to undergo surgery to remove a 6-pound tumor hanging from his stomach.

The dog, named Clyde by a shelter volunteer, underwent a two-hour surgery on Tuesday. 

>> Read more trending news 

Hospital staff were outraged at Clyde’s condition and at the fact that an owner would wait so long before seeking help. Workers became devoted to saving Clyde, who is now up for adoption.

“He’s only a year -- way too young for a death sentence,” Shari Wyenandt, of HART Animal Rescue, told WLWT5. “I mean, he was in pain, dragging [the tumor]. It was already rupturing from being drug on the ground.”

Workers at the animal hospital think the tumor may have been growing for six months.

Now, the tumor is being biopsied to see if the dog will need further treatment.

An update on HART’s official Facebook page indicated Clyde is happy and healing.

“With how sweet he is, he will have no problem finding a home,” Wyenandt said of the shepherd/husky mix.

Read more at WLWT5.

RELATED: A dying dog made it down the aisle to be by his human’s side one final time

Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

UPDATE: Chihuahua protects sick German Shepherd; adopted together

Update 10/16 11:21 a.m.: Jefe and Jericho have a new home -- together. They were adopted late last week by a woman named Constance, who, according to the Humane Society, understands Jerico’s Valley Fever and will be able to care for him.

Original story: Unlikely friends are going to need a “fur”-ever home together.

Meet Jefe the Chihuahua and Jericho the German Shepherd. They’re both hopefully temporary residents at the Arizona Humane Society in Phoenix.

Jericho is living with Valley Fever. It’s an infection that is caused by a fungus that is found in soil.

Jefe now sticks by Jericho’s side, helping him get better.

>> Read more trending news 

Workers at the humane society are trying to get a single permanent home for the unlikely pair.

For more information, potential adoptive families are being asked to call the shelter’s Alternative Placement team at 602-997-7585 ext. 2156

Rescue dog becomes K9 cop for a day

The Nebraska Humane Society and a local police department are teaming up to help give rescue dogs a new leash, er lease, on life.

It’s called K9 Cop For A Day and allows a dog from the rescue group to spend the day as an honorary member of the force.

>> Read more trending news 

They do ride-alongs and meet the community. 

This time it was Mickey’s turn to put on the badge.

He’s a 6-year-old Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix. Mickey has been up for adoption since July and recently went out with the La Vista Police Department.

"It seemed like a win-win for both of us, where we could definitely continue our programs with involving our community, but also help the Humane Society find a great home for a great dog,” Capt. Bryan Waugh told KETV.

“Oftentimes animals that are out of this environment have a better chance of getting adopted -- if people see them in a normal environment rather than here,” Pam Wiese of the Nebraska Humane Society told KETV.

Mickey was the first dog to take part in the program, but the police department plans on doing it at least once a month, KETV reported.

Court grants woman paid sick leave to care for ailing dog

Italy is standing up for its pets.

A judge has decided that a woman who works for La Sapienza University in Rome should be paid her sick time that she took to care for sick dog.

>> Read more trending news 

She had two paid days off and the judge said that despite it being for a dog, the university’s rules say she can take them for “serious or family personal reasons.”

Animal activists told The Telegraph that the ruling showed that Italy believes that pets are “members of the family” and that the case will set an important precedent.

“It is a significant step forward that recognized that animals that are not kept for financial gain or their working ability are effectively members of the family,” Gianluca Felicetti, the president of the Italian Anti-Vivisection League, told The Telegraph.

The lawyers used Italy’s laws to support their case citing that anyone who abandons an animal to “grave suffering” be sentenced to jail for a year and fined up to 10,000 Euros or nearly $12,000, The Guardian reported.

Family has to pay to get their dog back from Humane Society

A Pennsylvania family was relieved to find their missing dog at a local humane society. 

>> Read more trending news 

Daryl Claypoole said he left his dog, Tubby, outside to go to the bathroom when the animal chewed through his collar and took off.

Claypoole said his family has been upset since Tubby ran and vanished a few weeks ago.

Thanks to social media, the family found out Tubby is at the Butler County Humane Society.

There, he's known as Finn, and Claypoole can't get him back without the right amount of cash.

“Five hundred and fifty-two dollars. I don't have that kind of money. I'm on a fixed income. I just want my dog,” Claypoole said.

Jill Hall, with the Humane Society, said the dog wasn't microchipped, making it harder for them to find the dog's owners.

“Unfortunately, (animals) can't tell us where they belong, so after 48 hours, we get them ready for adoption,” Hall said.

WPXI learned the fee has been reduced from more than $500 to $220.

Claypoole admits he hasn't been to the Humane Society to even identify his dog.

“Because if I do, I'll cause trouble because they won't give me my dog back,” Claypoole said.

“Those vet bills for us are not free. We do have to pay those costs so once an owner comes forward, they do have to incur the cost to reclaim their animal,” Hall said.

Family pig named Spam stolen in home robbery

A Cleveland, Ohio, family is hoping someone can track down a missing family member: a mini pig named Spam, who was stolen by burglars, KSAT reports.

>> Read more trending news 

Valerie Couch raised Spam since he was a piglet, and while the family has other animals, they all play nice together. She said that whoever took Spam didn’t realize how important he was to them.

“It’s just sad somebody would do this,” Couch told Cleveland’s WEWS. “My guess is they just want to sell him and make some money. But you know, he’s part of our family. Keep the electronics, but don’t take somebody’s pet.”

While pieces of jewelry and a camera were also stolen, the family is heartbroken about their lost animal. A GPS lead from one of their electronics may have tracked some of the items, but so far, Spam has not been found. 

The Couches are offering $200 for any information that leads to the safe return of their 15-pound pet. 

Read more at WEWS and KSAT.

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