Gainesville, Florida

From of July 31, 2007

Two pit bulls attack man’s dog, one shot and killed

A Gainesville man awoke to the sounds of a dog fight early Monday. When he walked outside, he found his dog locked in the jaws of a large pit bull.

“I’m sound asleep and my wife says there’s a dog fight in the yard,” said Fletcher Sutton, 58. “And within 90 seconds I find myself standing in the yard in my bathrobe with a knife in one hand, a gun in the other and a dog dead between my legs.”

Sutton and his grandson, Robert Koehler, 16, reacted quickly when they found their 110-pound Labrador-Mastiff mix being attacked by two pit bulls, the larger of which had clamped down on the dog’s neck.

“We tried to beat him off, we tried to kick him off, and it was like it was to the death,” Sutton said.

Lt. Scott Meffen with the Gainesville Police Department said they arrived at the home, 2415 SE 11th Ave., around 7:30 a.m. Monday to find a large black pit bull shot twice in the head. Sutton’s dog had wounds to his neck and two front legs from the fight.

“(The pit bull) had a collar on it but no tag, so it doesn’t look like we’ve identified the owner,” Meffen said.

Meffen said Sutton and Koehler told police they first tried to get the pit bulls to let go of their dog by stabbing them with a pocket knife. But when that didn’t make any difference, Koehler went inside and got his grandfather’s .22-caliber revolver and Sutton shot the dog in the head.

The smaller, brown pit bull ran away once the shots were fired and police had not located the dog as of late Monday.

Sutton said it appeared the dogs slipped through the slats on the aluminum gate around the pasture in back of his house in order to reach his dog.

And he said the black pit bull he shot did not look like a family pet.

“This was a pit bull fighting dog. He had scars all over his face,” he said. “It wasn’t just a generic incident. This dog was out to kill something this morning.”

Sutton said he had seen the smaller of the two pit bulls wandering around his neighborhood off of Hawthorne Road, but he had never seen the black one.

“You don’t need these dogs,” Sutton said of pit bulls. “There’s no sense in them. You do everything you can to protect your animal and protect your property, and then something like this happens.”


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