Pit bull attacks, kills pet chihuahua in downtown Fort Myers

Published: September 13, 2022 6:48 PM EDT
Updated: September 16, 2022 5:09 AM EDT

A dog attack turned deadly in downtown Fort Myers on Monday night.

Philip Warner says he was walking his chihuahua Chapo with his wife when a pit bull came out of nowhere. Chapo, 4, didn’t make it, and had to be put down. Warner says Chapo was the nicest dog who never barked.

Now, the Warners will forever miss a family member.

“He grabbed our little guy and just immediately started shaking him and then tried to take off and run with him,” Warner said. “It was a full-blown attack mode. And you’re, I mean, we were in shock. You know, we never expected anything like that.”

Tensions escalated quickly. Warner said the pit bull’s owner restrained him instead of helping him remove Chapo from the dog’s drip. So, Warner did what he thought was best.

“I was able to reach around and get into my pocket and I pulled out a knife. And I just, out of survival mode, I just, I stabbed the dog. I don’t know where I hit it,” Warner said.

Responding Fort Myers police officers followed both dog owners to separate emergency hospitals, according to Lee County Animal Services.

The pit bull is going to be OK. Now, the only memories Warner has of his little guy are toys and an emergency vet bill for almost $600.

Chapo the chihuahua (CREDIT: Special to WINK News)

“He was our kid. And just, you know, he didn’t deserve to die. And he sure, sure didn’t deserve to die that way, so violently,” Warner said. “We’d fostered him at first, because he had a tough start in life. And then he was released to us and we adopted him. And he was just a sweet little, little guy. You know, he’d never do anything to anybody.”

Neither dog owners face criminal charges, but Warner has hired an attorney to press civil charges against the pit bull’s owner. Warner also wants the City of Fort Myers to pass an ordinance keeping certain breeds of dogs, like pit bulls, from being allowed downtown.

Warner said downtown Fort Myers isn’t as safe as it used to be.

“I didn’t think that anybody would be dumb enough to take a vicious animal like that,” Warner said. “There should be some kind of an ordinance where, you know, certain breeds should not be allowed downtown.”

According to an animal services report, both dogs wore leashes at the time of the attack.

“I actually feel safer in Miami than I do here,” Warner said. “If there had been a little child there, OK, that little child would have been seriously injured or killed.”