Pit bull attacks worker; animal shelter shut down
Crumbling facility forces St. Landry Parish Animal Control to shut down KLFY
Facility closed until further notice
Stacey McKnight was alone in the back of the St. Landry Parish Animal Control shelter Thursday when the unthinkable happened.
"I don't know what triggered him," said McKnight, the shelter's deputy director. "I just know he hit me first, on my back. I didn't even see him coming."
A pit bull that was being held for an inmate at the jail went for her.
"The dog's aim was to attack me," she said.
Two things helped save her from injury: A loose-fitting jacket and her dog, a part blue healer and part rat terrier named Patty.
"Somebody left her here and she thought she was my dog," McKnight said, so she adopted her.
Patty returned the favor Thursday.
"He grabbed her two or three times. It was horrible to watch that happen to your own dog," she said. "There was absolutely nothing I could do to help her."
Maybe because she's tiny, Patty managed to roll away from the pit bull each time.
"I'm yelling and screaming," McKnight said.
Eventually, the pit bull grew tired and McKnight jumped on him. The dog was put down shortly after the attack.
"I can't and I will not have a dog like that that I know will do harm to a person," she said.
Neither McKnight nor Patty was hurt, although Patty had a rough night throwing up.
The attack left both shaken. Because the rest of her shelter staff didn't show up for work Thursday, McKnight shut the shelter down and posted on its Facebook page that the shelter was closed until further notice.
It was still closed Friday.
There are other problems at the shelter. Housed in an aging building, insulation from the ceiling is raining down inside and clogging drains.
"It's literally falling down around us," McKnight said.
Workers complain of rashes, itchy skin and eyes.
"The dogs eat insulation," she said. "It's in their water bowls. It's in their feed trays.
St. Landry Parish Government has done repairs to the facility. A $25,000 grant from Petco helped construct a small building. About $10,000 is needed to tear out the ceiling, remove and save existing lights and wiring so it can be reused, and install foam insulation. Donations can be made by visiting the St. Landry Parish Animal Control Facebook page which has a link to YouCaring.com.
St. Landry Parish President Bill Fontenot commended McKnight for her fundraising efforts via grants and social media.
"We do fund repairs," he said. "We put quite a few dollars from our health portion of our budget, because it does affect the health of humans."