When Will Memphis Pit Bull Attacks Finally End?

Recent news about a woman hospitalized by a pit bull attack in Memphis has shocked the community. It is one of the worst cases imaginable, and it left me personally wondering when these tragedies will finally end?

Pit Bull Attack in Memphis: A Mother’s Desperate Fight

According to local news sources, the tragedy began suddenly, when a family’s pit bulls attacked their two very young children.

The dogs charged the 5-month-old Hollace and 2-year-old Lillie without warning. Their mother, 30-year-old Kirstie Bennard, fought back immediately. She threw herself between the children and the dogs and valiantly tried to save their lives in an attack that lasted about 10 minutes.

In the end, though, both of the children died. Their mother was hospitalized in critical condition and eventually stabilized. The two dogs were euthanized. And the family and their community were left with an unspeakable loss.

What This Case Shows Us

Friends of the family said the pit bulls—beloved pets for 8 years—changed in an instant. Two trusted animals, seemingly unprovoked.

While some people in Memphis claim the parents should have known and be held accountable, it appears to have been a genuine shock to everyone who knew the family—and one that will impact them in unimaginable ways, forever.

There’s no need to pile on to a couple in such a horrifying moment of their lives. Instead, we should focus our attention on the constant problem of violent pit bulls in Memphis and what we can do about it.

The Controversy Around Pit Bulls in Memphis

First, we need to talk about this as a breed issue. As a dog attack lawyer in Memphis, I’m finding it harder and harder to pretend that pit bulls are the same as golden retrievers.

It’s a sensitive subject for many, but the reality is pit bulls are very different from other breeds. Many are misunderstood victims of abuse. All were bred as fighters and protectors, guided by their genes to attack if necessary.

While pit bulls can be incredibly loyal and sweet, that doesn’t make them safe. In fact, that’s often the appeal: across Memphis, they’re used for protection. The question is, what are they bred to protect against?

  • How do these incredibly powerful dogs know the difference between a delivery driver and a threat?
  • Do they understand a screaming, playful child is different than an abuser?
  • And what are the consequences if they get it wrong?

We had a client many years ago who carried a hammer because he didn’t trust his own dog. He raised the pit bull for protection, but he understood the animal could turn dangerous without warning. And unlike a small poodle, if his pet turned on someone, she could kill him or others.

That is not how we build a safe community. Memphis has a responsibility to promote and fully fund spay and neuter programs for pits and pit mixes. We need radically improved regulations against dangerous animals in residential areas. Too often, neighbors report a dangerous animal only to find no one will act until tragedy strikes.

And we need to be honest about the high rates of these attacks, even by beloved pets.

What We’ve Seen at Our Memphis Dog Attack Firm

We’ve worked with a shocking number of people, including children, who’ve been hospitalized by a pit bull attack in Memphis. 

It can be controversial to speak out against a specific breed, and I understand the hesitation. Many people care for and love their pit bulls and pit mixes as members of the family and haven’t had any issues.

However, I work in the very specific area of personal injury law dedicated to dog bites and dog attacks. As a result, I’ve seen time and again how these attacks function differently than attacks from other breeds. I and many of my colleagues are beyond accepting excuses for breeds that disproportionately maim, maul, and kill people in our community—including young children and even babies. 

Anything less is an acceptance of these tragedies. The growing victims in Memphis deserve far better than for us to do nothing.

If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog attack, we can help. Contact us today at 901-327-2100 or fill out the form below.

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