DogsBite Blog ::
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Fatal Dog Attack Statistics
DogsBite.org recorded 31 fatal dog attacks in 2016. Pit bulls contributed to 71% (22) of these deaths, just over 7 times more than the next closest dog breed. The combination of pit bulls, their close cousins, American bulldogs (2), and rottweilers (2) contributed to 84% (26) of all dog bite-related fatalities. The last year the CDC collected "breed" data about fatal human dog attacks was 1998, nearly two decades ago. Since this time, pit bulls have killed over 300 U.S. citizens.
- 31 U.S. dog bite-related fatalities occurred in 2016. Despite being regulated in Military Housing areas and over 900 U.S. cities, pit bulls contributed to 71% (22) of these deaths. Pit bulls make up about 6% of the total U.S. dog population.
- Together, pit bulls (22) and rottweilers (2), the second most lethal dog breed, accounted for 77% of the total recorded deaths in 2016. This same combination also accounted for 76% of all fatal attacks during the 12-year period of 2005 to 2016.
- The breakdown between these two breeds is substantial over this 12-year period. From 2005 to 2016, pit bulls killed 254 Americans, about one citizen every 17 days, versus rottweilers, which killed 43, about one citizen every 102 days.
- See full report: 2016 U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Statistics - DogsBite.org
- News release: Nonprofit Releases 2016 Dog Bite Fatality Statistics and Trends from 12-Year Dog Bite Fatality Data Set (2005 to 2016)
Discussion NotesDogsBite.org - 2016 marked a decrease in U.S. dog bite fatalities, which do vary from year to year, but overall have been on an upward trend since 2009. This year, we recorded 31 total deaths. There may have been more. The election dominated the media in 2016. As one can see from our 12-year chart, there was a significant dip in 2008, which was also the change of an administration. What remained true in 2016 was the high rate of pit bull fatalities, weighing in at 71% of all deaths.
This 12-year period shows that deaths inflicted by pit bulls, 254, now exceeds the total number of deaths by all dog breeds in the 8-year period of 2005 to 2012. It also exceeds the number of deaths (238) analyzed in the government's benchmark 20-year study from 1979 to 1998 when breed data was known. When we began charting combined year fatality statistics in 2011, pit bulls were inflicting 58% of all deadly attacks. Five years later, pit bulls have reached 65%.
2016 Annual Trends
In 2016, 42% (13) of all dog bite fatality victims were either visiting or living temporarily with the dog's owner when the fatal attack occurred -- the highest on record. Pit bulls were responsible for 77% (10) of these deaths. This growing trend alters traditional metrics, which in the past was dominated by a family dog killing a child or family member and deadly off property pack attacks. In 2016, the majority of victims killed while visiting the dog owner's home were also adults 54%.
During the 11-year period of 2005 to 2015, children 10-years old and younger were the primary victims, 71% (70 of 99), in the visiting scenario.A larger than average number of dog breeds killed in 2016 -- a total of 10 different breeds.1 Having never appeared in any previous years of our fatality statistics, the Belgian malinios inflicted two deaths in 2016. One was a large pack attack of Belgian malinios-American bulldog mixes in Miami-Dade County. The other was a "pet" dual-certified police K-9 in San Luis Obispo County. The owner of the K-9, now a former police officer, was subsequently charged with two felonies.
In 2016, newborns ages 3 to 6-days old accounted for 31% of all child deaths. That is alarming. The educational advancements in infant safety today, even from just 10-years ago, are formidable. Yet common sense about dogs is fading. No dog should be near a baby that young, much less lying in bed with it, as was the case when a large, rehomed pit-bull mix killed 3-day old Sebastian Caban. The family had adopted the dog 5-months earlier from the San Diego Humane Society.
Changing Traditional Fatal Dog Mauling Metrics
Single Dog Metric Shrinking Metric Shift
In 2016, 61% of all dog bite fatalities involved more than one dog, up from the 11-year average of 44%. Again the past metric of a single dog, usually a family dog, being the primary inflictor of fatal dog attacks is diminishing and being replaced by multiple dogs, chiefly pit bulls. In our 12-year data set of 392 deaths, 46% (179) involved attacks by more than one dog. Attacks by pit bulls involving more than one dog (typically another pit bull), contributed to 72% (128) of this subset.
Even an early CDC study (1989 to 1994) noted that 33% of all fatal pit bull attacks involved more than one dog vs. 21% of attacks involving other breeds. The 12-year data set also shows that both types have escalated since. Today, 50% of all fatal pit bull attacks (128 of 254) involve more than one dog, vs. 37% of all other dog breeds combined (51 of 138). In our modern 12-year data set, pit bulls also accounted for 71% (71 of 100) of all deaths that involved recent breeding activity.
Multi-pit bull households are diminishing the traditional metric of a single dog inflicting the most fatal attacks and have been for years.
|% Single Dog||Years||Single Dog of Total Studied||Entity/Study|
|70%||1979-1988||(76 of 108)||CDC/Sacks 1989|
|73%||1989-1994||(62 of 85)||CDC/Sacks, 1996|
|70%||1979-1998||(160 of 227)||CDC/AVMA, 2000|
|56%||2005-2010||(102 of 183)||DogsBite.org, 2017|
|52%||2011-2016||(109 of 209)||DogsBite.org, 2017|
|39%||2016||(12 of 31)||DogsBite.org, 20172|
Adult Deaths Outpace Child Deaths Metric Shift
2016 marks another year when dogs killed more adults than children, 58% and 42% respectively. Our combined 12-year data set shows that children, 9-years old and younger, accounted for 49% of all victims. This is a great shift from the past metric during the early CDC study period (1979 to 1988) when 70% of all victims were 9-years old and younger. The chart below depicts a rise of adult deaths, primarily in the 30 to 69-year old age groups, over the years from 1979 to 2016.
Which Breeds Are Killing Adults? Metric Validation
The same early CDC study (1979 to 1988) noted that 31% of all pit bull victims were ages 10 and older, compared to 19% for other breeds. Our 12-year data set shows a great increase in pit bulls killing adults. Of the 392 people killed by dogs from 2005 to 2016, 51% (199) were victims 10 and older. Pit bulls were responsible for 71% (141) of these deaths vs. all other breeds combined 29% (58). Of the total 254 people killed by pit bulls during this period, 56% (141) were 10 and older.
To re-emphasize, in the recent data set of 12-years, pit bulls were responsible for 71% of all fatal attack victims ages 10 and older.
|51% ages 10 and older||199|
|56% ages 10 and older||141|
|All Other Breeds Combined||45||19||16||1||0||14||20||23||138|
|42% ages 10 and older||58|
What Metric Remains the Same?
The 12-year data set shows that 24% (94) of all fatal attacks occurred off the dog owners' property, the exact same percentage as the 20-year CDC study published in the last century.4 During the 12-year period, pit bulls accounted for 66% (62) of these deaths. Of this pit bull subset, 82% (51) involved multiple dogs. Over half of all criminal cases involve off property attacks. Thus, off property attacks and criminal charges tend to mirror one another in the below 12-year chart.
Then we added a third mirror to the chart -- pit bulls. In the 12-year data set, only 20% (80) of all deaths resulted in criminal charges -- felonies or misdemeanor charges with jail time. Pit bulls accounted for 74% (59) of these cases. Among the 254 pit bull fatalities, 23% (59) resulted in criminal charges vs. 15% (21) for all other breeds combined. Measuring breed-to-breed, pit bulls had nearly twice the rate of rottweiler attacks, 12% (5 of 43), resulting in criminal charges.
53% (42) of all criminal cases involve off property attacks. Pit bulls killing off property and charges resulting accounted for 74% (31) of this subset.
Summary and Call-to-Action
12-years of fatal dog bite statistical data is sufficient to evaluate the "breed-specific" issue. Pit bulls dramatically dominate attacks causing death. With the addition of rottweilers, these two breeds accounted for 76% of all deaths. When mastiff-type guard dogs and war dogs are added -- the types used to create "baiting" bull breeds and fighting breeds5 -- this small group of breeds is responsible for 84% of all fatal attacks. Breed-specific laws are more needed now than ever.
As we stated in our Call-to-Action last year, instead, what is happening is the reverse. Powerful lobbying groups continue to push preemption bills on a state level that prohibit municipalities from adopting and enforcing breed-specific laws. Importantly, over the last two years legislatures in 10 different states have rejected these bills -- 94% failed to pass. Currently four states face this type of legislation in 2017, including: Delaware, Missouri, Washington and West Virginia.
Our call to action this year is the same as 2016: Use our statistics and charts in correspondence with local and state officials, especially the chart showing 12-years broken down by year that depicts how heavily two breeds, pit bulls and rottweilers, dictate fatal attacks. Use our nonfatal severe injury research as well. Last October, we published a special report that summarized key peer-reviewed medical studies (2009 to 2016) that examined the severity of pit bull injuries.
Additional Annual and Combined Year Statistical Graphics (2005 to 2016)
2, 3Single year statistics may or may not represent an actual trend; trends are revealed through combined years, preferably 100 cases or more. We just offset 2016 because it is the subject of this post.
4See first page under results. "Of 227 reports with relevant data, 55 (24%) human deaths involved unrestrained dogs off their owners' property..."
5This grouping includes: American bulldogs, mastiffs and bullmastiffs, presa canarios and cane corsos.
01/09/17: 2016 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs
02/19/16: 2015 U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Statistics - DogsBite.org
01/14/16: 2015 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs
07/24/14: Nonprofits Urge CDC to Resume Tracking Richer Data Set for Children and Adults...
Recent Nonfatal Studies:
10/10/16: Special Report: Level 1 Trauma Center Dog Bite Studies in All U.S. Geographical...
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Home where two English mastiffs killed a 5-year old boy in Clarksville.
Mastiffs Kill Boy
Clarksville, TN - A 5-year old boy is dead after being attacked by two family dogs Thursday morning, according to a news release from the Clarksville Police Department. At about 8:20 am, emergency responders were dispatched to a home on Charles Thomas Drive. They found the 5-year old boy with "extensive injuries." He was transported to Tennova Medical Center, where he died of his injuries. The two dogs, both English mastiffs, were 6-months old, states the release.
Montgomery County Animal Control took both dogs into custody. Male English mastiffs can grow to over 200 pounds. The last fatal attack involving this specific mastiff type was the death of 7-year old Connor Lourens in 2006. He was visiting a neighbor's home when the owner's 140-pound English mastiff attacked his throat. That dog was about a year old. The combination of all mastiff types, including bullmastiffs, account for 12 deaths since 2005, 3.1% of all dog bite fatalities.
An evening update by NewsChannel 5 states the family "is asking for space at this time." No essential new details were provided, but the news group did capture the boy's home. Clarksville police spokesman Lt. Steve Warren believes the attack happened outside; video footage shows the backyard of the home is fenced off. It remains unknown where the parents or guardians of the little boy were when the animals attacked. Police continue to seek information from the public.
02/13/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: 75-Year Old Queens Woman Mauled to Death by Mastiff...
04/06/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Bullmastiff Kills Child, Seriously Injures Another in Killeen, Texas
01/03/14: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman, 75, Killed by Bullmastiff in Arkansas Gated Community
Monday, February 13, 2017
2017 Dog Bite Fatality: 75-Year Old Queens Woman Mauled to Death by Mastiff; Had Previously Killed a Neighborhood Dog
Planned to Return Dog Due Aggression In Coming Days
Louise Hermida, 75-years old, was killed by a dog she adopted six years ago.
UPDATE 02/13/17: New information has been released. The mastiff was not recently adopted as many news groups reported earlier. New York City Animal Care and Control said the dog was adopted from their shelter nearly six years ago. The dog was one year old at that time. Also, the victim's next-door neighbor, Rosa Ortiz, said that Hermida wanted to turn in the dog because it attacked and killed a small terrier 10 days ago. Sadly, she did not return the dog soon enough.
Ortiz was the first to arrive to the scene after the brutal attack. The victim's son, who was also injured by the dog, alerted her to the attack. Ortiz called 911 then entered the victim's home. She found Hermida lying on the basement floor, reports DNA Info. "She had blood all over her. It was really bad," said Ortiz, who said Hermida was still conscious and speaking as they waited for an ambulance. She was pronounced dead at New York Presbyterian Hospital five hours later.
02/13/17: Adopted Dog Kills Owner
Queens, NY - An elderly woman was killed by a mastiff she recently adopted from an unnamed shelter or rescue. The animal also attacked her 39-year old son with special needs. Louise Hermida, 75-years old, had planned to return the dog as soon as Monday due to its aggression, according to multiple news reports. Hermida never had that chance. She was fatally attacked by the animal in her townhouse on 27th Street in Long Island City just after midnight Monday.
Hermida suffered severe trauma to her upper torso, according to police. She was transported to New York Presbyterian Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at around 6 am Monday. Her 39-year old son, Daniel Ferraro, was also attacked by the dog in the lower left leg and was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The animal was sedated by New York Emergency Service Unit officers and is currently in the custody of New York City Animal Care and Control.
The New York Daily News quotes neighbor Jean Vontas, who said that Hermida had "too many dogs" at her home. "I never knew if they were baby sitting the dogs -- they were always walking the dogs up and down," Vontas told the Daily News. While it is unclear what that statement fully means, it seems clear enough that a 75-year old woman is a poor adopter choice for a dog that can grow to over 200 pounds. Also, NBC New York reports the dog is a mixed-breed mastiff.
Recent Shelter Dog Fatal Attacks
Since 2015, dogs "vetted" by passing temperament tests have killed two people. In July 2015, a 6-year old boy in North Carolina was killed by a male, neutered pit bull that was rehomed by the Asheville Humane Society 3-weeks earlier. The pit bull had passed the SAFER temperament test. In April 2016, a male pit bull-mix rehomed by the San Diego Humane Society killed a newborn. That dog also passed an assessment test prior to being adopted to the family 5-months earlier.
Since 2015, at least two dogs rehomed by shelters or rescues with an unknown or non-existent vetting process have killed as well. Anthony Riggs, 57, was killed by a rottweiler in November 2015 just hours after adopting the dog from a county pound in Tennessee. Eugene Smith, 87, was fatally attacked by his rescue pit bull while taking down his Christmas tree in January 2015. His family had adopted the dog 7-months earlier from an unnamed person or rescue in Maryland.
04/29/16: 2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Rehomed by Humane Society Kills Newborn Baby
11/18/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Newly Adopted Rottweiler Kills Owner in Madison County...
08/06/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Recently Adopted Out Pit Bull Kills 6-Year Old Boy...
01/08/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Maryland Man Mauled to Death by Adopted Rescue Pit Bull
Thursday, February 2, 2017
2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Former Officer Charged with Felonies After his 'Personal' K-9 Killed a Man and Injured a Woman
The attacking Dog, a Belgian Malinois, Was a Dual-Certified Police K-9
On December 13, a police-trained K-9 escaped its property and attacked two people killing one.
Charged with Two Felonies
UPDATE 02/02/17: The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office filed two felony counts against a former Grover Beach police officer after his "personal" dual-certified police-trained K-9 brutally attacked two neighbors, killing one of them, in December. Former officer Alex Paul Geiger, who was hired by the city of Grover Beach in September, resigned Wednesday and now faces nearly 4-years in jail if he is convicted on both counts. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA, February 2, 2017 – Today, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office filed two felony charges against Alex Paul Geiger (dob 7/31/1991) for failing to maintain control of a dangerous animal on December 13, 2016 that led to the death of David W. Fear (64) and serious bodily injury to Betty J. Long (86).Prior to joining the city of Grover Beach, Geiger had worked at the Exeter Police Department in Tulare County for two years with the last full year spent as a K-9 patrol officer with a Belgian malinois named "Neo." The dog was dual-certified in narcotics detection and patrol operations. Geiger left Exeter prior to the dog's annual re-certification and joined Grover Beach, which has no K-9 unit. On December 13, Neo escaped Geiger's property and brutally attacked Fear and Long.
The two-count felony criminal complaint alleges that Mr. Geiger had custody and control of a dangerous animal; that he knew that the animal was dangerous; that he failed to use ordinary care in keeping the animal; and that the animal killed David W. Fear and caused serious bodily injury to Betty J. Long. The code sections alleged are California Penal Code sections 399(a) and 399(b) respectively. (Read full press release) - District Attorney Dan Dow
Six months before Geiger moved to Grover Beach -- taking the dog with him as a "personal pet" -- Neo had bitten a trainer during a "bite suite exercise," reports The Tribune. However, the police K-9 was not taken out of service at the Exeter Police Department after the incident. When Geiger purchased the dog from Exeter for $5,287 in late August, he signed a waiver relieving Exeter of any future liability. Such a waiver is standard procedure, but offers no protections to the public.
Geiger wrote that he agreed to "hold harmless, defend and indemnify" the city of Exeter and the police union from all liability "arising out of my ownership and control of Neo." - The Tribune, January 23, 2017Additional public records obtained by The Tribune revealed the dog underwent K-9 training at Top Dog Training Center, LLC in Visalia, described as a "home-based K-9 training program," and gained certificates in the center’s narcotics detection and basic patrol courses in November and December 2015. The Tribune reports the K-9 center did not have a website. California Secretary of State records showed the company was founded in 2004 and has since been canceled.1
Finally, an investigation by The Tribune showed that one month after Geiger began working for Grover Beach in October -- and a month before his dog attacked Fear and Long -- he lobbied for a police K-9 program in Grover Beach. On November 10, Geiger and a senior officer presented Police Chief John Peters with a 140-page guide explaining how to form a K-9 unit in a small police department. Peters still maintains that his department had "no interest" in Neo as a K-9 officer.
Where Does Liability Fall?
First and foremost the liability of the mauling death of David Fear and injuries suffered by Betty Long falls squarely onto the shoulders of Alex Geiger -- in this case having both civil and criminal consequences. We applaud the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office for filing two felony counts against former officer Geiger. We hope that a jury of peers convicts. Beyond Geiger, the legal liability question remains murky and will take an excellent legal team to make distinct.
The question the public should consider is: 1.) Why is it okay for cities to absolve themselves of liability through a paper "waiver" after handing off attack-trained police K-9s to officers (or other individuals) after the dogs fail training, retire or in this case when the K-9 officer resigns? As we have emphasized before, these are extremely serious animals, not only trained in damaging bite work (See recent "Bite and Hold" Ninth Circuit ruling), but can also scale fences and walls.
01/16/17: Officer Lobbied for K-9 Program
In a disturbing update by The Tribune -- one that was hinted at in an earlier report by the news group -- Officer Alex Geiger quickly lobbied for a police K-9 program at Grover Beach after being hired. "One month before his police-trained pet dog attacked two Grover Beach residents, killing one of them, newly hired city police Officer Alex Geiger presented the police chief with a 140-page guide explaining how to form a K-9 unit in a small police department," reports The Tribune.
Police Chief John Peters had previously told The Tribune that his department had "internally explored" adding a K-9 officer, but that it had "no interest" in Geiger's personal dog. After a public records request, The Tribune was able to view the "binder" that Geiger and Senior Police Officer Matte Goodman submitted to Peters on November 10 -- a month after he was sworn in and a month before his dual-certified police K-9 killed David Fear and seriously injured Betty Long.
"It is our hope that you consider moving forward in putting a K-9 team together for Grover Beach Police Department," states the proposal.Part of the materials submitted to Peters by Geiger and Goodman included the estimated initial costs of a K-9 program, state certification guidelines, various grant opportunities, a list of specialized K-9 vehicles, a copy of the Arroyo Grande Police Department's K-9 policy and articles about "establishing a new K-9 unit for a small department," reports The Tribune. All backed by officer Geiger, the city's recent hire, who had a "freshly out of work" dual-certified police K-9.
While the city of Grover Beach tries to distance itself from any liability issues from the December 13 attack, we continue to wonder about Geiger's short stay at Exeter. He was a newbie K-9 officer on that police force, active for only a year before taking a job at Grover Beach, a city with no police K-9 unit. If Geiger's dual-certified K-9 had behavioral or training issues, they started while he was employed by Exeter. Geiger also left Exeter before his K-9's annual re-certification was due.
The dual re-certification (in detection and patrol operations) for his police K-9 named Neo was due in November and December respectively.Geiger left the Exeter police K-9 unit in late August, several months earlier, and paid the city of Exeter a mere $5,287 to keep his dual-certified police K-9. Geiger was hired by the city of Grover Beach in September. CalCoastNews notes that law enforcement agencies typically require officers to work for 7-years or longer before joining a K-9 unit and that sources from within the Exeter Police Department also told CalCoastNews that "Neo had some training and behavioral issues."2
01/05/17: Dual-Certified Police K-9
In response to The Tribune's exclusive article about officer Alex Geiger's previous employment and his dog's previous role as a trained police K-9 with the Exeter Police Department, the city of Exeter issued a news release Wednesday night explaining more about the dog's background. The dog was a "dual-certified" police K-9 -- trained in narcotics detection and patrol operations. Geiger purchased this "fully trained" and "dual-certified" police K-9 for a mere $5,287 before departing.
This police K-9 was trained in narcotics detection and patrol work -- obedience, search, apprehension and handler protection (bite work).Geiger left the Exeter Police Department's K-9 unit in August 2016. Exeter police Chief Cliff Bush said Wednesday that his "working police dog," named Neo, had completed all training in narcotics detection and patrol work in 2015. Geiger, as the dog's handler, had also completed "monthly maintenance training" at the Exeter Police Department until he departed to work for Grover Beach, a city that has no police K-9 unit. The city of Grover Beach hired Geiger in September 2016.
On December 13, Geiger's Belgian malinios, Neo, a dual-certified police K-9 in detection and patrol work (bite work), escaped Geiger's property and attacked Betty Long, 85. Her neighbor David Fear, 64, intervened to save her life. Fear suffered life-threatening injuries, including two arteries in his arms being severed; he died three days later while hospitalized. Long suffered serious bite injuries and broken bones from falling. She remains in a rehabilitation facility.
The kennel where the police K-9 was bred and later acquired by the city of Exeter, and the dog's POST-certified trainer, have yet to be identified.Time Line of Events
- 2009 - Alex Geiger serves as an Explorer with the Visalia Police Department.
- 2012 to 2013 - July to July. Geiger serves as a provisional deputy with the Kings County Sheriff’s Office (where he is seen in photo doing a K-9 bite work demo)
- 2014 - August. Geiger joins the Exeter Police Department as a provisional officer.
- 2015 - July. Geiger becomes a full-time police officer with the Exeter Police Department in Tulare County, California.
- 2015 - September. Geiger becomes a K-9 handler with the Exeter Police Department. This same month, the city acquires police K-9 "Neo" (1.5 years old)
- 2015 - November/December. Neo becomes "dual certified" in narcotics detection and patrol work (bite work).
- 2016 - January to August. - Geiger completes 16 hours of maintenance training each month, half of this time with a POST-certified trainer.
- 2016 - August. Geiger pays city of Exeter $5,287 to keep his "fully" trained, "dual-certified" police K-9 in narcotics detection and patrol work.
- 2016 - August. Geiger departs the Exeter Police Department as a member of its K-9 unit. No explanation as to why.
- 2016 - September. Gieger is hired by the city of Grover Beach as a police officer. Grover Beach does not have a K-9 unit.
- 2016 - September. Geiger moves into a "rented" home on Owens Court, one block from the scene of the deadly attack.
- 2016 - October 3. Geiger is officially sworn in at a Grover Beach City Council meeting.
- 2016 - December 13. Geiger's dogs (Neo, the primary attacker, and a German shepherd) escape his property and viciously attack David Fear and Betty Long.
- 2016 - December 15. Animal Services Director Eric Anderson issues news release stating that the Belgian Malinois -- and a German shepherd owned by Geiger -- were not connected to the Grover Beach Police Department.
- 2016 - December 16. David Fear dies of his injuries. Long remains in rehabilitation care.
- 2016 - December 19. City of Grover Beach places Geiger on paid administrative leave.
- 2016 - December 22. City of Grover finally releases the name of dogs' owner, police officer Alex Geiger, to the public. City does not provide any information on the dog's training.
- 2017 - January 4. The Tribune publishes an exclusive article, detailing Geiger's previous employment and that his dog was a trained police K-9.
- 2017 - January 4. City of Exeter responds with a news release that expands upon the dog's training -- Neo is "dual-certified" in narcotics detection and patrol work (apprehension, protection and bite work).
- 2017 - January 5. Grover Beach taxpayers continue to pay Geiger's salary, as he remains on paid administrative leave.
01/04/17: Trained Police K-9
It has been confirmed the Belgian malinios belonging to Grover Beach police officer Alex Geiger, which killed David Fear and seriously injured Betty Long in December, was trained as a police K-9. The Tribune's exclusive report also details Geiger's background. Since 2009, Geiger had worked for three different police forces prior to being hired by the city of Grover Beach in September 2016, including the Exeter Police Department, where Geiger was a member of its police K-9 unit.
In July 2015, Geiger became a full-time police officer with the Exeter Police Department and was a member of its K-9 unit when he departed in August 2016. On Tuesday, Exeter Police Chief Cliff Bush confirmed that Geiger was a handler for a police K-9 named "Neo" while working in Exeter. The dog came into the department with "basic training" and entered a Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified K-9 program with Geiger as his handler, according to Chief Bush.
Geiger purchased the dog from the city of Exeter before he moved to Grover Breach. Bush declined to say if "Neo" passed the POST training.POST Law Enforcement K-9 Guidelines
While we do not know exactly what "basic training" entails -- Bush did not provide these details -- a California document, POST Law Enforcement K-9 Guidelines, describes performing activities of IPO protection training for certification in patrol work, including: obedience, search, apprehension and handler protection -- bite work (See: pages 17 and 18). The guidelines are divided into two parts, patrol and detection -- the latter does not assume the police K-9 is also trained in bite work.
What is known is that Geiger purchased the Belgian malinois, which is a strong indicator -- especially in conjunction with the vague training information provided by Bush -- the malinois failed the POST certification program. Many of these dogs become "personal" dogs for their handlers after failing or retiring. The Tribune has filed a public records request with the city of Exeter to learn if the dog completed the POST training, served as a K-9 officer or failed the program.
Dizzying Array of Police K-9 Lawsuits
Back in 2013, we began tracking civil lawsuits involving police K-9s attacking bystanders and children and when being deployed on minor offenders. We started with multiple lawsuits in the Seattle area, as well as Vancouver, B.C., which came under fire for their deployment tactics. There have been many other lawsuits since. Last year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that "Bite and Hold" could be viewed as excessive force as well, a violation of the 4th Amendment.
We express again just how serious apprehension and bite trained police K-9's are, whether on active duty or retired! These are advanced training levels, but certainly fit the age of Geiger's malinois of 2.5 years old. "Basic training," which we know the dog underwent, includes agility training, according to Policemag.com, where the dogs learn how to scale fences and walls. Geiger's malinois belonged in a locked six-sided enclosure inside his locked fenced-in backyard.
12/22/16: Police Officer Named
After over a week of withholding the identity of a Grover Beach police officer whose dogs escaped his property and attacked two people, killing one and seriously injuring the other, city officials released his name. Alex Geiger, 25, was identified by the Grover Beach Police Department Thursday as the owner of the dogs. Geiger is a four year law enforcement veteran and was hired by the city of Grover Beach in September. Officer Geiger remains on paid administrative leave.
Geiger previously worked as a deputy in the Kings County Sheriff’s Office, which has a police canine unit. Geiger released a prepared statement Thursday, along with the Grover Beach Police Officers Association, both calling it a "tragic incident." The association went further calling it a "tragic and unusual incident." City officials released no information about the history or training of the Belgian malinios belonging to Geiger that nearly killed two innocent people December 13.
In 2013, former Kings County Deputy Alex Geiger performed a demo with police K9 officer "Bos" at an Easter Egg hunt in Hanford.3 Geiger is not this dog's handler, but he is clearly connected with police K-9s and their training. Geiger is well aware that these are extremely serious animals. It seems safe to assume at this point that Geiger's malinois is from protection-bred stock and is likely protection trained as well. One of these dogs loose in a neighborhood is a recipe for disaster.
12/20/16: Officer Placed on Paid Leave
Late Monday it was reported that the owner of a dog that viciously attacked two people, killing one and seriously injuring the other, has been placed on paid administrative leave. The owner is an unidentified Grover Beach police officer. Last week his two dogs, a Belgian malinios and German shepherd, escaped his property and attacked 85-year old Betty Long and 64-year old David Fear. Fear had stepped into save the elderly woman. He died of his severe injuries three days later.
The primary aggressor was the Belgian malinios, a breed frequently used in police K-9 work. The unnamed officer surrendered that dog to animal control; it has since been euthanized. The owner agreed to quarantine the German shepherd until the investigation is over. It unclear what level of involvement the shepherd had in the violent attack. It's also unclear why the city of Grover Beach waited nearly a week after the attack before placing the officer on paid administrative leave.
San Luis Obispo County Animal Services is leading the investigation. The Grover Beach Police Department is not commenting on the investigation and does not have a police canine unit. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department is involved in the investigation and does have a canine unit.4 It is unknown if the attacking malinios owned by the unidentified officer is a retired police K-9, if it was trained in protection work or if it has a history of attacking people or pets.
Some readers might believe that by not naming this dog owner, authorities are giving this police officer special treatment. However, dog owners are often not named in fatal dog attacks by authorities or the media, unless criminal charges apply. Other times, owners will openly talk to the media -- they always have that choice. Generally, withholding the owner's name makes it extremely difficult for the community to know if the dog had a history of aggression or attacks.
Journalists, our nonprofit and others often cannot proceed with research and fact-finding without this information. This horrific dog attack is a special case scenario too. Does the public have the right to know this officer's name after his "personal" dog killed a man and seriously injured a woman? We believe it best serves the public interest that he is identified, along with the history of his Belgian malinios. Otherwise, this obvious missing information only serves to further rumors.
Victim's Family Reaches Out
Yesterday a relative of Fear left a heartbreaking comment on a post at this website. In the comment, his sister-in-law states that Betty Long, whose life was saved by Fear's actions, could hear him crying out, "Help! Help! They're eating me!" over and over again. Her comment was left on the four year anniversary post of this nonprofit's founder. Our hearts go out to his wife Terri and all of his family members. This was a vicious, horrific attack that could have killed two people.
"I am David Fear's sister-in-law, and you wrote the clearest article recalling all that has transpired since his mauling and death. My husband has horrifically lost his best friend and brother. We all are devastated when we consider the horror he went through. His neighbor whom he saved could hear him crying out, "Help! Help! They're eating me!" over and over again. I read the same words in your recount."
12/17/16: Man Dies After Dog Attack
Grover Beach, CA - Late Friday, 64-year old David Fear died after being viciously attacked by one or more dogs earlier this week. A spokesman at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center confirmed his death today. The dogs first attacked his neighbor, 85-year old Betty Long. Fear intervened to help save her life. Fear suffered critical dog bite injuries, including two arteries in his arms being severed. Long suffered serious bite injuries and broken bones from falling. Both were hospitalized.
The two dogs -- a Belgain malinois and German shepherd -- belong to a Grover Beach police officer. The malinois is the primary attacker.The attack occurred Tuesday outside of Long's home on Nacimiento Avenue. The two victims are next-door neighbors. The San Luis Obispo County Department of Animal Services identified the 2.5 year old Belgain malinois -- typically used in police K-9 work -- as the main aggressor. The dog was surrendered by its owner and euthanized Tuesday. The other dog remains with its owner. The unnamed Grover Beach police officer who owns both dogs was away at the time of the attack.
Grover Beach does not have a police canine program and neither of the dogs were city-owned, according to Eric Anderson, the manager of San Luis Obispo County Animal Services. What is unknown, however, is if the malinois is a retired police K-9 from a different city or county or if it was trained in protection work. The Grover Beach police department has referred all questions to Animal Services. Neighbors said the dogs' owner had only lived in the neighborhood a short while.
A close friend of Fear initially created a GoFundMe page to help pay the cost of his medical bills. The goal of the fund has since changed to help Fear's wife pursue a legal case against the dog's owner. Long, who suffered multiple broken bones and staples in her head from falling, is expected to be discharged from the hospital today. Ron Yukelson, a spokesperson for Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, said that Fear’s family plans to issue a statement about his death later in the day.
Family Releases Statement
Saturday evening, David Fear's family did release a statement. His brother, Steve Fear, earlier described his injuries to KSBY.com as so severe that two arteries in his arms were severed, contributing to him losing six pints of blood. The city of Grover Beach also released a statement, "a tragic and unfortunate dog attack has brought sadness to our hearts," it states in part. The city's words fall flat, especially if the dog was a retired police K-9 or was trained in protection work.
"Despite the tireless efforts of the Sierra Vista medical team, David Fear lost his battle for life late Friday evening. Our entire family offers the most sincere gratitude for the selfless dedication of David's world-class doctors, nurses, support technicians, and blood donors who gave us the opportunity to spend his last moments with us in his time of need. We truly appreciate the support and heartfelt sentiments of our community. The family will announce memorial plans in due time and asks that privacy be respected for the time being." - Family of David Fear
2Well that would be a mild understatement now wouldn't it? We can only imagine there were "handler" training and behavioral issues as well.
4"Bos" is depicted as the center dog on the Kings County Sheriff's Office K9 Unit page.
5Notably, last year a "highly trained K-9 officer" named "DJ" of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office mistakenly attacked a California Highway Patrol officer while in pursuit of a suspect. Afterward, DJ was taken off duty for two weeks and placed under an in-house quarantine to see if the K-9 had "any ill effects from the incident."
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Thursday, January 26, 2017
2016 Dog Bite Fatality: State Island Woman's Death Attributed to Dog Bite Injuries ME's Office Confirms
Daisie Bradshaw, 68, was killed by two dogs in her home on Staten Island.
Staten Island, NY - On October 25, multiple news groups in New York City reported that a woman was likely killed by two dogs in the basement of her Simonson Avenue home in Mariners Harbor. Today, the NYC Medical Examiner's Office confirmed through a public records request by our nonprofit that Daisie Bradshaw, 68, died due to dog bite injuries. The cause of death is "multiple blunt force and penetrating injuries of torso and extremities." The manner of death is accidental.
The two dogs, pit bull-shepherd mixes, belong to Daisie's daughter and apparently are still "on legal hold" at the city's shelter facility in Brooklyn.The dogs were described as various mixed breeds in media reports, but the NYC Animal Care Center lists them as pit bull-mixes ("MALE, BLACK / WHITE, AM PIT BULL TER MIX" and "MALE, BROWN / WHITE, AM PIT BULL TER MIX"). A commenter where the dogs are listed claims to be the daughter. On December 24, Dawnschoentube wrote, "They r my dogs n I wAnt them back. I've been trying since they were taken. It's been 2 months to the day n I want them back." (sic).1
On October 25, Daisie's daughter discovered her body in the basement of her mother's home along with her two dogs. She called 911. Police said the victim was covered in bite marks and bruises and some of the injuries were defensive wounds. Daisie was pronounced dead at the scene. The last news report about her death was October 27, when SiLive.com reported the medical examiner's office needed to perform additional testing to determine the cause of death.
The two dogs, both male and neutered, came into the city's shelter facility on October 25 and continue to be on hold "for legal reasons," according to the website's listing. Panda came in with a "moderate amount of dried blood around neck." Radiographs were done on both dogs, but "no foreign material (bone fragments)" were found in their digestive systems. It is unclear what will become of the dogs now that the medical examiner's office has determined the cause of death.
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Thursday, January 19, 2017
2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Kill Child, Critically Injure Another Child, on Way to School Bus Stop in Atlanta
Pit Bull Owner Charged with Felony Involuntary Manslaughter
City Leaders Respond
UPDATE 01/19/17: On Tuesday morning in southwest Atlanta, a group of children walked along Cerro Street on their way to the school bus stop when two loose pit bulls launched a horrifying attack. The dogs eviscerated 6-year old Logan Braatz, who did not survive his injuries, and critically injured 5-year old Syrai Sanders -- the pit bulls ripped off her scalp. Both children were students at F.L. Stanton Elementary. The aftermath of this attack was captured by aerial footage.
The owner of the pit bulls, Cameron Tucker, was taken into custody and charged with several misdemeanors. The charges were upgraded the next day to include involuntary manslaughter, a felony. Tucker's next court appearance is scheduled for February 1, according to news reports. Two witnesses on scene, Angie Smith and Shamonta Clayton, provided chilling accounts about what happened that morning. A formal community vigil is planned for Saturday on Stafford Street.
Response from City Officials
In the wake of this savage attack, the Atlanta Public School system (APS) announced that it would add a new bus stop. "APS Transportation immediately conducted a safety assessment and plans to add a new bus stop within the one-mile walk zone to ensure the safety of our students," states the release provided to WSB-TV. The children in the neighborhood previously had to walk past an abandoned house and through some woods to reach the bus stop, according to Logan's uncle.
Just hours after the deadly attack, Atlanta City leaders began discussing legislation to prevent future maulings. Councilwoman Keisha Bottoms introduced legislation that recognizes local governments can enact stricter dog regulations than the minimum standards of state law. These new regulations have not yet been determined, but ideas include restricting owners of dangerous breeds from living near a school or school bus stop, or requiring these owners to have a fence.
"These children are living in fear, rightfully so. These dogs are predators." - Atlanta City Councilwoman Keisha Bottoms, Fox 5 Atlanta, January 18, 2017Bottoms promised that over the next week, councilmembers would discuss the dangerous dog issue on many levels. "We are going to delve into state law, county law, city law and see what, if anything, we can do and it is absolutely of no solace to this family, but I do hope that it will at least stop this from ever happening again," said Bottoms. Two days after the deadly attack, Bottoms met with nervous neighbors close to where the attack happened and promised to contact APS.
"Border Collie" and "Unidentified Breed"
Six or seven hours after the horrific attack on Tuesday -- after many news articles were already published, along with photographs and video of the two pit bulls -- Fulton County Animal Control relayed information via phone to reporters that the dogs involved in the attack were a pit bull-mix, "border collie" and "unidentified breed." The police report stated the two dogs involved are a pit bull and pit bull-mix. Fulton County Animal Control alone is culpable for this grave obfuscation.
In high profile fatal dog attacks, we understand that information can initially be relayed poorly or even incorrectly, but in this case it is a sham. The police report states the correct breeds of dogs, a pit bull -- the bloody black dog -- and a pit bull-mix, the white and black dog. Images of both dogs were captured before, during and after being loaded into the animal control truck. A third dog was also seized by animal control, apparently a poor border collie, but no media images captured it.
CBS46 spoke with Tucker's attorney, who said that Tucker lives with his fiance, mother, mother-in-law, and six-month-old daughter. "The two other family members that are a part of the family are the two dogs that are in custody," attorney Cinque Axam said. The family does not own three dogs -- just the two the media captured being taken into custody. Also, though the white and black pit bull-mix is not pictured in Tucker's 2012 Facebook post, the coloring indicates close lineage.
01/18/17: Involuntary Manslaughter
The owner of two dogs that killed a boy and severely injured a girl is now facing a felony charge. On Wednesday, Cameron Tucker was charged with felony involuntary manslaughter in connection to the death of 6-year old Logan Braatz. A judge set his bond to $70,000. The surviving child, 5-year old Syrai Sanders, remains hospitalized. Officials said the dogs severed her scalp from her skull. A witness who saw the child after the attack said, "Her face was totally dismembered."
Another witness, Shamonta Clayton, who carried Logan's body to the ambulance, also described Syrai's injuries. "I run up on the little girl and she had been mauled very badly -- the dog just had ripped into her," he said. Then he saw Logan, his unconscious body lying in the grass. "I picked the child's body up, because his mom couldn't do nothing except to sit there and cry. I carried his bloody body to the ambulance," he said. Clayton also said the dogs commonly roamed the area.
"If a prosecutor is aggressive, they could charge him with cruelty to children in the second degree. And for any child that dies, bring it up to murder." - Attorney Page Pate, 11alive.com (WXIA), January 18, 2017Also, despite numerous images of the dogs taken by the media yesterday, Fulton County Animal Control claims that of the three dogs, one is a "border collie" and the other is an "unidentified breed." Tucker is not a border collie type, but he is a pit bull type, according to his own Facebook page. We do not know which dog animal control is claiming to be a border collie or unidentified breed. If it is the white and black pit bull-mix that would be an outrageous and deliberate distortion.
01/17/17: Children Identified
On Tuesday, as a group of children walked along Cerro Street in southwest Atlanta to their school bus stop, up to three loose pit bulls brutally attacked them. Logan Braatz, 6-years old, died of his injuries. Syrai Sanders, 5-years old, suffered horrific facial damage. Angie Smith, who witnessed part of the attack said the little girl's "face was totally dismembered." Syrai is being treated at Egleston Hospital. A third child sustained minor injuries in the attack, according to police.
The owner of the pit bulls, Cameron Tucker, was arrested on two misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct. Police shot and hit one pit bull that tried to flee the scene, the black dog. The animal was later captured. A white and black pit bull was also taken into custody. Investigators are trying to determine if a third pit bull (belonging to someone else) was also involved in the deadly mauling. The children attended F.L. Stanton Elementary. Earlier the school released this statement:
"Atlanta Public Schools can confirm that two F.L. Stanton Elementary students walking to the bus stop were attacked by pitbulls. Both students were transported to Egleston Hospital. One student was transported back to Grady Hospital’s trauma unit and later passed away. The female student at Egleston is in stable condition. Atlanta Public Schools sent a crisis team to F.L. Stanton this morning to provide grief counseling for students and staff. Our deepest condolences go out to the family." - F.L. Stanton Elementary School
SIDEBAR: We were shocked earlier to see that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had named the breed in their report, much less in their headline -- that is how pit bull sympathetic they are, and have been for years. In their latest update, at the bottom of the article is a large video of a shelter pit bull with a message on the front: "A majority of pit bulls in shelters have no history of violence, their owners voluntarily surrender them." Pimping for pit bulls after these brutal child maulings!
A major regional newspaper in Georgia is perpetuating the Nanny Dog myth and pleading, "Dear public, please adopt our unwanted shelter pit bulls," after two pit bulls savagely attacked and killed a little boy and "dismembered" a little girl's face. The most recent medical study highlighting the severity of pit bull injuries was a retrospective review of 1616 consecutive child dog bite injuries at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston (CHOA) where both injured children were sent.
01/17/17: Pit Bulls Kill Child
Atlanta, GA - Pit bulls killed one child and critically injured another as they walked to school Tuesday morning. A third child was also injured, but his condition is unclear. The children were ages 5 to 6 years old. The deadly attack occurred in the 1200 block of Gideons Drive in southwest Atlanta at about 7:20 am. Three pit bulls killed a little boy and critically injured a girl. Neighbors flew outside after awaking to screams. Aerial footage captured the horrific aftermath of the attack.
"I looked down at her to see what I could do for her. And when I looked at her, I knew that there was nothing I could do." - Witness Angie SmithPolice officers shot and killed one pit bull and the two others were taken into custody by animal control. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that authorities have arrested the dogs' owner. Sgt. Warren Pickard said the children were walking with a group of children to school when the pit bulls attacked. "We had some brave kids. Some kids ran back to the scene to try to pull the dogs off the children that were injured," Pickard said. Neighbors also intervened to rescue the children.
WGCL-TV reports the children attend F.L. Stanton Elementary School, and were walking to their school bus stop when they were attacked. Aerial footage from a chopper shows a white and black pit bull sitting in a nearby driveway. A black pit bull, photographed on a nearby porch, was also involved, according to police. The dogs lived about a block away from the attack, police said. Fox 5 reports neighbors rushed to the scene with a baseball bat and knives to stop the mauling.
Reporter: "Was she gone at that point?"
Smith: "I couldn’t tell if she was gone. I just knew, she had on a jacket and a book bag so I couldn't tell if she was breathing or not. I think that kind of saved her skin. I knew that her face was totally dismembered.
Reporter: "Have you ever seen the dogs before?"
Smith: "I actually saw the dogs Saturday. They were running around. I told myself, 'I should call the humane society because dogs are just roaming. But by the time they get here, the dogs will probably be gone and they don't usually look for them.' And so, I did not call. This is just so unfortunate.
Reporter: "Did you hear anything beforehand?"
Smith: "Yes. I heard the kids screaming. The kids were screaming very loudly, but they usually in the morning -- because they walk to the bus stop -- they are sometimes loud and they are playing, they are chasing each other. So, I sat there for a couple of seconds, because I was like, maybe the kids are playing. But after a few minutes, maybe two minutes or so, I realized that the kids weren't playing. It was a different kind of cry. It was a different kind of screaming. Then I heard adults screaming as well, so that prompted me to come outside."
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05/23/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Fulton County Infant Killed by Family Pit Bull
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
2-month old Skylar Dean Julius died after being attacked by the family dog.
Father Refused Tests
UPDATE 01/20/17: The San Marcos Police Department issued an update today. Investigators continue to await autopsy results from the Travis County Medical Examiner’s office about an infant that was killed by the family German shepherd Tuesday. "Preliminary findings do not show old trauma, such as previous broken bones, bruising, or other injuries, that could be indicative of prior abuse, or other indicators of injury that would be suspicious to investigators," states the release.
The father would not consent to testing for drugs or alcohol. - San Marcos PD"Police found that there was not enough probable cause to obtain a warrant for blood tests on the father for drugs or alcohol. The father would not consent to testing for drugs or alcohol," states the release, which certainly appears to be a huge red flag. Many people are wondering how the father slept through this horrible event. The investigation remains active and ongoing. The results of the investigation will be sent to the Hays County District Attorney’s office for review, states the release.
01/18/17: Infant Killed by Dog
San Marcos, TX - Police are investigating after a 2-month old baby was killed by a family dog. Authorities identified the baby girl as Skylar Dean Julius. Animal control officers impounded a German shepherd that was inside the home. On January 17, at about 1:30 pm, police and EMS were dispatched to the 1000 block of Sagewood Trail for a report of a baby with "numerous animal bites." She was transported to Central Texas Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
The father told police he fell asleep while the baby was sleeping in a bouncer bassinet next to him on the couch. He woke up about 20 minutes later and found her cold to the touch, unresponsive and on the floor. San Marcos Police Department Commander Kelly Earnest said 911 dispatchers helped the father administer CPR over the phone. The dog bites were mainly concentrated in her abdomen area, Earnest said. The family had owned the German shepherd for more than 8-years.
Earnest said the baby's mother was not home when the fatal attack occurred; she was at work. The infant's death continues to be an active investigation. Autopsy results from the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office in Austin are expected in the coming days. Child Protection Services is also investigating her death, which is routine when a child this young dies in a home. There were no other children living in the home. The family had recently moved to the area, Earnest said.
CBS Austin shows the news conference given by Earnest. The family had raised the male dog since it was a puppy, she said. The family told her it did not have a history of aggression. Police had never been called to the home before and they did not find anything suspicious at the scene, she said. When asked by a reporter how a father could sleep through this event, she said, "Still very new. Those are questions we would love to know, but they are unanswered at this point."
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Monday, January 16, 2017
Bodycam Video Shows First 3 Minutes After Pit Bull Attack; Police Officer Rescues Victim and Provides Comfort
"Just Lean On Me" - Cleveland Heights Police Officer
Caution dog attack victims! This video may cause you to relive your attack.
Raw Bodycam Video
DogsBite.org - Nearly one year ago today, on January 24, 2016, a Cleveland Heights police officer rescued a young woman who had just been attacked by a vicious pit bull. Prior to reaching the victim, the officer shot and killed the violent animal. Several days later, the Cleveland Heights Police Department released this dramatic bodycam video showing how this officer came to her aid. The young woman is not gravely injured, and surely is partly why they chose to release it.
This video is not intended for dog attack victims. It is for victims to send to friends and family who do not understand the gravity of your attack.The immediate and stunning raw footage shows the first three minutes after the attack. The young woman is in shock and believes she is dying. Nearly all victims of serious dog attacks believe they are dying; that is how violent these attacks are. The police officer tells the victim she is going to be okay. "Stay with me, look at me, look at me, stay with me. You're okay," he says. He quickly tells her too that the life-threatening event is over. "The dog's right there. It's dead. I had to shoot it."
An officer arrived and saw the dog biting the woman's arm. The dog then jumped on the woman and tried to bite her neck.After we watched this video last year, and cried a thousand tears, we wrote to the Cleveland Heights Police Department, thanking them for releasing it. At that time we did not place it on the blog, fearing too many of our readers who have suffered a serious dog attack would react the same way. That fear still holds true today. This video is so tactile that it may cause victims to relive their own attack. We mean that too. It could unleash a torrent of powerful emotions and tears.
The officer pushed the dog off the woman. The dog charged at him, and he fired a shot that hit the animal's neck, the report says.
The dog backed off before trying to attack the officer again. The officer fired a second shot that hit the dog below its eye. The dog collapsed. - Cleveland.com, January 29, 2016
The video shows the vulnerability of a traumatized victim and the comforting words of this officer, "Just lean on me." That is truly how it happens and what first responders do every second of every day in our country when responding to life-threatening emergencies. In this instance, the officer arrived just in time too, shooting the pit bull and averting additional injuries. But arriving just in time is not always possible and is another reason why some cities regulate this dog breed.
The video also shows how the officer helps the victim breath. "In your nose, out your mouth. In your nose, out your mouth," he says while placing his hand on her shoulder to stabilize her. "Stay awake for me. The ambulance is coming," the officer says. At this time (about 2 minutes and 20 seconds in), more police officers arrive and a siren is faintly heard in the background. The officer quickly explains to the others what happened. The bodycam video ends when the firemen arrive.
Portion of our letter to Cleveland Heights Police Chief:A day after the news media aired the raw footage, Chante Pray, 22, spoke with Fox 8 Cleveland. She describes the attack as the media cuts back to the video. "I'm dying, that's all I could think was, that I was dying," she said. The dog was "clamping down tighter" as she struggled to get away, she explained. Pray was amazingly able to call 911 and shout out the address. Moments later, Cleveland Heights police officer Everett Haworth arrived on scene and shot the pit bull.
There are two extremely jarring, but heavenly moments in a violent dog attack. The moment you realize you are not dead, and the moment you realize you will be okay. That is exactly what that video showed and the part of my own attack experience that came back to me. The victim had not reached this point yet, but the officer had and the viewing audience had too. We knew she was safe and was going to be okay.
Watching the officer help this young woman was just sheer powerful awesomeness! Up close, intimate and hands on. The way it really goes down!
Thank you and God bless the Cleveland Heights Police Department! - Colleen Lynn, Founder of DogsBite.org, January 29, 2016
Holding back tears, Pray says, "I really appreciate the officer saving me, because if he wouldn't have saved me, I wouldn't be with my daughter. My daughter would not have a mom." At the time of the attack, the pit bull was "supposed" to be in quarantine after biting a child on January 13. Pray knows the dog's owner and believes the false myth, "It's all how they're raised." After Pray was attacked, police cited the owner for keeping a vicious dog and failing to have insurance.
This story is not over. Several days later, Pray thanks Officer Haworth in person at the police station, where she runs into an unexpected event.On February 2, Pray and her mother went to the Cleveland Heights Police Department bearing gifts. They brought him balloons, stuffed animals, a photo of Pray with her daughter and a box of chocolates. At about one minute into the sweet reunited video, a police K-9 passes behind Pray with an officer. Like a sudden rogue wave, a blanket of fear engulfs her. She lets out a long breath. Pray said it was the first contact she had with a dog since the pit bull attack on January 24.1
Pray's mother thanked Officer Haworth as well. "You were there, pretty much almost stroking her hair, telling her everything was going to be okay. You were there when I couldn't be," Michelle Augustine-McClendon said. Officer Haworth replied that he did what he thought she needed. "She'd just been through something pretty traumatic," he said. Now Pray and her mother call Officer Haworth a "guardian angel." He says he was simply keeping his oath to protect and serve.
Many parts of our society marginalize victims of dog attacks and their injuries, even times family members and friends. Some go beyond marginalizing them by blaming them too, because in their minds, a dog cannot be a bad actor. This societal influence is so strong that even some victims cannot call a vicious dog a bad actor -- like Pray, who blamed the dog's owner for its actions. Pray also stated the pit bull "was not letting go," a trait the dog was selectively bred to perform.
Our call to action for victims is to share this blog post with those who marginalize or fail to grasp the gravity of your traumatic dog attack.We know of only three groups who will not marginalize dog attack victims in any way. The first are the emergency responders who arrive at the scene, just like this video shows. The next are the medical doctors who treat the victims' injuries, which may include a long list of doctors with different specialties. The third are the personal injury attorneys who take their case -- assuming a case exists at all. Many dog bite victims have no case because the dog's owner lacks insurance.
The Power of this Video
In the 9 years of DogsBite.org, we have never seen a video as powerful as this one. It took us a full year before we were able to write about it too. This is the reality, in real time, showing what happens when first responders arrive to a 911 call about a vicious dog attack. In this case, after Pray was able to scream into her cell phone the location of the attack. Do not forget to look at the snow tracks and blood below either, which shows the struggle and violence during this attack.
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