Drake, the puppy attacked by two pit bulls Oct. 6, was euthanized at about 2 p.m. last Thursday, following a heart attack Oct. 17 that left him badly brain damaged, animal hospital officials said.
The complication is “pretty common when you see multiple injuries caused by a crushing bite,” said Lake Forest Animal Hospital veterinarian Mark Liberto. Because Drake’s bones were crushed during the attack, rather than a clean break, blood clots formed, one of which traveled to and then stopped the puppy’s heart.
Though personnel at the Gaithersburg animal hospital were able to restart his heart, Drake’s condition did not improve and he was euthanized the next day.
Drake’s owner, Max Mesa, 10, of Germantown suffered scratches and bites on his arms during the incident, which took place on Quail Woods Drive while Max was visiting his grandparents. He is recovering well, his uncle, Fabian Paz, said. He suffered the injuries while trying to protect Drake from the jaws of the two pit bulls.
Max was “very upset about the whole thing,” Fabian Paz said.
Neighbors and friends had rallied around the family to help pay for Drake’s care, which had been expected to reach around $5,000-6,000, Paz said. Well-wishers donated nearly $2,000 to help pay for Drake’s care by Oct. 18. The family ended the fundraiser after he was euthanized, but can pursue action through the Animal Matters Hearing Board, said Officer Jeanette Wright of Montgomery County Animal Control.
Animal Control officers euthanized one of the pit bulls involved in the attack, a huge female “which had to have weighed 120 pounds,” according to one witness of the attack.
They also issued six civil citations to the animal’s owners, who “are upset about the whole thing,” according to Wright.
“They feel like they could have prevented the whole situation if they’d been there,” Wright said. The owners had left the dogs with a caretaker for about a week when the attack occurred on Oct. 6.
One of the dogs had been labeled “potentially dangerous” by Montgomery County Animal Control, as they have labeled the second dog involved in the attack. The dog was released to the care of the owner’s son, who lives in Frederick, following a 10-day quarantine.
A label of “potentially dangerous” means the dog must be muzzled whenever it is taken off its owner’s property, and must be walked by an adult who can control the animal. In addition, the owner must maintain a current county license and rabies vaccination, Wright said, or the county can seize the animal or issue fines.
“This situation is a real tragedy that didn't need to happen,” said Sherrie Riggs in an email to The Gazette. Riggs lives just a few doors down from where the initial attack took place.
“My three-year-old granddaughter, her mom and dad live with me. Her parents do not take her out to play in our neighborhood because of the risk of all the pit bulls around us.”