CREATED Aug. 15, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. - More about a pit bull attack in Fort Myers. A woman drove from Georgia to adopt a dog, when it suddenly attacked both the owner and the woman adopting the dog.
At the Lee County Animal Shelter, pit bulls are waiting to be adopted. It's often a long wait because many people worry what they're really getting.
"A lot of these dogs have unknown histories," said Ria Brown, the public information officer for Lee County Domestic Animal Services.
The breed's unpredictable reputation took another hit this week when one-and-a-half-year-old Lily went on the attack, as she was being adtoped at Helping Paws 22, a non-profit rescue in Fort Myers. The owner, Patricia Agnello, says she never saw it coming.
"From the day this dog arrived, she was really a sweat heart," said Agnello. "She was exposed to the other dogs, to people, to children."
Agnello says she's vigilant about watching for any warning signs in each dog at the rescue.
"I spend 10 to 12 hours a day with these dogs," explained Agnello, who says she keeps about eight dogs at a time. "I will walk them alone. I will walk them with other dogs. I will sit on the floor, hand them treats, take the food away to check for signs of aggression."
She claims they did everything right. But we found there's no one checking to make sure that's the case at any rescue in Florida.
In Lee County, all dogs, including those at rescues, must have tags. But according to Florida law, there's no license or permit required to open a rescue."
Animal services doesn't fault Helping Paws 22 for what happened. But in general, they're open to the idea of more rules to keep people safe.
"Being able to regulate something gives you the opportunity to make sure people are doing things properly before they try to care for animals," said Brown.
But even the most strict regulations can't control the one variable that's impossible to predict: a dog's behavior.
"We keep asking each other why [it happened]," concluded Agnello. "It's not something i have an answer to."
Agnellos is out of the hospital recovering from her injuries. Shelly Loudermilk, the other woman attacked, has returned home to Georgia.