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Thursday, August 25, 2016


2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull that Killed Boy Had a History of 'Dog Aggression'

Fatal Pit Bull Attack in Penobscot County, Maine


Corinna Hunter Bragg killed by pit bull
Hunter Bragg, 7, was killed by a pit bull while visiting the dog owner's home in Corinna.

Medical Examiner's Report
UPDATE 08/25/16: Local newspapers obtained a copy of the state medical examiner’s report for 7-year old Hunter Bragg. On June 4, Hunter was fatally attacked in the throat and face by a male pit bull while visiting his father at the home of Gary Merchant Jr. at 207 Moody’s Mill Road in Corinna. Hunter’s father, Jason Bragg, was living in a camper on Merchant’s property, states the report. Bragg was still trying to revive his son through CPR when first responders arrived.

Hunter died of “sharp and blunt force wounds of the neck” and “multiple blunt and sharp force injuries of [his] head,” states the medical examiner’s report. Injuries to his head and face included “sharp and blunt force wounds” inflicted on the boy’s face and scalp. The pit bull repeatedly attacked the boy until it executed the killing bite. Our hearts go out to Hunter’s father, who will live with witnessing the horrific destruction this pit bull inflicted on his son for the rest of his life.

The 1.5-year old male pit bull, named Koda, belonged to Merchant. The dog previously belonged to the daughter of Merchant’s wife since a puppy. Amber, who lives in Vermont, returned the pit bull to the Merchants in early 2016 after it attacked another dog in her home multiple times. Koda was the product of an intrafamily backyard pit bull breeding operation. Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton said the "thorough investigation" into the boy's mauling death "remains active."

06/11/16: Bite Report Obtained
The Morning Sentinel obtained the dog bite report. Information in the report verifies all that we have written about since this fatality was first reported and more. The dog's name is indeed "Koda," as stated on the bite report, and is described as a brindle and white male pit bull, specifically as a "brindle with white face." The age of the dog is 1.5 years old, states the bite report. The dog we originally posted on June 5 along side Amber's comments is the killer.

The bite report contains additional information, including that the dog fatally bit Hunter in the throat, the boy had been left unattended at the time, and that Koda had previously "attacked [Amber's] other dog several times." The Sentinel also interviewed animal control officer Charles Gould who said the pit bull was chained in the yard when he arrived on scene. Gould said there were adults in the yard at the time of the attack, but he was unsure if they witnessed the attack.

Intrafamily Backyard Pit Bull Breeding Operation


To help readers navigate this "complex" case, we created a chronology of the screenshots captured while researching the pit bull involved in the mauling death of Hunter Bragg. What we discovered while researching was a classic intrafamily backyard pit bull breeding operation. In this case, there is also a strong possibility that the litter that produced Koda in October 2014 also bore two pit bulls that were legally declared vicious before the age of 1. Genetics is real and it matters.
In 2013, two bullmastiff-pit bull mix littermates killed two different people less than 10 miles apart within a 5-month period in Central Arkansas.1
In the chronology, we call to attention the widespread false and dangerous belief that dog aggression never translates into human aggression. Koda did not only have aggression toward male dogs when smelling a female in heat (the classic reason to neuter male dogs). Koda had breed-specific aggression, which is why Bandit was killed. Interdog aggression, generally, means aggression toward dogs, not killing another dog, which pit bulls were purpose-bred to do.
  • Oct. 13, 2014 - Amber's mother Stacey shows her the new puppy that is later named "Koda." Danielle, who is Stacey's half sister, also tells Amber, "Stacey pups are perfect for you." Stacey's Facebook page had many litters dating back years.
  • Oct. 13, 2014 - Amber is also shown backside. Some of the main players have just been introduced. Danielle, a pit bull owner and breeder, is part of this intrafamily pit bull breeding operation. One of her dogs/offspring was possibly part of this breeding.
  • Nov. 16, 2014 - Stacey posts a status update about her female pit bull, Star, that broke free of its chain. The family laughs at this behavior. Stacey adds: "Ya our male pit has broken a lot of chains... we finally had to buy a tow cable. Haha."
  • Nov. 17, 2014 - Amber posts a photo of her pit bull puppy, Koda, that is a week away from being released by the intrafamily breeders. Amber states, "Koda bout 1 more week cant wait" [sic] then tags her husband. Koda is likely 7-weeks old now.
  • Aug. 13, 2015 - Photo showing Koda at less than 1 year old. That's a large pit bull for this age. Danielle specializes in breeding larger pit bulls. In one comment she writes that Koda "looks like his momma" -- which implies one of her own stock.
  • Aug. 24, 2015 - Amber's brother Andrew posts three updates after his two pit bulls are declared vicious by the Village of Morrisville, Vermont. His dogs likely came from the October litter too, making them less than a year old and already gaining a vicious designation. So far, potentially, there is one killer and two vicious dogs from the same litter. Anti-social attitudes and denial of responsibility stand out as well, particularly by aunt Danielle who replies, "want aunti and Lokie to come show 'em what a mean motherfuckin dog looks like?" [sic] They are proud of their aggressive pit bulls.
  • Sep. 17 2015 - Amber posts about Koda attacking her beagle, named Bandit. It takes a baseball bat to break up the fight and requires a $353 vet bill. She admits that Koda has already been bred once before the age of 1 year old and that his aggression began earlier. "He used to do it before he even had sex," she states.
  • Nov. 18, 2015 - Photo showing Koda just over 1 year old. This is one month after the nonfatal attack on Bandit and a month before Bandit is killed. We also provided this in the chronology because it is the main image that we point to for Koda.
  • Dec. 26, 2015 - On Christmas Day, Bandit is killed. Amber posts, "I lost a special part of my life last night … I love you to pieces Bandit baby." She does not explain how and asks friends to "PM me" in comments. We believe Koda was the culprit.
  • Jan. 6, 2016 - Ten days later, Amber states that she is getting rid of Koda. "I can no longer keep him around I am proud of the good boy he has become (minus the bad side he does have)." This clearly regards his serious dog-aggression.
  • Jan. 7, 2016 - The next day Amber posts a status update stating, "it breaks my heart to see how much can change in one year! RIP Bandit!" The Timehop photo shows all three of her dogs sitting on the couch together one year earlier.
  • Feb. 5, 2016 - Koda is first seen (as an adult dog) on Stacey's page. Koda is next seen on March 25 in a wire crate kennel. Certainly by March 25, Koda has been returned to the Merchants. It is unknown if there were additional rehoming plans.
  • Apr. 15, 2016 - On U.S. Tax Day, Stacey is seen selling pit bull puppies on her Facebook page. Stacey writes, "They for sale." When asked, "How much are you asking for?" Stacey replies: "200." Her husband Gary Merchant Jr. is seen as well.
  • May 12, 2016 - Amber and her brother are "excited" as the buyer delivery date for this latest round of pit bull puppies gets closer. "Just can't wait," Andrew says (whose two other pit bulls were declared vicious). Amber says, "Me either!!!"
  • May 21, 2016 - Amber shows off one of her two new pit bull puppies. On June 1, both are seen in her car, just three days before Hunter is killed by Koda. It must be expressed that Amber did not just want one new pit bull, she wanted two.
  • Jun. 4, 2016 - While 7-year old Hunter Bragg is visiting the Merchant's home at 207 Moody's Mill Road in Corinna, Koda executes the killing bite. Koda attacks Hunter in the throat, killing him. It is unknown if the dog was chained at the time.
  • Jun. 5, 2016 - Stacey posts about her guilt after Hunter's death. "The guilt that is building up inside" is heart wrenching, she writes in part. "I don't know how to say I am sorry to my entire family..." The next day, she privatizes her Facebook page.
  • Jun. 5, 2016 - Another Bragg family member posts about the loss of Hunter to his public Facebook page. When asked in comments, "What happened?" He states: "Our cousin Stacey's dog attacked him." He adds the dog was a "pit bull."
  • Jun. 5, 2016 - Amber posts about her guilt in a status update, "All I can do is feel guilt! Everything bad that has happened seems to have came back to me, wether it was nobodys fault I still feel responsible! I wish I could turn back time…" [sic]
  • Jun. 5, 2016 - Amber starts publicly broadcasting on the WABI Facebook thread that she formerly owned the dog that killed Hunter and that she rehomed the pit bull-boxer mix because the dog "did not get along with other small male dogs."
View the redacted bite report of Hunter Bragg - Town of Corinna Animal Control.

06/09/16: More Information Released
Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton released new information about the pit bull involved in the mauling death of 7-year old Hunter Bragg on June 4. As suspected, the pit bull had originated from the Merchant home at 207 Moody's Mill Road and was recently returned to them for reasons Morton has still not released. "That is a major part of the investigation," Morton said. "Who returned it, when was it returned, where had it been and was there any issues while it was gone."

The Bangor Daily News reports that under state kennel rules, Gary Merchant's ownership of 8 dogs qualifies him as a kennel, but he is not required to register with the town. If more than one puppy is sold in less than a year’s time, Merchant would be required to register as a vendor, according to state law. Serena Bemis-Goodall, the town manager of Corinna, said Merchant does not have business license registered with the town and does not know if he is a dog breeder.
“A person may not advertise for sale, sell or exchange for value more than one cat or dog under the age of 6 months in a 12-month period unless that person has a valid animal shelter, kennel, breeding kennel or pet shop license or a valid vendor’s license." - See full state requirements
The Morning Sentinel reports additional details. According to Animal Control Officer Charles Gould, the pit bull that killed Hunter was named Dakota -- the suspected dog, named "Koda," may be a shortened version of this name. Early on, a daughter of Merchant named Amber claimed it was her male, 1.5 year old pit bull that killed the boy in public Facebook comments. Amber's own Facebook page show's that Koda was part of an October 2014 litter from the Merchant family.

Sheriff Morton said that he would not provide any details about why the dog had recently been returned to Merchant after he had owned it previously, reports The Sentinel. Morton also would not comment on who else had owned the dog. "We do have some of those answers, but we’re not prepared to release them," Morton said. Other key information that has not been released is the color-type of the dog (another way to verify Koda) and if the dog was tethered when it attacked.

Key Tips Sent In By Reader

To summarize events so far, details about the dog that attacked and killed Hunter Bragg are generally lining up with Amber's claim of being the former owner of Koda and that he was the aggressor in the attack. Amber is the daughter of Stacey Merchant -- who is married to Gary Merchant Jr. (from this point forward, simply called "the Merchants"). Amber did return Koda to the Merchants after we believe the dog killed her beagle, named Bandit, on Christmas Day 2015.
A week later, Amber posted that she could no longer keep the dog. Koda begins appearing on the Merchants' Facebook page in early February.
On Tuesday, a reader sent in tips that strengthen this scenario further. In September 2015, just a few months before Bandit was killed, Koda viciously attacked Bandit. The fight had to be broken up with a baseball bat and cost $353 in veterinarian bills. In the post, Amber admits that by the age of 1 year old, Koda had already had been bred once and that his dog aggression started even earlier. Amber's veterinarian knows about the September attack, possibly the Christmas one too.

The Sentinel is trying to obtain the bite report about the fatal dog attack that has been completed by animal control. The report includes the name, age and breed of the dog; the name of the victim; and a summary of the attack, along with other information such as whether the dog was up to date on shots and who its veterinarian was, accord to animal control. The last part is essential -- the veterinarian -- which should lead to the veterinarian records and answer critical questions.

As of this update, Amber has privatized her Facebook page. See more discussion in comments.

06/06/16: Child Identified by Sheriff
The 7-year old boy struck down by a pit bull has been identified as Hunter Bragg of Bangor. The adult male pit bull that killed him has been euthanized, Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton said at a news conference Monday. On Saturday, Hunter was playing in the yard with two other children at the home of Gary Merchant Jr. at 207 Moody's Mill Road when the attack occurred. The child's father, Jason Bragg, and Merchant were at the residence at the time, Morton said.

The pit bull belongs to the Merchant family. Town Manager Serena Bemis-Goodall said that Merchant has eight dogs on his property. All were registered except for the pit bull that killed Hunter. Bemis-Goodall told the Portland Press Herald, “My understanding is that (Merchant) took the dog in for someone else just within the last couple of months. It was not registered, otherwise we would have known about it.” Thus matching the account of the dog's previous owner.
The "breeders" from our earlier coverage are Gary and Stacey Merchant, husband and wife, who reside at 207 Moody's Mill Road.
The Press Herald also reports that Patrick Faucher, the president of the board of directors of the Maine Animal Control Association, said that it has "probably been years" since a dog bite fatality occurred in Maine. However, the 2011 mauling death of 7-month old Annabelle Mitchell received extensive media coverage. The child's mother was also charged with a Class D misdemeanor for endangering the life of a child. Faucher apparently was unaware of this local fatal dog attack.

Sheriff Morton stated that additional details of the attack are "sensitive" and are not being released at this time. The incident remains an "active investigation," Sheriff Morton said. The Press Herald also spoke to Joshua Eldgridge, who grew up near the Merchant home. Eldgridge said the home has a number of dogs, including a pit bull that he has seen outside. Eldgridge said he heard there was a chance that another child at the home witnessed the attack, which deeply upset him.
If the dog had ever attacked before, or if it was tethered at the time, are being withheld pending the results of the investigation. - MPDN.net2
The Bangor Daily News adds that in 2012 Hunter lost his mother. The boy's aunt, Jennifer Mcclure, set up a GoFundMe page to help Hunter's family with funeral expenses. She states on the page, "He was taken from everyone at such a young age, but we all know that his mom is now with him and looking after him up in Heaven." Bragg was a student at the Down East Community School in Bangor. School officials were notified of his death by the sheriff's office, Morton said.

Sheriff Morton said he did not know if Merchant was breeding pit bulls or even the relationship between Merchant and Bragg, reports the Daily News. He would not answer further questions about the investigation, including if the pit bull was part of any previous incidents involving law enforcement -- citing "this is a sensitive, complicated investigation." The breeding evidence, however, was clear on Stacey Merchant's Facebook page, which has since been privatized.

Of the screenshots we did take of Stacey's Facebook page -- our main focus was Koda, not the other litters posted to her page -- the last round of pit bull puppies by the Merchants was produced in late March or early April and ready for delivery in mid May. Amber Morin took two of these puppies, despite having "returned" Koda to them in January due to dog-aggression; the pit bull that would later kill Hunter. The household was not limited to the breeding of pit bulls either.3

06/05/16: Child Was Visiting
In an email Sunday evening to the Portland Press Herald, Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton said that more details will be released Monday. “I can appreciate the interest in this incident; however, it is a complex incident and we believe in providing accurate information,” Morton wrote. His answer came in response to questions from reporters about the dog's breed and the child's relationship to the dog. “We plan on putting out additional information tomorrow,” Morton wrote.
"He is not a student from our district. He was there visiting a student from our district (when the dog attacked him)." - Interim superintendent Raymond Freve
Raymond Freve, interim superintendent of Regional School Unit 19, which includes the towns of Corinna, Dixmont, Etna, Hartland, Newport and several others, said Sunday evening the victim did not attend classes in his district. The student the 7-year old boy was visiting attends Corinna Elementary School, Freve said. Grief counselors will be available on Monday at the elementary school for students or staff members who might need to talk to them, reports the Press Herald.

06/05/16: Boy Dies in Dog Attack
Corinna, ME - On Saturday, deputies responded to a dog attack at a home on Moody's Mills Road in Corinna at 5:15 pm, states a release issued Saturday night by Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton. When deputies arrived at the scene, they found the 7-year old boy had died as a result of the attack. No one else was injured, and the dog was put down, states the release. Additional details were not provided, including the victim's name. An investigation into the attack is ongoing.

The Dog's Former Owner

Earlier today, on the WABI TV Facebook thread, the former owner of the suspected dog, Amber Morin, spoke freely. "Hey i can tell you right now that the dog was my dog before i rehomed it, i have a 2 year old boy and he never showed agression to any person, i will also inform you the boy he killed was my cousin!" [sic] she wrote. The dog is a brown and white pit bull-mix, named Koda. In January of this year, Amber gave the dog back to its breeders due to it being dog-aggressive.

Amber, the breeders and the boy appear to be related. The boy may have been visiting or staying at the breeders' home when the deadly attack occurred. The breeders' had a new round of pit bull puppies as recently as April. On a November 2014 post, they talk about how their dogs frequently break their chains. "Ya our male pit has broken a lot of chains...we finally had to buy a tow cable haha." [sic] Koda appears in Facebook photos on the breeders' page starting on February 5, 2016.

There were other dogs at the breeders' home, but given Amber's comments and open guilt, it seems likely that Koda was the attacker. Another family member also called the dog a pit bull and named the breeders, "Our cousin Stacy's dog attacked him." Amber's Facebook page shows many photos of Koda growing up with her son. Koda was 1.5 years old, when the breed reaches sexual maturity and aggression often first appears. However, Koda was already dog-aggressive.

hunter bragg killed by pit bull
Commenter Lisa pointed out the Freudian slip Amber made above: "most harmful big baby ever."

1Woman, 75, Killed by Bullmastiff in Arkansas Gated Community, by DogsBite.org, January 1, 2014.
2Barbara Cariddi, "June 6: Dog Attack that Killed 7-Year-Old Boy Remains Under Investigation," Maine Public Broadcasting, June 6, 2016 (www.mpbc.net)
3There are/were multiple dog breeds in the Merchant household, each showing litters on Stacey's Facebook page. There was at least one kitten litter too. Our hearts go out to Hunter's family members and relatives. There is, however, an issue with animal breeding at the household of 207 Moody's Mill Road that should be addressed, since it is convincing clear at this stage that one of their "breedings" produced a pit bull that killed a boy. Whether authorities can require a kennel license or mandate that animals in that household be spay or neutered is unknown.

Related articles:
07/16/11: 2011 Dog Bite Fatality: Frankfort Girl Mauled to Death by Pet Rottweiler

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016


2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Elderly Man Killed by Dogs in Jacksonville, Florida

dogs kill man in jacksonville
Gaping hole seen in property fence line at home in 1100 block of Jessie Street.

Dangerous Designation
UPDATE 08/23/16: The coroner has still not announced the official cause of death of 83-year old Michael Downing. Sheriff's investigators believe Downing was attacked by up to four large dogs belonging to Lephus Felton. The dogs escaped through a sizable hole in the owner's fence, brutally attacked Downing then dragged him back under the fence through the same hole. The victim was found dismembered inside the dog owner's backyard, just inside the fence line.
"By far it's probably the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life. There was only 30 percent left of his body probably." - Witness Mackenzie Partin
Animal control authorities are moving forward with declaring all four dogs dangerous -- a rottweiler and three large mixed breeds. The legal designation will eventually result in the euthanasia of the animals. Dog-related evidence was gathered at the scene and sent to an animal forensic lab at the University of Florida. Felton is no stranger to law enforcement. Over the last 5-years, police have been called to Felton's home 14 times, though only one call involved an animal complaint.

Multiple neighbors said the dogs had escaped from the same damaged fenced area before and were aggressive toward people who walked by. Neighbors also told ActionNewsJax they had complained to the city about the dogs, as well as the dog's owner. "I knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time," neighbor Mark Jones said. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is working with the State Attorney's Office to determine if criminal charges will be brought against Felton.1

08/20/16: Dragged Under Fence
The elderly victim was reportedly taking out the trash when the deadly attack occurred. The trash dumpster is located in the back of the parking lot of the Franklin Arms Apartments, close to the fence of the dog owner's yard. In an extremely predatory attack, investigators believe the dogs escaped under the fence through a gaping hole, viciously attacked the man then dragged him back under the fence through the hole, continuing the attack in the dog owner's backyard.
The victim was found on the ground inside the dog owner's backyard, inside the fence line. - Sgt. Chuck Ford, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office
The last time a horrific, predatory attack of this nature occurred was last December in Detroit. Xavier Strickland, 4-years old, was walking with his mother when three pit bulls escaped under the fence of the dog owner's home and "snatched" the boy from his mother's arms. The dogs dragged Xavier by the hood of his coat across the residential street, pulled him back under the fence of the dog owner's yard, where a fourth pit bull joined in the brutal attack, mauling him to death.

On Monday, the sheriff's office identified the elderly victim as 83-year old Michael Downing.

08/19/16: Dog Attack Suspected
Jacksonville, FL - An elderly man was found dead in an apparent animal attack Friday afternoon. Police discovered the man on the property of the Franklin Arms Apartments near a fence line that contained holes. Sheriff's investigators believe one or more dogs from an adjacent home came through the holes and attacked him, Sgt. Chuck Ford of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said. Four large dogs were taken into custody by animal control; at least two appear to be rottweiler-types.

The attack occurred in the 1100 block of Jessie Street. Deputies responded to a call about 4:30 pm. The elderly man was initially found dead by the person who owns the home that backs up to the Franklin Arms Apartments (and presumably owns the four dogs). Another news report states the victim was walking along Jessie Street when the dogs attacked, dragging him along the fence line. The victim's name has not yet been released. The sheriff's office continues to investigate.

Owner Talks to Media

The Florida Times-Union adds more details, including that the owner of the four dogs, Lephus Felton, concocted a bizarre story, blaming the elderly victim for the deadly attack. Felton said the elderly man must have "reached through" the fence before the attack at some point. “All his stuff was close to the gate. He was teasing my dog,” Felton said of the victim. Felton said he was gone for 30 minutes and when he returned, a woman told him his dogs killed someone in his backyard.

Felton said one of the dogs is a rottweiler, and the others are a mix of rottweiler, German shepherd and chow chow. Two of the dogs, both 3-years old, are younger offspring of the parent dogs.

dogs suspected in attack that kills man
1The Jacksonville ACO director mentioned in the article, Jim Crosby, is a longtime pit bull owner and advocate (note our 2008 post - The Anatomy of a Whitewash). In 2010, Crosby resigned as the director of Bay County Animal Control in Florida after one of his employees took home a pig in the facility's care named "Fluffy" then butchered and ate it. There was no mention of this in the PR puffery piece by Jacksonville.com after his hiring in March.

Related articles:
08/04/16: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Oklahoma Man Dies After Vicious Attack by Five Pit Bulls
01/07/16: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: 4-Year Old Boy Savagely Killed by Four Pit Bulls in Detroit
11/12/15: Fatal Rottweiler Attacks - The Archival Record
08/19/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Multiple Pit Bulls Kill Elderly Man in Pecos, Texas

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Friday, August 19, 2016


2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Family Pit Bull Kills 'Visiting' Child in Las Vegas

pit bull kills child las vegas
Derion Stevenson, 9-years old, was killed by a pit bull while visiting a friend's home.

July Attack Confirmed
UPDATE 08/19/16: County authorities confirmed the pit bull that killed a 9-year old boy was also involved in dog fight in the same neighborhood in July. Clark County Animal Control did not declare the pit bull dangerous or vicious after the attack. Derion Stevenson died after the same pit bull brutally attacked his face and neck a month later. The lack of public safety concern given to "animal aggression" by many animal control authorities is abysmal in many jurisdictions.
It is a false myth that "animal-aggressive" and "people-aggressive" are distinctly separate factors. Aggression, is aggression, is aggression.1
A neighbor was walking her labrador on July 11, when the pit bull, "Left Eye," attacked her dog, county spokesman Dan Kulin said. The pit bull's owner claimed the labrador initiated the fight. The labrador escaped serious injuries. In a statement released Friday, the county said, "the July incident was not serious enough to warrant a dangerous or vicious declaration." The victim dog would have to sustain "substantial bodily harm or die as a result" of the attack, the statement said.

In a painfully common scenario shared by owners of dangerous dogs -- shuffling these dogs around to new owners -- the Las Vegas Review-Journal also reports that Left Eye's owner cited in the July attack (a man) is not the same person who had custody over the dog when it killed Derion Stevenson (a woman). Fox 5 already uncovered the ladder owner tried to give her problematic pit bull away in February 2015. Back then she advertised the pit bull as "goofy" and "loveable."

Clark County also admitted that as of August 17 this year, only 2.5% (5) of the dogs involved in dog-on-dog attacks (196) were given a dangerous designation; none were given a vicious designation. That leaves 191 dog owners so far this year who may have lost faith in a system they formerly believed was created to protect innocent people and pets from dangerous dogs. They had to learn the hard way that these dogs and their owners have more rights then they do.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the funeral costs for Derion Stevenson.

08/18/16: Children Witnessed Attack
The Clark County coroner's office said 9-year old Derion Stevenson died from blunt force injuries to the neck and head from the dog attack. The manner of death was ruled an accident. Derion was killed by a pit bull-mix while visiting a friend's home Wednesday. The dog, named Left Eye, has since been euthanized. Jesse Roybal, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department, said that Derion was with his friends when the pit bull fatally attacked him in the face and neck.
"Not only is this tragic for this young man’s family, but for his friends that had to witness it." - Jesse Roybal, Metropolitan Police Department
Fox 5 Las Vegas reports the dog had a history of aggression. Neighbors told Fox that about 3-weeks ago, the same pit bull, named Left Eye, attacked a different child and also a dog. Neighbor Maritza Cardona said she heard people screaming outside, as people tried to separate the pit bull from a little dog. It is unknown if the attack 3-weeks ago was reported to authorities. As of today, news groups also specified the location of the attack: 6490 Duck Hill Springs Drive.

Emerging details about Derion's death include that he and some friends went to the pit bull owner's home "to get some candy," according to relatives. When the front door opened, the dog immediatley attacked his face. "I'm seeing my nephew's face full of blood," said Alikish Moore, the victim's uncle. Moore discovered Derion in a pool of blood unresponsive. First responders rushed the boy to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, where he died.

Fox 5 Las Vegas Video Updated

The Fox 5 video was updated at 1:23 am CDT to include more information. The victim in the attack 3-weeks ago, who was not identified, said they filed a police report after Left Eye attacked their child and dog. Cardona (mentioned earlier) only witnessed the incident. Fox 5 located the pit bull's female owner on Facebook and found a post last year showing she had tried to get rid of Left Eye in February 2015. Police only confirmed they were called out about the dog this past January.
"I need 2 find this goofy loveable dog "left eye" a good loving home. Let me know if u interested." - Facebook post by dog's owner, Feb 19, 2015
pit bull named left eye kills boy in las vegas

08/18/16: Child Identified in Dog Mauling
The 9-year old boy mauled to death by a pit bull in Las Vega has been identified as Derion Stevenson. The dog was euthanized earlier today, The Associated Press reports. Very little other information has been released thus far. On Wednesday, Derion was visiting the dog owner's home on Duck Hill Springs Drive when the pit bull exited the house and attacked him. Derion was taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, where he later died.
The 3-year-old pit bull mixed-breed named Left Eye was euthanized after it was surrendered by its owners to animal control officers. - Associated Press
Derion Stevenson is the 205th child mauled to death by a pit bull since 1980, when the pit bull problem began to emerge. Derion is also the 154th child killed by a pit bull since the CDC stopped tracking breed data 18-years ago. It is not unexpected that pit bull mauling deaths have persisted since 1998. What is shocking is the sharp escalation of these deaths. The rate of pit bulls killing people has increased over 500% since the CDC's study when comparing a recent 5-year period.

08/17/16: Visiting Child Killed by Pit Bull
Las Vegas, NV - A child was fatally attacked by a pit bull while visiting the dog owner's home in East Valley on Wednesday afternoon. Police responded to a home in the 6000 block of Duck Hill Springs Drive, near Desert Inn Road about 3:35 pm, Metro Lt. Timothy Hatchett said. The child was visiting a friend's home when the dog exited the house and attacked the child, Hatchett said. The child was transported to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center where he died of his injuries.

Since 2005, there have been seven fatal dog attacks in Nevada. Four of these attacks occurred in Clark County. Pit bulls were responsible for 71% (5) of the total deaths and include Cenedi Carey, 4-months old, North Las Vegas (2008), Alexander Adams, 2-years old, Las Vegas (2008), Kevin Latz, 50-years old, Reno (2012) and Kenneth Ford, 79-years old, Pahrump (2015). In 2013, Nevada legislators passed a preemption bill barring local governments from regulating pit bulls.

"Visiting" Child Scenario

In the 11-year period of 2005 to 2015 canines killed 360 people in this country. Nearly 30% (99) of these victims were either visiting or living temporarily with the dog's owner when the fatal attack occurred. Children make up the majority of these deaths, accounting for 71% (70). So far in 2016, 55% of all fatal dog attack victims fall within the "visiting the owner" attack scenario. For years, DogsBite.org has emphasized this dangerous trend in our annual U.S. dog bite fatality statistics.

1Selective breeding for aggression (fighting dogs) runs the whole gamut of aggression. There are countless pit bulls that have seriously injured, maimed or killed a person that first expressed animal aggression. Despite the county claiming otherwise, the July 11 incident must have been a scary close call, otherwise the labrador's owner would not have reported it. Dog owners report attacks like this not because they avoided what "could have been" a horrible attack, but because they are trying to PREVENT a future attack by a dog that scared the daylights out of them.

Related articles:
02/19/16: 2015 U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Statistics - DogsBite.org
07/08/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pahrump Man Dies One Month After Vicious Pit Bull Attack
04/20/15: 2015 First Quarter Report: Municipalities Beat Back State Preemption Bills Barring...
05/05/09: Alexandra Semyonova: Heritability of Behavior in the Abnormally Aggressive Dog

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Friday, August 12, 2016


2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Homeless Man Killed by Pit Bull-Mixes Owned by Honolulu Business

Crisencio Aliado killed by pit bulls honolulu
A cross marks where Crisencio Aliado, 52, was killed by two pit bull-mixes.

Dogs Returned to Owners
UPDATE 08/12/16: It was announced this week that Honolulu authorities released the two pit bull-mixes that killed a homeless man back to their owners. On July 29, the two pit bulls escaped the fencing from the dog owners' business, ContainerLand, and fatally attacked 52-year old Crisencio Aliado who was washing his clothes in a nearby stream. Police are apparently waiting on a formal report from the medical examiner's office before taking any further action.
"Normal" dog owners would have relinquished the dogs to authorities to be euthanized after a fatal attack. An antisocial dog owner would not.
There appears to be no state or local statute that allows police to impound and euthanize a dog that kills a person when a case lacks evidence supporting criminal charges. So in Honolulu, when a dog escapes its owner's property and kills a person on public property, no criminal charges apply unless the dog was previously declared dangerous. That is not uncommon in other states, but lacking the authority to impound and euthanize a dog that kills a person is uncommon.

All that local law requires in this case is for the ContainerLand owners to keep their two pit bull-mixes "secure" at their home. The public's safety is entrusted to the very same delinquent dog owners who failed to keep their animals secure at their business and the result was the violent mauling death of an innocent man. City Councilman Joey Manahan and Honolulu attorney Richard Turbin, who has represented dog attack victims in the past, both expressed alarm to KITV.
"That is a frightening prospect, when you have dogs who have killed a human being, running loose in a neighborhood." - Attorney Richard Turbin.
Turbin talked about a state statute that allows for any person to file an application with the courts of Hawaii for a "dangerous dog" designation if the person believes it is dangerous. We could find no reference to this in online searches, but Texas has a similar statute and is commonly seen posted on city or county animal control websites. That this right exists for Hawaii citizens, but is hidden from view, is the direct failure of the Hawaiian Humane Society and the city of Honolulu.

Nearby businesses also told KITV the same dogs had gotten loose in the industrial area before. Surveillance footage might exist for the deadly attack as well. One company said that police looked at surveillance video that showed Aliado picking up cans along the stream. Police did not say if they viewed any attack footage. Homeless people in the area told KITV they believed the same dogs were involved in previous attacks, but it is unknown if any were reported to authorities.

Second Victim Comes Forward

On the heels of this KITV update, the news group published a follow up, reporting that a second victim came forward. Francine Kornegay, who lives under the airport viaduct, told KITV she was attacked over a year ago by two dogs near the ContainerLand store in Kalihi. A witness called emergency responders who arrived shortly after the attack. Kornegay said she believes a man let three dogs out from behind a fenced area when two of the dogs, both pit bull-mixes, attacked her.
"I was in a wheelchair for a while after [the attack], I could not walk, anything. I couldn't care for myself." - Francine Kornegay
The owners of ContainerLand admitted that they helped Kornegay, who was transported to Tripler Army Medical Center. They paid for her antibiotics and brought her food, reports KITV. The owners said they had five dogs at that time -- at least three were pit bull-mixes according to their personal Facebook pages. The owners were unsure if the same dogs were involved in both attacks. The owners said two of their dogs died in 2015. One was memorialized on their Facebook pages.

The owners of ContainerLand said they feel terrible about the attacks, reports KITV. But they did nothing to prevent the mauling death of Aliado either. Their dogs had attacked at least once before and nearby business owners said their pit bull-mixes had escaped on previous occasions. Under an agreement with the Hawaiian Humane Society, the ContainerLand owners are "not to walk the dogs in their neighborhood," KITV reports. Quite the penalty after their dogs savagely killed a man.

Editorial note added August 13: While writing this update, we noticed the owners of ContainerLand, Michael Souza and Candace Souza (a married couple), have since deactivated their Facebook pages. Due to this, we have replaced live links throughout this post, which previously linked to their Facebook pages, with screenshots and PDF files that we gathered while researching the fatal pit bull attack of Crisencio Aliado.

Photographs of Suspected Dogs

UPDATE 08/04/16: On Tuesday, the Honolulu medical examiner determined that 52-year old Crisencio Aliado died from multiple dog bite injuries. A follow up news report by Khon 2 revealed the two dogs involved in the attack were pit bull-mixes that belonged to the owner of the nearby business, ContainerLand. Aliado was a homeless man who had been washing clothing in the nearby stream when the dogs attacked, according to the victim's friend Norbert Cardoza.

The Facebook profile for ContainerLand shows it was created by Michael Souza (his name is literally in the URL). Souza's father, Norman "Pops" Souza, who passed away last August, started the business, according to his obituary. ContainerLand is also known as Diamond Head Distributors or Island Distributors, states a reviewer on the business' Yelp page. The father's obituary also states these three business names along with the name, T&R Distributors.
The son is also listed as a business owner for ContainerLand and Diamond Head Distributors, the businesses share the same address.
Michael's personal Facebook page states he is married to Candace. Both of their Facebook pages overwhelm with photographs of their pet pit bulls. Between the two, they appear to have at least three pit bulls. However, the black male, named Bailey, died in January 2015, which leaves the two others as the culprits.1 The couple also breeds pit bulls and Michael apparently prefers the mix of 3/4 pure pit bull terrier with 1/4 pure pointer. It is unknown if the owners will face criminal charges.

pit bulls involved in fatal mauling honolulu

08/04/16: Homeless Man Killed
Honolulu, HI - On Tuesday, the Honolulu medical examiner determined 52-year old Crisencio Aliado died from multiple dog bite injuries. Aliado, a homeless man, was attacked in Kalihi, a neighborhood of Honolulu. Khon 2 reports the attack occurred behind ContainerLand, a party supply warehouse. The two pit bull-mixes belong to the business owners. Witness Reno S. said, "There was a dead body. A guy was mauled. It looked like his leg and his head was all bloody."
Crisencio Aliado was found dead at about 7 pm Friday, July 29, on a stream bank near Marukai, along Kamehameha Highway.
One of Aliado's friends, Norbert Cardoza, said Aliado was washing his clothes in the stream at the time of the attack. “He was the most mild-mannered person you could meet. Didn’t bother nobody. Just that he was homeless,” Cardoza said. The owners of ContainerLand confirmed their two pit bull-mixes were confiscated after the deadly mauling and are currently being held at the Hawaiian Humane Society. The owner's claimed their dogs "somehow" escaped their fenced warehouse.

The last fatal dog mauling in Hawaii occurred in 2008, the death of 2-month old Iokepa Liptak.

1When we published on August 4, we did not know that Bailey died last year. Upon further examination of the owner's Facebook photos, this became clear, so we updated that portion of the paragraph. Notably, on Bailey's memorial photo, one can see the container boxes in the background. In comments on the instagram photo, people ask, "What happened?" but the owner does not respond. Now a year and half later, the couple is set to lose their remaining two pit bulls due to the horrific violence, destruction and death they inflicted upon a homeless man.

Related articles:
07/01/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies After Pit Bull Attack in Southeast Houston

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Thursday, August 4, 2016


2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Mauled to Death by Her Boyfriend's Pit Bull in Georgia

woman killed by boyfriends pit bull in georgia
Michelle Wilcox, 30, was killed by her boyfriend's pit bull in Screven County, Georgia.

No History of Aggression for Any of the Dogs?

UPDATE 08/04/16: Since news broke Tuesday about the fatal dog mauling of Michelle Wilcox, the public has been told that no dogs belonging to her boyfriend had "any known history of viciousness or aggression," according to Screven County Sheriff' Mike Kile's news release. That information is no longer valid; one of the male pit bulls had previously attacked. We also now know the identity of the boyfriend and that he owned four adult pit bulls -- two females and two males.

Devin Bannon is the boyfriend of Wilcox and clearly states so on his public Facebook page. His male pit bull Conan is still being used as his cover photo. On July 18, Bannon posted an image of his pit bulls: Muffin, Kaos, Conan and Molly. We presume Muffin is a female, so that leaves Kaos or Conan as the male fatal attacker. According to Kaos' former owner, Troy Johnson, "Kaos, ended with some legal charges over an attack, sent him to a farm in Statesboro with Devin."



Johnson posted this status update on May 23, 2015 along with photos of Kaos at different ages. The name "Devin" links to the profile of Bannon. In the update, Johnson commiserates about his inability to find a suitable male pit bull for his female pit bull, Maggie. By that point he had gone through four male pit bulls and was starting on a fifth. It is unknown exactly when Johnson sent Kaos to Devin. The first photo of Kaos appears on Bannon's Facebook page on May 26, 2014.

Yesterday, we wrote to Sheriff Kile with this information and also asked for clarification on whether the fatal attacker was Kaos or Conan. We emphasize again that Conan continues to be Bannon's Facebook cover photo after the death of Wilcox. What is also notable about his photographs is that his four pit bulls are of the larger variety and mainly seen "outside." Yet, he was quick to tell authorities his pit bulls were "indoor" dogs. Maybe Bannon meant they were "garage" dogs.

Pit Bull Milestone

Attorney and author J. Thomas Beasley wrote about this attack at his website. Last April, Beasley published Misunderstood Nanny Dogs? A Critical and Objective Analysis of the Facts & Myths Concerning Pit Bulls. We wrote an excellent book review for it, and others have as well. We encourage readers to purchase a copy. In his post about Wilcox, Beasley reminds us of her expertise with animals, yet even this expertise could not prevent or stop the deadly mauling.
"Michelle Wilcox worked as an inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and had studied pre-veterinarian medicine and animal science at the University of Georgia. She was an avid and skilled equestrian rider, and by all accounts, an “animal expert.” But that expertise did nothing to thwart the unprovoked, unexpected and uncontrollable attack by her boyfriend’s pit bull on August 2, 2016. Police investigators stated that the dog was well cared for, had been raised from puppyhood as an “inside dog” and had no history of violence or aggression." - J. Thomas Beasley
Read in full: Pit Bull Milestone - J. Thomas Beasley

male pit bulls suspected in killing michelle wilcox

08/02/16: News Release Adds Details
An autopsy conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Michelle Wilcox, 30-years old, died due to injuries inflicted by the pit bull, according to a news release issued by Screven County Sheriff Mike Kile late Tuesday. "No one else was in the home at the time of the incident," Sheriff Mike Kile states. "The dog, a male pit bull, was put down by the owner immediately following the discovery of the attack," Kile states in the release.

Wilcox was familiar with the dogs at the home and had handled them safely many times in the past. None of the dogs in the home had any known history of viciousness or aggression, states the release. The Statesboro Herald adds that Wilcox's Facebook page indicates Wilcox was employed as a meat inspector with the Georgia Department of Agriculture and had studied pre-veterinary medicine at Gainesville State College and animal science at the University of Georgia.

08/02/16: Pit Bull Kills Woman in Georgia
Screven County, GA - In a developing story, a woman was brutally mauled to death by her boyfriend's pit bull near Newington, Georgia. Investigators say Michelle Wilcox died after being attacked by her boyfriend's pit bull while he was away at work Monday. About 6 pm last night, county investigators responded to a 911 call of a dead person at the boyfriend's home. Authorities arrived to a "horrific scene," reports WTOC, a woman mauled to death by a family pit bull.

"We will never know the reason why. It was raised from a small puppy in the house to the 95 pound dog it is now," Screven County Sheriff Mike Kile said. "She came home and let it out and seemed to be doing the normal routine. The dog just attacked," Kile said. Like many law enforcement officers, Kile responds to the "lack of reason" for the deadly attack, yet the nature of a pit bull attack is often explosive, unpredictable aggression and the execution of the killing bite.

While writing this post, more news was added, including there were multiple dogs in the home. "Investigators say none of the dogs in the home had any known history of viciousness or aggression," reports WTOC. It is very likely the family was backyard breeding pit bulls. The owner also destroyed the attacking pit bull immediately upon discovering his girlfriend dead. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) assisted local authorities in this investigation, reports WTOC.
map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: Georgia Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

Related articles:
06/24/15: Anchorage Pit Bull Attack: The Mechanics of a "Classic" Unprovoked Pit Bull Attack
11/05/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Kernersville Woman, 25, Killed by Her Boyfriend's Two Pit Bulls
05/05/09: Alexandra Semyonova: Heritability of Behavior in the Abnormally Aggressive Dog

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2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Oklahoma Man Dies After Vicious Attack by Five Pit Bulls

Pit bulls kill oklahoma city man
Area where Edgar Brown was viciously attacked by five pit bulls on October 6.

Criminal Charges Filed
UPDATE 08/04/16: Nine months after a pack of pit bulls mauled a man to death, second-degree manslaughter chargers were filed against the owner of the dogs. Last October, 60-year old Edgar Brown stopped by a friend's rental home to take out the trash. While undertaking this task, five pit bulls belonging to a nearby property entered through a hole in the fence and brutally attacked him. The severe bite injuries led to multiple complications, amputations and death under 2-weeks later.

Second-degree manslaughter charges in Oklahoma is a felony that carries up to 4-years in prison or by a fine of $1,000 or both a fine and imprisonment, according to FindLaw.com. Edgar's brother, Dexter Brown, has been a strong proponent for criminal charges since his brother's vicious attack. “People got to be responsible for their dogs and if their dogs kill somebody as far as I’m concerned you killed them,” Dexter said. Police issued an arrest warrant for the dogs' owner, Juan Diaz.

10/22/15: Man Dies After Pit Bull Attack
Oklahoma City, OK - An Oklahoma City man viciously attacked by five pit bulls while tending to a rental property on October 6 died on Sunday. The media did not report the attack. Edgar Brown, 60-years old, spent 12-days hospitalized before dying of complications due to his injuries. His brother, Dexter Brown, said he was brutally mauled by the dogs. While hospitalized, his health quickly spiraled, including suffering a heart attack, which led to a triple bypass surgery, he said.
Doctors also had to amputate both of the victim's legs and part of one arm due to infection from the severe dog bite injuries.
At the time of the attack, Edgar was helping out a friend. According to his brother, Edgar was asked to go to a friend's rental home to take out the trash. The trashcans were located just inside of the gate on the side of the home. The pit bulls, which belonged to a nearby property, jumped the fence and charged him.1 Edgar was able to keep the gate closed, staving off the dogs, but the pit bulls found a hole in the fence, ran through it and attacked him on the other side of the gate.

He was hollering for help, Dexter said. Then somebody honked their horn and the dogs fled back through the hole in the fence. "He had blood all over him, all over the floor, everywhere," Dexter said. "Flesh was hanging off his arms. It was the most awful mess I’ve ever seen." Edgar was taken to OU Medical Center where doctors tried to save his life. "We buried him today. We had his funeral today,” Dexter said. "He was the most wonderful little brother you’ve ever had in your life."

All five pit bulls have since been euthanized.2 Oklahoma City police are investigating the case. The mauling death of Edgar Brown marks the third Oklahoma citizen struck down by vicious dogs in 2015. All three deadly attacks involved pit bulls. Previous victims include, Carolyn Lamp, 67-years old of Coweta, who was killed by a pack of dogs in Redbird and Jordan Charles Collins-Tyson, 3-years old of Lawton, who was killed by a family pit bull while visiting a relative's home.
map iconView the DogsBite.org Google State Map: Oklahoma Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

1Edgar's sister left a comment on the News 9 article indicating that the pit bulls belonged to a residence located behind the rental home -- the backyards of both homes were bordering and separated by a fence.
2The owner can now go out and buy a new crop of breeding pit bulls. There is nothing to stop him.

Related articles:
07/24/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pack of Dogs Kill Woman in Wagoner County, Oklahoma
06/29/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Kills Child Under Babysitter's Watch...
09/30/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Oklahoma Woman Killed by Pit Bull in Her Home
08/27/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Elderly Oklahoma Man Killed by Two Pit Bulls
09/28/11: 2011 Dog Bite Fatality: Ardmore Man Mauled to Death by Chained Pit Bull

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Saturday, July 23, 2016


2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Pack of Pit Bulls Kill Boy on Navajo Nation Reservation

3 year old boy killed by pit bulls navajo nation
On July 14, Kayden Begay, was killed by a pack of pit bulls in Seba Dalkai.

Navajo Leaders Respond
UPDATE 07/23/16: A week after 3-year old Kayden Begay was killed by a pack of dogs in Seba Dalkai, a report from the Navajo Nation Animal Control Program obtained by the Associated Press confirmed the boy was killed by dogs in the area. The report does not specify the breeds of dogs involved or whether the dogs had owners -- which is standard practice for fatal dog attacks that occur on reservations in our experience. The report also states that only five dogs were involved.
This might indicate that at least six pit bulls or their mixes were removed (vacated) from the scene before Navajo Nation authorities arrived.
Citing the report, Navajo President Russell Begaye said that five dogs mauled the boy before officials arrived. Two dogs were shot on scene and three were taken into custody and euthanized at an animal shelter in Fort Defiance, Arizona, according to the report. All five dogs tested negative for rabies. Cecil Hubbell Sr., president of the Navajo Nation's Wide Ruins Chapter, said people told him they had reported these dogs before, but officials took no actions until the boy was killed.

The Navajo Nation is about 27,000 square miles -- larger than West Virginia -- with very limited resources. The Navajo Nation Animal Control (NNAC) web page states they only have five officers for the entire reservation.1 In a public message plea for more funding, NNAC states they currently lack the ability to provide services in key areas including: aggressive enforcement of laws, livestock damage investigations, animal-bite investigations, quarantines and much more.

07/18/16: Pit Bulls Kill Boy
Window Rock, AZ - A 3-year old boy was killed by a pack of dogs in Seba Dalkai Thursday. The rural community is located on the Navajo Nation Reservation northeast of Flagstaff. The boy's mother, Kimasha Shorty of Gallup, told the Navajo Times that Kayden Colter Begay was visiting her paternal grandparents in Seba Dalkai at the time. Kayden had followed his aunt outside to get the cattle when a pack of 12 pit bulls owned by the family's neighbor attacked and killed him.
The pack of loose pit bulls belonged to neighbor Marlinda Begay, a relative on Kayden's father's side, according to the boy's mother.
Shorty was told his aunt was unaware that Kayden had followed her. “She turned around and saw the dogs gathered around something. She went to see what they were doing, and that’s when she found my son," Shorty told the Navajo Times. The pit bulls attacked Kayden's face, ripping off the left side, and gnawed his thigh to the bone. People in the area had long complained to the Navajo Nation Rangers about the dogs attacking livestock, Shorty said, but nothing was ever done.

After learning about her son's death, Shorty drove to Seba Dalkai from Gallup. By the time she arrived, authorities had destroyed some of the dogs. However, Shorty did not believe they had gotten them all. The Navajo Nation Criminal Investigations Office in Dilkon confirmed that a unit is investigating the boy's mauling death. No charges have been filed so far. Shorty described her son as “the happy kid who ran around shaking everyone’s hand." A fund has been set up for the boy.

Mauling Deaths on Reservations

Kayden is the third person killed on the Navajo Nation Reservation since 2010. In 2012, Tomas Jay Henio, 8-years old, was mauled to death by up to nine dogs a day after Christmas in Pine Hill. In December 2010, Larry Armstrong, 56-years old, was killed by a pack of dogs near Gallup. Since 2010, there have been at least seven fatal dog attacks on reservations nationwide, including the deaths of Julia Whirlwind, 49, Jayla Rodriguez, 8, Deanne Coando, 40 and baby Justin Lopez.
map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: Fatal Dog Attacks on American Indian Reservations.

Learn about breed-specific laws on Indian reservations in our State-by-State section.

1In a July 21, 2016 article by the Navajo Times, Wide Ruins Chapter President Cecil Hubbell Sr. said there are only four animal control officers across Navajoland. The article also states the mother's last name is Shorty, not Begay.

Related articles:
03/17/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Dogs on Rosebud Indian Reservation
11/22/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Pack of Dogs Kills 8-Year Old Girl on Pine Ridge...
11/17/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Pack of Dogs on Wind River Indian...
12/31/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Pack of Dogs Kills Boy in Cibola County, New Mexico
03/30/11: 2011 Dog Bite Fatality: 55-Year Old Man Killed by Pack of Dogs Near Gallup
03/11/10: 2010 Dog Bite Fatality: Rottweilers at Home One Day Kill Baby on Iowa Tribal Land

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016


2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Family Pit Bull Kills 71-Year Old Woman in Southwest Detroit

detroit woman killed by own pit bull
Elizabeth Rivera, 71-years old, was killed by a family pit bull in southwest Detroit.

Previous Attack Photos
UPDATE 07/20/16: The Wayne County Medical Examiner's office said that 71-year old Elizabeth Rivera died of "crush injury to the neck." The manner of death was ruled an accident. The autopsy was performed on July 17, reports the Detroit Free Press. The following day, Detroit police stated they had completed their investigation, though it was unknown if one or more family pit bulls were involved in the fatal attack. Rivera was found dead inside her home by a relative Saturday night.

WXYZ Detroit reported new details in a news video Monday, along with photographs of Rivera's injuries involving a previous attack by a different pit bull. That attack was first reported as occurring last August. However, the WXYZ video states that it was several years ago, and Rivera had to undergo extensive surgeries and skin grafts after that family pit bull attacked her face. It was later put down. The loved one who spoke to WXYZ would not appear on camera in fear of retaliation.
In both attacks, the severe facial attack and the attack that killed her, Rivera's daughter and her daughter's "boyfriend" owned the pit bulls.
"I was astonished. I couldn't believe it because of what happened prior. I never thought this would happen again," states the person. "She was the heart of our family. She was a wonderful sweet woman, very compassionate. She went to church all the time, and she does not deserve this. This should have never happened to her," states the person. There aren't words to describe how difficult her funeral services will be. What could the daughter and her "boyfriend" possibly say?

07/16/16: Killed by Family Pit Bull
Detroit, MI - A 71-year old woman was attacked and killed by her own pit bull in her southwest Detroit home. The attack happened about 8 pm at her home in the 2000 block of Ferdinand Street, Sgt. Michael Woody of Detroit Police said. The pit bull attacked the woman, knocking her down then latched onto her neck and executed the killing bite, severing her jugular vein. She died on scene. There were three other dogs in the home at the time. Animal control seized the pit bull.

Click on Detroit reports that all four dogs are pit bulls and were seized by authorities. Family members identified the victim as Elizabeth Rivera. The victim's granddaughter discovered Rivera lifeless on the home's first floor. Family members said the dogs belong to a "boyfriend" of a family member, but Rivera had been around the dogs regularly. Rivera survived a pit bull attack last August from a different dog. It is unclear who owned that pit bull, the "boyfriend" or someone else.

Rivera's home is about a 15-minute drive from where 4-year old Xavier Strickland was brutally struck down by a pack of pit bulls that escaped their owner's property on December 2. Last month, a jury convicted the owner of those pit bulls, Geneke Lyons, on manslaughter. On June 30, Judge James Callahan sentenced Lyons below the guidelines in connection to the boy's death to 5-years probation with the first year to be spent in the Wayne County prison work release program.

Medical study: Pitbull Mauling Deaths in Detroit, by Cheryl L. Loewe MD et al., The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, Vol 28, December 2007.
map iconView the DogsBite.org Google State Map: Michigan Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

previous pit bull attack injuries, elizabeth rivera, detroit family pit bull kills detroit woman Related articles:
06/30/16: Criminal Trial: Detroit Pit Bull Owner Convicted on Two Counts of Manslaughter...
01/07/16: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: 4-Year Old Boy Savagely Killed by Four Pit Bulls in Detroit
09/15/15: Detroit Man Suffers Catastrophic Injuries in Violent Pack Attack by Pit Bulls

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Thursday, July 14, 2016


Young Man Survives Vicious Pit Bull Mauling in Graves County, Kentucky

pit bull attack graves county, kentucky
Mitchell Slayden was attacked by two pit bulls on July 2 in Farmington, Kentucky.

Pit Bull Attack Survivor
Farmington, KY - On July 5, the Kentucky State Police issued a press release about a young man who was badly mauled by two pit bulls. He was airlifted to Tri-Star Skyline Medical Center in Nashville with life threatening injuries. Mitchell Slayden, 22, was riding his bicycle when he entered the driveway of a home on Dove road belonging to Chris Bouland, 27. Mitchell was looking for a man he thought lived at the home, however, that person no longer lived there, states the release.
"When he entered the driveway Slayden was confronted by two pit bulls. As he attempted to leave the driveway the two pit bulls attacked him. Slayden sustained lacerations to his face, head, arms, and legs. He was airlifted to Tri-Star Skyline Medical Center in Nashville, TN with life threatening injuries. The two dogs were taken into custody by the Graves County Animal Control." - Kentucky State Police
Days go by and we learn very little else. However, we did look up the owner of one of the pit bulls, Christopher Bouland and his near lethal mauler. Bouland has been in trouble with the Kentucky State Police in the past, and is a stereotypical owner of a dangerous pit bull. Mitchell did not stand a chance against the two unrestrained pit bulls kept in Bouland's unfenced backyard. All he had wanted to do was visit a man who he thought still lived at the home. He nearly paid with his life.

On July 13, we learned that Kentucky State Police charged Bouland and Tina Dykes, 45, both of Farmington, with harboring a vicious animal, a class B misdemeanor. If found guilty, the two could face a $200 fine, up to 60 days in jail or both. This is a pittance for the life-altering injuries the dogs inflicted on Mitchell. One commenter noted on the article, "$200 and 60 days? And those are max penalties. What a joke. That's the reason people keep vicious dogs. The penalty is so light."
"Since the attack, the Graves Fiscal Court is considering action regarding vicious dogs. During a meeting Monday night, Judge-Executive Jesse Perry said he and commissioners Todd Hayden, Tyler Goodman and Richie Galloway would be taking a look at a McCracken County proposal -- and possibly others -- to decide what can be done concerning vicious animals." - The Paducah Sun
Why Cities and Counties Ban Pit Bulls

The gravely damaging attack, combined with insufficient criminal penalties afterward, are two of three fundamental reasons why municipalities regulate pit bulls. The third reason is the predictable lack of civil recourse. Pit bull owners are often uninsured renters or otherwise uninsured. Even when there is insurance, the standard policy is only $100,000, which is grossly inadequate after a pit bull tears off part of a person's scalp, as was the case with Mitchell's near fatal injuries.

On Wednesday, Mitchell's father spoke out in a troubling piece by WPSD, which partly focused on "why" the attacking pit bulls still had not been released by the Mayfield Graves County Animal Shelter. WPSD quotes kennel attendant Mickie Bailey, who foreseeably responds to the vicious designation of the dogs as, "I don't think they're mean. Misunderstood, maybe, and scared." Bailey should be fired for embarrassing the county, whose prosecutors have filed these charges.

Walter Slayden, Mitchell's father, said the scene was a bloody mess. Slayden found his son lying in a ditch across the road from Bouland's home. Mitchell had tried to run away from the dogs. The pit bulls attacked his face and scalp and his body was covered in dog bites. "I did not think he was going to make it," Slayden said. Doctors will begin reconstructive surgeries next week, he said. When asked what he would say to the pit bull owners, he states, "I don't need to talk to them."
Correct. Bouland is just another "exhausted cliche" owner of a dangerous pit bull and could care less about the health and well being of Mitchell.
At the very end of the WPSD video, reporter Brianna Clark noted that she was told that when Bouland and Dykes went to pick up their pit bulls after the 10-day quarantine on Tuesday, "they were very upset they could not take their dogs home." We rest our case about Bouland. If these two pit bulls are put down, Bouland and Dykes will immediately acquire new pit bulls and the process will begin all over again. The only way to stop it is for the county to regulate the breed.

chris bouland vicious pit bull
chris bouland vicious pit bull at shelter
These are just "some" of Bouland's Facebook Likes about pit bulls; he prefers the large ones.

chris bouland owner of vicious pit bull
Related articles:
01/25/16: Pit Bulls Lead 'Bite' Counts Across U.S. Cities and Counties
09/01/15: Cities with Successful Pit Bull Laws; Data Shows Breed-Specific Laws Work
06/24/15: Anchorage Pit Bull Attack: The Mechanics of a "Classic" Unprovoked Pit Bull Attack

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Thursday, July 7, 2016


2016 Dog Bite Fatality: New Haven Woman Dies After Violent 'Hannibal Lecter' Style Mauling by Pit Bull-Type Dogs

Harvard Graduate, Doctor in Residency Owns the Dogs


new haven pit bull attackhamilton hicks home ella grasso blvd
yale school of medicineamerican pit bulls hamilton hicks
Jocelyn Winfrey died after being attacked by pit bull-type dogs belonging to Dr. Hamilton Hicks.

Alderman Explores Ideas
UPDATE 07/07/16: The two dogs that brutally attacked Jocelyn Winfrey on June 20, inflicting catastrophic injuries, were put down yesterday. Winfrey succumbed to her injuries and died on June 27. Yesterday also marked the first public statement by Yale University since the attack. Karen Peart, a spokeswoman for Yale, told the New Haven Register that at the time of the attack the owner of the dogs, Dr. Hamilton Hicks, was "on leave" from the school and continues to be.

For the record, Yale University made its first public statement about the incident 16 days after the gruesome attack and 9 days after Winfrey died. The attack was so horrific one witness told the New Haven Independent, still shaken days later, “All the flesh was ripped away from her calf. The artery was just hanging there." The witness added, "Half of her face was basically bitten off. She looked like she was dead." Before dying, Winfrey lost both eyes and underwent a leg amputation.
Coincidentally the Yale Daily News published its first story about the attack yesterday as well. They are not publishing any comments.1
Alderman Brian Wingate lives near Hicks' home. After hearing screams, he rushed to the scene to help. Witnessing the two dogs brutally maim Winfrey fundamentally altered Wingate, who has pledged to explore changes in the dog ordinance. During yesterday's Board of Alders meeting, Wingate's order to hold a public workshop relating to dog attacks, vicious dogs and ownership responsibilities was passed. Wingate said he wanted the meeting "sooner rather than later."

The Soul Searching Begins

What can people like Wingate, and the other witnesses and first responders haunted by images of the attack, do at this time? What can the community do, which recoiled in shock, grief and outrage that such a horrific act could occur in their community with no repercussions? The act was an unprovoked savage attack by two pit bull-type dogs in Hicks' private fenced-in yard. He was right beside her and could not stop his dogs in a maiming scene matched only by "Hannibal Lecter."

In 2013, the Connecticut legislature passed a preemption bill barring municipalities from adopting breed-specific laws, including mandatory pit bull sterilization ordinances, which is the very least city officials can do to help protect public safety (Both of Hicks' dogs were male and at least one was unaltered.). Because the vicious attack occurred on private property, at least in this state, New Haven Police said no criminal charges applied. So, Dr. Hicks' has no criminal culpability.
The short answer to our question of "what can be done" after Winfrey's death is "not much." State legislators intended this result in 2013.
We greatly admire and respect Wingate and hope that his public meeting can lead to concrete results. These results could simply be an honest discussion about bull-baiting and fighting breeds to raise awareness of the gravely disfiguring injuries they inflict. Also how pit bulls and their close relatives "repeatedly" attack their victims and often refuse to stop even after great violence is inflicted upon them. This is why traumatic injuries and eventually death ensued in this case.

Still the soul searching continues. There is no one to hold criminally responsible for this deadly attack due to completely insufficient criminal laws. There are no adequate municipal tools to prevent similar attacks either. Hicks' can acquire two new "American bulldog-mixes" tomorrow and start this process all over again. A result state legislators also intended in 2013. At the very least, Winfrey's family should have civil recourse because Connecticut is a solid strict liability state.

06/28/16: Images of the Dogs
Today multiple news media outlets published photographs of the pit bull-type dogs that brutally attacked Jocelyn Winfrey on June 20. Winfrey died from catastrophic injuries inflicted by the dogs one week later. The two "American bulldog-mixes" belong to Dr. Hamilton Hicks, who reportedly got the dogs while living in Miami-Dade County prior to moving to New Haven. Last week, Animal Control Officer Joseph Manganiello refused to allow the media to view or photograph the dogs.

06/27/16: Victim Did Not Survive
A 53-year old New Haven woman who suffered life-altering injuries after a violent attack by two pit bull-type dogs last week has died. Alderman Brian Wingate, who witnessed part of the grisly mauling, confirmed Jocelyn Winfrey's death Monday evening. On June 20, Winfrey and the dogs' owner, Dr. Hamilton Hicks, returned to his home. After they entered into his fenced-in yard, his two dogs brutally attacked Winfrey. Hicks attempted to intervene, but he could not stop his dogs.
Wingate previously described the attack as producing "Hannibal Lecter" style injuries. "The attack was really, really horrific." - Alderman Brian Wingate
Winfrey has been in a medically induced coma since the attack. On Monday, doctors removed her from life support. Doctors previously stated they did not know if she would survive and that her injuries were even worse than what Charla Nash suffered after being attacked by a chimpanzee. Police have consistently stated that both dogs involved in Winfrey's attack are pit bulls. However, Animal Control Officer Joseph Manganiello said the dogs are likely "American bulldog-mixes."

Dr. Hamilton Hicks, who is in residency at the Yale School of Medicine for psychiatry, was charged with a misdemeanor for possession of crack cocaine after the horrific attack. Hicks earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from Harvard University then attended medical school at the University of Miami in Miami-Dade County. That is where Hicks acquired the dogs, according to Manganiello, a county with a longstanding pit bull ban that refuses to recognize pit bull-mixes.
Five people have been killed by variances of Miami-Dade's "breed labeling game," primarily American bulldog-mixes, since August 2014.
Manganiello also refused to allow any New Haven news reporters to view or photograph the dogs while they are under quarantine. When asked why the dogs butchered Winfrey and attacked their owner, Manganiello said, "I would believe they were protecting their own property.” It has already been reported that Winfrey was familiar with the dogs. These Miami-Dade County "American bulldog-mixes" attacked their Ivy League owner too. Hicks surrendered both dogs for euthanasia.

Doctor Walks Away Scot-Free

In Connecticut, as in many states, unless there is evidence that at least one of the dogs had been adjudicated as dangerous previously, there will be no criminal charges. The deadly pit "bulldog" mauling of Winfrey that occurred on the dog owner's property falls under the loathed loophole we refer to as, Defeated Prosecutor Syndrome. In other words, Dr. Hicks has zero culpability in her death and can acquire new pit bulls or Miami-Dade County "American bulldog-mixes" at any time.
A fund has been set up by a family friend to help pay for Jocelyn Winfrey's funeral costs.

06/23/16: Mauling Victim Identified
The victim has been identified as Jocelyn Winfrey, 53-years old, who remains in a medically induced coma in "extremely grave" condition after two pit bulls brutally attacked her Monday. Winfrey has lost both of her eyes, her right leg and may suffer an arm amputation as well. Doctors do not know if she will survive. Doctors previously stated that Winfrey's traumatic pit bull injuries are even worse than what Charla Nash endured after being attacked by a chimpanzee in 2009.
Winfrey was familiar with Hicks' two dogs. She also recently posted a photo to her Facebook page posing with her own pit bull, named Butter.
Police have arrested the owner of the dogs, Dr. Hamilton Hicks, 3-days after the vicious attack on charges of misdemeanor possession of crack cocaine. Hicks is currently in residency at the Yale School of Medicine for psychiatry. Hicks earned his psychology degree from Harvard University in 2001 then attended the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Police say they could add additional charges related to the violent pit bull mauling, especially if Winfrey dies.

06/22/16: Drug Possession Charge
The New Haven Independent reports that police have charged the 37-year old Harvard-trained doctor who owns the attacking dogs with illegally possessing crack cocaine at the time of the vicious mauling. The horrific pit bull attack, described by a witness as "Hannibal Lecter" style, occurred Monday night in the yard of a New Haven home. The doctor and a female friend had returned to his home and entered into his fenced-in yard when his pit bulls savagely attacked her.
“All the flesh was ripped away from her calf. The artery was just hanging there,” another witness recalled, still shaken days later. “Half of her face was basically bitten off. She looked like she was dead. She had to lose two gallons of blood, easy. The front sidewalk in front of the house was covered with blood.” - New Haven Independent
The female victim, identified only as Jocelyn, suffered the loss of both eyes, her right leg and doctors are trying to save one of her arms, according to Assistant Police Chief Anthony Campbell. "She lost both eyes. She has severe facial injuries. She’s in extremely critical condition," Campbell said Wednesday. Campbell also said that doctors are calling her injuries even worse than the ghastly chimpanzee attack of Charla Nash in 2009, who later underwent a full face transplant.

06/22/16: Horrific Pit Bull Attack
New Haven, CT - Last night we became aware of a nightmarish pit bull mauling at a home on Ella T Grasso Boulevard in New Haven. The owner of the two pit bulls, identified as Hamilton Hicks, entered his fenced-in property with a female friend. As soon as the two were inside, his dogs viciously attacked her. When Hicks intervened, his pit bulls attacked him as well. New Haven Alderman, Brian Wingate, is a neighbor of Hicks and described what he saw in media interviews.
dogMy understanding is that she was a friend -- friends don't let friends get eaten up by their dogs. When I say, "I’ve never seen nothing like this in my life"...
dogIt plays in my head, to be honest with you. Her thighs, her ankles, her arms, part of her face, her ears, were honestly mauled. I could see the bones on her body, in reference to her thighs, her legs, her ankles and her face. It was so bloody, along with mud from the dog prints. Also the owner was muddy from the dog prints ... It was unbelievable...
dogI've never seen nothing like this. I have only seen this on Hannibal Lecter, in the movies. This was really, really horrific. - Alderman Brian Wingate
Hicks is currently in residency at the Yale School of Medicine. By today, Hicks had removed his Facebook profile. According to other online profiles, Hicks graduated from Harvard in 2001, attended the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine then began a residency in psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. The primary teaching hospital for the school is Yale-New Haven Hospital, where both victims were transported after the "Hannibal Lecter" style attack.
The two dogs are described as a pit bull and American bulldog. Media and neighbors captured grainy photos of one of the dogs last night.
It is unknown if the woman, named Jocelyn, will survive. On the way to Yale-New Haven Hospital last night, she "coded twice" en route -- she underwent cardiac arrest twice. One commenter (gram14) on the New Haven Independent article last night stated in part, "This young woman lost both her ears, one eye (possibly the other) extreme facial, neck and throat injuries and severe extremity injuries. Due to throat injuries she was not able to be intubated when she coded twice."

Hamilton Hicks has no excuses for his ownership of pit bulls, a dog breed that kills more people than all breeds combined. He has no excuses for not having access to the many medical studies about the horrific nature of pit bull injuries, some studies compare them to shark attack injuries. Hicks has no excuses for not knowing (or caring about) the purpose-bred history of the breed: bull-baiting and dogfighting. The poor choices by Hicks have cost this woman the rest of her life.

Like most pit bull owners, Hicks could not stop his dogs while they viciously mauled Jocelyn leaving her unrecognizable and nearly dead. Hicks, who was in residency to help individuals with psychiatric disorders, frankly needs his own head examined. Recall the types of people who typically own pit bulls. The Independent is now running a vote on whether to ban pit bulls. This is a moot point. Connecticut passed a preemption bill in 2013 that bars cities from regulating pit bulls.

pit bull-type dogs kill New Haven woman
pit bull-type dogs kill New Haven woman
pit bull-type dogs kill New Haven woman
1You can certainly try leaving a comment on the Yale Daily News article, but we have multiple reports that none are appearing after submission.

Related articles:
12/30/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Visiting Child Killed by Pit Bull-Type Dog in Miami-Dade...
04/20/15: 2015 First Quarter Report: Municipalities Beat Back State Preemption Bills...
06/24/15: Anchorage Pit Bull Attack: The Mechanics of a "Classic" Unprovoked Pit Bull Attack
06/24/14: Nonprofits Urge CDC to Resume Tracking Richer Data Set for Children and...
05/05/09: Alexandra Semyonova: Heritability of Behavior in the Abnormally Aggressive Dog

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