Animal Advocates

Dog Dies After Porcupine Fight Embeds Quills

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Image from Miranda DeGennaro via New York Daily News

In New Jersey, a family is grieving the loss of their dog, who was killed in a fight with a porcupine.

On September 2, Chester, a 9-year-old pit bull mix, engaged the animal in a fight on the deck of his family’s home in Sussex County.

When the fight happened, Chester’s owner Miranda DeGennaro had just let the dog out for the last time before heading to bed. Numerous quills covered his face, chest, and stomach. Several quills were removed by the vets, but others pierced Chester’s internal organs, including his heart. The family had to take him to a specialist.

“He was trying to get them off his face. He was covered from head to toe, all down his back, and he was just trying to get them off, crying,” DeGennaro said.

“Our dog is ferocious, a very ferocious hunter. He (was probably) going at it, going at it – and that’s why they say they’ve never seen a case this bad,” she added.

Chester appeared to be recovering after emergency surgery, but he quickly weakened and died on September 10.

DeGennaro said, “The vet said she actually had his heart in her hand and was picking out the quills.” 

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection says it does not track the porcupine population in the state, but refers citizens to a warning on the website

“Dogs never seem to learn to avoid them, so keep dogs confined or on a leash when a porcupine is in the neighborhood.”

“I just didn’t know how deadly they could be, I didn’t even know that we have them in this area,” Miranda DeGennaro said. “I would hate for anyone to go through this, because it’s just awful. Traumatizing.”

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