On May 2, Sonny Hoffer was walking his miniature dachshund Lulubelle along Collins Avenue when he spotted a giant, growling German shepherd on the sidewalk. Oh look, he thought to himself. This dog thinks Lulubelle is his dinner. Hoffer was right. An instant later, the 100-pound shepherd had the wiener dog in a death grip. "He was shaking her back and forth in his mouth like Cujo," Hoffer says.
Lulubelle barely survived, but Hoffer's ordeal was just beginning. He shelled out $2,000 to save his dog, but he says Florida's antiquated animal rights laws have prevented him from suing the German shepherd's owner. "In Florida, household pets are treated like chattel," he says. "Our animal rights laws are medieval."
(Graphic images after the jump.)
Hoffer says that he was walking along Collins with Lulubelle on a leash at around 7 p.m. when Jacqueline Menendez's German shepherd snapped its jaws around the smaller dog.
"She was bleeding everywhere," Hoffer says of his dog. "She was in shock, just like I was." Photos show a grapefruit-sized chunk missing from the dachshund's back.
Hoffer called the cops. When they arrived, they found him holding his wounded pet and screaming at Menendez, "I'm going to make sure your dog is euthanized," according to a police report.
But Hoffer says cops didn't take the incident seriously. Instead of a one-sided mauling, they made it seem like a scrap between evenly matched opponents.
Menendez told police that Lulubelle wasn't on a leash, which Hoffer disputes.She also said that Lulubelle -- not the German shepherd -- was the aggressor. (Riptide was unable to contact Menendez; if we hear back from her we'll update this post.)
Hoffer rushed his animal to the vet. Two surgeries and $2,000 later, the miniature dachshund is still alive but sports a vicious set of stitches. But Hoffer is still furious that Menendez didn't face any consequences.
"If that monster had attacked me or a child, that woman would be in jail," Hoffer adds. "But since it was my dog, nothing happened to her. Why? That dog is a member of my family!"
Hoffer also considering suing Menendez but says it was impossible. "There is not enough money in this, so no attorney wants to take the case."
Hoffer says he is now pressuring Miami Beach commissioners to pass an ordinance holding pet owners responsible for attacks on other animals. He is also hounding animal control to put the German shepherd to sleep.
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"That woman hasn't even called to apologize," he says, patting Lulubelle near her nasty wound. "Her dog nearly ate mine, and still she says nothing."