Leader Dog Back to Work After Being Attacked by Pit Bull

Witness describes seeing the pit bull pinning the guide dog to the ground by the throat.

A guide dog is back to work after being attacked by a pit bull Saturday on Main Street in Royal Oak.

“The dog is showing no lasting effects,” said Rochelle Kniffen, director of communications and marketing for of Rochester Hills. The visually-impaired client and instructor working with the dog are also doing fine, she said.

The pit bull broke loose from a 10-year-girl staying with the dog in the sidewalk cafe of the Burgrz restaurant, 410 S. Main.

“I heard the girl scream and looked up to see the pit bull scrambling after a seeing eye dog and a blind man who were passing by," Lana Louys of Wyandotte, who was dining at the restaurant’s outdoor area, told the Daily Tribune. "The pit bull pinned the (guide) dog to the ground and had it by the throat.”

The girl’s mother, 41, of Jackson left her daughter alone with the pit bull on a leash, according to the Daily Tribune report.

“We do not run into this type of situation very much at all,” Kniffen said. “It is not a common occurrence.”

Leader Dogs for the Blind trains dogs in Royal Oak several times a month. The golden retriever had already completed four months of instruction and was paired with a client.

Clients come from all over the United States and stay for one month working with a guide dog, Kniffen said.

“We like Royal Oak, especially on a Saturday with nice weather, like last weekend,” Kniffen said. Downtown Royal Oak offers guide dogs and clients an opportunity to train among crowds on tight streets and get familiar with railroad crossings. There are also plenty of distractions, such as other dogs, squirrels, sirens, fire trucks and the enticing small child with an ice cream cone.

“We train the dogs to stay focused,” Kniffen said. “We try to introduce them to as many environments and situations as possible.”

Another reason Leader Dogs for the Blind likes to train in Royal Oak is the friendly storekeepers, Kniffen said. “They are very much open to having the dogs, which makes it that much easier for us,” she said.

Royal Oak Police Lt. Tom Goad said officers who responded to the incident found no injuries to the dogs or people involved. The animal control officer who is investigating the case did not immediately return a call for comment. Goad said he expects some sort of enforcement to be issued.

"You have to be able to keep your dog under reasonable control," Goad said.

honey June 06, 2012 at 02:28 PM
If you've never owned a pitbull don't be so quick to judge. This can happen with any dog, even a leader dog. I got bit by a chocolate lab for no reason at all, and I've never once said I'd never own one. I have 6 pitbulls, but I would never leave my daughter to watch them, or any other dog for that matter. I had a German shepherd, and I trust these dogs more than her. Have a 6 yr old male, a 2 yr old female, and 4 10 week old puppies. A golden retriever chewed off a babies leg because his father decided to take a nap with the door closed and left the dogs to watch him. A cat chewed off a babies fingers because the mom figured shed be ok in the other room where she couldnt see her. A rot chewed off a babies arm. And like I said, I got bit by a chocolate lab. So when people start reporting every dog bite that ever happens and more are caused by beloved family pets and chihuahuas... Then they will start blaming all of them too. There animals, and us being animals as well, what do we eat? What do humans kill for food? Punish the deed not the breed.
Peter Griffin June 06, 2012 at 03:21 PM
The difference is that when a chocolate lab bites you, you get a few stitches and go home. When a pit bull bites, it's a mauling...or worse....a death.
Peter Griffin June 06, 2012 at 04:36 PM
I also take it that you own a kennel since you have 6 dogs....doesn't the city of Rochester Hills require a home to be zoned as a kennel if there are more than 4 dogs on the property? Maybe it's diffrent for mobile homes.
Joshua Raymond June 06, 2012 at 06:30 PM
SECTION 138-4.436 - Raising and Keeping of Animals A. The keeping of the following animals will be allowed without a permit under the following circumstances in any zoning district, unless there are other sections in this ordinance which are in conflict, and the raising and keeping of such animals is not for the purpose of breeding or selling them as a source of income: 1. Common household pets such as dogs, cats, etc., but not including fish or marine animals less than 20 pounds, as long as there are not more than three of any one species permanently boarded or kept. The keeping of more than three common household pets of any one species shall qualify a house as a kennel, subject to the regulations of Section 138-4.418 I'm not sure on Rochester, Oakland Township, or other surrounding areas.
Peter Griffin June 06, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Assuming that applies to mobile homes too?


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