Justice for Fitzgerald

My 6-year-old long-haired Dachshund Fitzgerald and I were attacked on the street on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 by a pit bull that--incredulously--had slipped out of its harness. The attack was unprovoked and the most horrific, bloody few minutes of my life.  The tragic attack ended when the police intervened and shot the Pit bull, which later died. About 75% of Fitz's 20lb. body sustained grevious injury, according to the Veterinarian Dr. Kimberly Helmbold, of Blue Pearl Emergency and Specialty Pet Hospital,  in Charlestown, MA, where Fitz was triaged and operated on by 
 Small Animal Surgeon Dr. Matthew Cleveland for 4 hours that night.  Fitzgerald and the Veterinarians did everything they could to save him but, after 10 days in the ICU, and many complications from his extensive injuries, Fitz passed on December 30.  We were so blessed to be able to adopt Fitz from BuddyDog, a shelter in Sudbury, MA, 2-1/2 years ago. He brought such joy to our lives--every day. His loss has been absolutely devastating. He was our 12 year-old son's First and Forever dog, my best buddy and constant companion, and my ailing husband's solace. Our heartfelt thanks go to all our family, friends, neighbors, and good citizens who have found us through GoFundMe, who grieve with us over this completely senseless and avoidable tragedy. I will recover from my physical wounds, but the psychological trauma and memory of the vicious Pitbull repeatedly lunging, jumping, biting, and eventually pulling Fitzgerald out of my arms, eviscerating him in front of my eyes, will take a very long time to recover from.  Many people think justice in these Pitbull attacks is simply a matter of sueing the other dog owner for veterinary and other medical expenses as well as pain and suffering. Guess again. If the owner is a Renter, you are out of luck if they don't carry Renter's Insurance (who does? Only if Landlords require it!)--even if that person tries to do the right thing--which is unfortunatey not the case here. I am initiating a push to pass an ordinance in my small city (which already has the support of the City Manager) to require owners of Pitbull-type dogs and dogs deemed dangerous, if they have bitten before, to wear a muzzle in ALL public spaces. This includes Chelsea's first official off-leash dog park, the entrance to which is, ironically, where the attack that killed Fitzgerald took place. You will not find me at that dog park--ever. Even if every Pitbull-type owner does the Right Thing. There must be some justice for Fitzgerald. I must do what I can to ensure that no other person goes through what I went through and -- God forbid -- loses a child or beloved pet to these unpredictable creatures.
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Amy Schlegel 
Chelsea, MA
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