Pit bull attacks, kills woman's 'hearing ear dog'

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A violent pit bull attack in a Northeast Portland neighborhood left a woman without her companion. Multnomah County Animal Control is investigating.

Anne Ziegler said Animal Control picked up the pit bull in question last Friday afternoon, after it attacked her Shetland Sheepdog named "Simon." KATU News has been unable to reach anyone at animal control to confirm that they still have the pit bull in custody.

Ziegler, 68, and her friend were walking Simon on Northeast Mason St. near 59th Avenue when the attack happened.

"What it actually did was lifted up on his back legs and then pushed him to the ground, and the pit bull weighed 90 pounds the animal control officer said," Ziegler explained.

Her friend somehow managed to pull the pit bull off of Simon, but Simon was seriously injured.

"It pinned him to the ground and then it locked on with his jaws and tore his abdomen open," Ziegler said.

Simon was on his leash, walking next to Ziegler. She said he was obedience trained, and did nothing to provoke the other dog.

"He just walked calmly out, went down, as if he'd done it a hundred times before," Ziegler explained as she described the pit bull's behavior before and during the attack.

Like Simon, Anne was helpless.

"I was screaming as loudly and as deeply as I could, not just shrieking, but I wanted people to know, I was screaming, 'Help! Help!'," said Ziegler.

No one on the street claimed the dog. Simon ended up at Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital, where he died.

"I made the really difficult decision that I'd rather have him die in my arms than to lose him in surgery or have him die in a cage," said Ziegler.

Simon was more than a companion to Ziegler; he is what she calls her "hearing ear dog."

"Somehow he recognized that I couldn't hear very well, and he would bark to alert me if the telephone rang or if i got a text message," explained Ziegler.

Now, she's making a memorial wreath to hang on the fence around her front yard. His picture, and a red glove he used to always carry around in his mouth, will be attached.

"He was my best friend for five years. Heart-breaking. There's no way to ever replace a pet who's your dearest companion," Ziegler said.

Ziegler also said children at Scott School in Northeast Portland used to line up in the windows to watch her and Simon walk by with that red glove in his mouth. She said she'll let the school know what happened, in case any of the students ask why Simon isn't walking by anymore.

KATU News will contact animal control again on Tuesday to get an update on this investigation.