Pet Killed By Dog Trained To Protect

Schnoodle Attacked By German Shepherd Trained To Attack If Provoked

A dog trained for personal protection attacked another dog at an off-leash part of Poudre Canyon near Fort Collins.

Sophie, an 11-year-old Schnoodle -- a Schnauzer-Poodle mix -- was attacked by a German Shepherd on July 18.

"We both called out, 'Call your dogs, call your dogs,'" said Sophie's owner Dick Hay. "Before I knew it, a large black German Shepherd had our little dog, Sophie, in her mouth and was mauling her."

"It was horrifying," said Hay's wife, Arla.

The Hays had driven from Greeley to hike in Dadd's Gulch just outside of Fort Collins. They said that when the attack happened, the German Shepherd's owners were not there.

"Those people were nowhere near their animals," said Arla Hay.

"The dog had ripped (Sophie's) mid-section wide open," said Dick Hay.

Sophie was taken to the CSU Veterinary Hospital emergency area. The Hays were told her injuries were too severe.

"With little to no chance of recovery," said Dick Hay. "So at that point, we decided to have Sophie put to sleep."

"Sophie was bright, sweet and in excellent health," said Arla Hay. "I cry every day. It's a loss of a family member and it should not have happened."

The owner of the German Shepherd was ticketed for having a dangerous dog and for the dog not responding to voice commands.

"We were in tears, I mean I still get upset just thinking about it," said Mike Vincent, owner of Raika, the black German Shepherd. "I think it was mistaken identity, thought it was a small squirrel."

Vincent told 7NEWS that he and his girlfriend were coming up the other side of a hill, when they heard screaming.

"I heard the owner of the other dog yelling to, 'Get your dog.' I instantly went and grabbed my dog," said Vincent. "She's never done this before, just an unfortunate accident."

Raika is trained to be a personal protection dog. Online photos of her training show a dog biting the foam-covered arm of a would-be attacker. They are photos that even Vincent admits are scary looking.

"She's actually being told to actually take down the bad guy," said Vincent.

There's also a photo of Raika in mid-bark, showing sharp teeth, in what's called a 'bark and hold.'

"That is actually giving the attacker the warning that if you don't back off that I will release the dog and she will take you down," said Vincent. "They are taught to bite when there's a threat."

7NEWS asked Vincent if he thought a dog trained to attack and protect should be allowed off-leash.

"Yes, yeah, we're very responsible," said Vincent. "They're great with people."

The Larimer County Humane Society told 7NEWS there is no restriction as to the type of dog that can be off-leash.

Vincent was ticketed for having a dangerous dog and for Raika not responding to voice commands. He said he has not taken Raika back to an off-leash site, but does walk her on the leash. Vincent will be in court on Aug. 30, when he finds out if Raika will also be punished.

"It's a misconception that personal protection dogs are aggressive and are just trained killers," said Vincent. "They're not trained to attack for no reason. They are trained to attack when there's a threat and only a threat."

"I'm either so sad or I am so angry," said Arla Hay. "Any dog that is so aggressive on a dime really should be euthanized."

The Hays have Sophie's remains at their Greeley home. They keep her water dish out, if not for their comfort, for the comfort of their other dog.

"They were buddies, sisters, and she's just really sad. She keeps looking for her sister, where is she?" said Dick Hay.

"I miss her so much," said Arla Hay.