Police confirmed incident is being investigated
BHS president says poor training regime of guard dogs in The Bahamas leads to “potential disasters”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Sitting in an armchair with her head and parts of her body bandaged, Alicia Barton, a breast cancer survivor, described being unable to pull away from the jaws of her neighbor’s four pit bull dogs that viciously attacked her last Friday.
She had just arrived home from work.
I was just screaming for someone to help me. I couldn’t see anybody. [The dogs were] in every direction.
– Alicia Burton
As she stepped out of her vehicle, she said she saw the pack of dogs charging towards her.
Barton attempted to get back into her vehicle, but stumbled.
The animals pounced on her and tore at her body, ripping off her ponytail before latching onto the back of her head.
“I was just screaming for someone to help me,” said Barton, pausing as she recounted.
“I couldn’t see anybody. [The dogs were] in every direction.
“When I tried to fight one, the other one would pull me on my back, my shoulders, my legs.
“Right now, both my arms, legs, back and my head especially — there was a big black one that was really muscular. He gripped onto my head and wouldn’t let go.
“That was horrible.”
Several neighbors witnessed the gruesome attack that left deep gashes along both Barton’s arms and legs, and most notably left a gaping wound at the back of her head, which appeared to expose her skull.
It took several attempts to get Barton from the grip of the dogs.
She said responding officers shot one of the dogs, but the others scattered in the neighborhood.
A neighbor drove her to an awaiting ambulance, claiming that emergency personnel were scared the dogs could return to the area where she was attacked.
Barton said she is afraid to return home and seeing a dog now causes her to have a panic attack.
Now I have to fight dogs in my yard as I’m going into my home; I don’t understand that.
– Alicia Barton
As a breast cancer survivor of 11 years, she said she thought her fight with the disease was the biggest battle of her life, but “now I have to fight dogs in my yard as I’m going into my home; I don’t understand that”.
She also said she found it disturbing that her neighbor had “more compassion for animals than another human being”.
She claimed she and other neighbors made numerous complaints in the past that the dogs were not properly confined to their yard and were often roaming the area.
Barton has filed a complaint with police.
When contacted, Superintendent Audley Peters said the matter was reported to police and is being investigated.
He was unable to provide further comment at this time.
A relative shared graphic photos with Eyewitness News of her Barton’s injuries.
Kim Aranha, president of the Bahamas Humane Society, said the committee established under the Animal Protection and Control Act, 2010, has met less than a handful of times in over a decade.
That is not the way a guard dog or attack should be trained.
– Bahamas Humane Society President Kim Aranha
She implored the government to appoint that committee to enable more to be done in tragic situations such as Barton’s attack.
“We seem to have a very poor approach to training guard dogs and attack dogs,” she said.
“In other countries, if you have a guard dog or an attack dog, they are perfectly friendly until they are told to attack.
“Here, when you go up to security guards and…you can’t touch their dogs, they’re dangerous from the start.
“That is not the way a guard dog or attack [dog] should be trained.”
She said as a result of the poor training regimes, the majority of dogs trained to be guard dogs in The Bahamas are “potential disasters”.