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Monday, August 31, 2015


Who Can Identify a Pit Bull? A Dog Owner of 'Ordinary Intelligence' Say the High Courts

Pit Bulls Are Identifiable Meme Campaign


A dog owner of ordinary intelligence can determine if he does in fact own a dog commonly known as a pit bull dog DogsBite.org - For 25-years appellate courts have ruled that a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can identify a pit bull (See: Ohio v. Anderson, 1991). In addition to this, the high courts have ruled that scientific precision is not required when determining the breed (See: Colorado Dog Fanciers v. Denver, 1991). Yet still the myth persists ad nauseam -- pushed by the Pit Bull Propaganda Machine, pit bull advocates, animal groups and more -- that it is impossible to identify a pit bull.

Readers are familiar with this myth, which has variations like, "it is impossible to identify a pit bull" and "pit bulls can't be identified," and the mothership motto, "there is no such thing as a pit bull." In a series of 8 memes, directly quoting high court rulings, we highlight how the high courts have ruled on this subject. The courts have ruled that a pit bull is a breed of dog with distinctive traits that can be recognized by its physical appearance by a dog owner of ordinary intelligence.
"Pit bull dogs possess unique and readily identifiable physical and behavioral traits which are capable of recognition both by dog owners of ordinary intelligence..." - Ohio v. Anderson, Supreme Court of Ohio (1991)
The series of memes are for readers to share on Facebook, Twitter, other social media networks and commenting platforms. They are especially effective as Facebook photo comments when debating "breed enthusiasts" who flock to Facebook to comment after a serious or fatal pit bull attack to defend the breed and disseminate false myths. You do not need to engage with these pit bull defenders, just post one of our memes as a photo comment -- no other words are needed.

Why This Myth Must Be Destroyed

The myth that it is impossible to identify a pit bull or that only an "expert" with a suitcase of science can achieve this task must be discredited. Nowhere do the high courts make any presumption of "expert" knowledge being necessary to identify a pit bull. Specifically, the high courts state, "a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can determine if he does in fact own a dog commonly known as a pit bull" and the "American pit bull terrier is a recognized breed of dog readily identifiable by laymen."
"The trial court found that the American Pit Bull Terrier is a recognized breed of dog readily identifiable by laymen." - Garcia v. Village of Tijeras, Court of Appeals of New Mexico (1988)
Our memes are big and bold because we are shouting to the public: Yes you, a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can identify a pit bull! The high courts have clearly stated this. Do not allow this false myth to lead your confidence astray. Moreover, when faced with anyone who claims that a pit bull cannot be identified, whip out one of our high court memes -- it cannot be denied! So be bold, have confidence and help us dismantle this myth, long ago debunked by the high courts!

In Closing: It's an Old Recycled Myth

The weighty curse of this false myth cannot be expressed enough. While it is jarring to see the many pit bull specific rescues who claim, "there is no such thing as a pit bull" while operating a pit bull specific foundation or pit bull specific adoption program, understand that this claim is very old. All four of the high court decisions that were used in these memes (from 1988 to 1991) involved pit bull owners claiming in one way or another that a pit bull is "not a breed" or is "not identifiable."

This is how we think Judge Judy would respond to the Bryan Bickell Foundation's shenanigans.

Pit Bull Identification Meme Campaign

Suggested hashtags:   #PitBullsAreIdentifiable   |   #ICanIDaPitBull

meme, high courts rule a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can identify a pit bull
Colorado Dog Fanciers v. Denver, 820 P. 2d 644 - Colo: Supreme Court 1991

meme, high courts rule a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can identify a pit bull
Ohio v. Anderson, 57 Ohio St. 3d 168 - Ohio: Supreme Court 1991

meme, high courts rule a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can identify a pit bull
Ohio v. Anderson, 57 Ohio St. 3d 168 - Ohio: Supreme Court 1991

meme, high courts rule a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can identify a pit bull
Ohio v. Anderson, 57 Ohio St. 3d 168 - Ohio: Supreme Court 1991

meme, high courts rule a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can identify a pit bull
Garcia v. Village of Tijeras, 767 P. 2d 355 - NM: Court of Appeals 1988

meme, high courts rule a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can identify a pit bull
Garcia v. Village of Tijeras, 767 P. 2d 355 - NM: Court of Appeals 1988

meme, high courts rule a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can identify a pit bull
Vanater v. Village of South Point, 717 F. Supp. 1236 - Dist. Court, SD Ohio 1989

meme, high courts rule a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can identify a pit bull
Vanater v. Village of South Point, 717 F. Supp. 1236 - Dist. Court, SD Ohio 1989

Additional Analysis

To demonstrate the knowledge required to identify a pit bull, the high courts were specific: "An ordinary person could easily refer to a dictionary, a dog buyer's guide or any dog book for guidance and instruction" (Vanater, 1989), "Consistent and detailed descriptions of the pit bull dog may be found in canine guidebooks, general reference books" (Ohio, 1991), and "the commonly available knowledge of dog breeds typically acquired by potential dog owners" (Toledo, 2007).

We list these early high court decisions in chronological order below leading up to 2008, when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Tellings v. Toldeo. Back in the late 80s and early 90s there was no Internet. By today's standards, if you can Google or if you have an iPhone, you can learn how to identify a pit bull. It is that straight forward according to the high courts. Today, dictionaries, dog breed profiles, dog breed information and AKC and UKC breed standards and more are online.
There is an ample body of literature which can aid in the identification of Pit Bulls and, most often, a Pit Bull is identifiable as such by its conformation. - Vanater v. Village of South Point, Dist. Court, SD Ohio (1989)
The other theme that runs through many of the constitutional challenges about pit bull breed identification is best expressed in American Dog Owners Ass'n v. Dade County, FL (1989). The Court wrote, "Plaintiffs contend that there is no such thing as a pit bull dog." Also in 1989, in American Dog Owners Ass'n v. Yakima, WA (1989), the Court wrote: "plaintiffs admit acquiring their pets believing them to be pit bulls, although they now aver they cannot identify the breed."

Fast forward to the Bryan & Amanda Bickell Foundation 25-years later claiming the exact same routine, "I am a pit bull owner" and "There is no such thing as a pit bull," echoing the old recycled themes from the mid 80s. While it is true that "some day" a reliable DNA test might come along for scientific identification, what is also true is that "there is no constitutional requirement that legislation be written with scientific precision to be enforceable" (Colorado Dog Fanciers, 1991).

Chronology of Identifying Breed

June 29, 1989
Vanater v. Village of South Point, 717 F. Supp. 1236 - Dist. Court, SD Ohio 1989
pit bullThe Court concludes that the definitions of a Pit Bull Terrier in this Ordinance are not unconstitutionally vague. An ordinary person could easily refer to a dictionary, a dog buyer's guide or any dog book for guidance and instruction; also, the American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club have set forth standards for Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers to help determine whether a dog is described by any one of them.
August 24, 1989
American Dog Owners v. City of Yakima, 777 P. 2d 1046 - Wash: Supreme Court 1989
pit bullFinally, the plaintiffs fail to show vagueness "beyond a reasonable doubt." In fact, the plaintiffs admit acquiring their pets believing them to be pit bulls, although they now aver they cannot identify the breed.
November 30, 1989
American Dog Owners v. Dade County, Fla., 728 F. Supp. 1533 - Dist. Court, SD Florida 1989
pit bullPlaintiffs contend that there is no such thing as a pit bull dog...
pit bullVeterinarians opine that ordinary citizens may be trained to identify the breed of a dog based on the dog's physical appearance. In fact, one resident of the County gave testimony that he was able to determine the breed of the dog he owned after comparing its physical conformation to that of other pit bulls he had seen in the media...
pit bullPresently, there exists no better method of identifying a pit bull dog than by its appearance. Even if a scientific method is developed to identify breeds of dogs, an enforcement scheme will still depend on initial visual identification...
pit bullIf, after consulting the ordinance, an owner remains in a quandary as to whether the ordinance applied to him, the owner could seek guidance from a dictionary, a guidebook to dogs or from his or her veterinarian.
February 13, 1991
Ohio v. Anderson, 57 Ohio St. 3d 168 - Ohio: Supreme Court 1991
pit bullConsistent and detailed descriptions of the pit bull dog may be found in canine guidebooks, general reference books, state statutes and local ordinances, and state and federal case law dealing with pit bull legislation. By reference to these sources, a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can determine if he does in fact own a dog commonly known as a pit bull dog...
pit bull As the court noted in American Dog Owners Assn., supra, at 1541, "[i]f, after consulting the ordinance, an owner remains in a quandary as to whether the ordinance applied to him, the owner could seek guidance from a dictionary, a guidebook to dogs or from his or her veterinarian."
August 1, 2007
Toledo v. Tellings, 2007 Ohio 3724 - Ohio: Supreme Court 2007
pit bullThis court has previously held that the term "pit bull" is not unconstitutionally void for vagueness. In State v. Anderson, we stated: "In sum, we believe that the physical and behavioral traits of pit bulls together with the commonly available knowledge of dog breeds typically acquired by potential dog owners or otherwise possessed by veterinarians or breeders are sufficient to inform a dog owner as to whether he owns a dog commonly known as a pit bull dog."
February 19, 2008
Tellings v. Toledo, Supreme Court of the United States 2008

On February 19, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the pit bull lobby's appeal of Toledo v. Tellings, making the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision final. There is no further appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected all four constitutional arguments brought forth by the pit bull lobby, including: procedural due process, substantive due process, equal protection of the laws and void for vagueness (the pit bull identification issue). Read a deeper legal analysis of this decision.

The beauty of memes is that they inspire creativity! We created a series of jump starter memes -- including the Bryan Bickell Paradox, Can You Google?, Got an iPhone? and Judge Judy memes -- to help advocates get even more ideas and start making memes of their own. The jump starter memes are located in our Facebook album. Have fun and be bold!

Related articles:
01/07/15: 2014 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org
01/03/14: 2013 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org
09/10/13: Maul Talk Manual 2.0: A Guide to Understanding the Language of Pit Bull Owners...

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015


2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Kills Woman, Injures Another in Davie County, North Carolina

three fatal pit bull attacks, north carolina and upstate south carolina
The three recent fatal pit bull attacks mapped - breeders of fighting dogs territory.

Survivor is Pit Bull Owner
UPDATE 08/25/15: New information has been released about the fatal pit bull attack in North Carolina. On Monday, Cathy Wheatcraft, 48, was fatally attacked by her neighbor's pit bull. She had just gotten her mail and was walking back to her home when the dog attacked, according to Davie County deputies. The dog "drug her down the yard and fatally bit her," Sheriff Andy Stokes said. The pit bull also attacked neighbor Sheena Truesdale, 31, who tried to help the victim.
"[The pit bull] growled and charged me, caught me in my shoulder and that's what made me fall to the ground. We were fighting and then he caught my inner thigh." - Sheena Truesdale, survivor and pit bull owner
Truesdale tried to get into a nearby car to escape the animal, but the pit bull continued coming at her. After she got into the car and tried to shut the door, the pit bull latched onto her arm again. The dog was still latched on, trying to pull her out of the car, when a Cooleemee police officer arrived. "If it wasn't for that police man who showed up, [the pit bull] would've got me out of the car, my arm would've been much worse and I would probably be dead myself," Truesdale said.

The fatally attacking pit bull was declared a "nuisance animal" in May after escaping its owner's property and attacking a dog. In a strange twist, the victimized dog belonged to Truesdale. At some point before attacking the two women Monday, the pit bull escaped its owner's home through a window. Truesdale is a pit bull fan and owns three of them. Despite what she witnessed and underwent, she does not believe "pit bulls are aggressive dogs." Her death wish is her own.

The Fox 8 segment shows that the pit bull jumped out of a window 10 or 11 feet up.

08/25/15: Declared a 'Nuisance Animal'
The Davie County Sheriff's Office has identified the fatal dog mauling victim as Cathy Wheatcraft, 48-years old. The woman was savagely killed by her neighbor's pit bull Monday night in front of her home at 243 Clark Road near Cooleemee. At the time of the deadly attack, she was checking her mailbox. The pit bull also attacked a neighbor who intervened to help, 31-year old Sheena Truesdale. She was transported to a local hospital and is in stable condition, officials said.

The fatally attacking pit bull belonged to Latisha Young who lives nearby. The dog was normally kept inside her home, but in this case "escaped through a window" while its owner was away at some point before killing one woman and injuring another. Just 3-months ago, the same pit bull was declared a "nuisance animal" after it escaped Young's property and attacked another dog. This time the pit bull escaped its owner's property and attacked two human beings, killing one.
Hardly fits the 'nuisance animal' description.1
The fatal attack of Cathy Wheatcraft marks the third pit bull fatality in this region since early July. On Saturday, in upstate South Carolina, 25-year old Nicole Cartee was killed by her family pit bull named "Spike" in Spartanburg. The dog had been with her family for over a decade. On July 7, Joshua Strother, 6-years old, was killed by his neighbor's pit bull in Hendersonville, North Carolina. The pit bull that killed Joshua was rehomed by the Asheville Humane Society 3-weeks earlier.

The Onslaught Continues

Today, over in Greenville County, South Carolina -- also in this same region -- a female deputy shot and killed a pit bull that was attacking two women. The pit bull had nearly severed one of the woman's arms before the deputy arrived. After shooting the dog, she applied a tourniquet to the woman’s upper arm and her leg. Master Deputy Jonathan Smith said, "She saved the lives of two people because the injuries were so severe." The dog had been residing with one of the victims.

08/24/15: Pit Bull Kills Woman
Cooleemee, NC - Another person has been killed by a pit bull in North Carolina. On July 7, Joshua Strother, 6-years old of Henderson County, was killed by a pit bull that was adopted out by the Asheville Humane Society 3-weeks earlier. The most recent fatal pit bull attack occurred in Davie County. Sheriff A.C. Stokes said the attack occurred at about 7:00 pm at 235 Clark Road near Cooleemee. The woman, in her 40s, was checking her mailbox when the pit bull attacked her.
Sheriff Stokes said the dog was killed by a Cooleemee police officer, who was the first officer to respond to the scene. - MyFox8.com, August 24, 2015
A neighbor who heard the woman screaming ran to help and discovered her in the yard -- the person then called emergency responders. Another neighbor also came to help and was attacked by the dog. She was transported to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Her medical condition is unknown. Sheriff Stokes said it was the neighbor's pit bull that killed the woman. The news report video on WXII states that they spoke to the dog's owner who said her "pit bull killed a woman."
map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: North Carolina Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

pit bull jumps out window, fatally attacks woman in Davie County, North Carolina
1But a shocker it was given any designation at all!

Related articles:
08/23/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Kills 25-Year Old in Spartanburg County, South Carolina
08/06/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Recently Adopted Out Pit Bull Kills 6-Year Old Boy in...
11/03/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies After Violent Pit Bull Attack in Robeson County
02/28/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: 3-Year Old Girl Killed by Family Pit Bull in North Carolina

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2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Kills 25-Year Old in Spartanburg County, South Carolina

woman killed by pit bull in Spartanburg, south carolina
Nicole Cartee with her pit bull named "Spike" (Uploaded to Facebook 2/12/2012)

No Criminal Charges
UPDATE 08/25/15: Lab results for the pit bull that violently attacked its owners, killing one, came back negative for rabies. The male unaltered pit bull named "Spike" had been with the family for over a decade when it "snapped" Saturday killing Nicole Cartee, 25-years old, and seriously injuring her mother. Jamie Nelson, the director of Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement told WLOS that the vicious attack was "horrific" and "there was a large amount of blood."

Nelson said that Nicole's mother actually owned the dog and that her most recent injuries from Spike did require surgery. Nelson said that no criminal citations would be issued to the mother. The family pit bull had previously attacked the mother requiring hospitalization, but the incident was not reported to authorities, according to Patrick Powell, who had been Nicole's boyfriend for many years. Patrick said the two had recently separated, but were planning on reuniting.

Patrick said that Spike's aggression had been an issue for a long time. He had urged the family to do something about the dog "before it kills somebody." Patrick disagreed with Nicole and her family about the dog. "Nicole loved that dog. Nicole treated that dog as if it was her baby," Patrick said. "Me and Nicole bumped heads with that dog. Me and her family bumped heads with that dog. I said for years that dog is aggressive. That dog has got to be done with," Patrick said.

Despite what Nelson told WLOS about Nicole's mother -- "This is a tragedy, where the mother has lost a daughter and the mother herself has gone through a horrific experience" -- every ounce of this fatal dog attack was preventable. A young woman lost her life to a known aggressive pit bull that had previously attacked her mother and whose boyfriend, and his mother Beverly Powell, had warned her family about for some time. There is no bringing Nicole Cartee back. Death is final.

Evening Update - Previous Attack

Lastly, a new Spartanburg Herald Journal article clarifies the previous attack on Nicole's mother. After checking records, authorities found no evidence of prior attacks by the family pit bull at the victim's home or her prior residences. Patrick, however, said that Spike attacked Nicole's mother a few months ago. Her injuries required stitches, but she never reported to anyone that the injuries came from her own dog. Instead, she told hospital staff it was from an "unknown stray dog."

08/25/15: History of Aggression
New information has been released about a 25-year old woman who was viciously attacked and killed by her pit bull in Spartanburg. The male unaltered pit bull named "Spike" had been with the family for over a decade. The family had raised the dog since it was a puppy. On Saturday, the family pit bull "snapped" and began attacking Nicole's mother. When Nicole tried to rescue her mother, the dog turned on her, killing her. The pit bull tore into her head, neck and body.
"The biggest thing apart from it being a fatality is that it was three victims at one time, and it was a family pet." -Jamie Nelson, August 23, 2015
The pit bull violently attacked three family members, fatally injuring Nicole, seriously injuring her mother, requiring hospitalization and possible surgery, and also attacked Nicole's sister who was treated on scene. Nicole's boyfriend of 10-years, Patrick Powell, said the two had recently separated, but were planning to reunite. The same family pit bull had previously attacked Nicole's mother leaving her hospitalized, but this was never reported to authorities, Patrick said.1

Beverly Powell, Patrick's mother, told the Spartanburg Herald Journal that she warned the family to get rid of the pit bull after it attacked Nicole's mother the first time. This issue is very important to Beverly, as she was once attacked by a different pit bull in her own yard. Beverly managed to escape that pit bull without permanent injuries. "The sadness is that I told Nicole's mother, 'What is it going to take for you to get rid of this dog?' And now it's killed her daughter," Beverly said.

08/22/15: Pit Bull Kills Woman
Spartanburg County, SC - The Spartanburg County Coroner's Office was called to the scene of a dog attack Saturday evening. The animal attacked three people, according to Jamie Nelson, the director of Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement. Porsche Nicole Cartee, 25-years old, was pronounced dead at the scene by Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger. A physical examination will need to be conducted to determine the cause of death, Clevenger said.

Clevenger identified the attacking dog as a pit bull and said the other two people injured in the attack were family members. The fatal dog attack took place at a home on Beverly Hills Drive, a block descriptor was not provided. Nelson told Fox Carolina that the pit bull has already been euthanized and is scheduled for rabies testing Monday. The last South Carolina fatal dog attack occurred in June 2013, the pit bull mauling death of Arianna Merrbach, 5, in Florence County.

Death Statistics - August Update

Porsche Nicole Cartee is the 467th person killed by a pit bull, according to Fatal Pit Bull Attacks - The Archival Record. DogsBite.org launched that website in 2011. Through a multitude of modern news reports, several medical studies and archive collections, including the Library of Congress, we have discovered 467 individuals killed by these dogs since 1833. Cartee is the 275th fatal pit bull attack victim since the CDC stopped collecting a rich data set for these victims in 1998.

Since January 1, 2015, canines have attacked and killed 20 people in this country. Pit bulls contributed to 85% (17) of these deaths. Rottweilers, the second most lethal dog breed in the U.S., contributed to 10% (2). In the fatal dog mauling deaths of Neta Lee Adams, 81-years old (Washington, Georgia) and Gaege Ramirez, 7-years old (Canyon Lake, Texas) no dog breeds were ever identified by authorities, but certainly pit bulls were rumored to be involved in both.
map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: South Carolina Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

pit bull kills owner in Spartanburg, South Carolinapit bull kills owner in Spartanburg, South Carolina
Some of the victim's Facebook Likes below, including Pit Bulls and Parolees (Tia Torres) and Pinups for Pit Bulls. The latter group recently spoke at a June 19 forum -- Asheville Humane Society's "Project Pit Bull" campaign -- and tried to sell to local homeowners, landlords, neighbors and "even the pit bull wary" that BSL does not keep people safe and that pit bulls are wonderful pets. Less than 3-weeks later, a little boy is killed by a pit bull rehomed by Asheville Humane.
pit bull kills owner in Spartanburg, South Carolina
1Pit bull owners will indeed lie to authorities after being attacked by their own dog. Usually, they make up a story about being attacked by a "stray" or a dog that ran away. Even after a first violent attack by their pit bull, they remain in denial that this "can happen to me" (again) or "can happen to another family member." Tia Torres should devote a whole season to this dangerous, pathological denial. The series should be titled, "Yes, this can happen to me."

Related articles:
08/31/15: Who Can Identify a Pit Bull? A Dog Owner of 'Ordinary Intelligence'...
07/24/14: Nonprofits Urge CDC to Resume Tracking Richer Data Set for Children and Adults...
06/26/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Chained Pit Bull-Mix Kills 5-Year Old Girl in Effingham
05/21/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Paralyzed Man Pulled from Wheelchair Dies After Dog Attack
01/21/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Dog Mauls Grandmother to Death While Babysitting Toddler

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015


2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Multiple Pit Bulls Kill Elderly Man in Pecos, Texas

pit bulls kill pecos man, texas
Fatal pit bull attack victim, Norberto Legarda of Pecos, Texas. Image via CBS7.com.

No Criminal Charges
UPDATE 08/19/15: There will be no criminal charges filed against the owner of three pit bulls that horrifically killed an elderly man in early July. Norberto Legarda, 83-years old, had been visiting his daughter's home, feeding her dog, when the neighbor's three pit bulls fatally attacked him. Medical examiners found multiple puncture injuries and soft tissue lacerations, according to the autopsy report. The cause of death was due to excessive loss of blood as a result of the dog mauling.

Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said the owner's pen was "very secure" and that it was a "very well built chain link fence" that the dogs escaped from. "It would be hard to prove criminal negligence" for these reasons, he explained. McKinney apparently has no idea what a "very secure" fence means in terms of a pit bull, easily able to scale 6-foot fences and beyond as noted previously in this post and documented in scores of YouTube videos and other online resources.
"Such a tragic event ... but it's just a bad deal." - Police Chief Clay McKinney
Back in July, while reviewing Oscar Rodriguez's Facebook page, the owner of the pit bulls, one of the videos he recently shared on his Timeline depicted a pit bull scaling a wall at least 14 feet high (one of many types of pit bull wall climbing competitions). On June 5, Rodriguez shared WorldStar Uncut's video, which at that time was trending on the Internet. This video post is no longer visible on his Timeline.1 But like good research soldiers, we took a screenshot back then just in case.



07/02/15: Owner of Pit Bulls Named
NewsWest 9 reported updates and clarifications just after 10:40 pm Thursday. At the time of the deadly attack, 83-year old Norberto Legarda had been looking after his daughter's labrador while she was on vacation.2 According to investigators, he was feeding the dog at his daughter's home on South Eddy Street, when three pit bulls belonging to a next door neighbor approached them. Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney believes evidence will show that a dog fight then ensued.
"Mr. Legarda probably tried to break up the fight and then the pit bulls turned on him" - Police Chief Clay McKinney
One witness told NewsWest 9 that all three dogs were involved in the attack. According to Chief McKinney, "at least two" attacked Legarda. Officials are still in the early stages of the investigation, gathering information, McKinney said. The attacked labrador was located near the residence by animal control. The dog is expected to recover from the injuries inflicted by the pit bulls. The owner of the pit bulls, identified as Oscar Rodriguez, gave consent to have all three of his dogs put down.

Texas Felony Dog Attack Statute

Criminal charges under the Texas felony dog attack statute could be at play in this mauling death, depending upon what the police investigation shows. The main dependencies include if the dogs' owner had knowledge of the dogs' vicious propensities (a previous bite) and/or if the pit bulls had escaped the owner's property before and threatened people. The growing body of case law of the 2007 felony statute, known as Lillian's Law, should provide prosecutors with sufficient answers.

Notably, not only did NewsWest 9 investigate the felony dog attack statute, they actually stated how many Texans have been killed by dogs in 2015, as well how many fatal dog attacks have occurred nationally. So far in 2015, four Texans have been killed by dogs in the following Texas counties: Hopkins, Dallas, Comal and Reeves. Nationally, dogs have struck down 16 Americans this year; 75% of all fatalities (12) involved pit bulls and 3 cases involved "unknown" breeds.

Additional Evening Updates

CBS 7 also updated their earlier report; it too provides new information and clarifications. The written article and video segment shows an interview with David Vajil, the man who discovered Legarda's body and called 911. He said it all began with a sound he will never forget, "I heard a real horrible noise. Real horrible," Vajil said. When he looked to see what it was, he saw three pit bulls in the backyard of his neighbor's home attacking their labrador. He tried to fight off the dogs.
"I looked around and got a stick, and boom, boom I hit them in the head and that didn’t do nothing, so I started to poke them..." - David Vajil
When he knew it was time to leave, he turned around and that is when he discovered the victim lying on the ground. "I looked back and saw the man lying face down and I said ‘Lord have mercy’, then I dialed 911," Vajil said. When police arrived, Legarda was already dead. Information about his injuries was not released. Police are still investigating how the three pit bulls got into the neighbor's backyard. The fence surrounding both homes appeared adequately maintained.

However, as commenter Christee Labarge on the CBS 7 Facebook thread notes, "I'm sorry this happened to this man so sad. But that fence is nothing for a pit to jump. My daughter has a pit. He can take that fence no problem. He's a year old, he pounces once and he's over the fence. And ours is wood and 7ft tall." There are piles of YouTube videos to back up this claim as well. Just type in pit bull jumps or pit bull scales fence or pit bull climbs or our favorite, pit bull climbs tree.

07/02/15: Pit Bulls Kill Elderly Man
Pecos, TX - An elderly man is dead after being attacked by multiple pit bulls. Pecos police responded to a home in the 1500 block of South Eddy Street at 9:45 am Thursday. Several pit bulls were attacking another dog at that location when officers arrived, and a man was lying on the ground in the backyard. Officers were forced to taser and pepper spay the dogs in order to enter the backyard, according to police. EMS arrived on scene and determined the man was dead.
The victim has been identified as 83-year old Norberto Legarda.
Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said at the time of the attack, Legarda was at a relative's home, feeding their dog while they were away on vacation. Chief McKinney believes that while he fed the dog, the three pit bulls entered the backyard and began fighting with the animal. When Legarda tried to break up the fight, the pit bulls attacked him. All three pit bulls were captured and euthanized. At this stage, police do not know who owns the pit bulls. The investigation is ongoing.
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

1It is hard to know if Rodriguez intentionally removed the video from his Timeline, or if the shared video post went "poof." We could not locate the actual shared video post on either of the "Worldstar Uncut" Facebook pages.
2The victim's name has been spelled multiple ways in media reports. "Norberto Ramerez Legarda" is being used by the Pecos Funeral Home.

Related articles:
08/31/15: Who Can Identify a Pit Bull? A Dog Owner of 'Ordinary Intelligence'...
12/12/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: San Antonio Woman, 83, Dies After Pit Bull Attack
07/01/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies After Pit Bull Attack in Southeast Houston
04/15/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Comal County Woman, 75, Dies After Pit Bull Attack 
09/02/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Suspected of Killing 96-Year Old Texas Man
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, August 6, 2015


2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Recently Adopted Out Pit Bull Kills 6-Year Old Boy in Henderson County, North Carolina

fatal pit bull attack, north carolina
Joshua Phillip Strother, 6-years old, mauled to death by a recently adopted pit bull.

County Lifts Moratorium
UPDATE 08/06/15: Buncombe County officials completed its review of the screening and transferring procedures by the Asheville Humane Society (AHS). The group contracts to operate the county's open admission shelter. On July 7, a 6-year old boy was savagely killed by a pit bull that was adopted out by AHS 3-weeks earlier. The dog came in as a stray. It was then screened for aggression, which it passed, then transferred to the Asheville Humane Adoption Center.

On July 16, county officials placed a moratorium on all pit bull transfers to an adoption agency while it reviewed procedures by AHS. Today the county lifted this moratorium, citing that AHS was doing the "industry standard, best practice model for an open admission shelter," said Jim Holland, who oversees the animal related contracts for the county. And THAT our dear readers is exactly the problem. Currently, there is no way to reliably test for unpredictable pit bull aggression.
The "state-of-the-art" temperament assessment test, SAFER, cannot measure unpredictable aggression nor can any current test. This is the risk every person accepts, knowingly or not, when adopting a pit bull.
The rest of the article by the Citizen-Times reads like a "circle the wagons" strategy to cover both parties against liability claims. Both parties also manage to passively blame the community, the dog's owners and the victim himself, 6-year old Joshua Strother, as the cause of this lethal attack. The newly rehomed pit bull executed the killing bite, attacking the boy's face and throat, right out of the blue. The pit bull was still so aggressive afterward that deputies had to shoot it to death.

Given the limitations of even the most "state-of-the-art" temperament assessment tests, only one conclusion can be drawn: More innocent children will be brutally attacked and even killed by shelter dogs who passed these tests. In the wake of this boy's tragic death, Buncombe County officials had a chance to reevaluate their pit bull adoption policy, hopefully by restricting it, but they did not. It's all systems go again with their fingers crossed. How is that for scientifically sound?

The Reliability of Temperament Tests
Lastly, what also needs to be addressed in the Citizen-Times article is the "pot calling the kettle black" statement by Tracy Elliott, the executive director of AHS starting in May. Elliott states that animals are not people and "attempts to compare them to people or anthropomorphize them are a mistake." On June 20, Asheville Humane launched an anthropomorphic adoption campaign for a pit bull named Pearl, bling included. "Classy girls wear pearls!" AHS gushes this very behavior.
pit bull"Animals are animals. They are not people and attempts to compare them to people or anthropomorphize them are a mistake. Any animal is capable of behavior we can’t predict." - Tracy Elliott, Executive Director, Asheville Humane Society

anthropomorphic pit bull adoption campaign by the asheville humane society
Anthropomorphic pit bull adoption campaign screenshot 1  |  screenshot 2  |  screenshot 3

July 30 Deadline Arrives


UPDATE 07/30/15: The deadline Buncombe County set for the Asheville Humane Society to deliver information requested in their July 16 letter has arrived. Today is July 30, two weeks after the letter was sent. On July 7, Joshua Strother, 6-years old, was brutally attacked and killed by a pit bull adopted out by Asheville Humane. Just after his death, Asheville Humane scrubbed their "Project Pit Bull" campaign from their website and refused "repeated calls" from the media.
The male neutered pit bull, about a year old, was adopted to Joshua's neighbor 3-weeks earlier. The dog came into the shelter as a stray.
The Asheville Humane Society (AHS) is under contract with Buncombe County to operate its open admission shelter. The July 16 letter placed an "immediate moratorium" on the transfer of all pit bulls from the county's open admission shelter to an adoption agency. The letter also requested detailed documentation about the temperament testing procedure conducted by AHS and the animal "transfer" process, including the specific individuals who perform and approve both.

Since the July 16 letter, mainly a wall of silence has fallen over Joshua's mauling death and the actions of Asheville Humane. Though an outstanding Letter to the Editor by Julie Wall was published in her own community on July 22, "Difficulty in assessing level of aggression in pit bulls can lead to tragedy." Wall states the obvious conclusion: Either AHS failed in their assessment of this pit bull, or they have to admit there currently is no accurate way to assess pit bull-type dogs.
pit bullEither the Asheville Humane Society absolutely failed at assessing the dogs in their shelter, or it has to admit there is currently no accurate way to assess pit-bull-type dogs. At any rate, shelters and rescues need to stop pushing pit bulls onto the naive public.
pit bullFor those who say not all pit bulls will attack or kill, it's true. Not all will. But predicting which ones will is impossible. They pass shelter behavior tests, then go on to kill or maim people. They "never show any sign of aggression" then one day kill their owner, out of the blue. This is why they are so dangerous. - Julie Wall
The editor of Animals24-7.org, Merritt Clifton, has been tracking serious and fatal attacks by shelter dogs for several decades. Joshua was the 38th fatality involving U.S. shelter dogs from 2010 to present -- a 5-year period. 30 of these deadly attacks involved rehomed pit bulls. Also, the Safety Before Pit Bulldogs blog is tracking extreme and fatal attacks by pit bulls that were either up for adoption or recently adopted out by a shelter. The 2015 severe attacks cited are numerous.
pit bullThe following list shows the results of these misguided priorities and lack of mandated responsibility or accountability by these animal care "experts." Most of these articles are about recently adopted pit bulls that launched a serious attack, sometimes killing a person. Many of these pit bulls came with assurances that the pit bull was non-aggressive and/or had been temperament tested ... The list is not complete or comprehensive, but merely highlights the growing and seriously dangerous problem. - Safety Before Pit Bulldogs
Notably, while reading Facebook comments on news articles after the county's July 16 letter, one local mother, who bears no ill will toward pit bulls, had a similar experience with Asheville Humane. Less than 24 hours after adopting a pit bull from AHS, the dog savagely attacked her 5-year old son, latching onto his head. His injuries required staples. This attack occurred in March, 4-months before Joshua was killed. The mother comments at least twice on the WLOS Facebook thread.
pit bullThey should have started all of this when a pit we adopted this March that had passed all of their test attacked my son resulting in a ems ride and staples in his head. The dog wanted my son dead. Pit bulls are my favorite breed. Yes different breeds kill/bite. Yes it depends on how they are raised. But this is TWICE a dog from AHS has attacked a child within months of each other that we know of. Such a sad situation. - Tera Brown, July 16, 2015
pit bull...Not even 24 hours after the adoption my son ask him to sit for a treat. The dog sit and my son handed out a treat and the dog snapped and turned vicious latching on to my sons head. The dog tried to drag my son back out of my arms without trying to bite me at all even with me kicking him in the face trying to get his focus on me instead of my son. He had locked in tunnel vision on my little boy. Thats all he wanted... - Tera Brown, July 16, 2015
After the attack she writes, "while I was in the ems with my son the police picked up the dog from outside of my house. The dog came wagging tail and jumped right in the cop car for a treat like nothing had ever happened." Performing the ever so frequent unpredictable explosive aggression by pit bulls, followed by the, "like nothing ever happened" or "wagging their tail" scenario. This too is often displayed by pit bulls after a violent attack. They often wag their tails while attacking too.

All eyes are on the county now as they examine the materials delivered by Asheville Humane.

07/16/15: County Stops Pit Bull Transfers
After a pit bull adopted out by the Asheville Humane Society (AHS) killed a 6-year old boy, Buncombe County officials are reviewing the organization's adoption process for pit bulls. Recall that AHS is under contract with the county to operate its open admission shelter, where the stray pit bull originally came in and where (we presume) it was temperament tested. Then the pit bull was "transferred" to the Asheville Humane Adoption Center, a separate, but adjacent building.

In a July 16 letter to Asheville Humane, Buncombe County officials ordered AHS to place an "immediate moratorium" on the transfer of all pit bulls from the county's open admission shelter to an adoption agency. The letter also asks for specific details about temperament test procedures followed by AHS, including the "credentials" of their testing individuals, as well as a "detailed process used in the specific pit bull transfer" that resulted in the mauling death of a young child.

The five items requested by Buncombe County | Read letter in full
  1. An immediate moratorium on the transfer of any pit bull or pit bull-mix from the Shelter to an Adoption Agency.
  2. A thorough documentation delivered to the County of the temperament testing procedures in place. This includes the specific steps involved, citation of the best-practice model used, the "individual(s)" employed by Asheville Humane conducting the testing, the credentials of the testing individual(s), and the individual(s) charged with approving the transfer of these specific animals.
  3. A detailed process used in the specific pit bull transfer that resulted in the death of a child in Henderson County.
  4. The definition that Asheville Humane uses for determining the health of an animal suitable for transfer to an adoption agency.
  5. A summary of any related internal reviews Asheville Humane has conducted and the resulting process changes/system improvement.
It is noteworthy that county officials also requested the specific names of the individuals employed by Asheville Humane who perform these procedures along with their "credentials." Buncombe County officials requested that AHS provide the information to them no later than two weeks from the date of this letter, which is July 30. After examining these materials, the county then "will decide next steps as to the moratorium on transfer of pit bulls and pit bull-mixes," states the letter.

Humane Group Republishes Web Page


UPDATE 07/11/14: In the aftermath of the sheriff's office naming the Asheville Humane Society (AHS) as the entity that adopted out a pit bull that attacked and killed a 6-year old boy, several developments have occurred. AHS released a "prepared" statement to the media, but still refuses to answer "repeated calls" from reporters and refuses any type of TV interview, according to WLOS. Also, at some point late Friday, AHS restored their Project Pit Bull page with revisions.

Part of the prepared statement by AHS includes a telling admission. The statement reads in part: "The dog involved was adopted out from Asheville Humane Society last month and did not exhibit any aggressive behavior while in our care. This dog came in as a stray so we did not know his history, only his behavior while he was with us, which gave no indication that he would have any issue of this type." AHS had the pit bull for 30-days before adopting it out to Joshua's neighbor.
The Asheville Humane Society, by their own admission, had no way of knowing they were sending someone home with a killer.
A person takes an extreme risk when adopting a pit bull with a known history, much less an unknown one, as was the case in Joshua's death. A powerful comment left by Jeff Borchardt just after we published our last update sums up the issue even more clearly. In March 2013, Jeff's 14-month old son was brutally killed by his babysitter's two pit bulls. Her pit bulls were 3-years old, well trained, sterilized, brought up in a loving home and had never shown aggression before.
“1-year-old pit bull had never shown signs of aggression. Up to date on all shots, neutered, had played with the dog before. No indication that anything was wrong.”.....And THAT my friends is the problem with pit bulls. - Jeff Borchardt, father of Daxton Borchardt
In a recent article by Merritt Clifton, editor of Animals24-7.org, Clifton states that Joshua Strother marks the 38th fatality involving U.S. shelter dogs from 2010 to present -- a 5-year period. Dog breeds involved in these 38 deaths include 30 pit bulls, seven bullmastiffs, two rottweilers, a lab that may have been part pit bull and a husky, according to his data. Clifton's article also dives into the history of AHS, an agency that has seen four executive directors in the last three years.

Lies, Lies and More Lies

At some point late July 10 or in the early hours of July 11, AHS republished their Project Pit Bull page with revisions, apparently to cover their tracks. The new page has a reworded title, a new pit bull initiative ("while supplies last" type bargain), and they renamed Pit Crew, their breed-specific volunteer program for pit bulls, to "Pup Crew." The public should in no way think that "Pup" implies puppies or unspecified dog breeds. Pup Crew only involves breed-specific pit bull advocacy.1

Also notably, Pup Crew is a trademarked clothing brand, apparently, mainly for smaller cute dogs, like the ones pit bulls frequently eviscerate. Why do we think the makers of Pup Crew do not want any association to a humane society that just adopted out a pit bull that fatally attacked a 6-year old boy? Moreover, why would Pup Crew want their clothing brand associated to breed-specific pit bull advocacy whose primary function is carrying out aggressive pit bull adoption campaigns?

New Pit Bull Initiative

In AHS's new breed-specific pit bull program, they offer to pay pit bull owners $20 dollars cash, if only they would bring their pit bull in for FREE spay or neuter services. It is not enough that the surgical procedure is FREE, a charity only for pit bulls, they have to add $20 cash on top of it and a "free collar, ID tag and microchip." Other changes on the web page include eliminating the first sentence of the main description: "Pit bulls are often misunderstood and discriminated against."
The revised Project Pit Bull page does keep, "These dogs are grossly misunderstood." Like the pit bull handed out to Joshua's neighbor.
Lastly, the WLOS video makes it clear that the Asheville Humane Society would not agree to an interview. "Today the humane society declined a request for an interview." And added, "This week, the organization removed a web page linking you to their pit bull campaign, which is meant to raise awareness about the breed. Staff say it is a temporary move out of respect for the family." "Staff" is a non-specific sell out and AHS's alleged "respect" for the family vanished when they republished.

The only other message we have for readers is a reply to a Tweet we sent out earlier regarding the aggressive and misleading 4th of July pit bull adoption promotion by AHS. HomeLifeSanctuary responded: "@dogsbite I just can't believe this. I can't bear to look at the face of that poor little boy. Animal rescue has lost its soul." In the case of the AHS, we do not believe they had one to begin with. After adopting out a killer, they bounced right back with a cheery message about pit bulls.

response to asheville humane society

07/09/15: Humane Society Named
Just after posting the below update, we received word that the Henderson County Sheriff's Office issued an update to their Facebook page naming the Asheville Humane Society as the entity who adopted out the killer pit bull. Now that readers know this, please see our whole July 9 update through these eyes. AHS adopted out the killer pit bull AND before being publicly named by the sheriff's office, they scrubbed their pit bull promotion programs from their corporate website!

Humane Society Removes Parts of Website


UPDATE 07/09/15: After a little boy was brutally killed by a recently adopted pit bull, a nearby humane society removed portions of its website dedicated to promoting pit bulls. The Asheville Humane Society, which is located about 30 miles north of Hendersonville in Buncombe County, apparently removed two portions from their corporate website after the boy's mauling death: Project Pit Bull, an awareness campaign, and Want to Join Our Pit Crew?, a volunteer program.

Joshua Strother, 6-years old, was fatally attacked by his neighbor's pit bull on July 7 after he climbed over a fence into his neighbor's yard. The male, neutered pit bull was about 1-year old, according to police, and was adopted by Joshua's next door neighbor 3-weeks earlier. Joshua had played with the dog before, which had not shown any aggression since being adopted. Sheriff's officials still have not named the humane society that recently adopted out this child killing pit bull.
The Henderson County Sheriff's Office has only stated that the pit bull was adopted from a humane society in a nearby county 3-weeks ago.
The Asheville Humane Society (AHS) also operates the shelter for Buncombe County, though they are two separate facilities according to their website. "Since 1990 Asheville Humane Society animal care professionals have operated the Buncombe County Animal Shelter operations under contracts with Buncombe County and City of Asheville," states the website. AHS hopes to build a "no-kill community" in Asheville and has partnerships with Best Friends, the ASPCA and more.

Portions that Were Removed

The central question is: Why would AHS, located in an adjacent county to the fatal attack, remove parts of its website that promoted pit bulls just after this boy's mauling death? On June 19, AHS kicked off their Project Pit Bull, Awareness and Action Campaign with its first event, a community forum. The forum focused on ending "breed discrimination" and selling the public disinformation about pit bulls. The community forum was the first of the campaign's free services for pit bulls.

As pointed out by DogsBite commenter Littlebluetinkerbell last night, "awareness and action campaigns" usually last several months and possibly years. But the Asheville Humane Society pulled the entire Project Pit Bull awareness campaign from their corporate website less than one month into the campaign and, apparently, just after this boy's horrific mauling death. Again, authorities have not named the animal shelter that is responsible for adopting out this mauler.

The Asheville Humane Society's Project Pit Bull page is still in Google Cache (please view here).2 Google last captured it on July 5. The actual URL leads to a broken web page because AHS removed this web page (please view here). If one looks at their current website, you'll notice that the left column is now missing "Project Pit Bull" in the navigation sidebar for Events and News. It does not end there either. AHS also removed their Pit Crew program from their website.

The Asheville Humane Society's Volunteer page is still in Google Cache (please view here).3 Google last captured it on July 7, the day of the boy's death. If you scroll down about midway, you will see the, Want to Join Our Pit Crew? section. Between July 7 and July 8th, AHS removed this program from their corporate website. Go to their volunteer page and see for yourself. Now why would they do this? Because it's a bad time to be promoting pit bulls as "grossly misunderstood?"

This certainly could be the case. After their June 19 forum -- which tried to sell to Asheville homeowners, landlords, neighbors and "even the pit bull wary" that BSL does not keep people safe and that pit bulls are wonderful pets -- a little boy died in the jaws of a male, neutered recently adopted out pit bull. Henderson County Sheriff's Office Maj. Frank Stout said the boy "died a very violent and quick death." The pit bull attacked the boy's face and neck killing him, Stout said.

You be the judge of why AHS took down these parts of their website in the wake of a fatal pit bull attack. You be the judge of why a humane society, in this case partly supported by taxpayers in their role of operating the county's shelter, continues to delete posts from their Facebook page that mention this young boy. Commenter Wigan wrote on our Facebook post just a few hours ago: "Update: [Asheville Humane Society] is deleting posts that mention the boy..." You be the judge.

humane society removes pages after fatal pit bull attack

07/08/15: Adopted in a Nearby County
New information is being learned about the pit bull that killed a child. The Citizen-Times reports that Henderson County Sheriff's Office Maj. Frank Stout said the pit bull was a male and a little over a year old. Stout said the owners adopted the dog 3-weeks earlier in a nearby county, with all of the shots and paperwork. Stout declined to name the shelter. Because certainly the public should not be made aware of which agency adopted out a pit bull that in short order killed a child.

Stout did say that part of the investigation will focus on the dog's history. "We're trying to get as much history on this dog as possible," Stout said. "We're just trying to find out the entire chain of events even before the adoption of the dog." Stout also said that Joshua often played with the dog owner's 6-year old daughter, and that both had played with the dog since its arrival without any issues. "There had been nothing to indicate that this dog was aggressive in nature," Stout said.

Jerry Hayes, Josh's great-grandfather who lives at 163 Piney Ridge Drive, said that Joshua would have entered into the first grade at Mills River Elementary School in August. He said that his great-grandson was "smart as a whip" and could count up to 100 forward and backward. Regarding the pit bull, Hayes said, "You just can't trust a pit bull. But that one seemed tame. I petted it through the fence. I thought they had gotten a nice dog. But that one won't bother anyone else," he said.
The family is collecting donations on GoFundMe.com to help pay for the boy's funeral costs.

07/07/15: Pit Bull Mauling Victim Identified
The young boy mauled to death by a recently adopted pit bull in Henderson County has been identified as Joshua Phillip Strother. The late night update from Blue Ridge Now communicates portions of the painful 911 call made by the little boy's mother who is 8-months pregnant, according to a neighbor. The news report also indicates the pit bull had only been with the unnamed dog's owner and next door neighbor for two weeks before fatally attacking a child.4
"I went to the bathroom and my boy is dead," the 911 caller says, weeping. "There's blood all over his face." The mother of Joshua Strother
In the frantic call, the mother tells the dispatcher that her 6-year old son is in the neighbor's fenced backyard at 183 Piney Ridge Drive and that she cannot get inside the fence. The neighbors are not home, she said. The mother tells the dispatcher, "I was in the house. I heard the back door shut, and I come running and I seen him laying in the neighbor's yard." The 911 dispatcher asks her to check whether the child is moving or breathing. "He's not breathing," the mother says.

Investigators suspect the boy climbed the nearly 5-foot tall chain-link fence to play with the pit bull. According to Joseph Strother, the victim's stepbrother, the neighbors got the dog two weeks ago and the dog was familiar with his little brother. "They said the dog's been here two weeks and he's been playing with the dog,” Joseph said. The property owners of 183 Piney Ridge Drive were not home when Joshua climbed the fence and was fatally attacked by their recently adopted pit bull.

0707/15: Adopted Pit Bull Kills Child
Hendersonville, NC - In developing story, a pit bull terrier attacked and killed a 6-year old boy Tuesday afternoon, according to the Henderson County Sheriff's Office. Arriving deputies shot and killed the dog to get to the child, but it was too late to save his life. The fatal attack happened on the pit bull owner's property on Piney Ridge Drive, according to deputies. At the time of the deadly attack, the boy was visiting his grandparent's home next door to the dog owner's property.

The 911 call was made by the boy's mother. She said she went inside to use the bathroom for a few minutes and returned to find her son lying in the neighbor's yard. She said her son played with the dog and the dog was familiar with him. She told dispatchers that she did not believe her son was breathing, and that the neighbor's gate was locked, so she could not get into their yard. She said her son and other children often climbed the fence and that the homeowners were not home.
Fox Carolina also reported that they would not air the mother's 911 call and were told by people at the scene that the mother is pregnant.5
The Citizen-Times reports that deputies responded to a call at 163 Piney Ridge Drive near Mountain Home, a news release from Maj. Frank Stout states. When deputies and emergency responders arrived on scene they were unable to reach the boy due to the pit bull's continued aggression. Deputies shot and killed the pit bull, then deputies and emergency responders pushed down a fence to gain access to the child, who did not respond to medical treatment, Stout said.

Recently Adopted Pit Bull

News 13 reports that Henderson County Sheriff Charles McDonald does not believe there is any evidence of criminal wrongdoing at this time. Sheriff McDonald said the recently adopted pit bull was next door in a fenced-in backyard. Deputies continue to investigate how the child got into the area. Roger Burns lives nearby. He said that his own son, who is 10-years old, had intended to go play with the boy. Then his son told him, "I can't play with him. He's in the yard dead, daddy."
map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: North Carolina Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

Editorial note added July 10: Despite this boy's horrific mauling death by a pit bull adopted out by the Asheville Humane Society, the AHS Facebook page still has this July 4th promotional pit bull campaign in their photo album. The Facebook post was published on June 25. The boy was killed on July 7. This "custom designed" image, bearing the AHS website address, is 1296 x 1296, indicating that it is print resolution. In all likelihood, it was printed as fliers or was a poster hanging in AHS greeting potential adopters!

pit bull adopted out by asheville humane society kills boy

1Pup Crew is completely disingenuous to what the program is. It's just another mask for breed-specific pit bull advocacy and a deliberate term designed to hoodwink the public. At least Pit Crew properly identified the program.
2, 3Replaced with a screenshot of Google Cache taken on July 9. Because Asheville Humane republished their pages after getting caught, as well as how Google Cache operates (web cache is only temporary and has now cached the republished pages), a screenshot was our only option. This replacement was made July 17, 2015.
4Some reports are saying three weeks. News 2 also states the dog came from a "North Carolina shelter."
5In a late evening update by WYFF, neighbor Diane Henault said the victim's mother is 8-months pregnant. "My heart just goes out to the family, [she] is like 8-months pregnant," Henault said. She referred to the boy as "Josh." No information has so far been released about the agency or rescue that adopted out the fatally attacking pit bull.

Related articles:
08/31/15: Who Can Identify a Pit Bull? A Dog Owner of 'Ordinary Intelligence'...
08/08/15: No One Held To Account For Asheville Humane Society Pit Bull Adoption Fatality
08/06/15: Buncombe County - Animal Shelter Review Complete (News Release)
07/22/15: Letter: Difficulty in Assessing Level of Aggression in Pit Bulls Can Lead to Tragedy
07/16/15: Buncombe County, NC Orders Moratorium On Pit Bull Adoptions
07/11/15: Boyle Column: Stats Don't Lie About Dangers Of Pit Bulls - Citizen Times
07/26/13: Beyond the Interview: Essay of a Fatal Pit Bull Mauling - DogsBite.org
07/11/13: The Science Of How Behavior Is Inherited In Aggressive Dogs 

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Friday, July 24, 2015


2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pack of Dogs Kill Woman in Wagoner County, Oklahoma

woman killed by dogs in wagoner county oklahoma
Dogs Kill Woman
Redbird, OK - An 67-year old woman is dead after being brutally attacked by a pack of dogs Friday. Witnesses said the attack occurred on South Main Street. Wagoner County Sheriff Bob Colbert identified the victim as Carolyn Sue Lamp of Coweta. Sheriff Colbert said she was walking, collecting cans when she was attacked and killed by three dogs. One witness came to her aid and tried the pull the dogs off her, but by the time deputies arrived she was dead, lying in a ditch.

Sheriff Colbert does not believe anyone will claim ownership of the dogs. "But our investigation will continue, and we will present our findings to the district attorney and see if there will be any charges," Colbert said. KJRH.com identified the dog breeds as three pit bulls and a rottweiler. Residents told them the scene was gruesome and that Lamp was unrecognizable after the attack. Like in many fatal pit bull attacks and pack attacks, the dogs ripped off all of her clothes too.

Fox 23 news reporter Eddie Randle spoke to Sheriff Colbert and several deputies who said that all of the dogs were pit bulls. Colbert also said that last year, Lamb asked the nearby residents if she could feed these same dogs (apparently they were strays). "Its ironic," Colbert said, "this lady offered to help these same dogs that a year later took her life." No one who lived nearby claimed ownership, but told Randle that they do feed them. All of the dogs were seized and quarantined.

Long Time Stray Dog Problem

A variety of news sources and residents are commenting about the long time problem of stray dogs or owned dogs running loose in the area. Sheriff Colbert is aware of the problem, but said that the sheriff's office cannot help with animal control. Oklahoma state law only allows for cities with a population of 250,000 or more to be assigned an animal control officer. Small communities like Redbird (population 137) have no agency to call for help. Now an innocent woman is dead.

Tulsa 8 News interviewed two residents, one of whom tied to help Lamp, but she was already dead when he found her. "Oh yeah, she was dead, she wasn't breathing. You could look at her and tell that she wasn't breathing," he said, who asked to remain anonymous. Annette Panter, who lives just down the street, said as recently as this morning she shot at about 4 or 5 dogs. Panter said she always carries a gun because of the frequency of encountering aggressive stray dogs.
map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: Oklahoma Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

Related articles:
08/31/15: Who Can Identify a Pit Bull? A Dog Owner of 'Ordinary Intelligence'...
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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Thursday, July 23, 2015


2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies After Vicious Pit Bull Attack in Shaker Heights, Ohio

pit bull kills woman in shaker heights
Family Seeks Change
UPDATE 07/23/15: After a beloved grandmother was mauled to death by a pit bull, her family is setting up a foundation called, Any Salvation. Annie Williams, 71, was picking up her two great granddaughters from a home in Shaker Heights, where they were with their father, when a pit bull belonging to someone in the home brutally attacked her in the driveway. A 13-year old, who was in Williams' car, and her two great grandchildren, ages 7 and 8, witnessed the horrendous attack.

Family members are now looking for someone in real need to give Williams' furniture, clothing, some household items and appliances to. "Since she was such a caring and giving woman, what better thing to do than to give it to someone who needs it," said her granddaughter, Tequila Williams. Another one of her granddaughters, Secunda Starr, added, "I want somebody that will benefit from it greatly and really take care of it and need it. I want someone to actually need it."

Family members also hope to make legislative changes in pit bull ownership. "We're all going to be very proactive in making sure that what happened to our grandmother does not continue to happen to other people," Tequila said. "What does it take for legislation, for representatives, for the law to see that this is an animal that no matter how kind you are to it, it cannot be controlled?" Annie is the 5th person killed by a pit bull in Ohio since the state dropped its pit bull law in 2012.

Follow, Scorched Earth, the Politics of Pit Bulls, to stay informed about pit bull issues in Ohio.

Any Salvation Foundation, pit bull mauling death Annie Williams
07/14/15: Cause of Death Released
A county medical examiner said that 71-year old Annie Williams who was attacked by a pit bull died from bite wounds and crushing injuries to her neck, throat and body. On Sunday, Williams stopped by a relative's home in Shaker Heights where the pit bull lived. The dog viciously attacked her in the homeowner's driveway as soon as she exited her vehicle. A 13-year old inside Williams' car witnessed the violent attack, along with at least two other children at the relative's home.

Additional Developments

The most recent Fox 8 update includes clarifications about family members. Williams was at the home to pick up her two great grandchildren. Tequila Williams is one of several granddaughters. Another granddaughter, Secunda Starr, was at the home and witnessed the attack. Starr said the pit bull was on the home's front stoop just before the attack. "The dog immediately skipped a step and jumped off and attacked my grandma," Starr said. She tried to pull the dog off Williams.

The female relatives that Fox 8 interviewed said the same pit bull had recently attacked another dog in the home. Tequila wants those responsible to accept responsibility. "I want justice, the people responsible to accept responsibility," she said. Tequila is horrified in the manner of her death. "I’m just so sorry this happened to her. She was a beautiful woman and didn’t deserve to die this way," she said. She prays that while being attacked she did not suffer too long.

Yesterday's update from WKYC shows the doghouse in the backyard of the home and a gaping hole in the chain-link fence. Dog ownership details, however, still remain murky. 19 Action News identified Jerome Green as the owner of the home on Pennington Road. Green might eventually be on the hook for civil damages if the dog's owner remains unidentified. Police are investigating other animal complaints in the neighborhood to see if any are related to Sunday's lethal attack.

07/13/15: Woman Dies After Dog Attack
Shaker Heights, OH - An elderly woman has died after a vicious dog attack. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office identified the woman as 71-year old Annie Williams. The attack occurred Sunday in the 3600 hundred block of Pennington Road. The 911 caller identified the attacking dog as a "beige pit bull." The dog was fired upon by someone at the scene. Williams was taken to South Point Hospital where she later died. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
"The dog just ran off. I don't know if they found the dog. It was a beige pit bull ... he's got blood all around its mouth." - 911 caller #1
Cleveland.com clarifies that it was a neighbor who initially shot the pit bull. Shaker Heights police later located the dog in a backyard and shot and killed it. Darlene White, 45, witnessed the attack from her home two doors down. From her window she saw Williams on the ground. Several neighbors rushed to help. Another neighbor shot the dog as it continued attacking Williams. White said she heard police fire three gunshots. She said the entire attack lasted about 10-minutes.
"She was just basically laying there, lifeless ... All I know is there was blood everywhere. He did a nasty job." - Witness Darlene White
White said she has only seen the pit bull a few times, it's usually chained up behind her neighbor's house, she said. At least two people called 911. Cleveland.com has the recording of the second caller. "There is a dog on a person across the street," the caller told dispatch. "He's on top of a lady. Somebody is trying to get him off, they can't get him off!" she said. "It's a pit ... Somebody just shot him ... I heard a gunshot and ran back inside. I'm not going back out there!" said the caller.

ABC 5 reports that police confirmed the dog was a pit bull. 19 Action News reports that the victim was at the home picking up her two great granddaughters from their father when the dog attacked. A 13-year old relative was also inside Williams' car during the horrific mauling and the ensuing gunfire. Family members said the dog's owner lives in the home where Williams was picking up the two children. The pit bull was not licensed in Cuyahoga County, 19 Action News reports.

Tequila Williams, one of her granddaughters, said, "I didn't get to see her before this happened. She was always there for everybody. A stranger in the street, it didn't matter who it was. She was the sweetest person and her grandkids loved her," Tequila said. Shaker Heights police continue their investigation and are awaiting autopsy results from the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office. William's violent mauling death marks the third U.S. fatal pit bull attack in a 10-day period.

Late Afternoon Updates

In an afternoon update by ABC 5, Tequila Williams said her two daughters, 7 and 8-years old, witnessed the violent attack from the window of their father's home. Williams was at the home to pick them both up. "My 8-year-old daughter answered the phone screaming and crying saying, 'Grandma, the dog just killed grandma, it bit her in the neck and they're trying to stop the blood,'" Tequila said. She also told ABC 5 that she was unaware the pit bull was even at the house.

"I asked [my daughter] where did this dog come from and she said that they kept it, it was in the backyard and they never let it out and only their father and grandmother were the ones allowed by the dog," Tequila said. A recent AP report states that Shaker Heights police Cmdr. John Cole said that that no one has been arrested and no one living in the home has claimed ownership of the dog. Cole stated that the attack occurred on the driveway of the property of Williams' relatives.
map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: Ohio Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

pit bull kills woman in shaker heights
Related articles:
08/07/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Ohio Woman, 59, Attacked and Killed by Her Daughter's Pit Bull
07/22/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Visiting Child Under Babysitter's Care Killed by Family Pit Bull...
07/02/14: Director of the Division of Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery at Cincinnati...
02/21/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Type Dogs Attack, Strip Naked and Kill Dayton Woman

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