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Beloved family dog dies after fight with a porcupine in the backyard of New Jersey home: “He was trying to get them off his face”

Photo courtesy of Miranda DeGennaro

A family in New Jersey is in mourning after their dog was killed in a fight with a porcupine. Chester, a 9-year-old pit bull-mix, fought the animal on the deck of his family’s Sussex County home on Sept. 2.

“I could hear him crying in the backyard and her yelling and screaming,” owner Brenda DeGennaro said. Chester had been let out for the last time when the scuffle occurred.

He had dozens of quills on his face, chest, and stomach when his family found him. “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.

Several quills were removed by veterinarians, but some pierced Chester’s organs, including his heart. His family was forced to take him to a specialist.

“Our dog is ferocious, a very ferocious hunter,” DeGennaro said. “He’s probably going at it, going at it, and that’s why they say they’ve never seen a case this bad.”

Chester appeared to be on the mend after emergency surgery, but he declined a few days later and died on September 10. “The vet said she actually had his heart in her hand and was picking out the quills,” DeGennaro said.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection says it does not track the state’s porcupine population but points to a warning on wildlifehelp.org:

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

“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 to this because it’s just awful, traumatizing.”

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