SPARKS, NV - A young Spanish Springs mother opened her front door Saturday to a terrifying scene, the bodies of her three dogs lying in their blood, two pit bulls standing over one of them.
"It looked like a murder scene," she says. "There was blood everywhere."
Her Shi Tzu, Gucci, lay on her living room floor. Her Pekingese, Buddy was dead near the dog door leading to their dog run. Her black Labrador-Weimeraner mix, Jill, apparently the last to die was shut in her bathroom with two pit bulls.
Jennifer (she asked we not use her full name nor show her face) was with her two-year-old son. She quickly closed the door and called authorities.
"It was scary," she says. "I'm glad they were locked in the bathroom. It could have been a lot worse."
She and her husband had owned the three dogs for eight to 10 years. They were, in every sense, part of the family.
"They were sweet, living and kind," she says. "They'd been with us through thick and thin. They were like our children. We've lost a child, so now it's like we're grieving for four."
Some of the initial reaction to our first posting of this story over the weekend blamed both owners, but in fact Jennifer and her husband had every reason to believe their dogs were secure.
They didn't even have free-run of her large back yard, but were confined to a dog run and had access to her home through a dog door.
The two pit bulls had apparently gotten through their owner's back fence, into a neighboring yard, ripping through that wooden fence, then the chain link dog run, then through a dog door into her home.
Officials at Animal Control say that sort of intrusion isn't unknown. Skunks, raccoons, even coyotes have been known to invade homes, coyotes sometimes taking dogs.
The other common reaction was to blame all pit bulls. Don't count Jennifer among that crowd.
"We're not pit bull haters," she says. "My family owned pit bulls. They were all wonderful dogs."
She's even sorry the two who killed her dogs were euthanized.
"It wasn't them. It was lack of training, lack of supervision. I sympathize with them. I am glad that they can't hurt anyone else though."
The owner of the two pit bulls surrendered them voluntarily and received three civil citations, for having his dogs at large, for killing other animals and for not having them vaccinated.
Each violation carries a $100 fine.
The record shows he was cited for letting them run at large in 2012.