Dog Mauling on Miami Beach Enrages Owner: "Our Animal Rights Laws Are Medieval"

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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.

"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."

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my do also was attacked when I was walking him on a leash in a public park in Eugene Oregon a guy had his pit bull lose soon as I seen the pit it seen my dog came charging in 2 seconds he had my dog shacking him my dog weight 83 pounds ,I could tell by the way the owner yelled  OH NO ! at his dog, this dog had done this before . 20 minutes later the pit finally let go off my dog .I called 911 two times 30 minutes latter no one came . the owner took off with his dog after wards like a coward  and not one word not even I am sorry, .I took my dog to the vet ,he looked like some one cut him with a saw over and over again . I could see his bones he got a real bad infection three surgery's later and 6 long weeks of suffering and pain  even pain medication didn't help a lot .$1000's latter ,he survived ,but has nerved damage where he was attacked , I know how this man feels about his dog being attacked its a  nightmare to see and have to go through .aggressive dogs should be outlawed ,other people pay the price ,not the owners or the aggressive dog .how many more people ,children and pets have to die due to aggressive dogs and irresponsible pet owners, time something get done laws need to change .to protect us and other animals,

it seems we live in a society that don't care ,tell it happens to you  !


Unfortunately, when it comes to these types of dog bites, we're on a "be a good neighbor"system that leaves it up to the dog owners themselves to amicably work it out. As we see here, this is a typical result of  how that works. I'm all for dog owners being held responsible. In the meantime, small claims court is the way to go for compensation. Mr. Hoffer seems upset enough to see this through a legislation change and I hope he does. For a dog to be deemed a "dangerous dog," I believe it has had to have bitten a person, but perhaps after Animal Services view these photos of Lulubelle's injuries, they may want the German Shepherd to be on a muzzle when out in public.


there should be a law... just like anything else... you cant own a pet if you cant take care of it or control it.

It's not the dog's fault for what happened..It's the owners fault and should be held responsible for the injuries to the little dog and the trauma to the little dog and the owner. we love our pets as family members and the owner of the german shepherd should pay for the vetinarian costs of $2000 to Mr Hoffer. that is the least they can do.. the mental anquish could never be compensated.


I spent this past winter on Miami Beach & got to know Lulubelle when being walked by her owner. She was always on her leash & is the friendliest little dog. I cannot believe the damage done to her. How can an owner not take responsibility for her dog's actions? What if this was a child? Should not the owner be able to control her animal?


This is outrageous !!. At the very least the owner should have been responsible for the expenses incurred by Mr. Hoffer. Our furry four legged family members need protection. The parents (owner) must be responsible for their pets behavior. There must be consequences!!  This law is absurd. Poor Lulu....There must be repercussions.


This is outrageous. I can not believe that the owner is not liable. She should be at least responsible for the expenses that Mr. Hoffer incurred. Its time that animal lover step up to the plate and have these laws changed. Our furry four legged family members should be protected. I'm sure that if all parents (owners ) would be responsible for the behavior of their pets these types of accidents would not occur so frequently. This is so sad. Something must be done.  


God, does this place suck. Regret ever coming here and can't wait to get out. Yuck!


Miami Shores doesn't have one either, it appears. My daughter, 10, was canvassing our neighborhood raising funds for her school by selling candy door-to-door. She was bitten on both legs by a chihuahua that ran out of the front door of my neighbor's house the moment it was opened. This vicious little beast (I know what you're thinking but you're wrong--been a dog lover and owner for years) took a couple of chunks out of my kid's shins and the owners are clearly responsible. Reported it to the Shores Police, they responded, wrote up a report (that I never actually saw) and told me to follow up with Animal Control. I did, and the dog was quarantined--hopefully along with the owner. Apparently municipalities yield right of way to the County when it comes to pests--both animal and vegetable. 


If this had been a pitbull mauling, it'd be the biggest hoopla of the day. 

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Miami Beach doesn't have a working police, code, or building department.  You need to call the county animal control and file a complaint.  You will need to go to small claims to collect your vet bills.  Do not bother with local police on any matter other than murder.  Waste of time. 

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