Pit Bull Attack on Cockapoo Was Vicious, Owners Say
Tammie Jesberger and Bill Tittel of Salisbury Township fought off a vicious pit bull that wanted to kill their pet dog, Oreo.
After a harrowing 40-minute struggle trying to pry off a vicious pit bull bent on killing her dog, Tammie Jesberger said, she suddenly remembered an "Animal Planet" episode about wrangling alligators.
Bruised and exhausted, she grabbed a metal stake from a solar Christmas ornament on her front lawn, straddled the pit bull, pried open his powerful jaws and wedged the stake in horizontally. It bought her half a second to run to the front door to shove inside her small, bloodied dog, Oreo. The pit bull attacked the door.
That was Monday. Two days later, all is quiet on Pearl Avenue.
Jesberger's heroic actions and the valiant ones taken by her father, Bill Tittel, Salisbury Township police officers--- who said they had to shoot and kill the dog because it lunged at them--- and the staff at VCA East Penn Animal Hospital in Emmaus, saved the little dog's life.
Today, the only sign of the mayhem that occurred on this quiet cul-de-sac in suburban Salisbury Township are the faint, bloodied claw marks that refused to disappear on the front door and a large bloodstain that was overlooked on the step.
Charges are pending against the pit bull's owner as Salisbury police continue to investigate the attack. Jesberger, her father, and Oreo are recovering from the ordeal.
Oreo was a gift from a friend to Jesberger's 15-year-old daughter, Rhiannon, who was dying from cancer. The six-year-old black cockapoo, is as sweet and loyal a dog an owner could want. So loyal, that he refused to leave Tittel who urged him to run home as he tried to fight off the pit bull.
The nightmare began when Tittel took Oreo out for a walk on his leash around noon Monday. Tittel had walked to the top of Pearl Avenue and Salisbury Road when he saw two pit bulls, a black-and-white female who appeared to be about 6 months old, and an older white-and-tan male.
That's the one Jesberger jokingly refers to as Cujo, a reference to the rabid dog in Stephen King's horror novel of the same name.
Before Tittel knew it, "Cujo" was attacking Oreo. He went right for his throat, he said.
"I yelled, I beat the hell out of the dog, punched and kicked him," but the pit bull was relentless, he said.
Tittel managed to extricate the pit bull from Oreo by grabbing his front legs. "I yelled at Oreo to go home, but he wouldn't leave me," he said.
Tittle wasn't about to let go of the pit bull now and figured the only way to get his dog home and to safety was if he dragged the pit bull by his front legs as it walked on its rear legs.
Then the pit bull tried to bite Tittel. "I said, 'Don't you dare!'" The dog instantly acquiesced, but he continued to lunge after Oreo.
Tittel yelled for help from his daughter and neighbors. But no one came. Tittel collapsed out of breath on the ground, exhausted from the fight.
Jesberger finally heard the commotion, opened the door and ran outside. She tried to pull the pit bull off Oreo but he wouldn't yield. Tittel ran around back and grabbed a plastic shovel and hit the dog with it, but he seemed unfazed.
The pit bull seized Oreo, dragged him through the bushes and began shaking him like a rag doll, Jesberger said.
"He wanted my dog dead, there was no question about it. He was trained to kill. He didn't want people. He wouldn't bite me," Jesberger said.
Jesberger called 911 after she managed to escape inside, but she couldn't leave. The pit bull was lurking at the front door when Salisbury and Fountain Hill police arrived minutes later. An officer helped Jesberger exit a side door and enter his squad car where he rushed her and Oreo, who was wrapped in a towel and bleeding profusely, to the animal hospital.
Police said they waited for the animal control officer to arrive and tranquilize the dogs, but the dogs fled to the backyard before they arrived.
Police said they shot and killed the pit bull when it aggressively approached two officers. It took about six shots from a shotgun and a pistol before it retreated, an officer said.
Oreo has been staying closer than usual to his owners' sides these last two days. His throat is bandaged and he's on a lot of pain medication after having undergone four hours of surgery Monday to repair puncture wounds, a torn throat and broken jaw.
Jesberger says she's barely slept. She ended up going to St. Luke's University Hospital emergency room at 4 a.m. because her leg and arm hurt so much. She got a tetanus shot and antibiotics. And she doesn't even want to think about how she's going to pay the $2,400 veterinarian bill.
She looked down and stroked Oreo, who was laying at her feet, and said she's just glad the nightmare is over. Oreo survived.