An off-duty police chief and two neighborhood women had to fend off two vicious dogs as they brutally attacked a woman on the street in the city of Blythe, the Palo Verde Times reports. According to the article Blythe Police Chief Robert Whitney and two other women, who happened to be passing by, rescued 58-year-old Jilyne Gouvion who was viciously attacked by two American bulldogs while walking her friend’s dog.
Elaine Merritt and her friend stopped as they saw the commotion with the chief trying to fend off the aggressive bulldogs. The ladies immediately acted and were able to save the Australian Shepherd that Gouvion was walking, which was also being attacked by the bulldogs. The smaller dog was covered in blood when the women rushed it into their car, the article said. Whitney told the paper that one of the bulldogs must have weighed about 100 pounds.
Gouvion reportedly suffered severe bites and cuts to her hands and legs as a result of the dog attack. The dogs apparently first attacked the Australian Shepherd and then turned their attention to the woman as she tried to protect her friend’s dog. The dog’s owner, 37-year-old George Castro, not only got cited at the scene, but is facing additional felony charges relating to his dogs being a public nuisance, the newspaper reported. Both dogs have been quarantined at the local animal shelter and a decision will be made later about their fate.
There is no doubt that the heroes of this story are Chief Whitney, Elaine Merritt and her friend, who quickly and bravely came to the rescue of the victim and her dog. Jilyne Gouvion could have easily become a statistic – one of more than 30 people killed by vicious dogs in America each year – had these three true American heroes not intervened. Putting your life and well-being at risk to help a fellow human being is what true heroism is all about.
I hope the District Attorney and Blythe city officials follow Whitney’s and Merritt’s examples of heroism and do their part by holding George Castro accountable for what could have been a fatal and tragic dog attack. This victim, although she survived, will still go through pain, fear, emotional suffering and psychological trauma that most dog bite victims experience.
City officials also need to send a message to dog owners that pets that are vicious or dangerous must be properly restrained and negligence in that regard will not be tolerated. Many cities in California and around the country are updating their vicious dog laws and are contemplating breed bans in the interest of public safety. We urge Blythe city officials to update these laws as well and require owners who choose to keep these dogs to carry high insurance limits to cover the damages they may cause.