A man who was accused of setting his pit bull to attack his wife has been defended by his mother. Police had arrested James Cruz, accusing him of ordering his friend’s pit bull dog, which he had been taking care of, to attack his wife. But the suspect’s mother, Carmen Almonte says it is all a big misunderstanding.
Time Warner Cable News reports Almonte’s statement. She says she first woke up to her the sound of her son screaming, shouting for help as the pit bull was attacking his wife.
“He woke me up screaming, ‘please help me mom, call 911, mom, please call 911. I said ‘what happened?’ He said ‘the dog is biting Maria!’ He said ‘I told her to stay in. She just went out. She just went out!'”
By the time Rochester police arrived at the scene, Maria Schaffer was on the ground, unclothed and under the firm grasp of the animal. Cruz asked the officers to shoot the dog, saying he couldn’t be controlled. The police shot the dog, but one of the bullets accidentally hit Cruz in the abdomen.
Police later charged Cruz of assault in the first and second degree, suspecting that he had intentionally set his dog to attack his wife. On Saturday, Cruz pleaded not guilty to the charges. One of Cruz’s close friends confirmed that it was all a misunderstanding, even though police seem hesitant in believing so.
“It is not his dog. He has not owned the dog. He only had the dog for about two weeks, so he didn’t trust the dog. He would not let anyone in the house if the dog was out of the cage.”
Cruz says he and Schaffer were in the bedroom and he had asked her not to go out as he had let the dog out of its cage for some time. When she went out anyway, the dog attacked her. Schaffer and her family have declined to comment at the moment. Almonte seemed frustrated at the charges pressed against her son.
“It makes me feel angry that they accused him of something that he didn’t do. As a mother, I know he didn’t.”
Pit bulls were created by breeding bulldogs and terriers together. They were meant to be fighting dogs for blood sport, and as such were selectively bred to be aggressive and vicious. Today, a few hundred years later, such games are illegal, but the breed lives on, and with a bad reputation. Many people argue that pit bulls are not vicious breeds by birth and it is the owners of these dogs that lead them into becoming vicious. While it is true with any large/working breed of dogs that an inexperienced owner can lead it to becoming aggressive and vicious, incidents of aggression from pit bulls are more commonly reported than with other breeds, possibly owing to a bad reputation.
The United Kennel Club, the second oldest Kennel Club in the United States and possibly the world’s largest performance dog registry, describes the characteristics of the American pit bull terrier as the following.
“The essential characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier are strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. Because most APBTs exhibit some level of dog aggression and because of its powerful physique, the APBT requires an owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog. The breed’s natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a must for this breed. The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable. This breed does very well in performance events because of its high level of intelligence and its willingness to work.”
While many pit bulls are gentle and happy family dogs, incidents such as these have led to several countries around the world and some states in the U.S. to impose restrictions and in some cases outright bans on the ownership of the breed.
[Feature Image by Audrey Lohkamp/Shutterstock]