Pit-Bull Mauls 4 Year-Old Boy. Public Outraged. But Not Why You Think.


March 25, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013

Mickey pitbull

Mickey the pit-bull. His fate is now in the hands of an AZ judge.

Last month, Kevin Vicente, a 4 year-old boy was playing outside. His babysitter was close by. So was a pit-bull named Mickey. Kevin may have strayed too close to the pit-bull. His punishment? The dog attacked the boy. Kevin was lucky to come out of the attack alive. He suffered a broken jaw, a broken right eye-socket and bone as well as multiple abrasions, wounds and bleeding. He had to have multiple stitches and will now face years of reconstructive surgery to repair his still young and developing body and face. His mother has since had to quit her job to take care of him full-time.

Their insurance (of course) does not fully cover such injuries. They will be in debt for years to come. The attack has caused a national outrage. But not for the reason you may be thinking.

Kevin pitbull victim

Kevin, the 4 year old boy who was mauled by Mickey the pit-bull.

Following the attack, Maricopa County, Arizona animal control officials took the pit-bull captive. As is usual and lawful procedure after such an incident, the dog was to be “put down.” Yet, an employee at the Control Center, apparently showing sympathy for the pit-bull, posted that “Mickey” (the dog) was going to go “night-night.”

Dog lovers quickly unleashed their energy and determination to save the dog. They started a Facebook Page named “Save Mickey,” and poured money into a legal defense fund. For the dog’s attorney fees.

Now, after weeks of legal wrangling and injunctions to at least temporarily stop the “putting-down” of the dog the fate of this pit-bull is now in the hands of the Arizona Court system.

pitbull rapper

I’m not going “night-night”….sorry, wrong Pit-Bull.

On the one side, you have the family of Kevin as well as an eye-witness (Guadalupe Villa) who claims it is pretty clear-cut. The dog without provocation attacked the little boy and once its incredibly powerful jaws got hold of him there wasn’t much anyone, including the owner could do.

On the other side, you have dog advocates who claim that it was the babysitter who was negligent. Allowing Kevin to stray too close to the naturally “protective” dog. They also assert that because he had been leashed up too long prior to the incident, he (the pit-bull) was overly aggressive.

In short, the folks who want to save the pit-bull say both the boy and the dog are victims. Ironically, both are struggling to get and stay healthy at this point.

There’s an old saying in the news world. When a dog bites a man that’s not news. If a man bites a dog, that’s news.

But what happens when a pit-bull bites a little boy? Who is to blame?

pitbull with collar

Naturally aggressive or is its collar and owner who’s to blame?

Well, here’s what we know for sure. Between 2005 and 2013, 285 Americans were killed as a result of reported attacks from dogs. Of these fatal attacks, 176 were caused by pit-bulls. Nearly all the rest were caused by Rotweilers.

Many states have breed specific laws or ordinances. The top breeds that are declared “dangerous” or “dangerously aggressive” and must be restricted by various means include; pit-bulls, Rotweilers and Doberman-Pinschers.

Of all of these breeds, pit-bulls are often considered the most dangerous due to their astounding jaw strength and ability to tear through bone and flesh with ease.

Yet, in many areas dog-lovers have fought back, seeking to ease or rescind any such restrictions or banning of these specific breeds. They claim that such dogs are misunderstood and are only “bad” if their owner is “bad” or trains these dogs to be true attack dogs.

Still. I’ve encountered a few aggressive, nasty, foul-tempered Chihuahuas in my day. And other than being annoyed I came away with no other long-term damage.

chihuahua w big eyes

I’ll tear you a new one Hombre!

A few years back I was sitting on my porch with friends and family. No party. No noise. No red capes being flouted in any animal or (pit) bull’s face. Yet a neighboring pit-bull came bounding across the lawn and started to growl and lunge at us. He bore down in particular to a baby in a crib. We grabbed the baby and held it aloft. After a few very frightening seconds, its owner came to the porch. he grabbed the dog and apologized, saying he didn’t know “what came over” the dog and that “he never did this before.”

Of course, it only takes one time, doesn’t it?

Yet, is the dog to blame? Does the dog deserve to go “night-night?”

Look, I have very little sympathy for adults who should know better and who do things like jump into the area or cage of a tiger or a bear at a zoo. This was the case not too long ago at the San Diego Zoo. Teens thought it would be a “hoot” to rile up a bear. So they climbed above a protecting wall and jumped in the area. So, the bear being, you know, a bear, attacked the predator. The idiot was lucky to survive, albeit with serious injuries. The bear though was “put-down.” This didn’t make sense to me. The bear was just reacting instinctively to provocation. It just so happens that when a bear reacts its power is incredibly dangerous to humans, especially those humans armed only with a t-shirt that says “I’m with stupid” and flip-flops.

Black bear at zoo

What about me says I’m cool with you annoying me?

But then wasn’t the pit-bull just doing what it does instinctively?

And if so, can we run the risk that it will happen again?

Finally, this story has also taken a racial tone as it seems so many stories do in our country. Many are wondering if there wouldn’t be more outrage over poor Kevin’s injuries if the family wasn’t Hispanic and from a less than wealthy family. Some wonder why we seem to often place a higher value on animal life than on our fellow humans.

Me, too.

I have mixed feelings about the fate of Mickey the pit-bull. I am still mystified as to why anyone feels the need to have naturally aggressive animals around kids and babies. And if they do why they aren’t properly leashed and restrained. But I also don’t assume the dog knows human-style right from wrong.

But mostly I am outraged. Kevin didn’t deserve to get attacked the way he did. And he deserves at the very least to have people outraged enough to start up his own Facebook page to help with his medical costs.

Below the Tiger are some links for more information about dangerous breeds of dogs and how best to ensure safety with proper care for your dog.

Cat-lovers, don’t even get me started.











82 thoughts on “Pit-Bull Mauls 4 Year-Old Boy. Public Outraged. But Not Why You Think.

  1. Chris C says:

    After reading this I agree with some of the comments that I do love dogs, but when I comes to my life or the dog’s I am sorry I am going to protect myself no matter what the cost. In the heat of the moment no one is going to just sit there and let the dog kill you, that is absurd! I understand that the victim here was a 4 year old boy that could not protect himself from the vicious, whether instinctual or not, attack of the pit bull. As much as anyone says that Mickey was simply acting on instinct, he still put the poor little boy in danger of losing his life, or in this case, with all the reconstructive surgeries and enormous debt build ups, the life as he and his family knew it. In my opinion, at the end of the day, this dog attacked a human and if you care more about helping the dog, then the boy, you are absolutely crazy. I am a dog lover myself although never having one of my own, but if you don’t train your dog or keep him properly fenced/leashed then you should pay the some consequences if it harms someone.

  2. Jacki G says:

    I am a pit bull owner. I do not believe that all pits are aggressive. However, I do think this dog should be put down. Although I trust my pitbull more than my golden retriever to act aggressively (my pit is the biggest baby and my golden is unpredictable), when I take my dogs in public they are ALWAYS on leashes and I am very respectful of anyone near us, especially children. I do think that pits have received an unnecessary bad reputation and I strongly believe that a pit’s aggression is related to how it is raised. Does that mean some dogs can’t just snap and turn aggressive? No. I think dogs, just as humans, are capable of committing an unexpected and surprising crime. Unlike humans, you cannot reason with a dog and teach it right from wrong.

    I think pitbull owners have to be especially conscientious of the reputations of pitbulls and do their best to combat it. I feel that entails NOT letting your pit roam freely and NEVER leaving it alone with children. This goes for all dogs in my opinion.

    The state of this young boy is tragic. Being a pitbull owner, I cringe when I read these articles. As a pit supporter, I hate that something like this has happened again. However, the child’s life is much more important than the dog’s at the end of the day. I hope that this story teaches animal owners to properly contain and monitor their dogs. These tragedies are prevented but animal owners need to be conscientious of other people and how they raise their animal.

    • Steve D says:

      I agree with many of your point! The breed is not so much the issue – it is the owners lack of responsibility to raise the dog properly. This breed has a tendency to become aggressive only if they are conditioned to be that way. Their strength and prowess is certainly a factor here, and this story involving the young boy is truly tragic. However, the owner bears the greatest responsibility…this dog is not a rehab candidate due to the case, in my opinion.

      Again, I feel that legislation should enforce the responsibility and training for owners of certain breeds. I have owned several large breeds, including dobermans and pit-bulls…the breed is not the issue – it is the owner! Fix the root cause and these tragic stories will subside.

      • julianwjr says:

        No, the breed IS the issue.

        I have an 8 year old B-Jack (half Jack Russell, half beagle) and an 18-month-old Jack Russell/chihuahua mix. The other morning, while taking them for their morning walk, a squirrel darted across the road about 50 feet ahead of us. Both dogs, on a tandem leash, nearly popped it in response to their INSTINCTIVE response to the stimulus of a squirrel running by.
        No one had ever trained them to go after a squirrel. Moments later, we encountered a mother and her 18 month old child in a stroller on her way back from walking her older daughter to the nearby elementary school. My dogs immediately reverted to their highly sociable, child loving selves and kissed the toddler, to her usual delight. While I treat them well, I never trained them to do that. The human, selective-breeding intervention in their hereditary genomes has made that their nature. Not so with pit bulls. Pit bulls were selectively bred to be powerful, aggressive, fighting dogs with absolutely no fear of humans.

        Now, I suppose that a pit bull puppy owner could engage in some Pavlovian and Skinnerian conditioning exercises to give them an aversion to attacking humans. Has that ever been done, much less done with an absolute guarantee of success? Of course not.

        There has to be a first time for every pit bull that attacks a human. In every case, by definition, the attack is launched by a pit bull who had never attacked a human before. Ditto in the case of a chihuahua’s first ankle biting attack but the consequences to the human are never fatal or require much more than a band-aid, if that. Attacks by pit bulls, on the other hand, invariably require the services of either a mortician or a plastic surgeon.

        The solution is the elimination of the breed. I would advocate a law, in the name of public safety, that would require all living pit bulls to be spayed or neutered. Their current owners would be required to register their animals as intrinsically, unalterably, dangerous dogs. They would be required to have approved measures in place to prevent both their escape from the owner’s property and well as approved measures to render it virtually impossible for a child to enter the dog’s enclosure.

        By strictly enforcing the spay and neuter laws in all U.S. jurisdictions, banning all commercial breeding, and banning the import of pit bulls, the breed could be eliminated in all U.S. jurisdictions within 20 years.

        Insofar as the pit bull is a human creation via selective breeding, I would have no ethical problem with the deliberate human extinction of the breed. Moreover, given the proven danger of this human-created breed to humans, I would suggest that it is unethical not to render the breed extinct.

    • alifox says:

      Great post! I completely agree with your points. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  3. Karen P W says:

    I am curious of the charges/fines or any repercussions the owner faced.

    This account nearly brought tears to my eyes! I do have many choice words re:race and lack of empathy for the child and his mother/parents and family! But I will instead put my focus on them and pray for the miraculous healing and recovery for Kevin and his family – even financially!

  4. Cassidy C. says:

    I have two dogs myself. One is a chihuahua mix and snips at peoples ankles when he doesn’t know them and until he gets used to them. We have not trained him to be this way, but he is. He gets in trouble, but if he ever bit anyone intentionally to hurt them I would have to put him down because I wouldn’t want it to happen again. I love my dogs with all of my heart, but human lives are more important. I do think that people sometimes entice animals and bring attacks on themselves and that’s not right at all. In this case I don’t think the animal should be put down. Only when the animal attacks when nothing is being done to them to cause it. I hate to hear of things like this. I agree that in this case, both the little boy and the dog are victims. To me, it all depends on the situation as to what should take place from that point on.

  5. Amber S says:

    I personally do not think that the dog should be “put down” only because honestly it could have been the owner’s fault to why the dog has such an aggressive nature. However, that poor little boy will be forever scared and the boy did nothing wrong clearly he was a toddler. The dogs of that nature should be more confined in freedom when around children though. The babysitter should have also had a better eye on the boy! The owner of the dog i believe should try and help this family out considering it was their dog who did the damage. I also believe the babysitter should help out as well because it would have never happened if she had a better eye on the little boy. This is just an overall bad situation.

  6. Amber G says:

    Omg!!! I dont feel like the dog should not be “put down”. The dog most likely was feeling threaten by the young child being so close. I really blame the baby sitter simply because she was not directly with the three year old when he was making his way to the dog.

  7. Casey H says:

    Blame the owner, not the dog. Pitbulls get a very bad reputation, but there are several breeds that are more aggressive than them. There are a large amount of pitbulls however so that’s what you hear about. You see stories about pitbulls that harm people, and pitbulls that save people and protect them. This is due to how they were raised and taught and how they were treated. If you get in a dogs face and it doesn’t know who you are, it’s probably going to bite. Can you blame them? Over 75% of all pitbulls in the local shelters here get put down and are never given a chance. It’s a shame they get that reputation. They’re often very sweet, but yes they are protective of those they love.

    • Shannon V says:

      I agree with your sentiments. For me, this is a tough situation to hear about. I am sympathetic to Kevin, as it’s distressing to learn of any child who is injured (through any means). I can’t say, though, that there is enough information – at least for me – to give this dog a death sentence. I have a pit bull / shepherd mix. He’s the best tempered animal I’ve ever had. I’m more fearful of my neighbor’s German Shepherd that runs lose in the neighborhood. I don’t believe any animal should be off-leash and running the neighborhood. In a contained setting, like a backyard, I still wouldn’t leave an animal unleashed in the presence of small children. Even if the dog has / shows no aggression, dogs play and a child can get hurt just by being knocked down. In my opinion, it really is the owner’s responsibility to set boundaries and provide a safe environment. Does that make Kevin’s injuries any less distressing? Absolutely not. However, I can’t blame the dog.

  8. ChristieS says:

    It’s hard to hear one side of the story. Could the boy have been taunting the dog? Was the dog being protective for a reason? Where was the babysitter? There are so many unsettling questions to make a decision based on little facts. I do not believe that dogs are born to be vicious. I like to think that an owner can reflect a lot of an animal’s behavior. It is important that we investigate the owners of aggressive animals as well as the scene of the incident.

  9. Xenia J says:

    We have a pit and he is a big baby, full of energy and very loving. I am very aware of the reputation associated with this breed and I am respectful of my guests and neighbors. I honestly can’t imagine our puppy attacking anyone without provocation, otherwise he would not be in my house. However, if he attacked anyone without cause, he would be put down. I love the puppy, but I place great value on every human life. This innocent baby is the only victim!

  10. Ashley P says:

    As a dog lover and owner of various types of dogs, it’s very important to note that just like humans, dogs are products of how they are raised (their society). But we cannot dismissed their instinctive nature. Whether or not we have trained them to be, by nature dogs are protective. This is no way justifying the actions of the dog. Accountability of negligence should be placed on both the babysitter and the dog owner. Regardless if the toddler did not seem to be provoking the dog, it should have been her responsibility to keep him safe given the already known false connotation that “all pit bulls are dangerous or aggressive”. The same she would have done in the event that it was a homeless person approaching close proximity to the child.

  11. Laurie S says:

    The babysitter is the one at fault here. She should have been keeping a better eye on the child. I have mixed feelings about the dog. In the picture Mickey looks very skinny and not well taken care of. A hungry dog can be a dangerous dog. I would question his care and look toward the owners for possible animal cruelty. There are ways to test an animals aggression. If he did not pass the test he would be put down. If he did pass the test he should be registered in a database (like sex offenders) and put up for adoption. He could not live within so many feet of children and citizens of the neighborhood would need to know that a formerly aggressive animal was in their community. This is a sad situation all around.

  12. Wow, great article. I wonder, who is outraged that this little boy was mauled???

  13. savianna says:

    Sadly, I too have mixed feelings about this. I think neither the child or the dog is to blame. The ones who should be blamed is the babysitter and the owner of the dog. In the article I read that the owner stated the pit bull was overly aggressive due to being tied up for long periods of time prior to the incident. Well if he knew what the outcome would be (overly aggressive) then why in the hell would he not still be tied up? Or at least have some type of restriction that wasn’t as controlling as being tied up for long period of time to ease the dog back into feeling some what “free” and not being hit with it all at once. I don’t think you can blame an animal for doing what they naturally do but it is the owners job to have a handle on it all and secure possibly safety issues. Everyone knows pit bulls are a dangerous breed yet people still act like they couldn’t just snap and become un-nice any minute. I don’t trust it regardless if people think it is the trainer that determines the dogs behavior. The young boy also should have been watched more closely. A pit bull can be seen a mile away so it was either she wasn’t paying attention to the boy or his surroundings, either way there was inadequate supervision. I think it is sad the animals are sometimes treated better than humans but at the same time I don’t wan’t to devalue them because they live, breathe, and have a pumping heart just as we do. In a way they do everything we do, i mean we do what they do, “animal instinct” haha.

  14. Jessica says:

    The whole situation is terrible. Dogs are bred to be protective and the baby sitter should have been more aware of what was going. She is definitely at fault here. I am a dog owner and I do feel that children should always be watched with dogs. Who knows if the child could have provoked the dog? It’s possible. Or if a dog is chained for most of its life, it can be more aggressive because it has been tethered for long periods of time. Those factors should be thought about before a dog is put down.

  15. Lauren Harrell says:

    I definitely feel that dog should be put down. It does not matter what the other side of the story is to me (if that child was playing with him teasing him, etc). When a dog attacks once, it will attack again in my opinion. I know this subject is controversial and I will probably receive feedback, but I have a hard time in any situation putting the needs and rights of animals over the needs and rights of humans. I am a dog owner, I own three dogs and one of them is a humane society rescue. So it is not that I am not an animal lover. I care for my dogs like they are people and make sure their needs (love, food, shelter, and medical) are taken care of. However, I simply do not understand giving to the humane society when there are so many human lives suffering with unmet needs. I feel like we are called as human beings to take care of one another – and if I have to choose between providing for an animal or a person I will always choose caring for a human. interesting story…a few years a Chow-Mix came into our yard (which our dogs remain in due to underground electric fencing) and attacked our Maltese. The dog almost killed our dog and resulted in a $1500 vet bill…not to mention trauma for our 9 year old and friend that were playing in the yard when the attack occurred. We found out who the dog belonged to and ended up going to court. We had photos of the condition of our dog, and it was ruled that the owner was responsible for the vet bill. We did not ask that the dog be put down, even though that is what I really wanted. The dog owner’s attorney questioned our intentions indicating that we were being ridiculous. The irony is that we all lived in the same neighborhood and not two weeks later the dog attacked the attorney’s dog (a Chihuahua) and killed it. Needless to say, the dog was then “put down”. I hate that someone had to lose their family pet to finally understand that the dog was dangerous and a threat to the neighborhood.

  16. Jenny K. says:

    I absolutely agree with you that this is a complicated and difficult situation.

    My view:
    The US needs to implement more proactive then reactive measures when it comes to animals. The laws of owning any pet in America is backwards. Just because you want a pet is not a legitimate reason to own a pet.

    Pit-bulls have earned a probably unfair rap. They are territorial and dog fitting hasn’t helped. Lumping them into a group just like we lump humans into a group is wrong. I have been the pet owner of many dogs including mixed pit-bulls and currently a rescue pit.

    This boy did not deserve to be attacked and, unfortunately, Mickey might need to be euthanized.

    Ownership of a pet is not just having it in the backyard. Ownership means you feed it regularly, provide it with a comfortable environment, and keep it healthy and happy. Laws of ownership needs to reflect this mentality. Shelters are overflowing with pits because of their bad rap and because people get cute puppies that grow to be big, uncontrollable dogs. They don’t understand what true ownership means. Granted this won’t abolish dog bites but would definitely reduce what we currently see.

    Also, it is frustrating that every single incident that comes to light becomes so controversial. Everything seems to be bipartisan. Since when do humans operate in one camp or another? Perhaps more compromise on both sides needs to occur in every situation. Stop attacking and start learning from the mistakes.

  17. Amanda Ellzey says:

    In no way, shape, or form should the pit-bull go “night night.” Thank goodness the officials posted Mickey’s pending doom so the public was made aware of the situation and were able to take action for the dog.

    Of course I feel sympathetic for Kevin and his family, but animals deserve the right to fair trial as well. Plenty of questions went through my mind as this blog post unfolded. First, as stated, where was the babysitter? Why did she have Kevin out of her reach? Shame on her for not paying more attention to their surrounds. Also, is this the first time Mickey has lingered around the house? If so, why did the parents not provide awareness to the babysitter? If not, the situation sounds suspicious. Something had to happen to provoke the dog to make such a large gesture. Dogs are very simple creatures and are not naturally aggressive unless trained to be.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have seen my fair share of pit-bulls in action. One day, I was in my back yard and hear a women calling for help. I turned the corner to see her dog being attacked by two pit-bulls. I grabbed my husband and we hoped the fence to help the dog. We tried to pull them off and no avail. Those dogs were not going to stop until the dog was ripped to shreds. We finally grabbed a stick and forced open the dog’s months and were able to set the other dog free. Immediately after the two pit-bulls became very obedient towards my husband. If he said stop, sit, and stay they would follow. I feel that is a perfect example of owner-dominance. Clearly they only listened to a male figure and were obedient after they realized my husband was in control. They never went after us or even tried to make sudden gestures. I also have plenty of friends who have pit-bulls that are the most loving and cuddly babies in the world! They would never hurt a fly. They would honestly probably run from it.

    It is very frustrating that race would even be brought into this article. A little boy was severely harmed in this situation and what does his race have to do with anything? The extent of his injuries, being so young, is horrendous no matter what color his skin is. I honestly hope after this story made the news that citizens did band together and start a collection to help his medical needs. Both Kevin and Mickey are victims of dog owner negligence not racism.

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