OPINION

OPINION | MIKE MASTERSON: Pit bulls again


Multiple pit bulls running loose to terrorize an Indianapolis neighborhood mauled an 85-year-old pastor to death in his yard the other day after he acted to protect his wife and granddaughter.

Notice I wrote "pit bulls" killing yet another innocent person in their yard rather than collies, Labradors, retrievers, boxers, shelties, Great Danes, Doberman Pinschers, German shepherds, Aussies or any other breed.

William Mundine was a pastor of the Faith Tabernacle Apostolic Church along with his wife of almost 50 years, Betty. Betty went outside last Tuesday at mid-morning with her granddaughter Holly Watkins; a short time later, the stray pit bulls showed up to bow their backs, flash their teeth, bark ferociously and begin attacking them.

Fortunately, the women were close enough to the door to make it back inside before being hurt.

Determined to eliminate the threat, William went out to chase them away. Rather than run, however, the dogs teamed up to attack the pastor, taking him to the ground and brutally mauling him.

I can see a mountain lion doing the same thing. But, of course, those savage animals are illegal to own as "pets."

His wife told a TV reporter she felt her husband had saved her life, calling him "a hero" for his fearless actions to protect her.

Holly said her "granddaddy came out to try to shoo them away, and two pit bulls, I guess, they attacked him."

"My mother is distraught," daughter Melissa Mundine said. "These dogs are just loose, and they've been on the loose for weeks."

The Christian Post reported the communications officer for Indianapolis Animal Care Services told the media that a day before the pastor was slain and his family attacked, the agency had received a complaint about the stray dogs and "investigated reports of what was described as one brown and one black pit bull-type dog attacking people and dogs on the city's near northeast side."

Officers failed to locate the dogs at that time. They established a "sweep" schedule according to procedure, wherein officers were dispatched to the area where the animals were last seen between three to four times a day over the next 10 days.

An animal control officer was searching for them in the area last Tuesday when a report came in that "two dogs were attacking a person in the 2300 block of North Kenyon Street."

Animal control and EMTs arrived at the Mundines' home and immediately requested police assistance. Officers arrived to find the bloodied Mundine with injuries consistent with multiple dog bites. He was transported to an area hospital in critical condition before dying.

One of the dogs had become so aggressive with arriving officers that it had to be shot in self-defense and impounded. Animal control officials said the other pit was located and caught later.

The pastor's family told a reporter that aggressive dogs had been terrorizing their neighborhood regularly and they wanted whoever is responsible for their rampage to be held accountable.

"Every day, they just come in people's yards," granddaughter Holly said. "Like just last night, we were in the backyard--and they ran up on us--and we just had to kinda run and wait for them to leave."

The pastor's daughter was quoted saying, "Find the owners of the dogs and let's get this situation handled."

After learning more over the past 18 months than I ever thought I'd ever know about the well-documented nature of pit bulls, this woman's frustration is more than justified, regardless of which state people call home.

Discover who has been feeding the loose animals. I'm sure their neighbors must know. Those doing the feeding also assume ownership, which means those caring for the pit bulls should be charged with manslaughter and sued by the deceased pastor's family for not keeping them restrained.

Until those responsible for our justice systems and our elected legislators begin putting the lives and welfare of humans above that breed of dogs proven to be maulers and even killers of people and their pets, these terrible situations will never be "properly handled," sadly enough.

Unemployment rising

Our state appears to be struggling with rising unemployment of late if the latest survey by the folks at WalletHub is an indication.

Last week's unemployment claims were just over 29 percent higher than they were the previous week and 23.98 percent higher than last year's number.

Nationwide, we rank 4th in claims increases compared with the previous week, and 16th among the states in claims increases from last year.

I was surprised by these figures considering how many Arkansas employers still are seeking reliable employees.

Of course, well, OK, let's just say I didn't ace my economics class at UCA.

Now go out into the world and treat everyone you meet exactly like you want them to treat you.


Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist, was editor of three Arkansas dailies and headed the master's journalism program at Ohio State University. Email him at [email protected].


Upcoming Events