With another pit bull mauling, this time of a four-year old Phoenix boy, one would expect an outpouring of love for the badly wounded kid, right? Nope. Turns out the majority of love has grown and continues to be poured on the attacking pit bull.
The attack on the four-year-old, Kevin Vicente, took place back in February when he unknowingly wandered too close to a neighbor’s chained pit bull and picked up a bone. The pit bull, Mickey, apparently objected to this and proceeded to tear into young Kevin’s face, ultimately breaking the boy’s jaw, cheek bone and eye socket before being pried off.
Guadalupe Villa, a friend of the baby sitter who was watching Kevin at the time, and was also at the scene of the attack, filed a vicious-animal petition to have the dog destroyed and on March 25 a judge will decide Mickey’s fate.
“I just looked at all this as this could have been my son,” said Villa. “And I don’t want it to be someone else.”
But support for Kevin somehow quickly boomeranged toward support for the pit bull, with a “Save Mickey” Facebook page that had garnered around 45,000 ‘Likes’ on March 17th. Today that number has risen to 59,064 ‘Likes’ and continues to grow.
While Mickey’s Facebook page is dominated by support for him and criticism of the child’s family and babysitter, several comments show how contentious the debate between pit bull lovers and others often are following incidents such as this, when a pit bull badly injures someone, particularly a child.
Every bit as passionate and chippy as any debate about politics, religion or Flappy Bird, an argument between a pit bull supporter and non-supporter can get down right vicious.
In this case, those that support Mickey generally cast the dog as an innocent victim that was just doing his thing. They place blame for the attack squarely on the parents and baby sitter of the boy, with some also including the owner of the pit bull for various reasons. So as not to seem unfeeling for the injured child, they also usually include some hopes and/or prayers that he heals quickly.
Those that think Mickey should be put down generally point out that the breed is inherently dangerous because of its ability to inflict severe damage or death should it decide to attack or be having a bad day.
One story posted by The Examiner calling Mickey’s supporters “misguided” received particular admonishment and criticism. The author does, however, answers several of the arguments of pit bull supporters.
Meawhile, AZCentral reports that the mother of the victim, 28-year-old Floridalma Vicente, is very appreciative of the support she and her son, Kevin, have received from the community.
“I’ve had a lot of support. What more can I ask for?” said Floridalma through a Spanish interpreter. “I appreciate their support, their candles, their messages, even though I don’t know how to read English. I appreciate with all my heart.”
At the same time, she seems baffled by some of the reaction motivated by the attack on her young son.
“It disturbed me at first that they (Mickey’s supporters) placed more value on an animal than on a child, and that made me feel very bad,” explained Floridalma. “If they don’t care about him (Kevin), well, I do.”
But most of all, Floridalma wanted to make sure how appreciative she was of all Kevin’s supporters, saying, “Thank you so much for all the support… without knowing me, and for sending good wishes for Kevin’s recovery. Thanks to everybody for taking the time to give what they have given. Thank you so much. God bless you.”
Help is being accepted to contribute to Kevin’s recovery.
In another more recent Phoenix pit bull attack, a 77 year-old woman was taken down by a family member’s pit bull. The woman later died.
“Her heart just couldn’t take it,” said her husband of 58 years. “She was in no condition to get bit like that by a dog.”
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