It was a call that made Steven Gowdy leave work immediately – news of his beloved cat of 16 years being attacked by a dog.
“When I got home, she was wrapped in a blanket and she was in the dog’s bed. And she crawled over and sat in my lap. And from the waist down, nothing worked.”
Gowdy rushed his cat named Boo to the vet, where he was told there was nothing they could do to save her.
Both Gowdy and the property manager Marsha Berg at Swift’s Trailer Park in North Fort Myers, where he lives, say they’ve seen the dogs running loose in the neighborhood for months.
Now they fear what else these dogs are capable of.
“I think for the community and peoples’ safety, it was a cat, but why do we have to wait for it to be a person?” Gowdy said. “Now I’m supposed to live inside, afraid to go into my yard or afraid to have my mother walk her dog because these three pit bulls are able to run the neighborhood? That’s not right.
Berg, who also lives at the park, is concerned for the older and disabled residents at the 55+ community, saying, “What’s to say it wouldn’t attack one of my disabled people that would not be able to get away. You know, they’re walking with walkers, or you know, who’s to say that couldn’t happen?”
People in the community say the dogs have owners and they live just outside the mobile home park.
Lee County Domestic Animal Services says they’re investigating but will not say what consequences the dogs or their owners could face.
“There’s doing the right thing,” Gowdy said, “and that’s getting the dogs off the streets.”
But even with justice, Berg will never be able to hold his cat, Boo, again.