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Portage man dies from dog attack on Christmas

Portage man dies from dog attack on Christmas

PORTAGE | A Portage man was found dead in his home Thursday night after suffering massive blood loss from dog bites to his arms and face by his pit bull, according to Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris.

Edward L. Cahill, 40, was pronounced dead at his home at 5586 Tulip Ave. in Portage according the Portage Police Department. According to Harris, Cahill's girlfriend arrived home around 8 p.m. and discovered Cahill on the floor unresponsive.

Police said Cahill was found in the living room of the residence covered in what appeared to be several lacerations to his arms and face. Police said what appeared to be blood was visible on the floor around Cahill's body, on the carpet, walls and furniture.

Two pit bulls were in the home when police arrived. Harris confirmed Cahill's dog, named Fat Boy, was alone responsible for his death. The other pit bull was put away in a bedroom.

The dog involved in the attack was taken to the Humane Society of Hobart where he was euthanized Friday morning.

"It was the only dog that was able to get to the individual," Harris said. "It was very obvious."

According to Portage police, Cahill's girlfriend told officers she and Cahill owned two pit bulls and they gave them some large bones on Christmas Eve.

According to police reports, the girlfriend told police that Fat Boy was extremely aggressive and protective of his bone. She said he would growl and snap at anyone who tried to take the bone.

Police said the girlfriend had told Cahill to euthanize Fat Boy in the past because he was "extremely aggressive and unpredictable."

Police reports state Cahill's girlfriend was living at the residence with Cahill, but was visiting family for Christmas since about 2 p.m. She reportedly spoke to Cahill on the phone around 5 p.m. and "everything was fine."

Harris said the attack was not witnessed. The Porter County coroner's office took possession of the body, but no autopsy is planned.

According to police reports, an Animal Control officer and a police officer on the scene attempted to remove Fat Boy with an animal control pole known as a trap line. Police said Fat Boy was on top of a bed, "continuously barking, growling, standing in an aggressive stance and lunging toward officers" and when he edged closer to the side of the bed toward the officers, a police officer deployed his Taser, striking the dog in the right side until he fell on the floor.

According to police reports, animal control was not able to get the trap line around the dog's neck prior to the end of the 5-second Taser cycle, so he allowed the Taser to cycle through until they could gain control of the dog.

Once they managed to place the trap line around the pit bull's neck, he was removed from the residence and taken to an animal control van, according to police reports. Police reported that Fat Boy bit the trap line in such a manner that he caused his mouth to bleed until he was secured in the van. 

The Portage Police Department is investigating the incident.

"This is a very tragic incident," Portage Police Department Chief Troy Williams said. "It's not something we see too often."

Toni Bianchi, owner and trainer of Positive Experience Training School, said although this dog may have been aggressive, she believes the dog's breed is not the reason for this incident.

"Pit bulls get a bad rep," she said. "I think this incident has nothing to do with the dog's breed."

Bianchi has been a certified professional dog trainer since November 2005 and a certified dog behavior consultant since December 2008. She said, in her experience, pit bulls don't appear more aggressive than any other breed of dog.

"I've worked with some pit bulls that are therapy dogs and they're great," she said. "An aggressive dog can be any breed. I've seen just as many good pit bulls as bad pit bulls."


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