A Florida family was mauled by their pet dog after they tried to put a sweater on him, authorities said.
The pit bull mix named Scarface turned on Brenda Guerrero, 52, Friday afternoon after she took the dog outside her Tampa home, Tampa Patch reported.
The woman’s husband, Ismael Guerrero, 46, and son Antoine Harris, 22, both rushed to her aid and were attacked. During the scuffle, Harris reportedly stabbed the dog in the head and neck with a knife.
Responding animal control officers with Hillsborough County used a tranquilizer gun on the dog. When the dog escaped and ran into the house where children were, officials used a beanbag gun and a stun gun to finally capture the dog with a catchpole.
“Officers responding said the dog was pretty aggressive,” Eddy Durkin with Tampa Police told WFTS. “When they tased the dog, the dog was still pulling away and was able to release the prongs from the Taser.”
Brenda and Ismael Guerrero were both treated for injuries. Brenda Guerrero’s were considered serious but non-life-threatening, WTSP reported.
Neighbors told WFTS that the family got the dog about a month ago. It’s not clear what will happen to him.
Though sweaters may be cute accessories for dogs, it’s important to pay close attention to an animal’s body signals.
“Just gauge the animal’s reaction because you’ll be able to tell,” Sherry Silk, the CEO Humane Society of Tampa Bay, told The Huffington Post Monday.
“It’s just darn common sense and you have to be able to observe your dog and see,” she said. “If you see your animal shivering, seems cold, it’s OK to put a sweater on him.”
Dog whisperer Cesar Millan offers some advice on his website on how to better read a pet’s emotions by its physical gestures.
“Dogs can’t tell us in words what they’re thinking and feeling because they don’t have to. They’re expressing themselves constantly through body language,” he advises.
“The important parts to watch are the head, ears, tail, and back. The higher these are, the more dominant a dog is feeling, and the lower they are, the more submissive or uncertain her feelings. Look also for tension in the dog’s body, particularly in the back and legs. The more tense a dog is, the higher its energy level,” he states.
This story has been updated to include Sherry Silk’s interview.