Family left heartbroken after Pit Bull mix dies following tussle with porcupine

dog attacked by a porcupine
(Image credit: Facebook miranda.degennaro / Getty Images)

A family in New Jersey are mourning the death of their beloved Pit Bull mix after a fight with a porcupine left the pup with quills inside his body that proved fatal.

Miranda DeGennaro’s canine companion, Chester, was on a deck outside their home at 2am in early September when he encountered the spiked rodent and attacked it.

"We saw him running and barking, so we ran down the deck, but it was too late." DeGennaro told

The tussle left Chester with quills in his face, chest and abdomen, but it wasn’t until he was assessed by a vet that it was discovered that several quills were also lodged inside his body.

Porcupines live in most rural areas across North America, but DeGennaro had no idea and said she would have put a lot more precautions in place to protect Chester had she been aware that he might encounter one.

"Unfortunately, most dogs who get into trouble with porcupines do not learn from their mistakes,” VCA Animal Hospitals state on their website. 

“The best defense against porcupine quills is prevention. Avoid allowing dogs to roam at dusk or after dark, and prevent them from going into areas with known porcupine dens," it reports.

DeGennaro did all the right things to help Chester following his encounter with the porcupine, avoiding removing any of the quills and seeking veterinary help. Unfortunately, an investigation revealed that the pup had swallowed some quills, which proved fatal. 

“The quills were everywhere, around his heart, his lungs, his esophagus and in his digestive system," she said. Moving freely within his body, there was serious concern that one of the quills might pierce an organ.

Although DeGennaro did not have the $12,000 down payment that was necessary, Oradell Animal Hospital in New Jersey agreed to perform surgery on Chester in an attempt to save his life. Sadly, his injuries were too extensive and he died while on the operating table.

In a social media post that she shared following Chester’s death, DeGennaro warned dog owners to be more aware of the dangers that porcupines pose.

"Wanted to give one last psa [public service announcement] of the dangers of porcupines. Had I known there was any potential for my boy's life to be risked I would have taken more precautions to prevent anything like this from happening.”

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.