Woman who lost eye, ear, and arms recounts pit bull attack

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WESTWEGO, LA (WGNO) – A proposed pit-bull ordinance in Westwego is under fire from pet owners near and far.

The debate is heating up as a victim of the pit-bull attack that sparked talks of the ordinance is released from the hospital.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter spoke with the victim who faces a long recovery.

“I say I never want another pit bull,” victim’s husband Clarence Allen said.  WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter asked, “Why not?” “Because of what happened here,” Allen replied.

What happened inside Westwego home, located at 341 Avenue A in March has forever scarred his common law wife.

54-year old Linda Henry was viciously attacked; mauled by three of the family’s four pit bulls.

“They just grabbed me,” Henry recounted. “One grabbed this arm and the other grabbed the other arm and they just pulled me down and I was screaming and hollering.”

She was in pain because the dog bites were so deep they exposed the bones of her arms and legs; and even her skull.

“They grab my left leg and rip all that up then they tried to get my eye ball out,” Henry said. “They ripped my eye lids off, they bit my lip then they grabbed my head,” she said. “In the hospital they had to take skin off my leg to put on my head.”

pit bullShe lost an eye, an ear, and both arms had to be amputated following the attack.

“I never thought that would happen with those dogs because they were like kids in the house,” Allen said.

What happened to Linda Henry is what motivated one Westwego City Councilman to propose a Pit Bull Ordinance that would place stiffer restrictions on pet owners.

It’s a move that’s been met with widespread opposition.

“Some people have called for it; some people have called and written against it,” Westwego Mayor John Shaddinger said.

There’s even an online petition to block the legislation.

But Councilman Glen Green says his proposed ordinance is not anti-pit-bull, rather an attempt to make pet owners more responsible.

“All of these people submitting petitions did not get to see Linda Henry after that dog attack,” Green said in his defense. ” Had they seen this lady or went to visit her in the hospital like I did I probably wouldn’t be getting very many petitions.”

Both Linda Henry and her husband Clarence Allen support the proposed pit-bull legislation.

The ordinance that is still being drafted has been deferred until July; to allow in-coming council members to weigh in.

If you’d like to help Clarence Allen and Linda Henry can be reached directly at (504) 905-5415 or you can make a donation to the Linda Henry Fund at Capital Bank. Donations are being accepted at any branch location.

You can also send mail to:

Clarence Allen
341 Avenue A
Westwego, LA


  • Judy Tervalon

    They was breeding the dogs. Don't blame the breed, blame the owner. Pit bulls are very sweet dogs.

    • Juliett1313

      Also the people here should have done some pet research. I mean having 4 dogs? Only breeders usually have more then 3 without having special accommodations for the pets. ANY dog breed will form a "pack" at 3 or more dogs in the same living space, pack mentality will cause many confrontations with the dogs as they compete with not only the other dogs but sometimes the people in the home as well for places in the pecking order. I hate to say it but if you are going to do something like try to breed large breed animals, it's their own fault if something bad happens because the breeders/owners didn't educate themselves on how to properly handle these animals. Sadly, The Bull breeds already get a bad reputation because of people who use them and train them to act like violent showpieces on purpose. Meanness is not a trait for any specific dog, if that was the case, German Shepherds would be dangerous after how they were trained during WW2. My family has been in the showing and breeding business for 3 generations and I have met so many fun and playful Bully's. The whole reason you hear of so many Bully attacks is because so many morons abuse the breed like I said above, by trying to make them mean on purpose then show them off as status symbols. It makes me so angry that because of idiots like this, some areas have banned the people living there to even own a Bully, when there is absolutely nothing wrong with the breed, just some owners.

    • mplo

      Wrong, Judy Tervalon.

      It's obviously something in the dog's genetic make-up that causes them to suddenly turn so ferociously on their owners. It's horrible that the woman was so damaged. Any dog can and will inflict damage when they bite, but not to such a horrific extent. I think people should be educated about the risks of owning pitbulls.

  • Bernie

    This is not the only pitbull attack that happened in Westwego last year. My neighbors grandson was playing in front of his house when the neighbors pit bull came from their yard ( no fence ) grabbed him from behind and mangled the calf of his leg. The Trauma Surgeon could do nothing but put a drainage tube into a gaping hole to let the wound drain until plastic surgery could be done. You people that love these vicous dogs need to see pictures of what they can do to a child or be required to visit a pit bull bite victim inthe hospital.

    • Jessica

      They are not vicious dogs, your comment has one of the main issues in itself in it: there was no fence, o one watching the dog, and the dog was not secured in any way shape or form. That leads me to believe that this dog was probably not cared for very well and probably didn't get socialized properly either.

  • Karen

    Councilman Glen Green, yes, even if they'd seen her in the hospital they would still be circulating these petitions. These people don't care about humans, they only care about the animals and dogs.

    • Jane Rawlings

      They don't care about animals. All they care about is owning pit bulls so they can terrorize their neighbors and everyone else. They know as well as we do that pit bulls are inherently vicious — that's why they want pit bulls and why they throw temper tantrums if we want to take their pit bulls away.

      Owning a pit bull is a sign of anti-social deviant behavior and often of primary psychopathy. Let's hope Westwego doesn't allow a bunch of sociopaths to dictate their decisions:

      • candism

        If you are going to refer to an article you should really read it first.

        YOU are the exact problem!!! This article talked about "THE MOST COMMON" 6 vicious breeds, NOT ALL of them.

        You have FALSE interpretation of this article. You combined all 6 breeds into one, the pit bull. You are what is wrong with society…including politician, moronic/uneducated dog owners and anyone who lacks common sense!

  • GoochNasty

    enough is enough. ban the breed. how many killings and maulings must occur before the dumb people realize that these animals are intrinsically dangerous and vicious. these dogs kill for no reason!!!

    • candism

      you are the reason i have lost faith in humanity. Your lack of education is disgusting. You should not speak if you lack the skill to do your research before commenting on certain topics.

  • Karen

    Dogs can do huge damage very easily. These petitioners didn't get to see the world's first face transplant patient's injuries either and that dog was a Labrador, nor did they see the injuries to infants killed by other breeds.

    Going breed specific simply shows us that Glenn Green doesn't know what he's doing, and he's going to take resources that should be spent dealing with dangerous dogs of all breeds and waste them on dogs who are not doing anything wrong, and causing difficulty and expense for those owners and all of his constituents.

    There is no excuse to waste taxpayer's money on such an ill-considered policy. Mr Green needs to look past the end of his nose to other jurisdictions who have made this error in judgement before him and get his head around best practice in animal control.

  • Rachel

    I believe that all dog owners should be held responsible for the action of their dogs whether a bully breed or not. But you might be surprised to learn that some of America's most beloved dogs are considered bullies. From large-and-in-charge boxers to small and stout Boston terriers, there are a variety of dogs that fall under the category of "bully breeds." Many of these dogs have unfair reputations for being dangerously aggressive — especially pit bull breeds like the Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier and American pit bull terrier — but they actually make for very loyal and loving pets. So how did these canines get the title "bully breed" in the first place? Let's start at the beginning.
    What's in a Name

    The term "bully" can invoke a sense of terror and intimidation, so it's no wonder many people believe these breeds pose a danger to society. However, the term actually has nothing to do with the dogs' temperament or behavior, and everything to do with their origin and history. Bully breeds all come from the same root stock called Molosser, which is a breed that originated in ancient Greece. Molossers were big dogs with large bones and muscles, pendant ears and short muzzles. The bullies that we know today were created as a result of Molossers combining with other breeds, like the Old English bulldog or mastiff breeds. Though they were originally bred to protect livestock and property, some breeders and owners began to use the dogs for other, unsavory purposes. For example, during the 19th century in England, they were used in blood sports like bull baiting, and some believe this is where Molosser descendents first came to be known as "bully breeds."
    American Heroes

    At the turn of the 20th century, British parliament established laws to outlaw blood sports and more immigrants traveled to the United States, bringing bully breeds with them. Once in America, these pups began serving in various professional roles. For example, a pit bull named Stubby became the first American war dog during World War I, when he served with a platoon in Germany. There, he saved countless lives and became a decorated war hero upon his return to the U.S. This early example of a bully breed's heroism and loyalty helped catapult bullies to the status of beloved household pets. Their popularity continued to grow throughout the mid-1900s, and a bully breed dog's image appeared on pro-America propaganda materials during World War II. There's no doubt bully breeds had become America's dog by the 1950s. So what changed?

    Unfair Rep to Loveable Pet

    You could probably trace the beginning of bully bias back to the 1980s, when gangs began using pit bull breeds for protection or as status symbols. According to the ASPCA, another probable cause is the media's misidentification of dogs involved in attacks. One often overlooked fact is that any dog may attack if it's neglected, abused or trained to be aggressive.

    Bully breeds are normally gentle dogs when they're cared for properly, and they have many qualities that make them great pets for active people with lots of time to give. They are very social and extremely loyal to their owners. Thanks to their athletic bodies and exceptional intelligence, they are very energetic and generally excel in agility. Believe it or not, bully breeds are very good with children, too. As with any dog, you should supervise bullies when they're around strangers, children or other pets. There's no doubt bully breeds have been given a bad name, but many animal lovers are dedicated to restoring their image and proving they deserve to be among America's favorite dogs again.

    • Deroid

      no one has any problems with english bulldogs, french bulldogs, or most of the bully breeds. it is the unpredictable ferocity of pit bulls that are causing these problems. this woman almost died because of these killing machines

      • Juliett1313

        This woman almost died because of ignorance and the dangers brought on when you have that many dogs of any breed living together without proper education as to how to raise them safely.

  • Ziggy

    It was her own damn dogs for pity sakes. And what was she doing with four of them? Every single day there are thousands and thousands of pit bulls killed in kill shelters because people think breeding them in their back yards are a good idea and think they will make money off them.

    Stop the backyard breeding!!!

  • anonymous

    Four dogs and eight puppies… it wouldn’t take a lot to make that be overwhelming indoors if they were upset in almost any breed.

    • LenMe

      Puppies! That does make a difference. Not to mention, when you have that many dogs, they become a "pack" and when one attacks, the others will usually follow suit. These people obviously had no business breeding dogs of any kind, let alone pitbulls… like there aren't already enough pitbulls in shelters. No one should be breeding them… especially in an apartment!!

      • Juliett1313

        Very well said. I have a hard time feeling sympathy for people who do things this stupid, then wonder why things like this happen.

  • Jessica

    Here are some FACTS that need to be considered:
    1.Pit bulls scored higher on temperament testing than a lot of 'family breeds'.
    2. Most people, even shelters and vets will call ANY dog that is mutt a 'pit' or 'pit mix' regardless of the actual breed. The majority of people don't know what a pitbull actually looks like. And furthermore, most dogs that attack people are not tested for genetics, therefore, no one knows what breed they ACTUALLY are, so they get called pitbull because it's assumed that that's the most vicious and most likely to attack.
    3. These breeds are not chosen to fight because they are vicious, they were chosen to fight because they are strong, and fiercely loyal, therefore they will do anything to please their master

  • Jessica

    4. There are few, if any, cases of a pitbull attacking a human or another animal where human error is not a factor.
    5. Bully breeds are very strong, intelligent, and strong willed dogs, which means they are not for everyone. They need to be handled and owned by people who understand animal behavior and pack mentality.
    6. Put a human being in place of these dogs….if a person were in the same situation, oftentimes, they would react much the same. Out of fear, or instinct. A dog is a dog is a dog.

  • Ace

    It's coming to a point where people are just going to have to prove in some way, testing,license,permits,maybe all of the above, that they know how to handle and raise a dog that can have a strong drive not to quit. It's no secret that in the wrong hands and without PROPER training pits and other dogs can become dangerous. Unless you lived in that home you don't know if there were signs that one or more of these dogs could become uncontrollable. Education and good common sense.

  • Melissa B

    How about if you dont have enough liability insurance to cover the dogs like dont have them then. Here we go a once owner-turned-martyr for the BSL cause. These are the same people that are saying Nahla the Lost Dog now Found is a success story worthy of a film production – yet it has the same elements of these dogs owners all over it. They dont think a situation will happen until it happens but apparently hey those people who f*** up deserve to be forgiven or its the dog that should suffer etc etc. Then its people saying the people should suffer. Well guess what, Mary has gotten her 15 minutes of fame. These are the same people petition to save the pitbulls that get so excited a woman found her dog and she fuct up. Cheaaters. Take their dogs away – Breed Specific Legislation. Make them, not the taxpayers, pay for these viscious maulings happening in their own backyards. I used to like dogs and people who owned them. Then I started disliking owners. Now I dislike the dogs too. Send them on an island let the pitbulls rehabilitate the prisoners. Stop making my citys humane society social workers for these nanny-nibblers.

  • candism

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man"
    — Mahatma Gandhi

    I am sorry but some of you are very poorly educated people. The bully breed is extremely loyal to their owners, meaning when PROPERLY cared for they are incredible animals/companions. They have huge hearts and great strength, which when in the arms of bad owners causes they results.

    It truly disgusts me that people like those who just want to off a bread because people play in to what media presents. Pay attention to the statistics! There are not THAT many attacks by bully breeds, just every one is plastered on tv. More importantly dog owners are not being held accountable for their lack of responsibility. Look Michael Vick, who is know for his disgusting treatment of animals and who is responsible for killing several dozens by fighting them, is now allowed to own yet again another dog.

    Dog owners need to get dogs that fit their life style. If you do not have an active lifestyle then you should definitely NOT have a bully breed or any other high energy dog.

    I loose faith in humanity every day because of how humans have such little compassion for animals as well as how we treat eachother.

  • hayden

    ___'s are a danger to society.
    All ___'s need to either be put down
    All___'s are the same and will never change
    Come on guys haven't we been through this before. People make aggressive dogs, and it will never be right to take away millions of dogs(family members) over a few bad owners. More people are killed by other people than by pitbulls every year!!

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