Best Friends Blog

Sad News from Dogtown

EDIT: We have closed comments on this post. While we clearly are completely fine with conversation, the comments have become incredibly unproductive, accusatory and filled with statements that are just plain untrue. Best Friends is working towards solutions and attempting to learn from this tragic occurrence and ensure it never happens again. Patty Hegwood has offered to personally answer questions relating to this issue as we move forward, but what won’t happen is responding in the comments to these baseless accusations that are hurtful on many levels. That some are questioning our transparency and truthfulness, when all we have done is communicate each step of the way, is truly unfortunate. We thank everyone for their support and we will continue to post updates on the issue as they become available.

We had a very sad incident at Dogtown this weekend. One of the dogs escaped from his run, and while we can only speculate on the sequence of events, it seems that he broke into one of the runs of Tug, a dog rescued from the Michael Vick dog fighting case, who in turn broke into the run of Denzel, another of the Vicktory dogs. A fight ensued.

When the staff arrived for work early Sunday morning, they found the first dog deceased, while Tug and Denzel were in need of medical attention. We are relieved that both Denzel and Tug will make a full and complete recovery. Denzel is already back to his normal self today and Tug is not far behind him.

No one knows what triggered these events, but the staff did see deer tracks in the area. For most of the summer the deer go north and in the fall they return south. They are a fixture of sanctuary life in the fall and winter, but we suspect their return might have over stimulated the dogs to behave in this way.

All three dogs were housed alone and in separate buildings so it took a huge effort for them to interact. Dog fights create a lot of adrenaline energy and in my limited experience can bestow superior strength on the participants.

We are all deeply saddened by what happened to all three dogs and are conducting an extensive review into what might have caused this. We have already begun to take steps to additionally reinforce all fencing in the area occupied by our dogs that can only have supervised interaction with other animals, and we will institute an all night patrol watch.

  • Mike

    And this is whyn you haven’t a clue as to what you are talking about, and lay your experience at the feet of a friend.Yea, right!
    Please troll somewhere else, anybody with half a brain knows you are full of it!

  • Jmoyer4515

    no the dog dug under the fencing in the run.

  • Jmoyer4515

    Come on…if you rode by you saw the red hanging barriers there with the Vick Dogs. If you work here, maybe it is time for you to find a new job if you don’t support their cause.

  • Fluffysmom

    Many no longer support “their cause” and the numbers are growing by the hour. I was under the impression that employees were told not to post anymore and to just let this die down. How then are you supporting their cause?

  • BFstaffer

    Okay, folks, I do work at BF. Here are the facts: When the V pits first arrived, they lived at Amra’s (Dogtown Heights). They were secluded from the public. Staff, like Ed Fritz and others, slept with the dogs, so that they were supervised 24/7. This went on for several weeks. Then it was decided it was best to “assimilate” the dogs. Hence, most of the dogs were moved to the Lodges. Jmoyer, I’m afraid you have your facts wrong when you say there are barriers separating V pits from other dogs. They are in “normal” (i.e. no barriers, no double fencing) runs, just like the other Lodge dogs. They have red collars, which means volunteers can not walk them or sit with them or give them treats. There are no signs on their runs indicating they are V dogs. We would not want to label them V dogs as then volunteers would constantly want to take pictures of them (which happened in the case of the dog Ellen. It seems every two minutes we had volunteers wanting to take pictures of the famous Ellen. Really interfered with caregiver jobs!) So there you have it, folks. P,S. There are two runs at the Lodges that are double fenced. For those of you who know the pittie Ogy, he lives in one of them.

  • Fluffysmom

    Thank you for your honesty. BFstaffer.

  • Mary S

    I am very confused by Patty H’s new blog. She mentions Beans chewing his way out of his run, but no mention of Tug or Denzel chewing out of their runs. Is anyone else confused by Patty’s blog?

  • jj

    Thank you Mike for your eloquent post. You are right on the mark.

  • Nocurs

    Just another example of the “expert” care at “Dog town”… aka “Collectors with money”.

    Poor dogs.

  • Boldogkennel

    With nearly 20 grand coming with each dog, you’d think they could come up with a decent way to contain their bulldogs. Try a tether, more humane and safer.

  • concerned

    I have heard alot of BS in my life but what you just posted tops it all. When will you people learn to tell the truth?? This has gone on since the beginning when you got the Vick dogs. How about telling what has really happened?? Innovative idea isn’t it? Please don’t keep trying to appease everyone. Some of us know better and all your protests and so called excuses will not cut it anymore. “ASSIMITLATE”, is this a Star Wars agenda you have. Give it a break, try telling the truth. You couldn’t even tell the truth about how all of this happened. A poor lonely dog named Beans took the brunt of your neglect, how do you people live with yourselves, hope you get a few more million dollars and stick it up your miserable butts.

  • Julie

    Jmoyer said there were barriers up when they first got to BF. She didn’t say there are barriers up now.

  • Julie

    I believe it was 20 grand total – not for each dog.

  • Fluffysmom

    Mary S, Patty Hegwood’s blog is a series of outright lies. She thinks that you and the rest of us are too stupid to understand that.

  • EmilyS

    no, it was $20k each for the sanctuary dogs and $5k each for dogs that could be more readily rehomed. A total of about $950k

  • Dave

    Beans must of chewed his way out then chewed out Denzel first and that mad Tug mad, so when Beans chewed him out,Tug killed him. Then Denzel got mad at Tug and they got into a fight. It had to be that way because everyone knows pitbulls do not attack unless provoked. P.S. Just because people think pitbulls should be better controled does not make them pit “haters”.

  • Fluffysmom

    It was $20K for each dog.

  • EmilyS

    yes. Writing these incomplete blogs just makes the situation worse. THREE dogs all chewing their way out/into kennels on the same night?

  • RIP Beans <3

    Can I just ask, does anyone know if Bean was actually “ripped apart”….or was it more of neck wounds and suffocation? =( I just need to know, knew him and its hard to explain. Know Tug too, I just don’t see him fighting in that way =/

  • RIP Beans <3

    Its hard to know what to believe anymore. I do know that Beans did have a habit of breaking out and even chewing through fencing (which I have known other dogs to do), when it stormed. But as far as I know the weather was fair, and caregivers were very diligent about moving Beans inside the building to an even more secure run when there was even the chance of thunder. I don’t think he had a problem otherwise. But you’re right, it does sound more likely that Tug broke out and in of both. Tug is dog intolerant, but he has socialized with some very neutral dogs in the past. So I really don’t know what to believe. Perhaps the truth is being skewed a bit to protect Tug and the other V dogs. Accidents happen and this should not change the outcome of rehabing these dogs.

  • RIP Beans <3

    MANY of the V dogs, and other former fighting groups of dog have shown to be able to live with other dogs without incidence. Tug had socialized with other dogs in the past. It was just the siutation (whatever it really was) and the combination of dogs involved. Please stop posting your completely negative comments. This is not about your thoughts in pit bulls, it is about Beans. Would you have an uproar if the same thing happened with other breeds, because I have know a similar case in which no pit bulls were involved. The majority of us are just looking for the truth. Having known all three dogs I just want to find out the truth and not have to go through your negative comments.

  • RIP Beans <3

    I knew all three dogs and I hate to think of the worse but some of the comments have things running through my mind. Was Beans actually “ripped apart”?…I keep hearing they found his head in the sand, but I find it hard to believe that a dog fight caused the head to be severed. I know this is a little morbid and graphic…but I just want to know the truth =(

  • Dj Slez

    My comments are not completely negative.

    This whole situation could have been avoided if the facility had paid attentions and provided more secure enclosures for their more powerful breeds that they KNOW were bred, and are prone to fight! It’s just common sense! And because of their negligence one dog is dead and two more are injured.

    And I stand by what I said, any dog, I don’t care if it was mine, someone else’s, a corgi or a pit, but any dog that severely bites, mauls, or kills another living being should be put down to protect other people and animals. Especially when this animal was trained and bred to fight.

    The thing is, other breeds don’t rip the heads off of other dogs. Other breeds don’t have the highest kill rate than any other dog:
    Other breeds were not bred for fighting, dog aggression, and other such things. And other breeds generally don’t require a break stick, crowbar, gun, or other unusual means of detaching them from a fight.

    Seeing how this deals entirely with pitbulls, a powerful breed with deadly power, I think I have a right to say whatever I want to bout that breed within the context that applies to this story.

    And you’re acting as though I’m spreading lies when I’m not. It’s not as though I’m pulling information out of my rear. I’ve done my own extensive research and have come to the logical conclusion that pitbulls are dangerous than most others breeds various and well documented reasons reasons.

  • Dj Slez

    When I was a bit younger I believed that pitbulls were just like any other dog, and reading through my comments to see my experiences with some will back up this statement.

    I saw no reason to hate an animal for being what it was or what it looked like and thus wanted to believe that all pitbulls were inherently good, easily trainable, and docile creatures. After all, I’m a person who loves crocodiles, rats, hogs, and many other “ugly / pest” animals.

    But after I did some research on how these dogs have a higher rate at killing people they KNOW, owners, babes, rescuers, tots. It was obviously clear that A. the wrong people are owning these dogs, and B. these dogs should not generally be owned by most of the populous.

    If you want a pitbull, fine, would I like a pitbull sure! But I do NOT want to deal with the many medical, mental, and social problems these dogs have been shown to have. A dog that numbers around 5mil in the US causing the most bites, mauls, and death cases? That’s not a family pet… OR and “dog for everyone.”

  • Dj Slez

    What happened to Beans is horrible… and could have easily been prevented.
    Knowing the money power of the Vick dogs and the advice from ground inspection, providing accurate fencing and guard patrol for the more powerful and dog aggressive breeds could have been done… easily….

  • Julie

    I still think this is wrong, but I will double check. I know they were promised a certain amount of money, but didn’t get it.

  • Fluffysmom

    It depends on whether you would call being decapitated “ripped apart.” This was not “neck wounds and suffocation.”

  • Julie Busa

    I’ve been keeping a close eye on this story and these comments since this incident happened and I have a few things to say.
    Everybody wants to lay blame. It’s so easy to blame someone. I’m sure there’s someone we can blame. BF for not having the proper fencing or not listening to the caregivers. A particular caregiver for possibly not locking a gate. Beans for going crazy when/if he saw a deer. Tug for being a Vick dog and having been conditioned to fight and likely killing Beans. The list goes on. Did the powers that be at BF deny double fencing because of money? Or whatever. Possibly. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t listen to their employees until something tragic like this happens. No person or organization is perfect and I think people tend to forget that. BF is like any other organization out there. Not everone who works there, or who has worked there, is happy with the way things are run (obviously, since we seem to have a former employee or two constantly trying to tear them down). I’m sure there is no conspiracy and that BF never purposely decided to not listen to what anyone says to be evil or stingy with their money. They do the best they can and hopefully will do better now that this tragedy has happened. And for the record, I know Beans. I have volunteered at the sanctary several times, have spent time with Beans and his caregivers who loved him. This was devastating news and I still cry about it. Asking questions is one thing, trying to tear down an organization that has done so much good, is another.
    The whole pitbull thing is another story. Everyone has their feelings on pitbulls and what should be done. All I know is what I have experienced myself, and most of this was from spending time with these dogs while at the sanctuary. They are some of the most loving dogs I have ever come across. The Vick dogs were victimized and conditioned to fight by an evil person who has never once shown any remorse. BF is one of the few organizations out there who stepped up to help these dogs. They didn’t just do it for show or money. If that were the case these dogs wouldn’t be getting the kind of care they’ve been getting. They don’t languish at the sanctuary. They are worked with and many have been adopted out to loving, responsible homes. What a shame to kill a dog like Cherry who has gone from being so scared he had to be carried around to living in a home with ANOTHER dog. Or to kill some of the other Vick dogs who have gone on to become therapy dogs.
    BF has been very transparent about this incident, making a statement as soon as possible. This incident didn’t even happen a week ago. They are still speculating themselves as to what happened. And to expect them to take care of the fencing, or institute a night patrol this quickly is expecting too much. I am sure they are working on getting all of this into place as soon as possible. Sitting behind your computer and constantly criticizing (as an anonymous person, no less. At least have the guts to sign your name) helps no one.

  • allaboutdogs

    Beans was absolutely not ripped apart that is bad information. There is no one to blame here, everyone and I do mean everyone at Best Friends is heartbroken over this unfortunate event. Learning from mistakes is part of every day life and if there were mistakes made I have no doubt they will be recognized and resolved in the best way possible.

  • Julie

    Thank you. There are many comments on Patti’s blog that Beans was decapitated. I don’t know where they are getting this information.

  • Fluffysmom

    If that is the case allaboutanimals, then let someone who has no agenda either way, see the body. Maybe a vet from Page or St George. Yea, like that will happen.

  • allaboutdogs

    Plenty of people know this is not so. Where on earth are you getting your info? Must not be a very reliable one. RIP Beans!!

  • doglove

    @RIP Beans: There were some wounds, but Beans was NOT ripped to pieces and his head was attached to his body when I saw him Sunday morning. Anybody who claims he was decapitated is either lying with an agenda or has bad information and doesn’t care about the truth. You can rest easy on that matter, and thank you for caring about Beans and Tug (and Denzel I assume). The staff and everybody else who knew any of these three dogs are horrified by what happened and in shock and mourning. You obviously also care about the actual dogs, not about the chance to attack Best Friends.
    @Fluffysmom and all the others who hate Best Friends and are doing their best to destroy us (you know that if you succeeded, which you won’t, that all the animals here would be destroyed as well, having nowhere else to go, right???!!):
    I know the truth, I saw Beans that morning, and since Best Friends doesn’t know who I am on this post, don’t bother saying I’m trying to keep my job. I actually know what I’m talking about, as opposed to most of the posters on here. Unless you saw him yourself, in other words, which I did and you obviously didn’t, then stop passing on lies and rumors. People who are spreading these horrific lies on here definitely have an anti Best Friends agenda and the truth makes no difference to them in their ultimate agenda to hurt Best Friends. And if it matters to you, which it obviously doesn’t, your lies make it that much harder for those of us who actually knew and loved Beans to deal with his passing. Not like you care.

  • Rudysmom

    Just to ensure I wasn’t perhaps misinterpreting your statements or your perceptions,
    I read both blog posts you recommended 2 try 2 determine your legitimate stance in reference to this particular issue.
    I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate here for a moment, so please do bear with me as I’ve borne with your comments:.
    I must admit I find a number of flaws in your logic, as well as your claim that you report on both “the good & the bad” about PitBulls, b/c your body of work seems to be rather one-sided at best.
    Merely out of curiosity’s sake, what are your own legitimate personal experiences with this breed of dog?
    I ask this because I myself have never owned a PitBull specifically, but I have owned and rehabilitated dogs you’ve referred to & referenced as also being highly dangerous and predisposed toward severe and possibly deathly maulings of humans.
    Despite those dogs’ previously aggressive behaviors, I never experienced those issues with them – but I digress, sorry.

    I’m all for Freedom of Speech and respecting another’s opinion, but I see no mention of any qualifications, education, life-time experience, what have you that give you the credibility to make such types of blanket statements, other than your claim that you’ve extensively ‘researched’ said issues, or words to that effect.

    Food for thought and too, I’d just like to state for the record,
    Hitler also claimed to have done extensive research in support of his ‘theories’ about alledged genetic inferiority of Jewish people everywhere;
    - did this claim make him more trustworthy?
    - did it expel any inherent and hidden bias in his work?
    - did it give him a mantle of authority that people of lesser intelligence, character,
    education or malleability might espouse said theories?

    I would highly urge each person who reads your blogs (and all such subjective commentary for that matter) to rely more heavily upon their own logic and inductive thought processes that to blindly ingest the particular fare you’re offering in guise of “legitimate research”; because as much as I hate to say this,
    you’re presenting yourself as a source of factual research and objective summary,

    but the fact remains
    You have a highly visible and inherent bias yourself, quite evident in your speech, your blog postings, your ‘take’ shall we say for lack of a better word?
    on everything you’ve come across.
    The language you repeatedly use quite openly portrays that you are not an objective person in this matter by any means, and are in fact inherently predisposed Against Pitbulls;
    therefore your credibility in this matter is suspect.
    I must also add that I find your statements to the previous poster to be condescending at best, especially when you open with the claim:
    “I’m not passing biased judgment”
    because with all honesty,
    that is exactly what you are doing, to be fairly blunt about it,
    you are In Fact passing a Biased Judgement which is based upon a personal predisposition against a particular breed, while concurrently offering yourself as an Objective Researcher – a misnomer I’m sure.

    I might throw your own words back at You:
    “Educate YOURSELF before you start spreading unneeded lies…”

    Again, merely playing Devil’s Advocate, especially as you portray yourself to be someone who is interested in Enlightened Education;
    or was that simply a disclaimer on your part?

  • Julie

    Thank you for this post. I never once believed that Beans was decapitated. I’m so, so sorry for the loss of Beans. He was an awesome dog.

  • Anit60

    Really puzzled as to why, with such high profile dog aggressive dogs at BF, it takes a tragedy like this to get secure fencing & security. It seems to me that should have been a given as soon as the Vick dogs arrived.

  • Sarah Rose

    Solidarity anyone?

  • Sarah Rose

    Excellent! Death to all the little shit-eater dogs (for being dog aggressive…and usually human aggressive).