Peek-A-Boo Dead From Pit Bull Attack

A pit bull attacked and killed this Peek-A-Poo, Gigi, on Thursday.
By Ronnie Thomas

A Decatur woman in her 70s watched in horror as a pit bull attacked and killed her 1-year-old Peek-A-Poo while she walked it in her side yard on a leash.

Diane Donahue of 1205 Loggers Way S.W. suffered cuts, lacerations and puncture wounds on both arms and hands when the dog turned on her Thursday morning as she bent down in an effort to protect her dog, Gigi.

She fell down face first, blackening her eyes, cutting and scraping her face and forehead.

A police report says she fell on the concrete driveway, but she said she isn’t sure. But she said she would not let go of the leash and the pit bull dragged her.

“We had just gone out about 7 or 7:15, and we were getting ready to come in the back door,” she said. “Two pit bulls came into the yard, a male and female, but only the male attacked.”

A neighbor driving by stopped, jumped out of his car and chased the dogs off.

Donahue said she made two trips to the emergency room at Parkway Medical Center for treatment, including stitches in her hands and arms.

“I’ve got 27 puncture wounds on one (side) and about 32 on the other,” she said Sunday, showing the bandages. “They did X-rays and nothing was broken. But my little girl (her dog) was torn apart.”

She said Dr. Charles Ashwander retrieved Gigi about 7:30 that morning and took her to his veterinary clinic.

“He called me about 9 that night, and he said he was still checking on her,” Donahue said. “He called about 7:30 Friday morning and said Gigi was gone. I got her after my husband died. My heart is just broken.”

Police said the pit bulls belong to Christopher Allen Johnson, 23, of 388 Shelton Road in Madison.

Jeff Cato said the dogs were at his residence in Decatur at 242 Vestavia Drive S.W., on part of the 71/2 acres he rents.

“Chris is a friend of one of my sons,” Cato said. “He couldn’t keep the dogs in a townhouse in Madison, so we put up store-bought pens for them here. To my knowledge, this is the first time they’ve been out. I think they dug their way out.”


Cato said the dogs have been on the property about five weeks and the female has four puppies that are a month old.

“I don’t understand why she would leave her puppies unless maybe another dog provoked her,” he said. “We took all precautions in keeping the dogs up.”

Cato said he was not aware of the extent of Donahue’s injuries or that her dog had died until a Daily reporter told him at his home.

“I didn’t even know who it was,” he said. “No one has told us anything.”

Cato said he is “very sorry about what happened. My sympathies are with (Donahue) for her injuries and her loss.”

Donahue’s daughter, Kelly Cooney, came from Atlanta to assist. She made fliers and is distributing them in the neighborhood, asking residents to call city officials and voice their concerns.

Previous occasions

Both women say that the dogs have been out previously and that a neighbor who jogs said they had chased him.

Cato denies that, saying, “These dogs have never chased anybody. Other dogs roam freely in the neighborhood constantly.”

He also said Decatur Animal Control Officer Danny Melson was inefficient in catching the dogs. Melson could not be reached.

“He didn’t do anything,” Cato said. “He and two police officers came, and when I yelled for the dogs to get into the pen, they obeyed. Melson stood behind the officer with the Taser.

“Chris came and got the dogs and put them into his car, and took them to Osborne’s (animal clinic) as Melson followed him in a van. Chris will pay $600 for the quarantine.”

The dogs will be quarantined for a 10-day observation period required by Alabama law.

Cato stated emphatically that the adult pit bulls will not return to his property. He said he will keep the puppies for now because he is hand-feeding them.


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