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Monday, April 20, 2015


2015 First Quarter Report: Municipalities and Grassroots Beat Back State Preemption Bills Barring Local Pit Bull Ordinances

A Primer on State Preemption Laws and Charts for Advocates


CDC and state preemption laws prohibiting pit bull laws
Chart illustrates 35-years of U.S. fatal pit bull attacks in 5-year periods. We added short teal vertical bars to indicate when each state passed a preemption law barring municipalities from enacting pit bull ordinances. We also marked the end of the CDC's 20-year study period, 1998, showing the dramatic rise in fatalities since.

DogsBite.org - During the first quarter of the 2015 legislative season, state preemption bills prohibiting local governments from enacting breed-specific laws were brought in five states: Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Montana and Washington. In all five states the legislation failed.1 This is a 100% success rate for cities and counties retaining local control and a 0% success rate for the chief pushers of these bills, Utah-based fighting dog advocates, Best Friends Animal Society.
To reiterate, so far in 2015, Best Friends has a 0% success rate in passing these state bills and in 2014, only had a 33% success rate.
That is the bright news; the dark news is the 35-year death chart. Deaths inflicted by pit bulls have increased by 560% since the 5-year period of 1995 through 1999, which includes the last four years of the CDC study. The CDC has no plans to revisit this issue either. On top of this, a second wave of state preemption bills erupted in 2012. Why any state legislator today would prohibit local governments from regulating this well-recognized dangerous dog breed is frankly inexplicable.

State preemption laws backed by big industry interests are not new. Such laws were historically pursued by the tobacco industry, and continue to be today, to impede local tobacco laws. This strategy by the tobacco lobby was so successful that a range of other big industries began pursuing state preemption laws as well. Grassroots public health movements often suffer the most, as these laws essentially extinguish the motivation to organize and take action locally.
[I]f you take away the ability of people to make policies, to create rules at the local level, then there's far less incentive for people to organize and act because they don't have an opportunity to take action at the local level. That strategy is ... something that can take the wind out of the sails very quickly. - PMB, Key Informant Interviews 2010 | Public Health Law Center2
Two Waves of State Preemption Laws

Wave I of state preemption laws prohibiting the regulation of dangerous dog breeds occurred just after 1987 when the pit bull mauling epidemic exploded across America, dominating local and national news publications and television news coverage. By 1992, dogfighting and dog breeder interests had pushed through preemption laws in ten states, including three of the most populous, California, Florida and Texas, in an effort to stop local jurisdictions from adopting pit bull laws.3

Between 1997 and 2004, three more states passed these laws. Wave II officially began in 2012, chiefly driven by Best Friends and dog breeder interests.4 From 2012 to 2014 six new states passed state-level bills barring local governments from regulating specific dog breeds. Today, there are 19 states with these types of state preemption laws. Jurisdictions in at least one state, Colorado, can supersede the preemption law under home rule authority, effectively muting it.5

In addition to home rule authority variances amongst states, state preemption laws vary as well. Primarily they center upon the prohibition of declaring a specific breed "dangerous" or "vicious" (prima facie legal designation). California, which has a mixed preemption law, explicitly allows for the regulation of specific breeds via spay, neuter status -- mandatory pit bull sterilization laws are legal -- but does not allow specific breeds to be declared "potentially dangerous" or "vicious."

The question lingers, what prompted Wave II? The radically rising number of deaths inflicted by pit bulls is a logical guess. Along with a rising number of voters who do not want a pit bull living next door. It is much easier for the pit bull lobby to fight one state-level battle than to fight many local ones, a page out of the tobacco lobby's handbook.6 Also, state preemption laws pushed by big industries to squelch health and safety grassroots movements are "trending" again in general.7

Despite 19 states passing these preemption laws, currently over 850 jurisdictions across 37 states in this country regulate pit bulls. On a federal level, all three major military divisions, the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force, outright ban these dogs and several other breeds on base and privatized housing. Federal and state housing authorities typically ban this same small group of dangerous dog breeds too. Even a large number of Indian reservations have followed suit.

Preemption Wave II Hits Resistance

DogsBite.org had its hands full after the 2012 Solesky decision and the ensuing four legislative sessions spent defending the Court of Appeals decision. This lasted until March 2014, well into the second wave. However, 2014 is also the first year our nonprofit and a grassroots effort to fend off these state laws gained traction. Preemption laws were brought in six states in 2014 and just two passed, a 33% pass rate. One of the passing states was Utah, the home base of Best Friends.8

Victories in Missouri and Washington last year, and a growing number of advocates engaging in letter writing campaigns to state legislators, evolved into an even stronger effort during the first quarter of 2015, likely helping to tip the scale to a 100% victory. The real powerhouses, however, are the municipal associations that fight at a state-level to protect cities and counties from losing local control in a range of areas. Once that area of local control is gone, it's usually gone for good.
Since the passage of the first state preemption law in 1989, barring breed-specific ordinances, not a single state has managed to repeal one.
In addition to municipal associations, other state-based groups, our nonprofit and a grassroots campaign fighting these state preemption bills, we believe that some state legislators are growing tired of the "breed controversy." Many legislators do not like hot potato issues that light up their phones and stem from out-of-state special interest groups. At least momentarily, 2015's current 100% victory record for municipalities retaining local control has thrown a wrench into Wave II.9

We expect four of these bills to return in 2016. Some may emerge in other states as well. It is not costly for Best Friends or dog breeder interests to get these bills introduced, often they are only one or two sentences long. But trying to pass them through both chambers can become expensive by hiring more lobbyists, local recruiting and more. Like the tobacco lobby, we expect these groups to be relentless in bringing these preemption bills in the coming years, until Wave II officially dies.

Summary and Call to Action

Despite our health and safety cause lacking lobbyists and formal legislative organization -- which is directly opposite from Best Friends and dog breeder interests who have both -- our vital cause has so far been successful in 2015. Fighting these state preemption bills is not a sprint. Wave I lasted five years. It is unknown how long Wave II will last. We created the charts and information in this post to provide advocates with more materials when communicating with state legislators.

Together we can do this! Grassroots health and safety advocates powerfully impacted first quarter's successful results, as well as in 2014. Our freight train is starting to roll and we need you on board! Understanding state preemption laws -- who typically brings them and who is typically harmed -- is the first step in coming on board. Advocates are now also armed with the powerful 35-year death chart that sends a concrete message to legislators considering one of these bills.

Immediate at-risk states, as of second quarter 2015, include North Carolina. On April 14, state preemption bill HB 751 was filed that prohibits local governments from enacting breed-specific ordinances.10 At-risk states in 2016, expected to again face these state preemption bills, include: Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky and Washington. In Georgia and Washington, both state preemption bills introduced in 2015 automatically carry over into 2016 (known as "carry-over" legislation).

View new release: First Quarter Report: Municipalities and Grassroots Prevail Against State Preemption Bills Barring Local Pit Bull Ordinances

Advocates please also read the related post, 2015 First Quarter Legislative Highlights, for a deeper account of the successes, lockouts and tough lessons learned during the first quarter.

states that preempt local governments from enacting pit bull ordinances

This post originally stated that 1982 was the first year a state passed this type of preemption law based upon reviewing Pennsylvania's 1982 Act 225. Upon closer examination of the 1982 Act, just after releasing this post, we found that Section 507-A was added to the 1982 Act in May 1990, right in the heart of the Wave I.

1First quarter failed legislation: Arizona Senate Bill 1292; Georgia House Bill 124 and Senate Bill 184; Kentucky Senate Bill 124; Montana Senate Bill 239 and Washington House Bill 1018.
2We strongly recommend that advocates read this brief overview, "Preemption in Public Health" and review this slideshow: Preemption and the Public’s Health New Research, Practical Lessons, by Mark Pertschuk, JD. Public Health Law Center (www.publichealthlawcenter.org)
3Read more about this time period: Historical articles examining pit bulls and their victim | Watch related video
4Of course there are lobbyists from the AVMA, ASPCA, HSUS and other humane groups that support these laws, but these groups are typically not the bringers of Wave II state preemption bills. That role is reserved for the strange bedfellows of Best Friends, dog breeders (AKC) and hunting dog groups.
5Illinois and Rhode Island are also home rule states, but no municipality has ever challenged this legal angle like the city and county of Denver did.
6 "By introducing preemptive statewide legislation we can shift the battle away from the community level back to the state legislatures where we are on stronger ground." -Tina Walls, Philip Morris, July 8, 1994. (Preemption: Tobacco Control’s #1 Enemy). Here is another great read to help understand state preemption legislation and the usual forces behind it. The article also refers back to the infamous 1994 Phillip Morris quote: Big Food Strikes Back, Ag Industry Aims to Strip Local Control of Food Supplies, by Britt Bailey and Brian Tokar, CounterPunch, May 26, 2005 (www.counterpunch.org).
7Preemption Takes Center Stage in 2015, Grassroots Change, November 7, 2014 (grassrootschange.net) and States Are Blocking Local Regulations, Often at Industry’s Behest, by Shaila Dewan, New York Times, February 23, 2015 (www.nytimes.com)
8A no-brainer win.
9When we say momentarily, we mean it. Many state legislative sessions only last for the first 90 to 120 days of the year, but others last longer, even the full year. More of these state preemption bills are coming down the pike in 2015.
10After locating HB 751, we performed more searches on the legislature's website and found that HB 271, a separate state preemption bill, was also filed in North Carolina in mid March. The preemption clause is buried within HB 271, which overhauls the state's dangerous dog law. HB 271 modifies section: 67-4.5. Local ordinances (see existing wording). Underlined type shows the bill's "added" preemption language.
pit bull"Nothing in this Article shall be construed to prevent a city or county from adopting or enforcing its own program, law, or regulation for control of dangerous dogs, provided that no such program, law, or regulation shall be specific as to the breed, phenotype, or appearance of the dogs subject to it."

Related articles:
02/11/15: 2014 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities - Dog Bite Statistics - DogsBite.org
01/07/15: 2014 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org
11/24/14: Aurora Voters Favor Keeping Pit Bull Ban by Wide Margin in General Election...
07/02/14: Dr. David A. Billmire, MD: "There is no need for Pit Bulls" - Cincinnati Children's
06/01/14: Cities with Successful Pit Bull Laws; Data Shows Breed-Specific Laws Work
05/27/14: Missouri - Proposed Statewide Bill Prohibiting Breed-Specific Ordinances...
03/19/14: 30-Year Anniversary of Historic Pit Bull Attack Victim and The Village of Tijeras...
09/13/13: Dramatic Decline in Pit Bulls Attacks Since Pawtucket Adopted Pit Bull Ban...
08/16/12: Vote in Miami-Dade County to Repeal Pit Bull Ban Fails by Wide Margin

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2015 First Quarter Legislative Highlights: Local Control Dominates, We Salute You Health and Safety Advocates!

Successes, Lockouts and a Doubleheader in Georgia


local control retains control of breed-specific oridances

DogsBite.org - Municipal associations and grassroots advocates are dominating so far in 2015. During the first quarter, all five state preemption bills prohibiting local governments from enacting breed-specific laws were rejected. This is a 100% success rate for cities and counties retaining local control. Grassroots advocates helped make this victory possible -- we salute you! This post is dedicated to each of you and to all who will help us fight future state preemption law battles.

State Legislative Sessions

Many state legislative sessions occur in the first 90 or 120 days of the year. This is true of the five states in early 2015 that considered state preemption bills that would bar local pit bull ordinances: Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Montana and Washington. This year's 3-month period can only be described as "frenzied" as the bills moved in and out of committees and chambers, at times rapidly, each one on a different (or unknown) voting schedule, simultaneously in multiple states.
Just tracking the bills at times was difficult; each state has a different website structure and logic, some are modern and others are not.
More importantly, each state also has its own nuanced legislative system, legislative rules and traditions. This is where lobbyists and insiders come in handy, people who know how that state system works. Our cause does not have either type of entity nor do we have any formal legislative organization. The upshot is that the two primary pushers of these state bills, Utah-based fighting dog advocates Best Friends and dog breeder interests, have both and still lost all five states!

Notification of Public Hearings

One of the toughest lessons learned in early 2015 concerns public hearing information. There often isn't much public access to it. Even when there are state laws, such as in Washington where 5 days notice is required for a public hearing, the rules can be suspended by a majority vote at any time. Of all five states, Washington had the best email notification system for tracking bills and public hearing announcements, but even that system failed when it was needed the most.

For weeks, several Washington state advocates were "on call" to attend the public hearing on House Bill 1018, the same state preemption bill that was introduced by Rep. Sherry Appleton in 2014. DogsBite was familiar with their email notification system due to our participation on last year's bill. Despite every other House Judiciary Committee notification reaching our inbox, the hearing notice for HB 1018, allegedly sent in early February, never arrived. (View inbox)1
If there is no adequate announcement of public hearings, how can the public participate? They cannot and that we learned is by design.
Therefore, no victims' advocates appeared at the February 11 hearing.2 Supporters of HB 1018 were somehow notified and did attend. Only by manually checking the legislative website -- by habit on February 12 -- did DogsBite learn the hearing had already occurred. Fortunately, it was videotaped, so we were able to quickly send the link out to advocates who watched it then wrote to committee members with corrections to inaccurate statements made by supporters of the bill.

The kicker, however, turned out to be Rep. Appleton herself. The ethereal oral testimony given by Rep. Appleton is riddled with "personal" and anecdotal statements (Fast forward to 1:37 to watch). DogsBite.org was so alarmed by it that we transcribed her testimony in full to share with others then fired off an email to the committee chair pointing out that Rep. Appleton's only citation given during her testimony, a 1920 United States Supreme Court decision, was 100% inaccurate.
Subject Line: HB 1018 - Cited Supreme Court ruling 100% false
Dear House Judiciary Chair Rep. Laurie Jinkins,
pit bullI watched the public hearing for HB 1018 that would terminate the right of local governments from regulating dangerous dog breeds in the state of Washington. I also transcribed Rep. Appleton's oral testimony, which is filled with "personal" and anecdotal statements and lacks even the most modest citations.
pit bullHowever, she did cite one case by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1920, Nicchia v. New York, and alleged that the decision found that it was "unconstitutional to have breed-specific ordinances" (her exact words). I will briefly explain why Rep. Appleton’s reasoning is like saying Brown v. Board of Education supports separate schools for black and white students.
pit bullPart of the primary basis of the Nicchia v. New York decision relies upon the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Sentell v. New Orleans & Carrollton R. Co. - 166 U.S. 698 (1897), which determined that the "property in dogs is of an imperfect or qualified nature" and that government officials could shoot and kill loose dogs that pose a danger to the community.
pit bullThe combination of citing Nicchia and Sentell by appellate courts pertaining to upholding well-written breed-specific ordinances was done as recently as 2007 (American Canine Foundation v. Sun, Dist. Court, ND California 2007). These two SCOTUS decisions are used to support breed-specific laws, which is in direct opposition to Rep. Appleton’s analysis. - Colleen Lynn, DogsBite.org, Feb. 14, 2015
Read: DogsBite.org's email to committee chair, Rep. Laurie Jinkins
Read: Rep. Appleton's testimony, transcribed and annotated by DogsBite.org

Arizona, Kentucky and Montana

Grassroots participation in Arizona was unnecessary as Senate President Andy Biggs kept Senate Bill 1292 buried in the Rules Committee. The main lobbyist for Best Friends, Ledy VanKavage, issued an alert to their Legislative Action Center on February 12: "AZ: Tell Senate President Biggs to stop obstructing SB 1292. Demand action now!" Senator Biggs was not moved. The state preemption bill received a ceremonial first reading on the eve of sine die, session adjournment.

Another missed public hearing occurred in Kentucky despite having a committed advocate standing by. By manually checking the Legislative Calendar on February 15 (we checked it daily) we learned the hearing for Senate Bill 124 had been scheduled for February 17 in the Senate Agriculture Committee. The 17th was truly the one day the advocate could not attend. We also signed up for the bill tracking system on the Kentucky website, no notifications were ever sent.3

Fortunately, SB 124 did not see much action after passing out of the Agriculture Committee on February 24 and being assigned to the Rules Committee the next day. It also died in Rules, the committee chairman never sent it to the Senate floor for a vote. Even an announcement by the AKC did not help move the bill. Montana Senate Bill 239 did make it out of committee and lost by only 3 votes on the Senate floor, 23 to 26 on Feb 21. The bill was then "indefinitely postponed."
A close call indeed, but the bill still would have had to pass the House. VanKavage decried on her Facebook page, "failed in the senate by 3 votes. Aghhhhhh. Guess we will have to try again in another 2 years."
Doubleheader in Georgia

Georgia House Bill 124 was the last to come to our attention in late February. At that time the bill was sitting in the House Governmental Affairs Committee slowly dying; the committee chair was unwilling to give the bill a public hearing. We all breathed a sigh of relief; there were already three active bills in other states. Then Senate Bill 184 was introduced by a more powerful legislator. The Senate version accomplished the same preemption goal as HB 124, just stated in a different way.

The other side was scrambling. They knew HB 124 was dead and the March 13 crossover date was looming. Many states have a crossover deadline when a bill must pass one chamber or be declared dead. SB 184 was referred to the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, where three of the bill's sponsors held a seat. The bill quickly reported out favorably. On March 11, just two days later, the bill was on the Senate floor and passed in a sweeping 42 to 11 vote.

On March 13, the Senate version of the state preemption bill landed right back into the House Governmental Affairs Committee whose chairman had not shown interest in the House version. Would the chairman call a hearing before sine die? Unlike in Washington state, the typical hearing announcement in Georgia is about 24 hours notice. We reached out to Rep. Keisha Waites and alerted her to the bill, she had previously helped Angela Rutledge after the death of her son.

On March 27, just days before adjournment, the chairman called for a hearing on SB 184 on March 30. Rep. Waites attended, but it was a closed hearing. We then learned that the chairman never allowed her to speak. This news was unbearable! We also learned that a municipal association group put forth an amendment during the meeting, lessening the blow of the bill, but the other side balked. The state preemption bill was then tabled, three days before sine die.

In both Washington and Georgia, bills from the 2015 legislative session carry over into 2016. We anticipate an extensive battle in Georgia and so do their legislators. On March 31, Rep. Waites submitted House Resolution 906 with four sponsors, "urging the State of Georgia to consider the devastation caused by pit bull attacks when crafting legislation regulating dogs so as not to impose on local governments that choose to regulate those dogs for the safety of the community."
House Resolution 906
pit bullWHEREAS, allowing local control over issues deemed relevant to political subdivisions of this state is critical to individual liberty and a well-functioning democracy; and
pit bullWHEREAS, cities that adopt breed-specific regulatory schemes for the control of dogs do so because of public safety concerns; and
pit bullWHEREAS, the dangerous attack style and the general tenacity once an attack has begun make the pit bull an especially dangerous dog during a confrontation; and
pit bullWHEREAS, pit bulls statistically cause more damage and more fatalities than other dog breeds not as a result of inherent aggression or temperament, but because of their unique fighting capabilities and tendencies; and
pit bullWHEREAS, localities that regulate pit bulls do so because classification systems which label dogs as dangerous after a first attack do not take into consideration the severity of a first attack by a pit bull, which can cause severe injury, disfigurement, or death; and
pit bullWHEREAS, it is reasonable for local governments to consider and impose restrictions on classes of dogs that statistically cause more harm to humans, especially children, when they attack; and
pit bullWHEREAS, because pit bulls kill more people than all dog breeds combined, the state should not interfere with the right of local governments to proactively protect their citizens ... [Read in full]
House Resolution 906 Sponsors

House Resolution 906 GeorgiaHouse Resolution 906 GeorgiaHouse Resolution 906 GeorgiaHouse Resolution 906 GeorgiaHouse Resolution 906 Georgia
Please send each of these courageous Georgia Representatives a thank you email today!

Summary and Call to Action

We cannot fix poor tracking systems or how public hearings are scheduled, typically with no hard or fast rules. But we can anticipate both realities in the future. There were times this year when many of us felt jolted by the lack of a democratic process that we had expected to be present in a state legislative system. That was the hardest lesson to learn of all, we were simply too naïve. Despite this, all five state preemption bills failed and we know that advocate engagement helped!
Thank you so much for all of your hard work advocates! But, 2015 is not over -- a similar preemption bill was just introduced in North Carolina.
Immediate at-risk states, as of second quarter 2015, include North Carolina. On April 14, state preemption bill HB 751 was filed that prohibits local governments from enacting breed-specific ordinances.4 At-risk states in 2016, expected to again face these state preemption bills, include: Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky and Washington. In Georgia and Washington, both state preemption bills introduced in 2015 automatically carry over into 2016 (known as "carry-over" legislation).

View new release: First Quarter Report: Municipalities and Grassroots Prevail Against State Preemption Bills Barring Local Pit Bull Ordinances

Advocates please also read the related post, 2015 First Quarter Report and a Primer on State Preemption Laws, for a deeper understanding of these laws; the post also contains visual charts.

1To add to the mystery and confusion, when we complained to Legislative Support afterward (and sent screenshots), they told us the email alert went out on 02/04/14. At the time that we read that email, we presumed they had meant this year, 02/04/15. Only by revisiting the email while writing this post did we catch this conflict. You can see on our screenshot 2014 alerts as well, including 02/04/14. That alert did have information about last year's bill (HB 2117). Even Legislative Support told us conflicting information! At the end of the day, there remains no explanation as to why we never received the alleged February 4, 2015 notification.
pit bull"We have checked past bulletins and the committee hearing for HB 1018 was listed in the House Judiciary Hearing e-mail for 2/11/2014. This bulletin was sent out on 2/4/2014 and lists all the bills being heard in the Judiciary committee for the week of 2/8 through 2/15. The listing was also included in the Combined Meeting Schedule emailed out at the same time." - Legislative Support

2Alex Soldano, who represented the city of Pasco did appear. Pasco has a breed-specific ordinance that declares pit bulls "potentially dangerous." Soldano put forth key amendments, "so that hopefully we can come to a friendly agreement and this piece of legislation can move forward," Soldano said. Key amendments included allowing current jurisdictions with pit bull ordinances to keep them, so long as they allow for due process, along with exempting pit bulls from local ordinances if the dog passes the AKC Canine Good Citizen test (bad idea, but compromise is required in a bicameral system).
3We later learned that along with the confusing sign up process, once inside the Bill Watch system, there was yet "another" email configuration required if you wanted email notifications sent. We never received any emails because we had not known about this second tier (until after sine die). Despite these struggles, the Bill Watch system it turns out had no notification for the Feb. 17 public hearing anyway. That could only be learned by manually checking the daily Legislative Calendar in a different area of the website. Lessons learned!
4After locating HB 751, we performed more searches on the legislature's website and found that HB 271, a separate state preemption bill, was also filed in North Carolina in mid March. The preemption clause is buried within HB 271, which overhauls the state's dangerous dog law. HB 271 modifies section: 67-4.5. Local ordinances (see existing wording). Underlined type shows the bill's "added" preemption language.
pit bull"Nothing in this Article shall be construed to prevent a city or county from adopting or enforcing its own program, law, or regulation for control of dangerous dogs, provided that no such program, law, or regulation shall be specific as to the breed, phenotype, or appearance of the dogs subject to it."

Related articles:
02/11/15: 2014 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities - Dog Bite Statistics - DogsBite.org
01/07/15: 2014 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org
11/24/14: Aurora Voters Favor Keeping Pit Bull Ban by Wide Margin in General Election...
07/02/14: Dr. David A. Billmire, MD: "There is no need for Pit Bulls" - Cincinnati Children's
06/01/14: Cities with Successful Pit Bull Laws; Data Shows Breed-Specific Laws Work
05/27/14: Missouri - Proposed Statewide Bill Prohibiting Breed-Specific Ordinances...
03/19/14: 30-Year Anniversary of Historic Pit Bull Attack Victim and The Village of Tijeras... 
09/13/13: Dramatic Decline in Pit Bulls Attacks Since Pawtucket Adopted Pit Bull Ban...
08/16/12: Vote in Miami-Dade County to Repeal Pit Bull Ban Fails by Wide Margin

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2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Family Pit Bull Kills Baby Boy in Dallas, Texas

family pit bull kills Dallas baby
Pet Pit Bull Kills Baby
Dallas, TX - Dallas police report that a 2-month old baby boy was mauled to death by his family's pit bull on Sunday afternoon. The deadly attack occurred in the Red Bird neighborhood on the 6800 block of Beechnut Street at about 5:00 pm. At the time of the attack, the boy and his father were alone at the home. The father had stepped outside to turn on the sprinkler system. When he returned, the pit bull was attacking the baby who was in a bouncing seat, according to police.

As the father tried to pull the dog off his baby boy, the mother arrived home and walked in on the fatal dog mauling scene and was bitten twice by the attacking animal. The father was eventually able to grab the family pit bull by the neck and tear it away from the boy and his mother. The father then dragged the animal outside and shot it twice, according to Dallas police. The 2-month old baby boy, Brayden Wilson, was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Family Pit Bull was 8-Years Old

CBS 11 News reported Monday that the family pit bull, named Grady, was 8-years old. The dog had been with the family for nearly a decade and had played with other children before. CBS spoke with the child's grandmother who said that family members are "in shock" that the pit bull would suddenly turn on the child. The grandmother also told CBS 11 that other children were at the home at the time of the savage attack, but were playing outside and did not see the violence.
“It’s just unexplainable. You just don’t get it when you’ve had the dog so long, I don’t know what could have happened. I don’t know." - Willetta Tate
Tate said the other children are 8 and 11 years old and had grown up with the dog. "Those kids, they sleep with him and everything," she said. A similar case occurred in 2013 in Georgia, when a family pit bull of 8-years, named Kissy Face, savagely killed a 2-year old boy. The female, spayed pit bull had known the boy since his birth and his older sister who was 6-years old when the attack occurred. The boy's mother, Angela Rutledge, later told her painful story to a state legislator.

The video shows Brayden's mother emotional after returning home from the hospital. "Like I said, kids play with him every day, littler kids, nieces and nephews and I just... I don’t know," Tate echoed. Then the video cuts to neighbor Chanel Villarreal who also owns a pit bull that she dragged for out the cameras. Because by all means, just after the violent mauling death of a baby by a family pit bull is certainly a ripe time to showcase anecdotal nonsense by a pit bull owner.

Child Protective Services interviewed the family twice. CPS has no prior history with the family.
map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: Texas Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

Texas Dog Bite Victims' Advocacy - Join our Texas email list to stay informed

Related articles:
01/19/15: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Texas 'Dog Rescuer' Killed by Dogs She Rescued
12/12/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: San Antonio Woman, 83, Dies After Pit Bull Attack
04/15/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Comal County Woman, 75, Dies After Pit Bull Attack 
03/12/13: Report: Texas Dog Bite Fatalities, January 1, 2005 to February 17, 2013
05/21/11: Texas Doctors Produce Study: Mortality, Mauling and Maiming by Vicious Dogs

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Thursday, April 16, 2015


2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pahrump Man Dies One Month After Vicious Pit Bull Attack

pit bull kills pahrump man in violent attack
Witness Interviewed
UPDATE 04/16/15: After the media began reporting the death of Kenneth Ford Wednesday, News 3 interviewed a man who said that he saw the violent March 13 attack. Going only by "Ron," he paints a very grim picture, including that the dogs chewed off the man's left hand and he lost six pints of blood. One of the two men who came to Ford's aid, and was also viciously attacked, spent 23 days in the hospital. The Nye County district attorney continues to interview witnesses.
News 3: It happened back on March 13. Ron, who doesn't want to be on camera saw it all happen.
Ron: I've never seen nothing like that in my life.
News 3: He thinks the dogs were provoked.
Ron: I sat down here on the porch and I seen the guy that's in jail now, out here in front of the house, beating these three dogs with a stick.
News 3: The next thing he says he saw was 79-year old Kent Ford who was taking care of this home for the owner walked up to the door and was viciously attacked.
Ron: Cause the dogs absolutely chewed his left hand plum off. He lost six pints of his blood. And his face was tore off. His eye was hanging out. I mean I have never seen nothing like that.
News 3: Ron says that two neighbors, Jerry and Manny, came to Kenneth's aid, but they were also attacked. The neighbors knew their choices were limited.
Ron: That's when he come running and he said, "Get your gun" and Manny shot one, and it did not even slow him down. He just kept attacking.
News 3: Two of the dogs were shot, and as officers and an ambulance arrived, the dogs ran off. Ford was clinging to life.
Ron: He was in the ambulance, he actually died in the ambulance, and they brought him back to life.
News 3: He died Tuesday at a Sunrise hospital. All three dogs were caught and put down. The two other victims in the case are still recovering from their injuries. One spent 23 days in the hospital. Just returned a couple of days ago. He didn't want to go on camera for this story, saying he may get an attorney and file a lawsuit in this case.
It was initially reported that owner's pit bulls had previously attacked another man. The Pahrump Valley Times, however, states there are no known previous attacks on humans. If true, this may complicate criminal charges. While police continue to investigate the March 13 attack, it is known that Davidson was cited twice for allowing his dogs to run loose, once in February 2013 and September 2014. In August 2014, Davidson was cited after his dogs attacked another animal.

04/15/:15: Pit Bull Attack Victim Dies
Pahrump, NV - A man brutally attacked by three pit bulls back in March has died of his injuries, according to the Clark County coroner's office. Kenneth Lawrence Ford, 79-years old, died Tuesday at University Medical Center. During the vicious attack, the pit bulls also attacked two men who came to Ford's aid, both suffered serious injuries. Ford was air lifted to University Medical Center with critical injuries at that time, according to deputies. He died one month later.

Background of Attack

On March 13, Nye County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a landlord and tenant two-home property in Pahrump. Ford was on the property to feed the landlord's cats when three pit bulls belonging to the tenant scaled a six-foot fence and attacked him. Two men intervened and were also attacked. Both suffered severe injuries, but were able to drag Ford through a gate and close it. But the pit bulls found a hole in the fence and continued attacking even after two were shot.
pit bullThe animals continued to attack and were not deterred by the gunshot wounds, but were frightened off by the arrival of an ambulance, police said. - Las Vegas Review Journal, March 13, 2015
Neighbor Maria Wells, who witnessed part of the violent attack told 8 News Now, "He was in shock. He was bleeding terribly." Another neighbor said the scene was, "overwhelming." The tenant and owner of the three pit bulls, 40-year old, Ricky Davidson, was arrested and booked into the Nye County Detention Center on multiple charges of keeping a vicious dog resulting in substantial bodily harm. Eight months earlier, Davidson's pit bulls had also attacked another man.

Davidson continues to remain behind bars since the March 13 attack. In late March, Judge Ron Kent denied a request by Davidson's attorney that he be released on his own recognizance. At that point, some charges had still not been filed as police were still investigating "numerous additional cases active against Davidson." It is possible that the Nye County prosecutor will elevate charges due to Ford's death. Davidson's next scheduled court appearance is April 29.

In 2013, Nevada legislators passed a state preemption law prohibiting local governments from enacting breed-specific ordinances. In the last two months, there have been multiple high profile pit bull maulings in the state. Both resulted in criminal charges against the owner of the dogs.

pit bulls kill pahrump manpit bulls kill pahrump manpit bulls kill pahrump man

Related articles:
06/25/14: Total Chaos: Husband Recounts Violent Pit Bull Attack Inside Patrolled...
05/13/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: 1-Year Old Henderson Boy Killed by Family Dog

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Friday, April 3, 2015


2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Elderly Washington, Georgia Woman Killed in Dog Attack

washington, georgia woman killed by dogs
Fatal Dog Attack
Washington, GA - On March 31, an elderly woman was discovered dead in a ditch in Washington, Georgia. Local authorities were alerted at about 8:30 am that morning. Wilkes County Sheriff's Office and investigators from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) completed an investigation at the scene and the body was sent to the GBI crime lab. On Friday, the autopsy results of 81-year old Neta Lee Adams were released. The cause of death was traumatic injury from a dog attack.

Though details continue to be sparse, we've gathered some background information below.

Location of Fatal Dog Attack

Thus far, news reports have simply stated "Gordon Street" without a block identifier. One can see that Gordon Street is not very long and that a quarter of it runs by Wills Memorial Hospital. Once passed the hospital, Google Street View shows more rural stretches, but a sidewalk is maintained on one side of the street the whole length. Also, The News Reporter appears to be the most local newspaper, but news articles about the most recent two weeks are restricted to subscribers.

The Reporter’s Facebook page has not been updated since Friday, April 3, when the autopsy results were announced confirming the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries inflicted by one or more dogs. Sheriff Mark Moore is following up on any reports of loose dogs in the city and states, "There is an ordinance that makes it illegal to allow your dogs to run loose in the city, but it's different now. We've had a senior citizen killed by a dog on the streets of Washington."

Dogfighting Activities Noted

Despite the city of Washington only having a population of 4,042 (2013 data) and a 7.8 mile square radius, dogfighting activities have been in the area. A March 2009 raid on a home, where suspected illegal drug use and illegal dogfighting had been occurring, yielded at least three arrests. Lt. Joseph Nelson with the Washington Police Department said at that time, "This is the worst dogfighting or animal cruelty case that I've investigated or worked here in this community."

In 2012, after hoping they had eradicated the blood sport in their city and county, another incident occurred. A badly injured male pit bull was dumped near the county landfill. Washington-Wilkes Animal Shelter Director Gloria Wheatley said then, "I can’t stop dogfighting here all by myself. It’s going to take all of us to educate our neighbors, to report suspected dogfighting, and to tell dog fighters to go to another county." The rural animal shelter serves Washington and Wilkes County.

Related articles:
05/23/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Fulton County Infant Killed by Family Pit Bull
04/17/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Bryan County Toddler Killed by Family Pit Bulls
09/08/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Missing Georgia Child Killed by Dog
08/17/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: 23-Year Old 'Dog Rescuer' Mauled to Death by Own Dogs

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Book Review: Misunderstood Nanny Dogs? A Critical and Objective Analysis of the Facts & Myths Concerning Pit Bulls

By J. Thomas Beasley

Misunderstood Nanny Dogs
View on Amazon
DogsBite.org - This short, easy to read version of the pit bull problem today and the history of the pit bull breed is a must for supporters. At the cost of only $6.99, we recommend buying several copies, ready to give to friends and colleagues. In a free-flowing writing style, J. Thomas Beasley dives into the sobering pit bull mauling epidemic in our country, the primary false myths trumpeted by the pit bull lobby and pulls in pop culture figures like Jon Stewart, Tia Torres and more.
Beasley presents an abundance of evidence and asks readers to draw their own conclusions.
Beasley covers an enormous amount of territory quickly in a nonintimidating fashion. Many of his themes and content are built upon a growing body of research and sources that dog bite victims’ advocates will recognize right away. The author notes in the forward how the DogsBite.org website provided him with the tools he needed to begin researching the issue of dangerous dogs. Beasley pledges to donate 50% of any profits he receives from book sales to our nonprofit organization.

Endless New Maulings

Instantly, when one reads the very first sentence, the tone is set, "I just finished writing the following book a few weeks ago, yet already the stories about dog attacks are becoming outdated, as new horror stories appear almost daily." This theme, its urgency and personal writing style are woven throughout the book. A person new to this issue will quickly have his or her eyes opened wide about the endless flow of serious and fatal attacks inflicted by pit bulls in this country.
And there is no end in sight, unless something is done. - J. Thomas Beasley
Beasley is well suited to address this issue on behalf of victims. Beasley is a licensed attorney in New Orleans and has a small private law practice focusing on public interest advocacy for economically challenged clients. He advocates for the less fortunate. He has also worked on cases involving catastrophic personal injury. He understands exactly what a violent pit bull attack entails, though even for him the term "degloving" was foreign until he began researching pit bulls.

This book is not only for parents, advocates, fence-sitters and more, it is for pit bull owners themselves. As pointed out by Beasley, many of these owners have no understanding of the true history of the pit bull breed. Where would they learn the true history? Not from animal welfare groups, not from their vet, certainly not from the shelter where they adopted the dog. Our advice is to photocopy Chapter 3: What is a Pit Bull? and circulate to every pit bull owner that you know.

Beasley also frames the book with ways to curb the pit bull mauling epidemic by explaining breed-specific laws (BSL) and the vocal factions that oppose it, but offer no solutions of their own. These groups are simply "100% against BSL of ANY kind at all times, everywhere," he writes. Beasley also addresses the rabid "mentality" of many pit bull advocates and just how far they will go by discussing several cases, including the 2014 seminal case of Kevin Vicente and "Mickey."

The Title of the Book

What galvanized Beasley’s decision to write the book was his disappointment in Jon Stewart, a pit bull owner, who recently had Tia Torres as a guest on his show. Beasley is a loyal fan of Stewart, but even he could not stomach the myths broadcast by the two, both stating that pit bulls are "misunderstood nanny dogs." This is the title of his book with a question mark at the end. Beasley’s question is directed at Stewart, Torres and all who spread these dangerous myths.

Chapter 4, "Nanny Dogs" and Other Popular Myths is primarily dedicated to the Nanny Dog myth and how it was so successfully debunked by blogger CKing in the widespread post, The Nanny Dog Myth Revealed. Beasley notes that even Bad Rap, a major pit bull advocacy group, announced in 2013 that even they can no longer support this mindboggling myth that endangers children. He also explains the propaganda "vintage" photos of children standing near pit bulls.

Built Upon Many Sources

Beasley’s book is built upon many sources that he nicely weaves together, covering all of the key elements for a person new to this issue, while only briefly touching on the quagmire issues. In just over an hour, one can read his book and be armed with extensive insights about the nuts and bolts of the pit bull mauling epidemic, the true history of the pit bull breed, the primary false myths about pit bulls and the "mentality" of the echo-chamber of voices who continue repeating these myths.

Beasley discusses many cases in the book, including Darla Napora and the surreal aftermath of her mauling death by her own pit bull; Kara Hartrich who was suddenly attacked and killed by her family’s two pit bulls on her fourth birthday and the horrific nonfatal attack of Linda Henry, whose pet pit bulls previously, "were like kids in the house." Beasley even talks about the ArtPrize exhibit, Out of the Blue, a memorial to fatal dog attack victims that was obstructed by pit bull advocates.

Statistics Cannot Be Ignored

Just when you believe you have a grasp of how frequently these maulings are occurring across the country, Beasley adds a list of people killed only by pit bulls and just in the last two years-and-a-half years. The list extends across three pages in Chapter 5 – Human Casualties. While statistics of pit bull maulings are woven throughout the book, Chapter 5 is the focal point. Beasley challenges naysayers to prove that a different dog breed killed any of those listed dead.

Finally, as a theme expressed over and over throughout the book Beasley ends with the absolute starting point to begin advancing society beyond the pit bull mauling epidemic. The starting point to greatly reducing the number of maulings inflicted by these dogs does not require breed-specific legislation. It just requires one thing -- being honest about this dog breed. We either do this as a society, or remain blind or unalarmed that our "cemeteries are filling up from dog attacks."
pit bullBut mostly, we need to just start being honest about these dogs. Stop feeding biased propaganda to the public. Stop ignoring the inordinate number of dead and seriously injured people caused by Pit Bulls every year. Stop perpetuating myths about this breed - myths that were created to promote the breed by disingenuous and unqualified advocates. Just stop. And Jon Stewart, you should know better. - J. Thomas Beasley
See news release: Misunderstood Nanny Dogs? New Book by J. Thomas Beasley Exposes Pit Bull Myths and Misconceptions!

Kindle version: "Misunderstood Nanny Dogs?" New (Kindle Version) Book by J. Thomas Beasley Exposes Pit Bull Myths and Misconceptions

Related video

Related articles:
02/11/15: 2014 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities - Dog Bite Statistics - DogsBite.org
01/07/15: 2014 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org
11/24/14: Aurora Voters Favor Keeping Pit Bull Ban by Wide Margin in General Election Vote
07/02/14: Dr. David A. Billmire, MD: "There is no need for Pit Bulls" - Cincinnati Children's
09/10/13: Maul Talk Manual 2.0: A Guide to Understanding the Language of Pit Bull Owners...

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Thursday, March 26, 2015


2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pack of Pit Bulls Kill Man in Jefferson County, Arkansas

pack of pit bulls kills jefferson county man
Manslaughter Charges
UPDATE 04/22/15: Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney, Kyle Hunter, filed criminal charges against the owner of a pack of pit bulls that horrifically mauled a man to death on March 21. John Chester Smith, 62-years old and the owner of C.J.'s Garage, was charged with manslaughter, a Class D felony Tuesday. Maj. Lafayette Woods Jr., spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, said his office is still waiting on the arrest warrant. They plan to arrest Smith on Friday.

03/26/15: Interview with Woods
Major Lafayette Woods, spokesman with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, explains part of the history of the attacking pit bulls owned by John Chester Smith in an extended interview with THV 11 (scroll to see second video). He explains his department's actions following biting incidents at C.J.'s Garage as recently as March 15 and in July 2014. The March 15 victim was uncooperative, Woods states. Other victims of these same dogs never reported the biting incidents, Woods said.1

Woods was quick to point out in the very first press release that the horrific mauling death of De'Trick Johnson, "furthers the stigma of pit bull terriers as aggressive and dangerous animals" and that in his "personal experiences" pit bulls "are just very loyal."2 Woods adds in the recent extended interview, "I don't want to alienate the breed. It's not necessarily the breed, its the animal's owners who irresponsibly ignore these signs of aggression in these dogs," he said.

Woods, apparently, has never reviewed national fatal dog attack statistics, which clearly show that pit bulls kill more people than all dog breeds combined. His anecdotal "personal experiences" are simply that -- anecdotal "personal experiences" -- ungrounded in statistical reality. Woods fails to acknowledge that many well-raised family pit bulls unpredictably attack and kill family members as well. Woods is a pit bull apologist who also holds the duty to protect the public from harm.

Pit Bulls Killing Family Members

During the last 10-year period (2005 through 2014), pit bulls were responsible for 62% (203) of attacks resulting in death. Of these attacks, 53% (107) involved a family pit bull killing a household member. More than half of all fatal attacks inflicted by pit bulls were inflicted upon a family member or person the dog knew well. Predictably, 98% (105) of these attacks occurred on the dog owner's property. What does Woods have to say to these 107 families, or even to this one mother?
pit bull"I never in a million years would ever think that (Killian) would have done something like that. That was just me listening to the reports and, you know, the experts. ‘Oh pit bulls have to be trained to be aggressive. If they're not trained that way, if they're not raised that way, it's fine.' ... They were the biggest babies. They were spoiled; they were never abused, never mistreated, big babies. I go to bed, they're going to bed (and) they're in the bed, under the covers, on a pillow, comfortable. He was a sweet dog, he was people friendly. The only thing was he didn't like other dogs," she said. - Shannon Easton-Hamer, whose son, Julian Slack, was mauled to death by a family pit bull in 2008.
There is no question that the 8 pit bulls owned by John Chester Smith were guard dogs with a track record of bites, attacks and aggression and that Smith was an appalling, reckless owner who deserves jail time. For Woods to go on camera, however, and squarely blame "only the animal's owners" in all instances of violent pit bull attacks is an outrage. Sadly, Woods is just another uniformed voice in the "echo-chamber" of untruths regularly blared by rabid pit bull advocates.

03/24/15: Victim's Family Speaks Out
New details emerge after the brutal fatal pit bull mauling of De'Trick Johnson just outside of C.J.’s Garage at 300 Thomas Road on March 21. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office issued a news release on March 23 stating that the at large pit bull involved in Johnson’s death was shot and killed by deputies on Monday, and another pit bull, previously unaccounted for by the sheriff’s office was also seized. This brings a total of 8 pit bulls: 5 shot dead and 3 seized by authorities.

Family Members Speak Out

KATV reports an emotional interview with family members and friends of the victim, De'Trick Johnson. At front and center is the victim’s younger sister Akimi Johnson and the victim’s friend of 14-years and roommate, John Smith III, who is also the son of the owner of the dogs, John Chester Smith. Both Akimi and Smith III want to see justice done after De'Trick’s horrific mauling death. "I was not prepared for what happened to my brother," Akimi said holding back tears.

Smith told KATV that De'Trick jumped on his car to escape, and "the dogs actually jumped on the car with him because the mud is still on the car when we brought it home." He added that there were previous victims of these dogs. "I'm not just speaking because its De'Trick," Smith said, "I am speaking on the behalf of the other victims because he wasn't the first. He wasn't the second or the third, there was about four to five people that had been attacked by these same dogs."

In a powerful statement, Smith talks about his father’s utter disregard for people’s safety just like so many other pit bull owners. "After he bit the first man, what was it in your mind that you couldn't get rid of the dogs then? Then he turned around and bit somebody else and then turned around and bit somebody else then turned around and killed somebody. It's just unexplainable," Smith said. All of his family members had told his father, "You need to get rid of those dogs," Smith said.

The Gate and Discrepancies

The same two individuals also talked to Fox 16. It is learned here that Smith was at the early morning scene, but it seems only at the aftermath. He did not witness the violent attack. The Fox 16 footage also shows us the first time we see the "metal siding" leaned up against the front gate of the auto shop, a type of poor contraption designed by the dogs’ owner to keep the pack of dogs contained. Fox 16 also captures images of the remaining pit bulls at the Pine Bluff animal shelter.

It is unclear when the metal siding was placed against the front gate. It was absent in early news coverage. A segment from THV 11 today shows a close up of significant damage at the bottom of the siding as well, likely caused by the pit bulls. Finally, there may be serious time discrepancies. The sheriff's office said the 911 call came in just after the attack began; deputies arrived on scene 5 minutes later. An unverified account sent to DogsBite said the vicious attack lasted 20 minutes.3
pit bullSheriff's spokesman Maj. Lafayette Woods Jr. said De'Trick Omar Johnson, 36, of Pine Bluff had taken his vehicle to CJ's Garage at 300 Thomas Road for servicing when he was attacked by the dogs. Woods said a 911 caller told operators that Johnson arrived at the property, exited his vehicle and was immediately attacked.
pit bullThe sheriff's office received the 911 call at 9:53 a.m. Saturday and the responding deputy arrived at 9:58 a.m., Woods said. - ArkansasOnline, March 22, 2015
03/21/15: Dog Mauling Victim Identified
The fatal dog mauling victim has been identified as 36-year old De'Trick Johnson of Pine Bluff. When the first deputy arrived on scene Johnson was still under attack by the pit bulls. Pine Bluff resident Tom Calvert and his daughter witnessed part of the attack. Calvert told THV 11 that his daughter drove up on the scene and saw the man trying to fight off the dogs. She called her father for help. She said, "Dad, come down to C.J.'s Garage! There are dogs chewing this man up."
"It's hard to describe, the man was just chewed up. The dogs just mauled him like a pack of wolves attacking someone." - Witness Tom Calvert
THV 11 also interviewed a Quality Fence Company employee, which is located next to C.J.’s Garage. This ties back to previous comments left by ChristyInPB, who wrote earlier today that her father "who owns the fence company next door" was attacked by these same dogs 6-months ago. Employee Roger Frazier said the auto repair "business owned the dogs" and used them to guard the property. Correction, C.J.’s ran a pit bull breeding operation allegedly to guard his business.4

Major Lafayette Woods with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office told THV 11 that he expects there will be charges filed against the owner of C.J.’s Garage, John Chester Smith, due to previous warrants and complaints. Woods did not provide any specific information at that time about earlier warrants or attacks. Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene. One dangerous pit bull still remains at large. We expect the THV 11 news segment video to air later this evening.

Late Evening Update

Scroll to see the second video on the THV 11 news report, the interview with Roger Frazier of Quality Fence. Frazier is the victim referred to by commenter Christy earlier today who escaped a similar fate to Johnson by climbing a nearby tree last year. The pit bulls also escaped under the owner's front gate in his attack -- the exact same method of escape in the fatal attack. Frazier is humble and reserved in the interview, maybe because he knows how close he came to death.
Roger Frazier
pit bullI was just coming back down the road there, walking back to the shop and five of the dogs, pit bulls, came under his gate and just tore me up. I struggled along the fence to one of those wooden fence posts, got on top of it and got into a tree -- that's the only thing that saved me. They tore my pants off of me.
pit bullTerrible vicious dogs. Even when the county sheriff came out, he shot one of them. And the other four, because I was still in the tree I could see ‘em, the other four didn't stop. They just slowed down a little bit, crouched down and kept coming for him…
pit bullThey are ruthless, they surrounded me. And just started biting me all around, everywhere, all over. They just would not quit -- would not quit. Even after I got in the tree, they would not leave, they stayed and stayed. Then when the county sheriff got here, they tried to attack him.
pit bullThe people from the animal service, when they got here. One of them stayed in the truck and one of them had to get on top of the hood of his truck because they would attack him. My brother came … he started to get out and they came after him. They were going after anybody that day …
pit bull[He describes the size and shape of the pit bulls]. They were a litter that they had a while before and they were starting to grow up.
pit bullWell, what went through my mind is that I knew this was going to happen. I made a point to drive over to his place and tell him what the dogs had done to me. I told him if he did not do something they would kill somebody. I told some other people that too. I told the sheriff that. I said, "Those dogs are going to kill somebody" ... And that’s what they did.
pit bullSomething needs to happen for sure. Something should have happened when they got on me. At least somebody took the dogs away or did something; they just left them there. Now it’s not really my place to say, but I'm sure that that man’s family thinks that something should be done. - Roger Frazier, THV 11, March 21, 2015
03/21/15: Pack of Pit Bulls Kill Man
Pine Bluff, AR - In a developing story, a pack of seven pit bulls brutally attacked and killed a man Saturday morning. Just before 11:00 am, a group of seven pit bulls charged beneath a fence and attacked a man at 300 Thomas Road, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said. Specifically, the incident happened at C.J.'s Garage, an auto repair shop in the Pine Bluff area. Deputies shot and killed four of the pit bulls on scene, two others were captured and another remains at large.

C. J.'s garage is also listed at 300 N Thomas Road in White Hall with the same phone number, a jurisdiction under 8-miles away. The jurisdiction of Pine Bluff bans pit bulls. Arkansas continues to rack up deadly dog maulings. In the 8-year period of 2005 through 2012, there were 3 fatal dog attacks in the state. From January 1, 2013 to present -- just over two years -- there have been 6 fatalities. Two deaths in 2013 involved dogs from the same litter killing two unrelated people.

Late Afternoon Update

Commenter ChristyInPB at the KATV news article helps explain the jurisdictional issue. The location apparently falls outside of the Pine Bluff city limits; control likely resides with Jefferson County. She wrote that her father "who owns the fence company next door" was attacked by the same dogs 6-months ago. Afterward, her father repeatedly warned authorities to take action or "these dogs WOULD kill someone," but they said the dogs did not live within city boundaries.
pit bull@ChristyInPB (13 mins ago) "These same dogs attacked my father at who owns the fence company next door about 6 months ago. This was NOT the first incident! If it wasnt for quick thinking my father would not of survived! He had to climb a fence and still was taking by ambulance to the hospital with cuts and deep bites. The paramedic in the ambulance that came was forced to jump on his ambulance to escape them while my father was still in the tree he had to climb up to escape them. When the sheriff showed he was forced to shoot and kill one to prevent him from attacking him!"
pit bull@ChristyInPB (12 mins ago) "This could of been a child! Andd it could of been prevented! Unacceptable! My father was unable to get anything done to the dogs or the risk for anyone in the vaconity! He warned the authorities repeatedly that if not handled these dogs WOULD kill someone! YES they were pitbulls! But no I dont blame the breed! But if ANY animals are this dangerous it shouldnt matter that they are not in city limits! This was the reason for no action being done after the incident with my father! A life could have been saved! This could of been a child! Andd it could of been prevented! Unacceptable!" - KATV Commenter
Also, in 2012, Deborah Rene Wilson Roberts, 45-years old, was mauled to death by her own two pet pit bulls in Jefferson County, Arkansas. The dogs had previously attacked Roberts.

Photo showing fence where pit bulls escaped to fatally attack Pine Bluff man
map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: Arkansas Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

1Thus freeing the county from any liability.
2Not one major media source used Woods' quotation -- intentionally written by Woods to be used as a quotation by the media -- in the March 21 press release.
3There indeed are time discrepancies. Just after our March 24 update it was released that neighbor William Lever's mother was one of the first to see the attack (unclear how long the mauling had been going on before she saw). Her call to 911 lasted over 8 minutes.
4Was there more than one business at the location the pit bulls were guarding? One has to ask because so many auto body repair and paint shops are used as fronts.

Related articles:
02/20/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: 63-Year Old Arkansas Man Killed by Family Dogs
11/09/14: Criminal Trial: Arkansas Mother and Daughter on Trial for Fatal Dog Mauling of...
10/24/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Family Pit Bull in Cave City, Arkansas
01/03/14: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman, 75, Killed by Bullmastiff in Arkansas Gated Community
11/19/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Boy Dies After Attacked by Pit Bulls in White County, Arkansas
06/13/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Child Temporarily Staying with Aunt Killed by Neighbor's Dog
09/11/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Jefferson County Woman Attacked by Own Pit Bulls Dies

Photos: KATV.com and Google.com

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015


2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Dies in Rockingham County During Vicious Dog Attack

man killed by pack of dogs in rockingham county, north carolina
Dog Owner Charged
UPDATE 04/13/15: A Rockingham County grand jury issued charges today against a man whose pack of dogs contributed to man's death in November. Daniel Douglass McCollum, 55, of Madison was charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the death of 62-year old Jose Cruz Cazares Robles. The victim, who had been visiting from Mexico, had left his family's home that day for a walk when the pack of dogs viciously attacked him along McCollum Road.

03/25/15: Bites Contributed to Death
The autopsy report of a man mauled by a pack of dogs and found dead on November 24 in Rockingham County has finally been released. 62-year old Jose Robles, who had been visiting family from Mexico, was discovered dead at the bottom of an embankment with most of his clothing ripped away and bite marks covering his body. The report released March 23 states, "Bleeding and stress from a dog attack and resultant injuries most likely contributed to death."
pit bullThe Medical Examiner noted in the autopsy, "In my opinion, the most likely cause of death was an acute cardiac arrhythmia or myocardial infarction due to coronary artery atherosclerosis. Bleeding and stress from a dog attack and resultant injuries most likely contributed to death." - WFMYnews.com, March 24, 205
According to the state medical examiner's report, Roble’s body was covered in canine bite marks. "Incised wounds and abrasions were consistent with injuries from a dog attack," states the report. The dogs also inflicted scratches to his scalp, face, arms, legs, back and lower abdomen. All told, the report states there were more than 100 wounds inflicted upon Robles. At some point during the dog attack he died. The autopsy report was released exactly 4-months after his death.

After making the grisly discovery in November, authorities confiscated 15 dogs belonging to Daniel McCollum, who lives across the street from where his body was found. Though it is still unknown how many dogs were involved in the attack, the animals continue to be housed at the Rockingham County shelter costing the county nearly $28,000, the News & Record reports. Rockingham County District Attorney Craig Blitzer said he is evaluating the case to see if charges will be filed.

12/29/14: Case Details Still Guarded
New information about the death of Jose Robles was revealed in late December. On November 24, Robles was discovered dead by Rockingham County deputies at the bottom of a steep embankment on McCollum Road. His clothes and shoes had been ripped off his body and he was covered in animal bite marks. Deputies seized 15 dogs belonging to Daniel McCollum of 1122 McCollum Road -- previously unnamed -- the home across from where his body was located.1

The News & Record continues to investigate, despite the sheriff's office refusing to comment on this man's violent death 35 days after his body was discovered or to release a preliminary autopsy report that identifies the cause of death. The sheriff's office would not even permit News & Record to interview animal control officers to discuss the county's leash laws. Family members of the victim also told the News & Record that investigators told them not to speak with the media.

The News & Record was able to obtain related information. As of December 28, the county spent about $7,440 to house McCollum's 15 dogs (in 11 cages) at the county shelter. After the attack, McCollum was fined $600 for failure to vaccinate 12 of his dogs, $150 for six of his dogs running at large and $150 for six of his dogs being a public nuisance. USPS also confirmed that McCollum's mailbox receptacle had to be moved within the last 18 months for the safety of a postal carrier.

12/04/14: Numerous Bite Injuries
Madison, NC - The News & Record reports a nearly non-reported 2014 U.S. fatal dog mauling that occurred on November 23 in Rockingham County, North Carolina. On that day, 62-year old Jose Robles left the family he was visiting to take a walk down Bethany Road at about 1 pm. Deputies discovered him the next morning about a mile from where he was staying. He was dead -- stripped of all clothing and shoes with numerous bite marks on his body and 15 dogs lurking nearby.

These latter details, which strongly indicate a fatal dog mauling -- his clothing and shoes stripped away, numerous bite marks on his body and 15 dogs nearby -- were recently provided by News & Record after they obtained a warrant taken out by the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office on November 24. At the time of the discovery of his body, the sheriff's office provided no details of Robles' death to the media and will not release more today citing an ongoing investigation.
The Rockingham County Sheriff's Office is no longer searching for Jose Cruz Cazares Robles. It was unclear how the search concluded. He was reported missing Sunday afternoon. - News & Record, November 24, 2014
Deputies confiscated the 15 dogs hours after finding Robles dead and transported them to the county animal shelter. Kevin Baughn, the shelter's director, confirmed to News & Record yesterday that "15 blue heelers and hounds" were in his care, but declined to comment further. Kevin Suthard, a spokesman for the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office, would not discuss the dogs' involvement, the warrant or provide an update on the case, the News & Record states.

At the time of the attack, Robles and his wife, who are from Jalisko, Mexico, were in Rockingham County visiting with family. After Robles did not return from his walk within a few hours, the family became concerned and contacted local law enforcement. The Rockingham County Sheriff's Office then issued a bulletin asking for the public's help in finding the missing person. After discovering him dead the next morning, the sheriff's office simply said the cause of death is unknown.

Evening News Reveals More

Later into the day, Fox8 reported more about this investigation. As detectives were searching the area for Robles, one officer observed "a pack of various dogs which aggressively confronted his vehicle in the roadway." Another detective reported that she was "also confronted aggressively by these dogs." Officers then found Robles dead across the street from the dog owner's home. The 15 suspected dogs are described as blue and red heelers, Australian shepherds and hounds.

Though the owner of the 15 dogs is not named, she told detectives that her dogs "would bite the ankles of strangers who were near the property." Detectives asked her to secure the animals and she did. For those of you who do not know, heelers will nip the heels of the animals they are herding to push them along. That is a far cry from owning a pack of 15 dogs -- running at large -- that appear to have enjoined pack behavior resulting in the brutal death of a 62-year old man.

After confronted by the 15 dogs, officers got a warrant and seized the animals. The Rockingham County Sheriff's Office is still awaiting autopsy results to determine if the man was still alive when he was viciously mauled. A subsequent search warrant allowed investigators to get blood samples, oral swabs, nose swabs, toe swabs and bite impressions from each of the 15 dogs. The time frame of the autopsy results is unknown. FOX8 was unable to contact the victim's family.

1Members of the McCollum family have been living on McCollum Road in Madison for over 200 years.

Related articles:
02/28/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: 3-Year Old Girl Killed by Family Pit Bull in North Carolina
11/05/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Kernersville Woman, 25, Killed by Her Boyfriend's Two Pit Bulls
12/05/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Yadkin County Infant Mauled to Death by Family Dog

Photo: News & Record

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