DogsBite Blog ::

Thursday, October 8, 2015

2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Family Dogs Savagely Kill Elderly Woman in Miami-Dade

dogs kill woman in southwest Miami-dade
Autopsy: Killed by Dogs
UPDATE 09/08/15: Autopsy results show that a 91-year old woman was savagely attacked in the face and scalp by up to two family dogs in her home on September 22. The medical examiner found that Carmen Reigada had a defleshed face and scalp, as well as multiple puncture wounds of the neck.1 For unknown reasons, Miami-Dade Animal Services now excludes the Rhodesian ridgeback and only implicates the other two family dogs: an American bulldog-mix and "lab-mix."
Recall the first breed was formerly only called an "American bulldog."
NBC Miami has apparently only gained the autopsy report thus far. Other news organizations will eventually follow, along with hopefully a richer examination of events that occurred on September 22. No images or video footage of the two suspected dogs have surfaced so far. It is a guessing game at this point how many different breed names Miami-Dade Animal Services will use to describe the two dogs that in all likelihood fall within a very convincing pit bull-mix category.
Read the full autopsy report by the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department

09/23/15: Dogs Belonged to Grandson
Police continue to investigate the mauling death of an elderly woman. Carmen Reigada, 91-years old, was discovered unresponsive inside her home Tuesday with dog bite injuries on her head and face. Miami-Dade Animal Services seized three dogs that resided at the home. It is unknown how many of the canines participated in the attack. Carmen lived in the home with her son and other family members. Neighbors told WSVN that the dogs belonged to the victim's grandson.

News media captured footage of the Rhodesian ridgeback being loaded into the animal control van, but no photos or video footage have emerged about the two other dogs, an American bulldog and "lab-mix." Neighbors were saddened to learn about her death. One, who was unidentified, said, "Very sweet lady. What can I tell you, this is something very bad," she said. "The dogs, you know, know the lady, so I really don't know why that happened." The investigation continues.

09/22/15: Elderly Woman Dies After Dog Attack
Miami-Dade County, FL - A 91-year old woman was mauled to death by up to three family dogs Tuesday afternoon. The fatal dog attack occurred at her home in the 9400 block of Southwest 18th Terrace, according to Miami-Dade police. Carmen Reigada was transported to Kendall Regional Medical Center, where she later died. Miami-Dade Animal Services has so far identified the dogs as an American bulldog, a Rhodesian ridgeback and a "lab-mix." Police continue to investigate.2

Last year, after a little boy was savagely killed by a pit bull and pit bull-mixes, Miami-Dade Animal Services played the breed labeling game. Only the primary culprit was designated a pit bull, the other 5 dogs were labeled in four different ways during the breed labeling game: labrador-pit bull mixes, terrier-boxer mixes, American bulldog-lab mixes and terrier-mixes. Miami-Dade County has banned pit bulls since 1989. In August 2012, voters upheld the ban by a 63% to 37% margin.
map iconView the Google Map: Florida Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

1More about facial and scalp mutilation and defleshing injuries by dogs: Extensive and mutilating craniofacial trauma involving defleshing and decapitation: unusual features of fatal dog attacks in the young, by Tsokos M, Byard RW, Püschel K., The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 2007 Jun;28(2):131-6.
2Earlier news reports did express that authorities were still unsure how she died, but by midnight Central Time, WSVN clearly stated that she died due to a dog attack. Local 10 has a photo of one of the dogs, which appears to be the ridgeback. Also, it seems unclear at this stage how many of the dogs were involved in the attack.

08/24/15: Collection of Pit Bull Scalp Attack Victims -
03/02/15: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Visiting Child Killed by Family Pit Bulls in Miami-Dade County
08/16/12: Vote in Miami-Dade County to Repeal Pit Bull Ban Fails by Wide Margin
03/12/12: Attempt to Overturn Miami-Dade Pit Bull Ban Advances: 'Don't They Know?'

Labels: , ,

posted by   |  permalink  |  6 comments  | email  |icon blog rss  |icon comment rss 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

2015 Dog Bite Fatality: 2-Year Old Boy Fatally Attacked by Dog in West Virginia

Kearneysville boy killed in dog attack, martinsburg, west virginia
Obituary is Published
UPDATE 09/06/15: On September 28, a 2-year old boy was attacked and killed by a dog after wandering into the owner's unfenced yard near his home. The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office still has not identified the boy. Despite an outpouring of social media posts memorializing the child, no local media released his name after the attack either. Lamarkus Hicks died at Children's Hospital in Washington D.C. after being airlifted to the trauma center from a hospital in Martinsburg.
He is survived by his mother Kayla Tucker and other family members.
The degree of insufficient reporting -- or at the very least conflicting -- in combination with very sparse details released by the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, some of which were also conflicting, further compounds this tragedy. On top of this, the breed labeling game was activated, primarily by WHAG-TV. Key commenters, who claim they know both families well and also defend the pit bull breed, state resolutely that the dog involved in the little boy's death is a pit bull.1

Additionally, other commenters chimed in about the dog's owner being a pit bull breeder. On the Herald Mail thread, Laurel Davis alleges, "the neighbor was convicted of animal cruelty and court ordered not to have dogs. But he was violating this restriction and breeding pits. Apparently he had at least 4 and no fence."2 Chelsea Lambert also commented early on that the owner has multiple dogs, "The man only has pitbulls and isn't supposed to have any dogs at all," she wrote.

Let the rumors keep flying? That is an all but certain outcome when authorities do not release consistent information after the dog mauling death of a child. The location of the attack also remains undisclosed, referred to only as the "area of Baker Heights," which is technically part of Kearneysville (population 6,716). Back in late June, there was a significant dogfighting bust in Kearneysville. We estimate the bust was less than 6-miles away from where the boy was killed.
Pit bulls, breeding and dogfighting are hardly new to Kearneysville.
Finally, in the most recent article by The Journal, published on October 1, Lt. Willie Johnson with the Berkeley County Sherriff's Department said that the fate of the attacking dog is still unknown, he does not know the breed of the dog, except that it is not pure bred and declined to comment if the dog has since been seized by animal control. Johnson said that the investigation is ongoing and asked that anyone with information about the attack to contact him or the anonymous tip line.

09/30/15: More Questions Raised
As more information is learned about the death of a 2-year old boy, even more questions are being raised. The Journal reports the dog is a "medium-sized brown dog of a mixed breed." Dramatically different property estimates are being made as well, from the boy wandering "about four houses away" from his own home, to "about two houses away" and The Journal reporting that the two properties were actually adjacent and not separated by a fence. These differences are profound.
"Part of the investigation is why didn't anybody know, how did the child get there, and what exactly happened?" - Captain Scott Richmond
Horrifically, in the most recently updated WHAG-TV report, Captain Scott Richmond with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office states that the dog's owner discovered the severely injured child, but officials, "have no idea at this point how long that child laid there before he was found." Lt. Willie Johnson stated to The Journal that he had a "list of names" of people who were at the home at the time the boy wandered into the neighbor's yard, but is withholding their relation to the boy.

So far, the boy's name has not been released nor his caretakers, no address has been released for the boy's residence or where he was found,3 at best debatable information has been released about the chained, attacking dog -- county law does have chaining limitations. Of course the dog's owner has not been named either, after killing a toddler the dog is still being quarantined at the dog owner's home and not even authorities know, apparently, how long the child was missing.

Furthermore, officials are not even sure now if the dog was chained due to conflicting statements!

09/29/15: Dog Kills Young Boy
Berkeley County, WV - The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office reports that a 2-year old boy was attacked and killed by his neighbor's dog in the Baker Heights area Monday evening. The preliminary investigation shows that the toddler wandered from his property on Charles Town Road onto the property where the dog was located. The boy was found unresponsive lying near the dog at about 5 pm by the owner of the animal, according to the sheriff's department.
The neighbor's yard is about four houses away from the boy's home, sheriff's department spokesman Lt. Willie Johnson said Tuesday.
The little boy was transported to Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg then airlifted to another medical facility due to the severity of his injuries. The name of the second hospital was not released by the sheriff's office, nor was the identity of the child or the dog's owner. The breed of dog was also not released or whether the animal was chained, penned or loose at the time of the fatal dog attack. No information was provided about the boy's parents or caretakers either.

Late Afternoon Updates

A late afternoon update by WHAG-TV reports that the dog was a 2 to 3-year old "boxer-mix." The term is often in quotations by because a "boxer-mix" is the most common label used by pit bull owners to mislabel their dogs. Another update at 6:12 pm (video only), said the attack occurred in the neighbor's unfenced backyard, the dog was chained at the time of the attack and the child was attacked in the face. It remains unclear who was supervising the boy at the time.

Meanwhile, Chelsea Marie Lambert has been commenting on the Herald Mail thread, stating to people that the attacking dog is a pit bull. "It was a pit bull, my mother's house is in between the house where the babies grandparents live and the yard where the dog was.... The man only has pitbulls and isn't supposed to have any dogs at all," she writes. Then later writes, "Angie Rhodes it was a pitbull they did CPR on the boy on my mother's walkway the neighbor only has pitbulls."

Currently, and unbelievably, the fatally attacking dog is being quarantined at its owner's home.

1Both Chelsea Marie Lambert and Brandon Michael claim to have inside knowledge, both defend the pit bull breed and still say the dog was a pit bull. See more in our Comment section below or The Journal's Facebook post.
2Chasing rumors. The allegation that the dog's owner was previously convicted of animal cruelty may have begun on The Journal's Facebook post published on September 29. The third reply to the first comment is by Melanie Ann Eaton who asks, "Can you please get his prior probation too for animal abuse, from my understanding he was not suppose to have any animals and this dog was living on a chain also which is against our law." Eaton works at Berkeley TNR and Rescue (a cat only rescue), according to her Facebook page. Lambert and Davis also make similar references to the dog owner's past on The Journal and Herald Mail Facebook news post threads.
3We do have all of this information now -- every last bit of it thanks to the Internet. It is unclear to us why this boy has not yet been identified by sheriff's officials or the local media. As if the boy's photo has not been published on multiple public Facebook pages already? His mother also has a public Instagram page. Baffled and concerned!

Related articles:
03/19/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Kills Man Trying to Save Heart Attack Victim in Wheeling
01/25/13: West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Upholds Town of Ceredo's Pit Bull Ban
06/27/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: 2-Year Old Boy Killed by Dogs in West Virginia
12/10/09: 2009 Dog Bite Fatality: 70-Year Old Dies After Violent Maiming by Pit Bulls

Labels: , ,

posted by   |  permalink  |  9 comments  | email  |icon blog rss  |icon comment rss 

Monday, October 5, 2015

2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Autauga County Woman Killed by Family Dogs

near the home of the autauga county, alabama fatal dog attack
Images of Dogs Posted
UPDATE 10/05/15: The Autauga County Sheriff's office has released very few details about the dog mauling death of a woman in early September. Barbara McCormick, 65-years old, was attacked and killed by up to three family dogs on September 4 at her home on County Road 1. Earlier that morning, and unrelated to the fatal dog attack, her husband was admitted to the hospital. We learned by reading the son's Facebook page that he died shortly thereafter.1
The McCormick family has suffered an unbearable tragic loss.
On September 12, the couple's son, William McCormick, published photographs of his parents' three family dogs to his Facebook album. The photos show a pit bull-mix, shepherd-mix and golden retriever-mix. The pit bull was never mentioned in any earlier media reports. The third dog, a younger version of the golden retriever-mix, was posted as a comment within this post and he states, "How could anyone think these dogs could've hurt my mom. I just don't understand."

After again reviewing the few media reports about this fatal dog attack, its actually unclear where the "shepherd or retriever mixed breeds" description came from. Was it Sheriff Joe Sedinger or a person at the scene? The description is accurate, but the third breed is absent. On September 4, we watched the live WSFA video stream (the video was never posted with the news report). That brief footage captured the golden retriever-mix tethered at the time, but captured no other dogs.

At this point, it is still unknown how many dogs were involved in the attack. On September 9, Sheriff Sedinger told the Montgomery Advertiser, "There were two dogs off the leash and one dog was still tied up" (presumably during the attack). On Septmeber 10, 6-days after the fatal attack, WSFA reported that only two dogs had been seized; officials were still searching for the third. On September 29, we wrote to Sedinger to try to clarify these discrepancies. He has not replied.2

Reminder to Rural and Semi-Rural Jurisdictions

Information will be shared on social media -- this cannot be stopped. In this case, it was the victim's own son who published the images of the three family dogs, which had been under the sheriff's authority at that time with few details released and others omitted. The cornerstone of is to accurately document all U.S. fatal dog attacks and to make this information freely available to the public. The CDC stopped collecting a rich data set for these victims in 1998.

When authorities fail to share even the most "basic parameters" after a fatal dog mauling to local media and the public two things are ensured. 1.) Breaking parts of national fatal dog attack statistics and 2.) Failing to provide information that could help save future lives. When fatal dog attacks involve children or senior citizens and dangerous dog breeds or multiple large dog breeds and tethering scenarios, there is always a significant health and safety message to be shared.

fatal dog attack Autauga County Alabama Barbara McCormickfatal dog attack Autauga County Alabama Barbara McCormickfatal dog attack Autauga County Alabama Barbara McCormick

09/09/15: Autopsy Confirms Death
Preliminary autopsy results show that Barbara McCormick, 65-years old, was mauled to death by dogs, according to Autauga County Sheriff Joe Sedinger. Authorities seized and quarantined three dogs that were believed to be involved in the deadly attack. Sedinger vaguely described the dogs as "shepherd or retriever mixed breeds." The dogs belonged to the victim and her family. Sheriff Sedinger believes McCormick may have been feeding the dogs just before the fatal attack.

Though authorities may never know what actually happened, Sedinger said, "I think the dogs got into a fight when she was feeding them, and maybe she tried to break up the fight, or maybe they knocked her down during the fight." Sedinger added, "Physically she was a small lady, and she had health problems. Once she was on the ground, it would have been hard for her to get away." The close-knit community south of Billingsley has been shaken by McCormick's tragic death.

09/04/15: Dogs May Have Killed Woman
Billingsley, AL - A 65-year old woman was found dead in her yard Friday with injuries consistent with a dog attack. Barbara McCormick was discovered dead by a friend, Autauga County Sheriff Joe Sedinger said. Her body will be sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy. "She had medical problems and right now we don't know the cause of death," Sedinger said. "We don't know if the injuries were received after death or if she was attacked by the dogs."

The attack occurred at McCormick's home on the 1400 block of County Round 1, which is south of Billingsley. Several large dogs were tied up in the yard. Three of the dogs owned by the family were seized and quarantined. Family members said the dogs had never shown aggression toward McCormick before. WSFA reported that earlier Friday morning, and unrelated to the dog attack, McCormick's husband was admitted to a local hospital. No other information was released.
map iconView the Google Map: Alabama Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

Live streaming after Autauga County fatal dog attack on September 4
1A double funeral was held on September 18 at Martin Funeral Home in Clanton, AL.
2The Autauga County Sheriff's Office website has been offline for at least a month, perhaps much longer. We had to write to his 2014/2015 election campaign email address. It's unclear if anyone ever received it.

Related articles:
07/01/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Kills 5-Year Old Boy in St. Clair County, Alabama
05/30/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Lee County, Alabama Woman Scalped by Pit Bulls Dies
02/28/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: 4-Year Old Girl Killed by Dogs in Tallassee, Alabama

Labels: , , , , ,

posted by   |  permalink  |  7 comments  | email  |icon blog rss  |icon comment rss 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Detroit Man Suffers Catastrophic Injuries in Violent Pack Attack by Pit Bulls

pit bulls nearly kill Detroit man
Pit bull attack survivor Steve Constantine after the life-threatening attack in Detroit.

Sentenced to Probation
UPDATE 09/25/15: In what can only be described as a miserable outcome, the owner of a pack of pit bulls that brutalized a man last year was sentenced to 2-years probation. Derick Felton, 62, pleaded guilty to three counts of harboring dangerous animals that caused injuries. On Friday, Wayne County Circuit Judge Michael Callahan sentenced him to the maximum under state law. Though unlikely, Felton might have to serve 6-months in jail at the end of his probation period.
Judge Michael J. Callahan said the Legislature "has seen fit to minimize this type of crime" that plagues urban areas for many years. -
Steve Constantine, 51-years old, suffered catastrophic injuries in the violent attack last October. The pack of 12 pit bulls basically ate through one of his lower legs and his left arm -- both had to be amputated. The dogs also tore off his left ear. Constantine's sister, Cathy Hawley, told the court Friday that he has had at least 35 surgeries since and that he has lost virtually all independence. "He can't turn a doorknob, he can't feed himself, he can't lift a cup of coffee," Hawley said.
An online fund for Steven Constantine has been set up to help pay for his medical costs.

Reflections on a Broken System

If readers recall, the only penalty Felton initially received was a few citations and a brochure titled, "Pet Ownership in Detroit Your Rights and Responsibilities" pinned on his door. That was going to be it after Felton's pit bulls destroyed nearly half of Constantine's limbs. Even police were appalled by the lack of criminal penalties for the owners of vicious dogs. After much pressure, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office charged Felton with three counts of harboring a pack of vicious dogs.

As far as legal recourse goes for Constantine, the criminal courts did not serve him well, nor do they in most states. Constantine faired even worse in civil recourse. Felton does not have assets or wealth and certainly not insurance -- a common scenario for owners of pit bulls and other vicious dogs. Back in May, a jury awarded Constantine a "symbolic" $100 million dollars in a civil lawsuit against Felton and his mother; she owned the home where Felton and his dogs lived.
According to Wayne County assessor records, the mother's dilapidated house on Pennsylvania St. was only valued around $19,000. -
So who is the payee for Constantine's numerous life-saving surgeries just after the attack, followed by the endless number of reconstructive surgeries then possibly the rest of his life in a specialized care center? Not the dogs' owner -- that would be true for just about any dog owner given the extreme nature of his injuries -- but federal and state taxpayers and funds. The public has to clean up Felton's mess of breeding and keeping at least 12 pit bulls in his Detroit home.

Why Cities Adopt Breed-Specific Laws

If you have not read our newly released Breed-Specific Legislation FAQ, we recommend that you do now and skip to the question, "Why not just enforce the laws we already have?" Obviously, the laws we already have are broken, further hindered by existing legal systems that offer insufficient routes to civil and criminal recourse. The solution is to create preventative laws that greatly reduce the risk of well-recognized dangerous dog breeds, chiefly pit bulls, from ever inflicting a first attack.
pit bullMost current state and local dog attack laws also fail to sufficiently criminally penalize a dog owner after a severe attack. Cases abound where the owner of a dog is given a minor "infraction" for failure to leash his pet or failure to vaccinate his dog after a victim is airlifted to a Level I or Level II trauma center. The phrase, "just enforce the laws we have" is deceitful given how paltry many existing laws are, not to mention how few states have a meaningful felony dog attack statute.
pit bullThe solution is not to enforce the inadequate laws we already have, often further hindered by existing legal systems that offer insufficient routes to civil and criminal recourse. The solution is to create preventative laws that greatly reduce the risk of dangerous dog breeds, primarily pit bulls, from ever inflicting a first attack. This radically reduces grave injuries and the need for victims to endure both deficient legal processes. These are the two primary goals of breed-specific laws. - Breed-Specific Legislation FAQ,
03/16/15: Pit Bull Owner Arrested
On Monday, police arrested the owner of a pack of pit bulls that dismembered and nearly killed a man last October in Detroit. Derick Felton, 61-years old, had been in hiding for months. A fugitive apprehension team that includes members of the Detroit Police Department, Michigan State Police and Wayne County Sheriff's Office deputies picked up the man. Felton was charged with three counts of harboring a vicious animal causing injury, a felony that carries up to 4-years in prison.

The victim, Steven Constantine, suffered horrendous life-altering injuries in the attack. Among other atrocities, the pit bulls chewed off his left ear and his left arm. Doctors were forced to amputate most of his left arm. The dogs also chewed off his left foot. Constantine lost everything below the knee on that leg. Police Detective Michael Pacteles told the Detroit News, “They did an autopsy on some of the dogs and they believe they found human body parts inside them."
Hardly pleasant to imagine, but what else were they supposed to find?1
Felton was taken into custody immediately after the attack on October 2 and held on a warrant for back child support. After Felton was released on that charge, "he went into hiding," Pacteles explained. Pacteles learned about Felton's location last week and sent a request to the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team. Previously, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office had not authorized felony charges against Felton, despite the extreme magnitude of the victim's injuries.

Michigan State Law
287.323. Offenses and penalties
pit bull(2) If an animal that meets the definition of a dangerous animal in section 1(a) attacks a person and causes serious injury other than death, the owner of the animal is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, a fine of not less than $2,000.00, or community service work for not less than 500 hours, or any combination of these penalties.
12/10/14: Victim Recounts Brutal Attack
On October 2, Steve Constantine suffered catastrophic injuries when he was nearly mauled to death by a pack of 12 pit bulls in a residential Detroit neighborhood. The vicious attack left him hospitalized in critical condition, unconscious and unable to speak. Several months afterward, Constantine shares what happened that day with the Detroit Free Press. The violent attack forced the amputation of his left arm at the shoulder, his left leg below the knee and scores of skin grafts.

Police confiscated and euthanized all of the attacking dogs. The owner of the dogs, 61-year old Derick Felton, received a handful of misdemeanor citations pinned to his door after the brutal mauling, along with a brochure titled, "Pet Ownership in Detroit Your Rights and Responsibilities." Police later asked the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office to consider a felony charge against Felton. The prosecutor's office declined, however the case is still under review for warrants.
"There's moments when I'm barely myself. There's moments when I can barely function. And I'm insecure ... but I do seem to make it back to this place where I am myself." - Steve Constantine
Constantine struggles to understand the attack, uttering in the video, "Things happened for a reason" and blames himself for trying to feed the dogs. The senior rehab manager at Select Specialty Hospital, Vijay Malaichamy, said that he is upbeat and "that positive attitude is going to help him tremendously to overcome the challenges he's going to face during his progress." Constantine hopes to eventually be fitted with prosthetics to gain some degree of independence.

Related video

10/27/14: Dog Owner Failed to Help Victim
The victim of catastrophic pit bull injuries has finally been able to speak. When asked by police what the owner, Derick Felton, did as his 12 pit bulls attacked him, Steve Constantine said, "I don't know. I think he ran away." Felton told police he could not help the man, "EMS came, so I left." Earlier reports stated that Felton was not home when the attack occurred. We now know this was untrue. Further, EMS could not immediately help him, they had to wait for police to arrive.

Prior to the attack, Constantine was walking on Pennsylvania Street. He saw Felton outside and asked if he needed help feeding his dogs. The dogs then "started eating me alive," he said. Police have asked prosecutors to pursue a felony charge of harboring a vicious animal causing serious injury against Felton, but the decision is still pending. The Sam Bernstein Law Firm is representing Constantine in a civil lawsuit. They are suing Felton and his mother, who owns his residence.
pit bull Attorney Mark Bernstein said the firm is suing Felton's mother because landlords "who allow irresponsible, reckless tenants to engage in these types of behaviors" should assume some responsibility for what happens in the homes they own.
pit bull "We're going to ask for a meaningful amount of damages in order to send a message that these people need to be held accountable," Bernstein said. - Detroit Free Press, October 27, 2014
Constantine's sister, Cathy Hawley, is horrified about what happened to her younger brother. "The obstacles that Steve is going to face are beyond imagination," Hawley said. Constantine remains hospitalized at Detroit Receiving Hospital. He lost most of his left arm and a portion of his left leg, which was amputated, due to the vicious pit bull attack. His right arm was "opened to the bone" and the injuries to his right foot will require doctors to "fuse it to the ankle," according to Hawley.

Hawley also provided background about her brother. He graduated with honors from Mott High School in Warren, but mental illness struck when he was in his 20s. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia, she said. He had been missing for a year when he was attacked. "Steve would give you the shirt off of his back. He was taken advantage of a lot," she said. Hawley only learned of the attack after being contacted by a Detroit Free Press reporter a week after the horrific mauling.

Related documents:
Steve Constantine and Derick Felton statements
Detroit dog mauling lawsuit

10/22/14: Weighing Felony Charge
In a surprising development, the Wayne County Prosecutor's office is now weighing whether to charge the owner of a dozen pit bulls that nearly killed a man with a felony. A warrant request was submitted to the prosecutor's office on Tuesday seeking a felony charge against Derick Felton, 61-years old, for harboring a vicious animal causing serious injury, according to Detroit police. The request is currently under review by the prosecutor's office. A decision will not be made this week.

Steve Constantine, 50-years old, remains hospitalized in critical condition at Detroit Receiving Hospital after surviving the brutal attack on October 2. The Detroit Free Press obtained recordings of the 911 calls, as well as a half-dozen police reports that provide gruesome details about the violent attack and the victim's horrific injuries. The pit bulls chewed off most of Constantine's left arm and removed "large chunks of flesh" from his arms and legs, according to police reports.
pit bull "Fearing for my safety and own well being, I … engaged the animal a second time, by discharging my firearm twice striking the animal twice, killing it," Sexton wrote, noting that he fired nine shots in all.
pit bull The reports list a grim array of injuries, with arms and legs ripped to the bone and dogs "eating the flesh" off a naked man. A friend, who visited Constantine days later at Detroit Receiving Hospital, said he had lost most of his left arm. - Detroit Free Press, October 22, 2014
The police report also details shots fired. Officer Adam Sexton wrote that he fired numerous times at the pack of pit bulls that were actively attacking Constantine, striking four. Most of the pack then fled, but one of the shot dogs dropped to the ground yelping, trying to take cover in a large bush. That pit bull then jumped to its feet and advanced his partner, who shot it twice. Now with at least three bullets in it, the same pit bull again charged Sexton, who shot it two more times killing it.

10/09/14: No Charges; Victim Identified
The owner of a dozen pit bulls that escaped his home and nearly mauled a man to death faces a handful of misdemeanor violations. Sgt. Michael Woody acknowledged that the case is "horrifying," but the citations are likely the extent of the penalties the dog owner faces. On October 2, at least a dozen pit bulls escaped from Derick Felton's home and inflicted catastrophic injuries on an innocent passerby. Steve Constantine remains in critical condition unable to speak.

Police believe at least 12 pit bulls participated in the violent attack. All of the dogs have since been euthanized. Neighbors had complained a number of times about Felton's loose dogs, but there were no reports of the dogs attacking a person. Thus, the life-altering attack of Steve Constantine has no consequences. The best Detroit could do after the attack was to pin the citations and a brochure titled, "Pet Ownership in Detroit Your Rights and Responsibilities," to Felton's door.

Ron Gulledge, Constantine's roommate, rushed to the hospital after learning of the attack. "I talked to him and told him to be strong … and he nodded," Gulledge said. He described Constantine's injuries as different than initial reports. He said only a small portion of his upper left arm remains, his left leg now has rods in it and his right leg, arm and head are heavily bandaged. He said it looked like Constantine still has feet and one hand, but he could not see all of his fingers or toes.
"It's terrible," Gulledge said. "You don't wish nobody to get eaten alive."
We will add to his statement, "get eaten alive on a residential street by dogs," and afterward, "there are no repercussions for the dogs' owner." Annually, there are over 600 media reported disfiguring and maiming attacks by pit bulls alone across the country. There is no longer any excuse for cities and police authorities to lack criminal procedures after a horrific maiming attack, particularly when involving "loose" dogs. The previous history of the dogs does not matter.

People like Steve Constantine and Klonda Richey are paying with their lives for the indefensible lagging by local and state lawmakers to write and implement post 1985 criminal penalties for the owners of dogs that chew off the limbs of people like a bear or tiger would or leave their faces so disfigured that even 21st Century medicine does not know how to fix. As a man who lost his wife in a brutal dog attack last year voiced, "What kind of country is this? What protection do we have?"

10/04/14: Pit Bulls Inflict Catastrophic Injuries
Detroit, MI - A man suffered catastrophic injuries after being attacked by a pack of pit bulls Thursday night. The dogs "chewed off" the victim's hands and feet in the attack, according to Police Detective Michael Pacteles. The dogs were so vicious paramedics were forced to wait in their vehicles for police to arrive before they could help the man. Police shot and killed at least one pit bull; 12 other pit bulls were seized from Derick Felton's home, the owner of the dogs.
"Because of the viciousness of the attack, the remaining pit bulls will be euthanized." - Detroit Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody
Andrew Sims lives a few houses away and witnessed part of the horrific attack. He told the Detroit Free Press the attack was more gruesome than anything he had seen during a tour in Vietnam. "They was aggressive. They didn't stop. I could just see them tugging, you know, pulling at him," Sims said. The mauling victim continues to remain unidentified -- he was not carrying identification when the dogs escaped through a side door of the owner's home and viciously attacked him.

As of Saturday afternoon, the victim remains in critical condition and unconcious at Detroit Receiving Hospital, according to Detroit Police Officer Adam Madera. Police have been unable to ask him any questions about his identity or the circumstances of the attack. Different reports have emerged about why the victim had been in the area at the time of the 10 pm attack, ranging from "unclear" reasons to he had been walking along the sidewalk near the dog owner's home.

Two videos by 7 Action News show police and animal control seizing the pit bulls and arresting the dogs' owner, Derick Felton. They also interviewed neighbors who said the pit bulls were often seen running loose. A female neighbor, who was not identified, said, "Those dogs are vicious, I am not surprised," after learning about the violent attack. When asked if the dogs often got out she said, "Yes, a lot of times." Though the investigation is ongoing, dogfighting is not suspected.

In July, Craig Sytsma, 46-years old, was brutally killed by two cane corsos while jogging in Metamora Township, about 50 miles away from Detroit. The two owners of the cane corsos are currently standing trial for murder in the second-degree in connection to Sytsma's death.

vicious pit bulls that nearly kill Detroit man
1Pitbull Mauling Deaths in Detroit, by Cheryl L. Loewe MD, Francisco J. Diaz MD, and John Bechinski DO, The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, Vol 28, December 2007.

Related articles:
09/13/14: Criminal Trial: Couple Charged with Second-Degree Murder After Cane Corsos...
09/11/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Type Dogs Attack, Strip Naked and Kill Dayton Woman
08/02/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Two Cane Corsos Brutally Attack and Kill Jogger in Metamora...
05/31/13: Westwego Woman Loses Eye, Ear and Both Arms After Pet Pit Bulls Attack
07/25/12: Bay County Animal Hospital Worker Suffers Catastrophic Injury in Pit Bull Attack
02/16/12: Orlando Woman Suffers Catastrophic Pit Bull Injury; Amputations Expected

Photos: Detroit Free Press (Steve Constantine video) and (dog photos)

Labels: , , , ,

posted by   |  permalink  |  8 comments  | email  |icon blog rss  |icon comment rss 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Kill Man, Injure Woman in North Shore, California

Pit bulls kill man, north short, Salton Sea
Emilio Rios Sr. was fatally attacked by two pit bulls in North Shore, California.

Attack Reignites Alarm
UPDATE 9/10/15: On Tuesday, Emilio Rios, 65, was savagely killed by two pit bulls in North Shore, an unincorporated community in Riverside County. The dogs also attacked a woman who came to his aid. John Welsh, a spokesman for county animal services, said, "Remember the old days when the pioneers came and had to worry about wolves? We are not in those days anymore. A person should not have to worry about perishing from an attack by an animal," he said.
Not just an "attack by an animal" mind you. A crushing fatal attack by a domesticated dog breed selectively bred to fight to the death in a pit.
Thanks to dogfighters, out-of-control pit bull breeding and out-of-control pit bull "rescuing" and adoptions by out-of-control "humane" groups, a person does have to worry about perishing or being permanently maimed in a violent pit bull attack today. If you have not seen the images of what happened in New York recently, you should. After a man blasted a bullet into a pit bull's head that was latched onto a man's face, it took several minutes for the pit bull to release its jaws.

We point out these disturbing images because this is what a savage pit bull attack scene looks like. In the case of New York, the dog was shot to death. What do you think the scene looked like when sheriff's deputies found Emilio brutalized and dead and the female victim screaming while being actively attacked by the two pit bulls? It was a violent, horrific crime scene in North Shore; the same kind that has accompanied pit bull attacks for over a hundred years in this country.

Legislation Follows Violent Attacks

In addition to using hard-hitting quotes by Welsh, the Press Enterprise provides a brief history of Riverside County and adjacent San Bernardino County, which is the largest county in the U.S. in square miles. In 2010, after four people were killed by pit bulls in a 5-year period, San Bernardino County adopted a mandatory pit bull spay and neuter ordinance affecting all unincorporated areas. Since this time, pit bull admissions and euthanasia of pit bulls has been cut by more than half.
pit bullIn fiscal year 2009-10, right before the measure was passed, the county reported 2,066 pit bull admissions. Wert said 77 percent of them were put down.
pit bull“Since the ordinance went into effect, the admission and euthanasia rates for pit bulls have steadily decreased,” he said in an email note. “In fiscal year 2014-15, we had 1,037 pit bull admissions, 31 percent of which had to be euthanized.” - David Wert, San Bernardino County spokesman
In 2013, Riverside County adopted a similar law for unincorporated areas. Back when county officials debated the issue, they did so honestly as well. The primary public safety issue with mandatory pit bull sterilization is to drastically decrease roaming pit bulls, which sterilization does reduce, and to lower the overall number of unwanted pit bulls in a community. The two dogs involved in the fatal attack of Emilio were male, one had been neutered, and the other had not.
We’ve always preached that it (mandatory sterilization) is one step closer to a safer community. But it doesn’t solve all problems.” - John Welsh
Welsh is exactly right. A mandatory pit bull sterilization law is the very least a municipality can do to help protect its citizens and reign in pit bull-related shelter issues. As pointed out by Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit, both jurisdictions have already done as much as they can legislatively. In California, local governments can regulate "specific breeds" with sterilization laws, but state law bars jurisdictions from declaring a specific breed "potentially dangerous" or "vicious."

09/09/15: Coroner Releases Age
Fatal dog mauling victim Emilio Rios Sr. was 65-years old, according to a coroner's office news release. When deputies arrived to the scene at about 6:15 am Tuesday, Rios was found dead and two dogs described as pit bulls were actively attacking a woman. Officers responded to the woman in their vehicle with lights and sirens on, causing the dogs to flee. The woman was taken to a local hospital. Animal control captured both dogs and photographs have been released to the media.

KMIR reports that family members say that Emilio was watering plants at the home where the dogs fatally attacked him. Luisa Rodriguez, who tried to help him, was walking out of her house when the same dogs attacked her. She is currently hospitalized recovering from serious injuries to her arm. KESQ reports that both dogs were located at a nearby residence. One of the pit bulls was so aggressive toward animal control that it had to be tranquilized, according to sheriff's officials.

Authorities have not released information about the dogs' owner. In the KMIR video, Luisa's daughter said that Emilio is her relative and both dogs belong to her neighbors. "The dogs belong to our neighbors, they coincidentally probably jumped (the fence) or they slipped through when the neighbors left to work," Michelle Rodriguez said. Despite locating the dogs at a "residence" and Michelle's account, county officials are telling the public to be "extra careful with stray dogs."

09/08/15: Dogs Fatally Attack Man
North Shore, CA - A dog attack this morning left one man dead and a woman seriously injured. The attack occurred in the unincorporated community of North Shore near Salton Sea. Deputies were dispatched to a location near Seagull and Dolphin Drives at about 6:15 am, according to Riverside County sheriff's officials. The victims have been identified as Emilio Rios Sr. and Luisa Rodriguez. The woman was transported to a local hospital to receive treatment for her injuries.

The two suspected dogs appear to be pit bulls, according to sheriff's officials. Animal control officers seized both dogs. So far the dogs' owners have not been named or located. John Welsh, a spokesperson for Riverside County animal services, said today's death is the third fatal dog attack he can recall during his 9-year tenure with the department. Since December 19, 2008 (7-years), data from shows there have been seven fatal dog attacks in Riverside County.

Riverside County Fatal Dog Attacks
  • 2008: Gerald Adelmund, 60-years old (Rubidoux, CA)
    Mauled to death by his son's two pit bulls
  • 2009: Hill Andrew Williams, 38-years old (Rancho Mirage, CA)
    Mauled to death by his fiancée's two Italian mastiffs
  • 2010: Christina Casey, 53-years old (Moreno Valley, CA)
    Mauled to death by her neighbor's two pit bull-mixes
  • 2010: Edward Mitchelle, 67-years old (Murrieta, CA)
    Mauled to death by his nephew's pit bull
  • 2013: Elsie Grace, 91-years old (Hemet, CA)
    Mauled to death by her son's two pit bulls
  • 2014: Annabell Martin, 89-years old (Corona, CA)
    Mauled to death by her grandson's three rottweilers
  • 2015: Emilio Rios Sr., 65-years old (North Shore, CA)
    Mauled to death by two pit bull-mixes
map iconView the Google Map: California Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

pit bulls kill man injure woman near salton see, north shore
Related articles:
03/25/15: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Stockton Woman Mauled to Death by Pit Bull
11/04/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Kill Modesto Man, Critically Injure Another
11/03/14: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Antelope Valley Woman Mauled to Death by Pit Bulls
09/25/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: 2-Year Old Boy Killed by Relative’s Pit Bulls in Colton
06/20/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Union City Boy, 6, Killed by Uncle's Pet Pit Bull

Labels: , , ,

posted by   |  permalink  |  4 comments  | email  |icon blog rss  |icon comment rss 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Announcement: Releases New FAQ about Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL)

dog bite victims group launches new FAQ
An analysis of 860 cities with breed-specific laws showed that pit bulls were named in 100% of these ordinances, followed in distant second by rottweilers, named in just 7%.

Breed-Specific Legislation FAQ - Today we release our Breed-Specific Legislation FAQ that will empower advocates and city officials who support breed-specific laws. The FAQ drills down into the effectiveness of these ordinances, which breeds are involved and the three most common types of ordinances. The FAQ provides examples for each ordinance type, jurisdictions that achieved strong results and highlights the public support for pit bull ban ordinances by reviewing two recent election results.

Full news release: Dog Bite Victims' Group Releases FAQ about Breed-Specific Legislation

The FAQ answers many questions, but we call to attention the "alleged" high cost of enforcing BSL. This part of the FAQ destroys the online BSL calculator created by former tobacco economist John Dunham and hawked by Utah-based fighting dog advocates Best Friends Animal Society. The sham BSL calculator was funded by the National Canine Research Council,1 a subsidiary of Animal Farm Foundation. Both are owned and operated by extreme pit bull promoter Jane Berkey.
The FAQ shows that the sham BSL calculator's estimate to enforce a county pit bull ban is an exaggeration by almost two orders of magnitude.
Back in February 2012, when Miami-Dade County was debating the issue of placing the pit bull ban on the primary ballot, pit bull defender Dalia Caines testified to committee members that, "taxpayers paid $3 million annually to enforce the ban on pit bulls." In response, Animal Services director Alex Munoz told committee members that $3 million was more than the department's entire budget for enforcement and that pit bulls accounted for 2% of the enforcement costs.

The FAQ breaks this down for readers by examining the 2011-2012 Miami-Dade County Animal Services budget.2 The total budget for the department during the period was $9.36 million. The total budget for Code Enforcement was $2.3 million. Director Munoz stated that pit bulls accounted for 2% of total enforcement costs, which equates to just over $46,000. The BSL calculator, which claimed the ban cost taxpayers $3 million, is an exaggeration by almost two orders of magnitude.

John Dunham "Calculators"

Dunham is known for the "calculators" he designs for his clients -- primarily lobbyists, industry trade associations and at least one candidate.3 The sham BSL calculator exaggerated the actual cost by a whopping factor of 65. Dunham's calculators and "economic research" studies have been scrutinized by the media before, even his feral cat calculator was (which vanished in 2012),4 but the media has never questioned the sham BSL calculator. They just print its spurious results.5
We urgently call on advocates to spread this information and to criticize publications and reporters who blindly print the calculator's bogus results.
Other Sections of the BSL FAQ

The breed-specific legislation FAQ discusses the history of BSL and how long these laws have been targeting fighting dogs -- since the late 1800s. The FAQ provides evidence of "bulldog" ordinances from 1896 to 1912, along with an 1897 woodcut illustration published in The San Francisco Call of a policeman "strangling a savage bulldog into releasing his hold" of a child. The FAQ reminds readers that attacks by pit bulls back then were just as horrific as they are now.

The FAQ discusses the constitutionality of breed-specific laws and why well-written ordinances have a 100% success rate when under constitutional scrutiny. The FAQ also dismantles several untruths about constitutional issues, often voiced by oppositional groups. Lastly, the BSL FAQ touches on state-preemption anti-BSL laws, as we first examined in our April report, and the primary driving forces behind them -- Best Friends Animal Society and dog breeder interests.
Download: The Breed-Specific Legislation FAQ is also available as a PDF, download now!

Full news release: Dog Bite Victims' Group Releases FAQ about Breed-Specific Legislation

1The BSL Fiscal Impact Calculator, released in May 2009, was commissioned by Best Friends Animal Society and funded by the National Canine Research Council.
2FY 2011-12 Adopted Budget and Multi-Year Capital Plan, by Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department.
3Other Dunham calculator examples: U.S. Egg Producers, National Chicken Council and American Meat Institute.
4The feral cat calculator, released in March 2010, was commission by Best Friends Animal Society and funded by PetSmart Charities. By September 2012, it had been removed from the web, apparently for good. In a Facebook post by Shadow Cats, the person asks, "Anyone have the right link to what used to be this "Trap, Neuter and Return Cost Savings Calculator" I cant find it and I need it asap. anyone?"
pit bullJanice Dankert, Best Friends' Community Cat program supervisor, responded by saying, "Unfortunately, the BF calculator has been having a lot of issues lately and we've had to take it down. At this time, we don't know if or when it'll get fixed. Sorry." Then Dankert added, "[The calculator] is a great benefit, if it's providing accurate information. Unfortunately, it wasn't always which can be more detrimental to our mission."

5It is also noteworthy that a Huffington Post blogger called out John Dunham's tobacco roots in February 2014, after he was invited to speak at a for-profit college companies' trade association event. In the very same month, writer Arin Greenwood of the Huffington Post -- who frequently pens pro-pit bull pieces for the organization -- willfully pushed bogus results from the sham BSL calculator to bolster the Huffpo's staggering pro-pit bull stance. Greenwood leaves out John Dunham's name.
"Best Friends also emphasizes the cost of enforcing anti-pit bull bans; the group commissioned an economist to put together a tool that calculates the costs by city. And here's a sample calculation: In Baltimore, there's an estimated 151,105 dogs, of which 10,918 are assumed pit bull type dogs. The costs associated with enforcing laws against pit bull ownership would be $992,606 per year." - Arin Greenwood, Huffington Post, citing John Dunham's calculator results
Related articles:
08/31/15: High Courts Rule a Dog Owner of 'Ordinary Intelligence' Can Identify a Pit Bull
04/20/15: 2015 First Quarter Report and a Primer on State Preemption Laws
04/20/15: 2015 First Quarter Legislative Highlights: Local Control Dominates...
06/02/15: Pit Bulls Lead 'Bite' Counts Across U.S. Cities and Counties
11/24/14: Aurora Voters Favor Keeping Pit Bull Ban by Wide Margin in First General Election...
10/03/14: Cities with Successful Pit Bull Laws; Data Shows Breed-Specific Laws Work
09/10/13: Maul Talk Manual 2.0: A Guide to Understanding the Language of Pit Bull Owners...
08/16/12: Vote in Miami-Dade County to Repeal Pit Bull Ban Fails by Wide Margin

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

posted by   |  permalink  |  0 comments  | email  |icon blog rss  |icon comment rss 

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

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

posted by   |  permalink  |  8 comments  | email  |icon blog rss  |icon comment rss 

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. -, 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 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

Labels: , ,

posted by   |  permalink  |  11 comments  | email  |icon blog rss  |icon comment rss