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Friday, March 7, 2014
Lawyered Up in Paterson
UPDATE 03/07/14: All sides are lawyered up following a dog mauling that injured one teenager and left another dead. It is believed the bullmastiff owned by Paul Clarke jumped out of its fenced yard and attacked the boys at about 4 pm last Friday. At some point after, shortly or hours later, the same dog attacked its owner. Animal control officers arrived at Clarke's home at about 10 pm and found the large dog nearly stabbed to death. Clarke has thus far refused to speak to police.
"Mr. Clarke has not once called the Paterson Police Department, has avoided any and all attempts by the Detective Bureau to communicate with him, and has now hired a lawyer that has directed him to not communicate with the Paterson Police Department,” Rodriguez said.Funeral services for 13-year old Kenneth Santillan were held on Thursday in nearby Totowa.
“Taking this into consideration I am left wondering how Mr. Clark and/or his lawyer are arriving at the conclusion Mr. Clark has not done anything wrong,” Rodriguez concluded. - Paterson Press
03/02/14: Mauling Victim Identified
Law enforcement officials identified the victim of the fatal dog mauling as 13-year old Kenneth Santillan of Paterson. Police also confirmed that the owner of the bullmastiff, named "Trigger" that attacked three people killing one on Friday afternoon, is 50-year old Paul Clarke also of Paterson. A follow up article from the Star-Ledger, "Dog that killed Paterson teen was a ticking time bomb, neighbors say," includes new allegations about the attacking dog, as well as owner neglect.
Clarke's wife Sharon admitted to The New York Post on Saturday that the dog had once bitten her son's friend. A resident who lives near Clarke, Dilma Monasterio, said that she has called police twice in the recent past about the bullmastiff, "because it would often vault fences in its own yard and in neighbors’ yards, including her own," states the article. She said that she was terrified of the animal because it often barked and acted in what she perceived a threatening manner.
This is in addition to comments by retired police officer Randy Billie who said the dog scaled the fence and attacked a teenager last year.The Ledger article also sheds some light on the 7-hour time frame. Family and friends searched the neighborhood looking for the missing teen, "throughout the night," according to authorities. "They could not locate him," said Chief Assistant Passaic County Prosecutor Michael DeMarco. "They contacted the Paterson Police, which began an investigation into the missing teen." Many parts of the timeline, however, remain unclear, including when the animal attacked Clarke.
03/01/14: Body Found in Woods
In a horrifying update, it was revealed that both boys were attacked near the dog owner's home Friday afternoon. The two boys then ran in opposite directions. One survived and the other died a miserable death all alone. The second boy was found dead 7-hours after the attack in the woods near a creek behind the dog owner's home. That teen left a trail of blood through the woods in the snow, the bloody trail is how first responders were able to find the boy, according to authorities.
Critical questions remained unanswered Saturday evening, including: At what time was the dog owner attacked? Did he see one or both teenagers being attacked? Why did the surviving teenager tell the residents who tried to help him NOT to call 911? Did the dog owner threaten him in some way, just like the dog owner did in the landmark case, Tracey v. Solesky? Police had to cut and roll back an iron fence to find the dead boy. How did the injured boy get to this location?
Finally, exactly why did it take 7-hours for first responders to locate the dead teenager?
03/01/14: More Details Emerge in Mauling
The original Star-Ledger news report was updated at 4:27 pm (EST) with many new details, including the time of the attack, which occurred on Friday. The injured 13-year old boy was discovered dead just before midnight by a search and rescue team. Paterson's animal control officer, John DeCando, said the male dog weighed 115 lbs and was stabbed several times by its owner -- who was also bitten badly by the animal -- before being put down by animal control.
A retired Paterson police officer, Randy Billie, lives around the corner from the dog. Billie told the Star-Ledger the dog has hopped its fence before and attacked children. Last year, Billie said the animal attacked a teenager on Sherwood Avenue. "It's nothing to play with. It's like a miniature horse," Billie said. No one appears yet to be questioning why the bullmastiff was still in the neighborhood at all? (At least prosecutors can easily prove prior knowledge of viciousness.)
There continue to be time discrepancies. The attack on the two boys occurred as early as 4:00 pm Friday. That's when the surviving boy was seen terrified and bleeding from his left hand. Residents Orlando Cepeda and his wife Carmen Baez saw the teen, helped to dress his wound and asked if they should call 911. The teen told them not to. Baez said the boy did not tell her about a second person attacked by the dog at that time and did not know anyone had died until Saturday morning.
03/01/14: Dog Kills Teenager, Injures Another
Paterson, NJ - In a developing story, a 13-year old boy was killed Saturday after a bullmastiff broke loose from its home and brutally attacked two teenagers near the Passaic River. Passaic County Assistant Prosecutor Michael DeMarco said the two young victims were attacked in the area of Rossiter and Crosby avenues early Saturday morning. The dog, described as a bullmastiff, attacked both children in the street after breaking free from a nearby residence, DeMarco said.
One of the victims, a 13-year old boy, died in the attack. A second teenager was able to escape with his life. DeMarco said that child, also 13, was being treated at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Paterson; the child's injuries were not disclosed. An animal control officer "put the dog down," DeMarco said. The owner of the dog has been identified. There was no relationship between the victims and the owner of the dog, according to prosecutors. Criminal charges are pending.
The Star-Ledger noted that this is the second horrific dog mauling in the area recently that left a child grievously injured or dead. In February, a 10-year old Newark boy was nearly killed by his father's two pit bulls inside a city apartment. Neighbor Robert Ricks kicked in the apartment door to save the child. "It was horrific," Hicks said. The boy was so badly injured, at one point he had "no pulse," police said. He was transported to University Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
01/03/14: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman, 75, Killed by Bullmastiff in Arkansas Gated Community
06/13/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Child Temporarily Staying with Aunt Killed by Neighbor's Dog
Photo: Paterson Press
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Law enforcement officers seizing the fatally attacking bullmastiff.
UPDATE 03/05/14: The victim of the latest Texas fatal dog attack has been identified as Raymane Camari Robinson, 2-years old. Preliminary autopsy results show the cause of death as penetrating and blunt force injuries. Last Saturday, Robinson and an 8-year old girl were walking on a sidewalk in a Killeen neighborhood when a bullmastiff flew out of its owner's garage and violently attacked them. Robinson did not survive his injuries; the other child was hospitalized with serious injuries.
03/02/14: Neighbors Respond to Attack
Three people, ages 18, 8 and 2-years old were walking back from a park on the sidewalk Saturday afternoon when a bullmastiff ran out of its owner's garage and attacked. Killeen police were called out to the 4100 block of Pennington Avenue regarding gunshots being fired. While en route, they were told a dog had attacked several children. The 8-year old girl was the first target and victim of the dog. As neighbors pulled the large animal off of her, the dog next attacked the 2-year old boy.
Police said the child was dragged down the sidewalk until one neighbor fired off rounds to scare the dog away. The animal fled back into the garage after the gunfire. The Coon family, who lives next door and have two children of their own, said it could have been their own. "We were in the backyard at the time when it happened. Any normal day we would be out in the street; it would be my 2-year old and 7-year old and they're out every single day on the street," said Neil Coon.
Mildred Lubina, who lives right in front of where the attack happened, is a nurse. She ran out to help the victims. She saw the injured boy and began administering CPR. "The child started to breathe, but blood was coming out," said Lubina. "Looking at the child, I felt so bad for the helpless child," said Lubina. The boy was rushed to Darnell Army Medical Center in critical condition, but did not survive. As of Sunday afternoon, the 8-year old girl is in stable condition.
Neighbors told Fox 7 News that the dog's owner was out of town at the time and that the massive brute that killed one child and seriously injured another was "being watched by his mother."
Misinformed Texas Media
Fox 7, along with too many other Texas media groups, once again failed to get the Texas felony dog attack law (also called Lillian's Law) correct. The root of the confusion may also be Killeen or Bell County officials. If the latter is true, we invite both to look at the track record of Travis County, who continues to successfully prosecute under the state law. Lillian's Law only applies to loose dog attacks where knowledge of prior viciousness can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Sec. 822.005. ATTACK BY DOG. (a) A person commits an offense if the person is the owner of a dog and the person:Learn more about Lillian's Law at DogBiteLaw.com.
(1) with criminal negligence, as defined by Section 6.03, Penal Code, fails to secure the dog and the dog makes an unprovoked attack on another person that occurs at a location other than the owner's real property or in or on the owner's motor vehicle or boat and that causes serious bodily injury, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, or death to the other person; or
(2) knows the dog is a dangerous dog by learning in a manner described by Section 822.042(g) that the person is the owner of a dangerous dog, and the dangerous dog makes an unprovoked attack on another person that occurs at a location other than a secure enclosure in which the dog is restrained in accordance with Subchapter D and that causes serious bodily injury, as defined by Section 822.001, or death to the other person.
(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree unless the attack causes death, in which event the offense is a felony of the second degree.
03/01/14: Dog Kills Child, Injures Another
Killeen, TX - In a developing story, yet another monster bullmastiff attacked and killed one child and seriously injured another in a different part of the country today. Killeen Police said a 2-year old boy died from injuries inflicted by the dog and an 8-year old girl is currently in critical condition at Carl R. Darnell Army Medical Center due to injuries inflicted by the animal. The attacks occurred in a neighborhood near Iduma Elementary School at about 5:00 pm on Saturday afternoon.
The Killeen Daily Herald interviewed Carroll Smith, a Killeen Police Department Public Affairs Officer, in this related video. At the time of the attack, at least three people were walking by a home, ages 18, 8 and 2-years old, when the bullmastiff (unrelated to the victims) escaped its owner's property and attacked the 8-year old girl. People were able to pull the dog off of her. The animal then turned on the 2-year old, latching on to him, dragging him, ultimately killing the boy.
This is the second fatal dog mauling of a child in Bell County, Texas in under 15 days.
02/19/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Texas Toddler Killed by Pit Bull Being 'Watched' by Her Family
03/20/13: Report: Texas Dog Bite Fatalities, January 1, 2005 to February 17, 2013
09/02/09: Grandmother and Mother Charged in 2007 Dog Mauling Death of Killeen, Texas Boy
Photo: The Killeen Daily Herald
Friday, February 28, 2014
Under Media Scrutiny
UPDATE 02/28/14: The media continues to focus on the parents of a 3-year old girl who was killed by a family pit bull on Monday. The dog had a history of aggression, including breaking through a fence to attack a neighbor's dog in the past few months, the family had adhered at least two Beware of Dog signs to their home and today we learned that the attacking family pit bull, one of two pit bulls in the family's home, had bitten someone other than Braelynn on the day she died.
Officials said the dog bit somebody other than Braelynn on Monday, the day the child died. They did not identify that person. - News & RecordWe presume this other person is not the child's mother, who was bitten while trying to save her child. The mother was identified previously as being injured in the attack. Last night, Nancy Grace, featured Braelynn's story, Grace asked: "Neighbors claim they have been afraid of the family dog, a pit bull, for some time, even keeping their children and pets inside. Recently a neighbor claimed the dog attacked their dog viciously. Are charges being considered, against mommy and daddy?"
*** Clarification Update ***
We just received verification from Joe Gamm, the author of the aforementioned News & Record article (Toddler’s family pastor speaks with reporters about the dog-mauling case) referring to an "unidentified" person bitten by the attacking dog on the day Braelynn suffered fatal injuries from the family pit bull. Gamm was referring to the child's mother, not an additional person. This is does not relieve the parents from media or law enforcement scrutiny and possible criminal charges.
Notably, last November, 25-year old Katherine Atkins of Kernersville -- just 14 miles away from High Point -- was killed by her boyfriend's two pit bulls. The couple had raised the dogs since they were puppies. The horrific death of Katherine, a beautiful young woman, captured significant coverage throughout the area. According to Braelynn's obituary, she was born in Forsyth County (location of Kernersville) and the majority of her surviving family members are from Kernersville.1
02/25/14: Mauling Victim Identified
The family identified the 3-year old girl killed by a family pit bull on Monday as Braelynn Rayne Coulter of High Point and issued a short statement about her death. A GoFundMe page was set up to help her family pay for funeral costs and expenses. More photos of Braelynn can be seen on that page. Braelynn Coulter, 3, is the 390th American citizen mauled to death by a pit bull since the archival project, Fatal Pit Bull Attacks - The Archival Record, began recording these deaths.
02/25/14: Previous Aggression
The Greensboro News & Record captured images of the fatally attacking family pit bull, male, along with two Beware of Dog signs posted on the family's home and documentation of the pit bull being held in quarantine as "very aggressive." Neighbor Katherine Dixon, 24, who lives next door, said the family moved in about a year ago and have two pit bulls. A few months ago, both pit bulls broke through a fence an attacked a neighbor's pet dog that was being walked by its owner.
The incident put Dixon and her husband, who have three young sons, on "high alert about the dogs," she said. "When I’m taking the boys out to play, if the dogs are outside, we come back in," she said. Dixon noted that she had not seen the second pit bull recently. Police still have not released the victim's name, nor is there any additional information about the family's second dog.2 The attacking pit bull is currently being held in quarantine at the Guilford County Animal Shelter.
02/25/14: Pit Bull Kills Child
High Point, NC - In a developing story, a 3-year old child was killed by a pit bull Monday evening, according to High Point Police. A family member took the injured child to High Point Regional Hospital where the child died. The incident on Big Creek Court was reported at 5:02 pm, according to early news reports. The pit bull was confiscated and taken to an unnamed animal shelter. At this time, the name of the victim has not been released. More information is expected later Tuesday.
2In a late Tuesday update, it was reported that the family's second pit bull "remains with the family."
11/05/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Kernersville Woman, 25, Killed by Her Boyfriend's Two Pit Bulls
12/12/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Yadkin County Infant Mauled to Death by Family Dog
10/04/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Pembroke 'Dog Rescuer' Killed by Own Dogs
09/14/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: 10-Month Old Hertford Boy Killed by Pit Bull
08/16/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Person County Authorities Charge Pit Bull Owner
Dogs Free to Kill
UPDATE 02/28/14: No leash laws in semi-rural parts of Tallapoosa County? No problem. Dogs are free to roam and kill innocent children at their choosing with no criminal penalties to their owners. Several news reports have expressed that the grandfather's yard was either partially fenced or not fenced at all. It is a dog owner's responsibility to keep them contained on his property, not the responsibility of neighboring residents to erect fences to keep these dogs away from their homes.
"It’s heartbreaking what has happened,” said Tallapoosa County District Attorney E. Paul Jones. "We have investigated the possibility of charges. But Tallapoosa County doesn’t have a law on the books that says owners can’t allow their dogs to run at large. If there is no law, there can be no charges."1 - Montgomery Advertiser02/28/14: Mauling Victim Identified
The child victim has been identified by authorities as 4-year old Summer Sears. She had been playing in her grandfather's backyard when one or more loose dogs brutally attacked her. A woman who formerly rented and lived in the home, Janet Conn, spoke to CBS 8 News. She said the grandfather, who owned the home, had been living there since and taking care of Summer. Conn said the scene of the fatal dog attack was horrific, as did Police Chief Jimmy Rodgers.
The way I described it earlier is what you'd envision when somebody gets attacked by a wild bear. - Police Chief Jimmy RodgersAuthorities sent Summer's body to forensic sciences. Investigators hope to have testing results soon to ensure that the dogs in custody are the ones responsible for the attack. Both loose dogs belonged to a neighbor, Rodgers said. The owner could face charges pending an investigation. Conn and other neighbors said they had seen the dogs loose before. She and other neighbors plan to stay indoors for safety until they know if the seized dogs are the ones that killed Summer.
02/27/14: No Leash Laws in County
The Tallassee Police Department continues to investigate the death of a 4-year old girl. She was attacked and killed by one or more dogs late Wednesday afternoon. "The child was playing in her yard," Police Chief Jimmy Rodgers said. "Her grandfather went out to check on her and spotted a large dog standing over her," Rodgers said. "There may have been other dogs involved in the attack. He yelled at the dog and it ran off. He called 911 and officers responded," Rodgers said.
She was pronounced dead on the scene. Police believe they have the dog involved in the attack in custody, along with a secondary dog. Rodgers described the primary dog as a large shepherd-mix. In an earlier report, the child's grandfather said it was a white dog. "We have identified the owner of the shepherd-mix. We are investigating to see if any criminal charges can be filed," Rodgers said. However, in Tallapoosa County, where the fatal attack occurred, there are no leash laws.
02/26/14: Little Girl Killed by Dogs
Tallassee, AL - In a developing story, police say a 4-year old child was killed after being attacked by one or more dogs late Wednesday afternoon. The young girl was attacked at about 5:00 pm on Lower Tuskegee Road in southern Tallassee, according to police. The little girl suffered numerous injuries during the attack. Two dogs, so far, have been taken into custody by authorities. The animals did not belong to the child's family. Police continue to investigate who owns the dogs.
All 7 victims of fatal dog attacks so far in 2014 have been female (ages include: 89, 57, 43, 4, 4, 3 and 2). This is unusual and worth noting, particularly concerning young children. In 2013, there were 5 female child fatalities total. In the first two months of 2014, there have already been 4.
01/07/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies After Pit Bull Attack in Southeast Houston
01/03/14: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman, 75, Killed by Bullmastiff in Arkansas Gated Community
Friday, February 21, 2014
Citizens Speak to Commission
UPDATE 02/21/14: Following the preventable death of Klonda Richey, Dayton citizens appeared before City Commission on Wednesday, complaining that public safety has evaporated in the area, with the problem of loose aggressive dogs, gunfire and other problems plaguing the area. Terms brought up by citizens included, we live in a "crime containment zone," there is a "systemic dysfunction" in law enforcement and "city authorities have breached their contract with citizens."
Mayor Nan Whaley addressed meeting:Read more about the utter failure of the Animal Resource Center at the Scorched Earth blog.
"Every one of us know or have been a part of some of these issues with dogs and being unsure about what is going on ... It is a tragedy that someone's life is lost over it. I think the best thing we can do is figure out how to make sure that no one else's life is lost in the future. I talked yesterday with three state representatives, Rep. Butler, Rep. Winburn, Rep. Strahorn. We will be sending a letter with recommendations to the state legislature on ways that they can tighten up their law. Specifically, I think it is bothersome to us, and I have told them this, that Animal Resource Center can be contacted by someone nine times, and there is no requirement for them to call back. So that is one place where the state legislature can take a more active role ... they are very interested and engaged with this issue ... they are very interested in working on the state law issue."
02/12/14: Victim Made 16 Calls to 911
In addition to filing a civil stalking protection order in court, which was suggested by police, Klonda Richey, made 16 calls to 911 in the last year to report problems with her neighbor and his dogs. During a July 2, 2013 call, Richey told dispatchers, "I've made a lot of calls about this neighbor next door to me and his pit bull-mastiff ... I tried the civil protection order and I got brushed aside by those judges as a neighbor dispute. It’s gone way beyond a neighbor dispute," Richey said.
According to the 2 News article, Richey also stated, "This is nuts," Richey told the dispatcher. "This is constant intimidation thing. I lost my last case and it was the police who suggested I do the civil stalking protection order." On February 7, Richey was savagely struck down by her neighbor's two pit bull-type dogs in a sustained attack in front of her home. Today, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said that current state legislation (that repealed the longstanding pit bull law in 2012) is "weak."
Mayor Whaley also said, "Our police department sees a lot, but this is something that has really affected them as well." Readers must remember that as horrific as shooting homicides are, most bullet injuries do not produce injuries like a fatal pit bull mauling -- parts of a person's face, arms, legs or scalp ripped off, deep tearing injuries covering the victim's body, blood soaked everywhere, in the case of Richey, across white snow, and finally, the visual evidence of a prolonged struggle.
We believe that Dayton police will do everything they can to ensure that felony criminal charges are brought against the dogs' owners.On Friday, Dayton police released Richey's surveillance videos that she submitted as evidence when trying to obtain the civil stalking protection order against her neighbor. Richey is in the midst of having her own privacy fence built during the footage. The videos clearly show the man using intimidation tactics with his own presence and his dogs. Multiple shots show the dogs loose on her property and exhibiting aggression. Richey's neighbor was indeed operating a terror campaign.
02/11/14: Victim Sought Protection
In addition to the laundry list of complaints documented about the dogs that horrifically killed Klonda Richey -- coroner Harshbarger stated Monday: "The injuries are multiple and severe and clearly happened while she was alive ... It is a significant period of time that she was aware, cognizant of what was happening." -- court records show that Richey filed for a civil stalking protection order on September 12, 2012. Included in the filing is a letter to Andrew Nason.
I have 24 years of my life and memories here before the deaths of my Dad, Mother, husband. I am not leaving.Magistrate Kristi Wuebben did not grant the protection order. Klonda Richey is now dead.1
You have little time here with no emotional attachment. House is a trainwreck; no idea why you chose it when so many better ones are on the market w/few minor repairs necessary.
You paid 8k. I'll pay $3900 cash -- don't really want the house, but do want the trauma to my cats and fear to end. (They only go to that house because empty so long).
If you want to hurt me, shoot or stab me. Leave cats in peace. - Klonda Richey
Additionally, 2 News questioned Montgomery County Animal Control Director Mark Kumpf, who is now sitting on a pile of evidence showing his department's complete failure of duty to Klonda Richey. Kumpf called her death a "tragic accident" and "there is nothing foreseeable or doable" to prevent this type of occurrence. Kumpf played an active role in repealing Ohio's longstanding pit bull law, which prima facie declared all dog breeds "commonly known as a pit bull dog" vicious.
955.11 - (iii) Belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog. The ownership, keeping, or harboring of such a breed of dog shall be prima-facie evidence of the ownership, keeping, or harboring of a vicious dog. - 955.11, Ohio Revised Code, 1988 to May 22, 2012The new state law, according to Kumpf, "basically levels the playing field for all breeds of dog" … "Other than the one dog, we’ve had our hands tied," Kumpf said in a February 2012 article. "Kumpf was part of a group involved in rewriting the bill introduced last January ... If signed by the governor, the law would allow animal control officers to designate any dog as "nuisance," "dangerous" or "vicious," regardless of breed. Violators could be fined or face felony sanctions."
So what happened? Mark Kumpf should be fired for total failure of duty.Richey had surveillance cameras installed on her home. That video is now in the hands of Dayton police. Remember what Harshbarger said, "It is a significant period of time that she was aware, cognizant of what was happening." We predict that it was at least a 10-minute relentless, violent attack by two dogs that fall under the designation of a dog "commonly known as a pit bull dog," in Ohio jurisdictions that continue to have breed-specific pit bull laws, Dayton, sadly, not being one.
02/10/14: Autopsy Results Announced2
On Monday, Montgomery County Coroner Kent Harshbarger said that Klonda Richey died of blood loss. "The injuries were severe and multiple," Harshbarger said. "This is one of the worst that we've ever seen," he said. The crime lab is now working to match dental impressions left on Richey's body with the teeth of the two suspected dogs. After the barbaric attack upon Richey, police officers shot and killed both male dogs; their remains have been preserved as evidence.
On Sunday evening, both dog owners, Julie Custer and Andrew Nason, were released from jail. Dayton Police Sgt. Richard Blommel explained their release, "Due to the complex nature of the laws concerning animals, we just felt that at this point it would be better off to get our ducks in a row before we proceeded any further." Blommel said that police continue to investigate and will meet with prosecutors once again when they feel there is enough evidence for an indictment.
New information was also provided about previous complaints involving the two dogs (now being identified by the coroner as "cane corsos"). Both Montgomery County Animal Resource Center (ARC) and the Sheriff's Department have handled multiple complaints about the dogs at large. Many of the complaints, dating back to 2012, stem from an anonymous female who said the dogs were loose and aggressive; other complaints involved barking dogs or not having enough food.
In a March 16, 2013 report, a woman called the ARC to report that the mailman would no longer deliver mail to the street until a loose dog problem was resolved. "The dog has come after (the complainant) before and she states that now (the owner) will let his dog loose to go after her and her cats," the report states. Klonda Richey had 20 beloved cats in her home. After that report, an ARC employee left a warning on the door of 35 E. Bruce after knocking and receiving no answer.
See: Documents showing complaints from May 2012 to February 7, 2014
A Preventable Horror Story
An Associated Press article added that Richey was terrified of the two dogs. According to people that she knew, Richey had complained many times about the dogs and sought help from various public agencies. Richey had been harassed by the dogs' owners and built a high fence to protect herself and her 20 cats, said acquaintances interviewed by the Dayton Daily News (behind a paywall). Friends and co-workers of Richey said the problem had been going on for three years.
"She's always been terrified of those dogs," said Tim Bridwell, a friend who worked with Richey at Montgomery County Job & Family Services. Bridwell said that Richey told him that she tried to work through the legal system to get protection from the dogs, but felt that no one believed her. "She told me, and a lot of other people, she was afraid those dogs were going to kill her," Bridwell said. On Friday, February 7, that is exactly what happened when she stepped outside her door.
Images of Dayton fatal dog mauling victim Klonda Richey at different times in the past year:
Mauling Victim Identified
When the evening news cycle unfolded, many new details were provided. The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office identified the fatal dog mauling victim as Klonda Richey, 57-years old. An investigation by 2 NEWS showed that she worked for the Montgomery County Department of Job and Family Services for 25 years. The investigation also showed that six 911 calls were made about a dog at 35 E. Bruce Ave (from 2013 to present); five of them were made by Richey herself.
A multitude of pit bull deflection breed names have surfaced thus far, including: mixed-breed, mastiff-mix, bullmastiff and mastiff-cane corso mix. Ohio is unique in that it formerly had a statewide pit bull law (1988 to 2012). During this period, and still today, the definition of a pit bull is broadly defined as a dog "commonly known as a pit bull dog" and includes the gamut of pit bull derivatives: American bulldogs and pit bull-mastiff mix breeds (cane corso, presa canario, etc).3
Mark Kumpf, Director of Montgomery County’s Animal Resource Center, told 2 NEWS he was aware of nine complaints, but, he said, "we've never located them or seen [the dogs]." Kumpf's agency had never even SEEN the dogs. They are listed in the licensing database as "mixed-breeds," a label presumably given by the dogs' owners. This did not stop Kumpf from telling media outlets the dogs were "mastiff-mixes" to deflect early police reports of the dogs being pit bulls.
Further, a hot tipper sent in this horrific detail about one of the dogs' owners, Andrew Nason: September 2012, booked into Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of endangering a child. The child wound up in intensive care after Nason said the child fell down a flight of stairs. The law is no stranger to these dog owners, Custer and Nason, who of course had to add pit bull-type dogs to their home. Julie Custer's Facebook page shows multiple children and her fatally attacking dogs.
Finally, the Dayton Daily News is claiming that this is the third fatal dog attack in Montgomery County in the last 17-months. We believe it is the second fatality, the first being the death of Dawn Jurgens, 76, of Trotwood in September 2012. The possible third fatality occurred in Miami County. In late November 2012, Elizabeth Hirt, 93, was badly injured by her two Boston terriers. She died on December 11, 2012, according to her obituary. We have little other information about her death.
02/07/14: Dog Owners Identified
WDTN names the dogs' owners as Julie Custer, 25, and Andrew Nason, 28; both are being charged with reckless homicide. Sgt. Richard Blommel told WDTN, "It's not like the dogs' owners were four houses down. They were right next door," Blommel said. "I can't imagine the blood curdling screams of someone being attacked would not be heard by someone who lives next door," Blommel added. Both Custer and Nason were booked into the Montgomery County Jail.
02/07/14: Dog Owners in Custody
Dayton Daily News video coverage shows the two owners of the dogs handcuffed and being hauled away by Dayton police. Authorities believe the 57-year old victim walked outside early this morning to take out the trash or pick up a package when she was attacked and killed by the two loose dogs, now being described as pit bull-mastiff mixes. The victim was discovered at about 8:20 am Friday morning, after police received a report of a naked woman on the sidewalk.
When officers arrived on scene, the two dogs charged the officers who then shot both animals to death. Police have received nine previous complaints about the dogs running at large, and both dogs are licensed, according to authorities. Police said the victim did have a coat on when she walked outside, but the dogs "tore the woman's clothes off during the attack." It is unknown what degree of charges, if any, the two dog owners face. Homicide detectives continue to investigate.
Criminal Charges in Ohio?
There have been 11 fatal dog maulings in the State of Ohio since 2005, only one, the death of Ernie Assad, resulted in criminal charges. In that case, the dogs -- a pit bull and American bulldog -- belonged to former Cleveland Browns tight end Darnell Sanders, who had asked a friend, Natalie Gruttadauria, to watch them while he was away. The dogs got loose and attacked Assad while he was watering plants in his backyard. Charges against Natalie were later dismissed.4
02/07/14: Pit Bulls Kill Woman
Dayton, OH - In a developing story,5 Dayton Police report that a woman was killed by two pit bulls outside her East Bruce Avenue home. In a horrific, but predictable scenario, the news article bluntly states: "Dayton Police say they came upon the woman's body on the sidewalk. A nearby neighbor called 911 and reported seeing the body on the sidewalk. She said the body was face down and naked." Officers shot and killed both pit bulls suspected to have attacked the woman.
A number of fatal pit bull attacks involve the victim being stripped naked -- including their shoes -- during the violent attack.Police obtained a warrant for 35 East Bruce Avenue, where they arrested two people, a man and a woman, on suspicion of the owning the two pit bulls. The deceased woman's identity has not been released, pending notification of family members. What is known is that this woman died a violent death at the jaws of two pit bulls, and as she tried to protect herself, the dogs ripped off her likely substantial clothing (snow) leaving her dead and completely naked on a sidewalk near her home.
2The original Dayton Daily News article that was linked to was live for about 24 hours then removed by the newspaper (or placed behind a paywall). That is pathetic. DogsBite.org will no longer link to "any" Dayton Daily News article. The original link has been replaced with a WHIO.com article that is closely related.
3Ohio v. Anderson, 1991, Supreme Court of Ohio - "Appellee's contention is based on the confusion which he believes has arisen as to whether the statute covers only purebred pit bulls or mixed breeds as well. We perceive this as a problem of semantics alone. If a dog possesses the physical and behavioral traits discussed in this opinion, then its owner must comply with the statute or risk arrest and prosecution for noncompliance. The formal breed name which has been assigned to the dog is not relevant...
Ohio's pit bull statute is the product of a prudent legislative compromise and sound public policy. Appellee's brief suggests that if the legislature had referenced particular dog breeds, such as the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, then the statute would be constitutionally viable. Since we find the phrase "commonly known as a pit bull" sufficient to inform a dog owner of ordinary intelligence as to the conduct prohibited, we find this argument unpersuasive. Moreover, sound public policy compels us to find the Ohio statute superior to those statutes which rely on recognized dog breeds."
4Scroll down to: What happened in the case of two dogs that mauled an 82-year-old man outside his Parma home on April 13, 2005? Notably, the charges were merely misdemeanor charges.
5This is a developing story -- a slightly newer article is naming the dog breed "mastiff-mixes."
09/05/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Trotwood Senior Citizen Killed by Own Dogs
10/21/10: State Law Only Allows for Meager Charges After Near Fatal Mauling
02/07/10: Tom Skeldon, the 'Biased' Blade and Recent Ruling Halting Enforcement of Toledo...
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Family Owned Pit Bull
UPDATE 02/19/14: In a Tuesday update by KXAN, it was revealed that the child's family also owned a pit bull.1 "The Mayes family had their own pit bull that neighbors and family members say is friendly, and the kids play with it all the time," states the article. Details remain sparse partly because the local paper, the Temple Daily Telegram, is behind a paywall. Today, the Killeen Daily Herald noted that the attacking female pit bull also had two puppies at the time of the incident.
The child's mother, Cherella Lyles, said she left her daughter in the bedroom watching cartoons before the attack. No one realized the toddler was missing until it was too late. "She snuck out the back door to play with the puppies," Lyles said. "The mother of the puppies attacked my baby," she said. What Lyles neglected to add was that the mother was a chained female pit bull temporality staked out in the family's backyard, unfamiliar to the child -- a catastrophe scenario.
02/17/14: Child Killed by Pit Bull
Temple, TX - In developing story, a 2-year old girl died Monday after being attacked by a pit bull her family was "watching for a friend." The toddler slipped out of the house and into the backyard where the dog was chained. Temple police identified the victim as Je'vaeh Mayes. Officers were dispatched to the home about 11:30 am. While en route, however, police were notified that a toddler attacked by a dog had just been admitted to the Scott & White Hospital emergency room.
It was determined by officers to be the same victim. Je'vaeh Mayes did not survive her injuries.
The despairing other side of the scenario that involved 38% of all fatal dog maulings in 2013 -- the victim was either visiting or living temporarily with the dog's owner when the fatal attack occurred -- is the exact opposite and equally as dangerous, especially for children. When a pit bull or other dangerous dog breed is visiting or temporarily staying with a family with young children. No family should ever agree to "watch" a friend or relative's pit bull or rottweiler under these circumstances.
03/20/13: Report: Texas Dog Bite Fatalities, January 1, 2005 to February 17, 2013
02/19/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: 'Nightmare' Pit Bull Kills Uvalde County Boy
01/20/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Chained Pit Bull Kills Montgomery County Boy
03/28/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Victoria Boy, 4, Mauled to Death by Chained Pit Bull
05/14/09: 2009 Dog Bite Fatality: 2-Year Old Boy Killed by Pit Bull in Luling, TX
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Woman Found Dead
Corona, CA - An elderly woman was discovered dead in her garage after being mauled to death by her grandson's three rottweilers, according to officials. Police responded to a call about 4:40 pm Sunday, January 26, to a home in the 1500 block of Pera Street, according to Corona police Capt. Tom Weeks. They found Annabell Martin, 89-years old, dead after being attacked by the three dogs. The Riverside County coroner's office website simply states, "Victim of dog mauling."
Sgt. Kurt James, of the Riverside County coroner’s office said that Martin died at some unknown time earlier that day. No one witnessed the attack, according to Weeks. Arriving police officers shot one rottweiler to death after the dogs lunged at them; the other two dogs were confiscated and euthanized. The grandson told police the animals had no history of aggressive behavior, Weeks said, and officials had no record of animal control receiving complaints from the house.
A separate news report states that the victim's daughter discovered Martin's badly bitten body.
12/31/13: Fatal Rottweiler Attacks - The Archival Record
02/15/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Elderly Woman Mauled to Death by Pit Bulls in Motel Room
Thursday, January 30, 2014
UPDATE 01/30/14: McLean County authorities have euthanized all three family pit bulls seized in connection to the death of a 4-year old girl. Kara Hartrich died of massive blood loss due to multiple dog bite injuries after being attacked by at least two family pit bulls. County officials put all three dogs down, two unneutered males and one female, after the state-mandated 10-day rabies quarantine period, McLean County Health Department spokeswoman Kera Brossette said.
McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers said that no charges would be filed as a result of the deadly attack. "Sometimes, if we know there is a dangerous dog involved, because of a prior documented history to attacks, then we can make an argument of criminal wrongdoing," Chambers said. "In this circumstance, the dog(s) involved did not have a prior documented history of bites," he said. As is true in numerous severe maulings and fatal attacks inflicted by pit bulls.
Learn about Illinois state issues regarding this fatality: Pit Bull Attacks and Dogfighting in Illinois
01/20/14: Died on 4th Birthday
Kara Elizabeth Hartrich, 4, of Bloomington died on her fourth birthday, according to her obituary. She was pronounced dead on January 17, 2014 after suffering massive blood loss and multiple dog bites to her head, neck and arms after being attacked by at least two of her family's three pit bulls. Kara was born on January 17, 2010, according to her obituary. An online fundraiser set up at Youcaring.com raised over $15,000 to help her family pay for funeral costs and related expenses.
01/18/14: Fatality Victim Identified
The 4-year old girl killed by one or more family dogs in her Bloomington home has been identified as Kara Hartrich. McLean County Coroner Beth Kimmerling said an autopsy done Saturday revealed that Kara Hartrich died from massive blood loss and multiple bites to her head, neck and arms. She was pronounced dead at 5:50 pm on Friday at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal. McLean County Animal Control department seized all three of her family's pit bulls.
Pantagraph.com reports additional details, including that she was attacked by at least two of the family's three pit bulls. All three dogs are adults; two unaltered males and one female. Authorities believe the two male pit bulls are responsible for the attack. At the time of the attack, the child's grandmother was babysitting Kara and her 2-year old sister. The grandmother tried to separate the dogs from Kara, but the animals turned on her. She then tried to protect the 2-year old child.
The family lives in a subdivision with streets named after the Monopoly game. Kara's street, Parker Avenue, is a street filled with two-story houses with fenced yards, swing-sets and minivans, according to Pantagraph.com. Seems like the ideal setting of a safe family neighborhood, except for her family's choice in dog breed, which kills more people that all other breeds combined. Kara's mother described her as a "happy little girl" and now she is making funeral arrangements for her.
Images of the family's three pit bulls from the father's public Facebook page (Jan. 18, 2014).
01/18/14: Autopsy Underway
Bloomington, IL - Late Friday afternoon, Bloomington Police responded to a call regarding an unresponsive child in the 2000 block of Parker Avenue. Upon arrival, rescue personnel discovered an unresponsive 4-year old girl with multiple dog bite injuries at the family home, according to McLean County Coroner Beth Kimmerling. The child was transported to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal where she was pronounced dead by Emergency Department Staff.
An autopsy is tentatively scheduled for Saturday morning, according to Kimmerling. “Early information suggests that the 4-year old was at home with a younger sibling and a grandparent when the incident occurred,” Kimmerling said. The family owns three dogs, described by their owners as pit bulls. McLean County Animal Control took the animals into custody. It is expected that the child's identity, along with preliminary autopsy results, will be released Saturday.
12/27/13: 2013 Fatal Dog Mauling Image of the Year: The Funeral of Ryan Maxwell
12/10/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: 2-Year Old Girl Mauled to Death by Dogs in South Chicago
03/10/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: 7-Year Old 'Visiting' Galesburg Boy Killed by Pit Bull
Monday, January 20, 2014
Fatal Dog Attack Statistics
DogsBite.org recorded 32 fatal dog attacks in 2013. Citations of each victim's history are located on the Fatality Citations page. The last year the CDC recorded human deaths by dog breeds was 1998. Likely due to pressures from animal advocacy groups, the CDC discontinued research in this area. Since 1998, pit bulls alone have killed 236 U.S. citizens. The only other known nonprofit organization, in addition to DogsBite.org, that tracks this vital data publicly is Animal People.1
- 32 U.S. dog bite-related fatalities occurred in 2013. Despite being regulated in Military Housing areas and over 700 U.S. cities, pit bulls contributed to 78% (25) of these deaths. Pit bulls make up about 6% of the total U.S. dog population.2
- Together, pit bulls (25) and rottweilers (1), the second most lethal dog breed, accounted for 81% of the total recorded deaths in 2013. This same combination accounted for 74% of all fatal attacks during the 9-year period of 2005 to 2013.
- The breakdown between these two breeds is substantial over this 9-year period. From 2005 to 2013, pit bulls killed 176 Americans, about one citizen every 18.6 days, versus rottweilers, which killed 33, about one citizen every 99.5 days.
- In the year of 2013, the combination of pit bulls (25), rottweilers (1) and bullmastiffs (2) accounted for 88% of all dog bite-related fatalities. Notably, the two bullmastiff-mixes3 were littermates that inflicted death within a 6-month period.
- Annual data from 2013 shows that 56% (18) of the fatality victims were children 7-years and younger, and 44% (14) were adults, 25-years and older. Of the total children killed by dogs in 2013, 61% (11) were ages 4-years and younger.
- Annual data shows that when combining all age groups, male and female fatality victims were equivalent, 16 and 16. Amongst children 7-years and younger, however, males were excessively victims, 72% (13), versus females 28% (5).
- In 2013, over one-third, 38% (12), of all dog bite fatality victims were either visiting or living temporarily with the dog's owner when the fatal attack occurred, up from 32% in 2012. Children 7-years and younger accounted for 83% (10) of these deaths.
- Of this subset of 12 fatalities, 92% (11) were inflicted by pit bulls and 58% (7) involved a babysitter, including a relative or friend under the directive to watch a child 7-years or younger. All 7 of these child deaths were inflicted by pit bulls.
- 47% (15) of all fatalities in 2013 involved more than one dog; 16% (5) involved breeding on the dog owner's property either actively or in the recent past, and 9% (3) involved tethered dogs. All 3 chaining deaths were attributed to pit bulls.
- Dog ownership information for 2013 shows that family dogs comprised 47% (15) of all fatal attack occurrences; 78% (25) of the attacks resulting in human death occurred on the dog owner's property and 22% (7) resulted in criminal charges.
- California led lethal dog attacks in 2013 with 5 deaths. 100% were attributed to pit bulls and 60% resulted in criminal charges. Texas followed with 4 deaths and 0% criminal charges. Arkansas and South Carolina followed, each with 3 deaths.
- See: 9-Year U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Chart (2005 to 2013)
- See: Full news release
Several areas stand out in 2013 dog bite fatality statistics. The percentage of pit bull fatalities in 2013, 78%, is a 17% increase from 2012 and is the highest percentage ever recorded in the 9-years of data DogsBite.org has collected (2005 to 2013). The following represents the year and the percentage of pit bull fatalities of the total dog bite fatalities recorded for that year: 2005 (57%), 2006 (58%), 2007 (60%), 2008 (65%), 2009 (44%), 2010 (67%), 2011 (71%) and 2012 (61%).
Adjacent year fatality data is usually insignificant, but a 9-year high is not when in context with years showing a steady rise. Adjacent year nonfatal attack data, however, can be very significant. The latest report by Merritt Clifton, Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to December 31, 2013, shows a shocking rise in nonfatal pit bull attacks -- involving serious bodily injury, disfigurements and maimings -- between 2012 and 2013 (See: graphic chart).
Visiting Dog Owner's Home and Babysitters
In 2013, over one-third, 38% (12) of all dog bite-related fatality victims were either visiting or living temporarily with the dog's owner when the fatal attack occurred, up from 32% in 2012. Children 7-years and younger suffered the brunt of these attacks, 83% (10). A closer look shows that 7 of the 12 deaths involved babysitters, and all 7 deaths were inflicted by pit bulls. In at least 5 deaths, multiple pit bulls were in the babysitter's household too, as if one were not dangerous enough.
In the death of Daniel "Doe," 2-years old, the babysitter was watching 5 children at the time -- all under 10-years old, each with special needs. Lara Czerniski, 28, also had 4 adult pit bulls in her household. In this "loaded" high-risk scenario, it is not unpredictable for a disaster to unfold. The other egregious babysitter case involved Samuel Zamudio, also 2-years old. At the time of the attack, he was being watched by his uncle in a household with 8 pit bull-mixes (5 were adults).
Parents must come to grips with what this data means. It is a high-risk scenario to allow your child to visit the home of a friend or relative with one or more pit bulls. It does not matter if those pit bulls are "good" to the dog owner's own children -- those children are not visiting. All babysitters must be thoroughly questioned by parents regarding 1.) If they have dogs in their household and 2.) If yes, what kind? If the answer is pit bull or other known high-risk dog breed, find a new babysitter.
2Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to December 31, 2013, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People, December 31, 2013.
3In the January 2, 2014 arrest warrant of Brande Coy, the littermates are described as "bullmastiff-pit bull mix" dogs; bullmastiff being the primary breed and listed first. As the criminal case of Coy advances, more information will likely be learned about the dogs' lineage. Both dogs may be moved at that time to the "pit bull and pit bull-mix" category (Noted on January 18, 2014).
12/27/13: 2013 Fatal Dog Mauling Image of the Year: The Funeral of Ryan Maxwell
01/03/14: 2013 Fatal Dog Attack Identification Photographs