Family grieves for dog killed by two escaped pit bulls | October 5, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - October 5, 2012

Family grieves for dog killed by two escaped pit bulls

Jazz, a 4-year-old border collie, dies in attack

by Glenn Wohltmann

A Pleasanton family is mourning the death of Jazz, its 4-year-old border collie that was mauled to death Sept. 24 by two pit bulls owned by a neighbor.

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Posted by Anne Hampson
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2012 at 9:33 am

This is abhorrent for the Cowick family to have experienced. It is good that Mr. Cowick's son had the presence of mind to dial 911. There should be legislation passed that when Pit Bulls are living in an area, neighbors be notified. Why did Animal Rescue not intervene when they had complaints from neighbors? Leaving these dogs unattended for any length of time is asking for a tragedy of this consequence to occur.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Mr. Cowick I have just three words for you -- get a lawyer.
The name and address of your neighbor needs to be made public. You need to sue the everloving crap out of them for what they caused. When people own dogs like that they need to be held accountable for the damages the dogs will do. This is monstrous. Your son will probably be scarred for life and they will just go get more pit bulls.
Sue them, bankrupt them, hope they go far, far away.

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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2012 at 10:13 pm

It is really time to make this breed of dog go away. We need stiff penalties for breeding pit bulls. Anyone who understands statistics knows that the breed is more dangerous to people and other animals than any other breed. Pit bulls were bred to attack and harm other animals.

What's worse in this case, the owners were clearly negligent. They should be sued.

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Posted by David Stone
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 7, 2012 at 10:06 am

I just read about a case in Michigan where a pitbull mauled an infant, left in their car seat on the floor. Now I open my local paper and see this. I am also aware that this has happened in our neighboring communities, recently to other dogs. Pitbull owners should be required to post that they have a dangerous animal on their property (or should the city council ban them in our town all together?) I don't know how any of this can be justified on any level! The City needs to take action!

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Posted by Please sue them
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Please sue the owners of these pitbulls. Unfortunately, in Pleasanton if you call the city to report a dog roaming free, nothing is done unless the officer sees the dog!

So please, send a loud message to your neighbor and all the careless ptown dog owners and sue them! Get a lawyer.

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Posted by Lauren Carman
a resident of Country Fair
on Oct 7, 2012 at 8:34 pm

This is a tragedy, and this family is one we know and love at my home in Pleasanton. We are so, so sorry.
The issue of Pit Bull dogs is a difficult and complicated one. Studies have shown that BITING happens across all breeds, and that yes, there are certain breeds that have a higher prey drive or level of confidence.
We should all address the issue of biting, as this is a bad habit of any dog, and sometimes not taken seriously or perceived as "playing" when it is not. It is crucial to teach every puppy or dog what is okay to take into their mouths (as their mouth acts as our hands do) and how to do so in an acceptable manner.
I am an animal advocate and not a fan of Breed Specific Legislation, and have extensive experience working with various breeds of dogs, many of them Pit Bulls or PB mixes. I have adopted and very successfully raised these dogs, and have educated myself in how to effectively train them. All dogs need calm consistent guidance. PBs and other powerful, large dogs need not only these basic training techniques, but also a very specific knowledge of working with their ways of earning power, privelege and normalization in the "pack".
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS THAT ALL DOGS... yes ALL DOGS should be spayed or neutered.
I would like to suggest legislation that requires a strict no-exception law of sterilization for ALL Companion Animals. ALL aggressive dog activity should be logged and made public; this would help to hold dog owners accountable. Dogs should be liscensed (proof of immunization) and records should be kept.
IF SOMEONE WISHES TO BREED DOGS, they may do so but only by going through a specific process (much like the one mentioned in an above comment) in which they have to prove they are capable of doing so responsibly. These breeders can be registered and rated publicly, again to encourage public accountability. You screw up, you are no longer a breeder. You sell a puppy, IT IS FIXED WHEN IT LEAVES YOUR HOME. The responsible breeders will be rewarded and the backyard breeders will be fined and shut down. WHY DO PEOPLE THINK THAT THEY CAN ALLOW THEIR PETS TO RUN AROUND BREEDING??? Oh, and don't give me the old "He might miss his nuts" excuse-- STOP HUMANIZING DOGS. They won't miss their nuts, I promise. It allows them to avoid a life of pure sexual frustration.... perhaps we should look into this option for humans?? LOL!
Anywhooo..... people, get control of your dogs.
It's not a breed thing, it is a STUPID PERSON THING.
If you aren't a reputable breeder, fix your damn dog or cat. It's practically free.
Communicate. If there are dogs in your area like this, TALK TO ONE ANOTHER peacefully, and problem-solve. Involve the cops if necessary-- they are good at moderating this stuff.
In the meantime, you might see me walking my PB Mixes one day, and I hope you smile in admiration at their good manners! You can also depend on the fact that they are fixed, leashed, and I am PAYING ATTENTION, because folks... THEY ARE STILL ANIMALS.
Okay, off my soap box.
To the family, I am so, so sorry.
To the owner of the PB's, shame on you.
To the PB's, I am at peace knowing that you were humanely euthanized and you don't have to be so angry anymore.
To Jazz-- you GOOD DOG.... No one will EVER forget YOU. I heard from my mom that there might be a little "Jazz" in that new puppy. Good dog, go to sleep now....
If anyone is interested in working to create legislation for CA like what I mentioned above, leave a comment here or find me on Fb, I would love to talk.

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Posted by Get Real
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2012 at 10:35 pm

When was the last time I heard of a child or a dog being mauled to death by a Lab or a golden Retreiver? Or a husky or even a German Shepard? Like....never in my memory. But I hear all the time about pit bulls killing. When another breed attacks, they cause injury...when pit bulls attack, they kill.

There are plenty of breeds around. We need to let this one become extinct. How many more children do we need to have maimed or killed? I'm tired of these senseless tragedies.

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Posted by Leah Norling
a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2012 at 8:10 am

All breeds are capable of, do, and have attacked. A simple news search will provide that information. This is about responsible pet ownership, not breed elimination. Irresponsible owners can create problem animals out of any breed. Lauren offers constructive comments on how pet owners and community members can work together to create a safe environment for one another. I urge you to read her suggestions.

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Oct 8, 2012 at 9:25 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Here is an interesting study on dog attacks: Web Link 30 years of data puts pit bulls and pb mixes at the top. So while I agree with Lauren and Leah that any dog can be a problem, not everyone properly trains or can handle the tougher breeds. Perhaps owners should be licensed to own pits or other aggressive dogs. And maybe regular checkups can be made by a town's animal control officer.

My condolences to the Cowick family. It sounds like the new puppy has big shoes to fill.

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Posted by Cole
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 8, 2012 at 9:44 am

Eliminating the whole breed isn't right. Not every PitBull will attack and kill. A whole breed should not suffer for owners not training and taking proper care of their dogs. That goes for any breed.
I love my Pit and wouln't trade him any other.

Sorry to hear about Jazz.

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Posted by question
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2012 at 9:49 am

There is a pit bull mix in our neighborhood. The family think it is gentle and would not hurt anyone. However it is powerful looking and I have seen the dog off leash chasing a child who was running away - the child was very scared, the owner thought the dog was playing and laughed. The dog also barked aggressively towards me when the owners were away and the dog got out of the home off lead. I'm reluctant to say anything, and not really sure what to say, but also a bit worried.

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Posted by Responsible Pet Owner
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm

My condelences to the Cowick family.

Over ten years ago, my neighbor's dogs got loose and into our backyard. The two dogs attacked our puppy and killed him. Neither of the two attacking dogs were pit bulls. (The dogs were euthanized and we did not sue.)

I'm currently an owner of two licensed pit bull mix rescues. I agree with Lauren, Leah and Cole. This is about responsible pet ownership and not breed elimination.

Oh yes, did I also mention that we have a baby (under one year)? Like any responsible pet owner, we took measures to properly introduce our dogs to our newborn. Pit bulls can make great addition to a family. For over 100 years, pit bulls were known as "Nanny Dogs".

Web Link

Web Link

I have seen non-pit bull dogs roaming around neighborhoods (without owners and without leashes) frightening walkers, runners, dog walkers, children, etc. We have helped out on many occasions to return these dogs to their proper owners.

At the end of the day, it is about responsible pet ownership and not breed elimination.

*Last but not least, thank you to The East County Animal Shelter in Dublin and Tri-Valley Animal Rescue for our fur babies*

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Posted by Question
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm

To responsible pet owners: how do we protect innocent children, adults and animals from irresponsible pet owners who own dangerous breeds. It's fine to say that you are responsible and that the dogs are trainable, but what about the owners?

Who is more important - the breed that has innate attacking nature owned by an irresponsible owner or the victim?

If you can't guarantee responsible pet ownership, is it fair to have breeds around that have a reputation for attacking and killing?

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Posted by Truth
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Ann your comment concerning Animal Rescue...prior to this attack Animal Services is bound by the law and cannnot just seize dogs. People have rights. It is not Animal Services responsibility to ensure dog safety, that falls squarely and completely on the dog owners. This is one of the problems with America is we feel there must be laws and agencies to handle everything instead of taking personal responsibility for our own actions.

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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm


You are wrong about this. We need laws to prevent people from breeding pit bulls. We have laws that prevent people from building nuclear weapons in their houses. We need laws to keep people from breeding these animals.

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Posted by Huh
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 31, 2012 at 9:08 am

John, you just compared nuclear weapons to pit bulls.....
Eliminating this breed will only cause another breed to be chosen to train into a new fighting breed. The circle will never end.

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Posted by June
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Oct 31, 2012 at 7:38 pm

My 20 lb dog was mauled by a pit bull and almost died. The owner could not control the pit bull and it broke free from its leash in the park and attacked. Two thousand dollars later, a week of vacation time and my little dog was never the same. I dont want to blame all pits but I dont think most of the owners do not have the patience or ability to properly train them.

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Posted by Laury
a resident of Laguna Vista
on Jan 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm

We rarely hear about dog attacks in Pleasanton, although, I suspect they are common. It seems only Pit Bulls are in the news. My Canine Good Citizen Chihuahua was killed by a German Shepherd while we were taking our walk. The Shepherd pulled her owner off-balance. No provocation. Nothing. We weren't very close, but the Shepherd made a mad dash and my dog did not survive.

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Posted by Dog-owner
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2013 at 3:07 pm

It seems maybe Pleasanton should consider a muzzle law for pit bulls,..certainly not collies, poodles, chiwawas?, labs. Neither little dogs, OR giant cuddlers are threats. BUT, if both big muscled AND aggressive spells potential for pulling away from owner in a rage.
Of course,when dogs in ones own backyard, who break free, it is clearly the owners responsible for inadequate or neglected fences. Paying for a neighbor's dead dog or teenager who bounced a basketball does't make anything right. Owners need to be properly shunned and punished... for having that kind of dog. Hmmmm, we have to have smog inspections if we own a car, and termite inspection to sell our houses, maybe a combined big & aggressive dog owner should certify secure fences annually.....or, just keep shaning those owners. Pitbull stats tell the story.

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Posted by Jon
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2013 at 8:47 am

I love animals, and want to save them as much as possible. Yet this is a bit different. The Pit lover that thinks these breeds that are perfectly safe when properly trained is a liar. When properly trained your risk factor goes down. Doesn't mean these dogs are safe. Two licensing; come on everyone sees this every day in other things that are licensed. There are always people that have paper licenses or people that get around the law. You are living in fantasyland with all your fantasy suggestions. Let us be real. The dog is a dangerous animal. Animals are unpredictable. They can be the best pets in the world, but some will just turn for no apparent reason. The one person was absolutely right; when this dog turns death is a real possibility, whereas other breeds not as likely. They say the dog naturally protects its owners. Well if they misinterpret someone or a movement to be an attack on their owner then someone can end up dead. Oh, if the above fantasyland person believes oh that is not true fine. It has been reported that 2/3's of all dog attacks on humans are pits - if they believe the report to be wrong how off are they? Why should we have our pets, family - children, in jeopardy because you want to have a vicious dog? Because you think it is a perfectly safe dog, no it is not. As far as the media makes it a larger problem than it is, the media is picking on the breed. If this was the case, why not the Poodle or Yorki? It is because the fact is the dog is a very dangerous killer. I can list tons of examples of people claiming how wonderful their pits were and how they are perfect with the kids, just to come home to a horrific death. The breed is dangerous, and we as a community should not have to live in fear that someone else’s dog may injure us, our family, or our pets. There are some risks we must take in life this is not one of them. Especially since everyone knows no matter how careful you are dogs get loose and can get into it with people and other pets.

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Posted by Pit Bulls Bad
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jun 9, 2014 at 7:03 am

Pit Bulls are the Corvair of the canine world.

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Posted by Fhs student
a resident of Mission Park
on Jun 9, 2014 at 8:19 am

PITBULLS ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR THIS! Idiotic owners who don't train their dogs are to blame. I've been around Pitbulls since I was a baby and the breed is so loving and caring and all they want to do is lick you. When people don't train their dogs right, stuff like this happens. We don't need to implement a ban on pitties or anything like that.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 9, 2014 at 9:27 am

What a tragic sorry for all the suffering. Very sad indeed.

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Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jun 10, 2014 at 12:07 am

The problem is two-fold: (1) Pit Bulls are by nature rather aggressive dogs, and (2) a certain type of people who often don't exercise good judgement tend to own Pit Bulls and other such naturally aggressive dog breeds. Put (1) and (2) together and you have dangerous combination. Hope the owners of the Pit Bulls had the pants sued off them.

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Posted by William Tell
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 10, 2014 at 6:51 am

@ "Perhaps owners should be licensed to own pits or other aggressive dogs. And maybe regular checkups can be made by a town's animal control officer."

Do we not still live in the land of the free and the home of the brave? Licenses and regular checkups is just another version of the Nanny state. As an American I want to own whatever dog I want to, free of tyrannic oversight by a meddlesome state. If you're afraid of my dog, perhaps you don't belong on the street. What kind of home of the brave can we have when people are sissified at the first glance of a strong dog?

I feel bad for the collie, but we live in a world where the strongest survive. Yes, we have developed collective "compensations" like unions that only protect the weak at the expense of taxpayers and customers, but take away their corruption and power and those weak will go the way of the collie as it should be in nature. If the collie was unable to defend itself, maybe that breed isn't meant to be.