HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – Terry Kunde still struggles with the pain of what he witnessed while serving in the US Army during the Vietnam War.
That’s one of the reasons that more than a decade ago he got Fletcher, a therapy dog.
“It still bothers me today. I got that dog as a therapy dog,” Terry said.
For years, Fletcher helped Terry deal with the horrors of war and Terry felt a deep kinship with his animal.
Last week, Terry says Fletcher was attacked in the family’s backyard by an American bulldog and ultimately died.
Terry’s wife, Randa, showed us the area in her backyard along a treeline that separates their property from next door.
That’s where she said the bulldog bolted through some palm trees last Thursday afternoon, viciously and fatally attacking Fletcher.
“[The bulldog] did a swoop around him and just went right in for his neck and picked him up by the neck and threshed him like he was a rag doll,” Randa said.
Terry remembers seeing Fletcher at the hospital.
“He had about 20 puncture wounds all around its neck,” Terry recalls. “The dog was in shock. The dog was frozen in shock. And I just let the dog know I was there and that everything would be ok.”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t ok. Fletcher died less than 48 hours later.
“It was horrible,” Randa said. “It was the most horrible experience of my lifetime.”
The Kunde’s tell CBS4 News that the attacking dog belonged to a couple who were staying for a few days at the house next to theirs.
CBS4’s Carey Codd knocked on the door of that home Tuesday but no one answered and we could not track down the homeowner or the owners of the dog.
The Kunde’s say the couple who own the dog initially showed compassion over Fletcher’s death but then refused to pay Fletcher’s medical bills.
The Kunde’s are devastated over the loss of such a precious and meaningful part of their lives.
“Life without Fletcher is really sad,” Randa said. “I’m having a really hard time with it. I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep at all.”
Terry, meanwhile, is dealing with the loss of a beloved family member.
“He was just all around my buddy,” Terry said. “He understood me, I understood him. I miss him a lot. I miss him a lot.”
This couple says they’d like to see greater enforcement against dog breeds that have a history of violence. They hope that city or county leaders take up that cause.
In the meantime, the Kunde’s are awaiting the outcome of an investigation by the Hollywood Police Department.
A police spokesperson told CBS4 News that investigators are still finishing up their police reports.