DogsBite Blog ::
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Fostoria police chief interviewed after man dies trying to break up a pit bull fight.
Pit Bull Owner Dies
Fostoria, OH - Late Thursday night, a man died after breaking up a fight between two pit bulls. 60-year old Michael Parks let his pit bull, named Mia, outside at about 11 pm. The dog bolted across Davoli street and attacked a leashed pit bull being walked by its owner. While trying to break up the fight, Parks was bitten on his recently installed dialysis shunt, which is a connection between a vein and artery, usually located on the forearm or upper arm. He suffered massive bleeding.
Michael Parks was pronounced dead at a local hospital later that night.Fostoria Police Chief Kieth Loreno reminds dog owners how dangerous dog-on-dog attacks are. "If you stick your hands down there and the dog is fighting with the other one with their teeth, obviously you're going to get injured," he said. Such attacks are exponentially more dangerous when involving one or more pit bulls. Parks' sister-in-law, "who did not want to be identified," claimed Mia was a "gentle giant." It is unknown what became of Parks' pit bull or the leashed one.
Similar Dog Bite Fatalities
A similar death occurred in Cincinnati in 2012. Ronnel Brown, 40, was attacked by his own pit bull-mix. Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco explained, "He was on dialysis and had a device in his forearm that during the scuffle with the dog, the dog bit him in the forearm and ripped a hole in that device, that led to a lot of blood loss." Because Brown's dog was going "berserk," paramedics had to wait 10 minutes before entering his home. When they did he was already dead.
A "well-placed bite" by a pit bull without an apparatus involved has occurred on occasion in the past too. In 2015, Roy Higgenbotham, 62, died after a pit bull bite severed his radial artery near his left wrist directly causing his death. In 2014, Nancy Newberry quickly bled to death after her daughter's pit bull bit her in the abdomen where she had previously had an operation. In 2008, Robert Howard bled to death in Detroit after a stray pit bull tore out a major artery in his calf.
04/26/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Breaks Chain, Attacks and Kills Man in Dayton, Ohio
06/09/16: Criminal Trial: Babysitter Found Guilty After Pit Bull Kills Visiting Baby in Dayton, Ohio
04/20/16: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies After Pit Bull Attack in Shaker Heights, Ohio
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Criminal Trial: Preliminary Hearing of Former Officer Whose 'Personal' Dual-Certified K-9 Killed a Man and Injured a Woman
Alex Geiger, 25, Faces Three Felonies After Vicious Mauling Death
Former officer Alex Geiger, 25, faces felonies after his "personal" police-trained K-9 killed a man.
Geiger Will Stand Trial
UPDATE 07/20/17: On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Hugh Mullin III ruled the criminal case against a former Grover Beach police officer will move forward. On December 13, Alex Geiger's attack-trained police K-9, which he kept as a "personal" pet after leaving the Exeter K-9 unit in August, escaped his property and mauled two people, killing one. Geiger faces two felonies for failing to maintain control of a dangerous dog and one felony count of involuntary manslaughter.
There is an inherent danger (with keeping retired police dogs), and I think Officer Geiger knew that. - San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Hugh Mullin IIIDespite Geiger's defense raising a number of protocol breaches by Sgt. Juan Leon -- Geiger's supervisor and the first officer on the scene of the attack -- Judge Mullin determined there was enough evidence to proceed to trial. David Fear, 64, died from complications of blood loss due to his bite injuries three days after the attack. Betty Long, 86, suffered bite injuries and broken bones from falling. She was released from a rehabilitation center in March and continues to recover.
"Retired" Police Dogs
Wednesday's proceedings, along with Judge Mullin's ruling, focused on "retired" police dogs and the absence of "standard procedures" to follow for officers and other owners of these dogs. Mullin stated, "Maybe police departments should do something about it." This spells out our main interest in this case. Geiger had to sign a waiver with the city of Exeter when he purchased this dog, removing the city of any liability if it ever attacked someone under his "private" ownership.
Cities protect their wallets when releasing K-9s to "private" ownership and good luck obtaining homeowner's insurance for one of these dogs.Geiger's Belgian malinois, Neo, was hardly retired in the traditional sense. The police-trained K-9 was only 2.5 years old. One month before the fatal attack, Geiger had unsuccessfully lobbied Grover Breach to start a K-9 program. Four months earlier, Neo had been active duty with Geiger in the Exeter K-9 unit, which is why Geiger had to pay over $5,000 dollars for the dog -- it still had some years left. Older, traditionally "retired" police K-9s are usually gifted to their handlers for $1.
Shadowy K-9 Market
Also on Wednesday, Jay Brock testified. Brock operates Top Dog Training Center, a police K-9 training center in Tulare County. Earlier news reports indicate this is where Neo gained certificates in detection and basic patrol courses in 2015. "Brock testified that he purchased the dog when it was 3 to 6 months old from a private owner in Southern California. He didn’t know the seller’s name, paid in cash, and didn’t ask for a receipt from the transaction," reports The Tribune.1
Exeter acquired Neo in September 2015 when it was 1.5 years old. By December it was dual-certified in narcotics detection and patrol work.Since 2014, our nonprofit has been tracking severe maulings of "innocents" by police K-9s -- bystanders and unintended victims. The murky sources of these dogs often have a shared feature, described in vague terms like, an "eastern block import." However, what Brock describes is cloak-and-dagger-esque. The market is so lucrative for protection bred police and military dogs it's hardly surprising that private US-based middlemen have created a secondary, cheaper market.
The last portion of The Tribune's report highlights how Geiger's defense used the the Grover Beach Police Department's questionable treatment of the investigation and missing evidence to help their client. Geiger was employed by this department when his "retired" K-9 attacked Fear and Long. Geiger remained on paid administrative leave until February 1 when he resigned, a step clearly prompted by the February 2 announcement of two felony charges filed against him.
Police vacated the investigation, dumping it into the hands of San Luis Obisco County Animal Services, then "stalled" in handing over evidence.If one eliminates the troubling police "favors" in this case -- failure to collect and preserve certain evidence, turning off a body cam early, quickly euthanizing and cremating the dog without an examination first and more -- the criminal charges filed against Geiger, and his fulfillment of them, are straight forward in California. So let's revisit them. Geiger is charged with two counts of failing to maintain control of a dangerous animal and one felony count of involuntary manslaughter.
§ 399. Mischievous animal causing death or serious bodily injury; negligence of owner or person having custody or control; punishment
(a) If any person owning or having custody or control of a mischievous animal, knowing its propensities, willfully suffers it to go at large, or keeps it without ordinary care, and the animal, while so at large, or while not kept with ordinary care, kills any human being who has taken all the precautions that the circumstances permitted, or which a reasonable person would ordinarily take in the same situation, is guilty of a felony.
(b) If any person owning or having custody or control of a mischievous animal, knowing its propensities, willfully suffers it to go at large, or keeps it without ordinary care, and the animal, while so at large, or while not kept with ordinary care, causes serious bodily injury to any human being who has taken all the precautions that the circumstances permitted, or which a reasonable person would ordinarily take in the same situation, is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony.
192(b) Involuntary Manslaughter
(b) Involuntary -- in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony; or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection.
KSBY has some video coverage of day two of the preliminary hearing as does KCOY/KEYT.
07/18/17: Day One of Hearing
During the first day of the preliminary hearing for Alex Geiger, Betty Long took the stand along with two police K-9 trainers and Grover Beach police Sgt. Juan Leon, Geiger's supervisor and the first officer on the scene of the attack, reports the The Tribune. Geiger, who was also on duty, arrived at the scene a minute later, Leon said. He informed Leon that both dogs belonged to him. Despite the dogs being part of the crime scene, Leon allowed Geiger to take them to his home alone.
The protocol breaches get worse. The Tribune reports, "Leon said he did not collect or preserve several pieces of evidence, including his own bloody uniform, nor an air rifle and unspecified 'gardening tool' found in Fear’s driveway near the attack site. Blood samples from Geiger’s hands weren’t collected, either." Leon also testified that his in-car recording device was not functioning and that he turned off his body camera at some point when he began talking to the police chief.
Leon did not closely examine Geiger's 6-foot high wooden fence with broken boards at the base, nor did he look into Geiger's backyard before handing the investigation over to county animal services. Geiger kept both dogs in his fenced backyard, where he also has a tall 5-sided kennel, but he did not secure either dog inside of it that day. While he was a K-9 officer at Exeter, Geiger was trained to keep K-9s locked in a kennel unless under the direct supervision of their handler.
"The dogs continued to chew on Dave, and it was so bloody. I couldn’t do anything ... I thought I was going to die, and thought, this is it." - Betty LongFinally, Geiger's defense raised the possibility this his attack-trained Belgian malinios mauled Betty Long and brutally killed David Fear -- after the dog chewed through Geiger's wooden fence -- because Fear may have wielded the air rifle or gardening tool as a weapon. Long said Fear tried to fight off the dogs, but there was "no way" Fear used a weapon. Conveniently, Sgt. Leon never collected or preserved these pieces of evidence, the same way he treated his own bloody uniform.
KSBY has some video coverage of day one of the preliminary hearing as does KCOY/KEYT.
07/18/17: Court Docket - People v. Geiger
Grover Beach, CA - The preliminary hearing of former Grover Beach police officer Alex Geiger resumes today in a San Luis Obispo County court. Geiger faces multiple felonies after his two dogs escaped his property on December 13 and mauled two residents, killing one. The primary culprit was an attack-trained police K-9 that Geiger kept as a "personal" pet. Geiger purchased the dog from the city of Exeter where he had worked just four months earlier as a police K-9 officer.
Prosecutors initially charged Geiger with two felonies for failing to maintain control of a dangerous animal in connection to the death of David Fear, 64, and serious bodily injury to Betty Long, 86. In June, prosecutors added a third felony charge against Geiger, involuntary manslaughter, which offers prosecutors more choices as the case moves into the preliminary hearing. Despite the new charge, Geiger still only faces a maximum sentence of about four years in prison if convicted.
Geiger is being charged because he had full knowledge that his police-trained K-9 was dangerous and he failed to properly contain the dog.Leading up the preliminary hearing, The Tribune reports that on the day of the deadly attack, Geiger's dogs had escaped his property earlier and chased a mailman. The information came to light a week ago after Geiger's attorney, Visalia-based John Jackson, filed court documents seeking to dismiss the involuntary manslaughter charge. Jackson included in the filing reports from police and animal control officers who interviewed Geiger, Long, neighbors and other witnesses.
Geiger told Animal Services Director Eric Anderson that on the morning of December 13 his roommate told him that one of the boards in the fence had come loose. Geiger said he returned home and resecured it. At noon, the dogs menaced the mailman. At 1:15 pm, the dogs attacked Fear and Long.2 Geiger's next-door neighbor reported that his dogs "were a problem," and would go "crazy, jumping on the fence," and "seemed to go nuts" every time he went in his backyard.
On the day of the attack, the K-9 was not locked in Geiger's backyard secure kennel, as K-9 policy teaches, but loose in his fenced backyard.Case Background
On December 13, Geiger's Belgian malinios, Neo, a dual-certified police K-9 in detection and patrol work (bite work), escaped his property and attacked Betty Long and her neighbor David Fear who intervened to save her life. Fear suffered life-threatening injuries, including two arteries in his arms being severed. He died three days later while hospitalized. Long suffered serious bite injuries and broken bones from falling. Long was released from a rehabilitation center in March.
In September, Geiger was hired by Grover Beach, which does not have a K-9 unit. For weeks after the attack the city would not release the officer's name or details about the dog's training. An expose by The Tribune, detailing Geiger's previous employment, showed his dog was an police-trained K-9 and that one month after Geiger began working for the city -- and a month before his dog attacked Fear and Long -- Geiger unsuccessfully lobbied for a K-9 program in Grover Beach.
Prior to joining the city of Grover Beach, Geiger had worked at the Exeter Police Department in Tulare County with the last year spent as a K-9 patrol officer with Neo. Six months before Geiger moved to Grover Beach -- taking the dog with him as a "pet" -- Neo had bitten a trainer during a "bite suite exercise." The K-9 was not taken out of service afterward. When Geiger purchased the dog from Exeter for $5,287 in August, he signed a waiver relieving Exeter of any future liability.
2It appears Geiger's two dogs escaped more than once from his home on December 13. However, the mailman incident occurred about noon and the attack occurred just over an hour later at 1:15 pm. Whether Geiger's dogs were loose during the whole period should become clear after more testimony and evidence comes to light.
06/12/17: 2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Former Officer Charged with Felonies After his 'Personal'...
06/30/16: Criminal Trial: Detroit Pit Bull Owner Convicted on Two Counts of Manslaughter...
06/09/16: Criminal Trial: Babysitter Found Guilty After Pit Bull Kills Visiting Baby in Dayton, Ohio
Thursday, July 13, 2017
The Friendly Skies Fade After a Delta Passenger is Severely Attacked by an Unrestrained 'Emotional Support Dog'
Delta is Not Protecting Passengers from Large Untrained Dogs
In early June, a man was repeatedly attacked by an emotional support dog on a Delta flight.
Atlanta, GA - On June 4, the widely abused loophole in three federal acts pertaining to service animals and emotional support animals went viral after a man was repeatedly attacked in the face by an alleged "support" dog on board a domestic Delta flight before takeoff. It was an escalating violent attack. The dog's owner could not stop his canine from mauling the victim, nor did the owner heed to multiple warnings the victim asked before the attack, "Is this dog going to bite me?"
In our extensive examination, we show the conditions of what likely led to this attack on Delta Air Lines and how many dog owners have been gaming the system since the revised Americans with Disabilities Act was adopted in 2010. We also discuss why emotional support animals should be limited in size in airline cabins -- these dogs do not perform a task for persons with disabilities, nor do they require any training. We address how future, similar attacks can be prevented as well.
- Definitions and Gaming the System
- The Unprovoked Attack - Let's Review What Just Happened
- The Case Against Delta - Competing Public Interests
- Inconsistent Safety Policies - ESAs Should Be Limited in Size in Cabins
- Addendum: Psychiatric Service Dogs and Veterans Affairs
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) only covers service animals, which are restricted to dogs and miniature horses.1 Service dogs are afforded access to many public places, including grocery stores, public transportation, restaurants and more. Under the ADA, service dogs do not require proof of certified training, licensing or identification, but they must be able to perform tasks for people with physical and mental disabilities. Service animals are working animals, not pets.
Emotional support animals can be a wider range of species than service animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, miniature pigs and more.2The ADA excludes coverage for emotional support animals (ESA) and other animals whose "sole function is to provide comfort." Two other federal acts do cover ESAs, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). Unlike service dogs, ESAs do not require any training. A letter from a licensed mental health professional stating the passenger has a mental health-related disability is all that is required for the animal to travel in the cabin. These are Delta's requirements:
- Delta requires documentation (not more than one year old) on letterhead from either a licensed medical or mental health professional to be presented to an agent upon check in stating:
- Title, address, license number and jurisdiction (state/country it was issued), phone number, and signature of mental health professional.
- The passenger has a mental health-related disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - 4th Edition.
- That the passenger needs the emotional support or psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at the passenger's destination.
- That the person listed in the letter is under the care of the assessing physician or mental health professional.
Safety advocates, as well as many guide dog advocates, point out the ease of gaming the system under all three acts. Anyone can purchase a fake service dog vest and credentials online -- the ADA requires neither -- and claim their dog is a service animal. An entity cannot ask a person what their disability is. They can only ask what tasks a service dog performs. No proof of certified training or licensing is required under the ADA. Thus service dog fraud is rampant today.
Qualifying for an ESA under the FHA and ACAA also means having a disability, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. For instance, being diagnosed with depression does not necessarily mean a person has a disability. The depression has to be severe enough to disable a person, rendering a person unable to cope with daily living. Many of those gaming the system with ESAs claim to have a disabling mental health condition.
Gaining an ESA letter from a mental health professional can begin by taking a 5-minute online quiz. We answered "rarely", "no" and "never" to the key questions and still qualified as a "good candidate." The next step is to purchase the ESA letter ($149 to $199) and a $25 review by a mental health professional, who screens a longer online assessment test. CertaPet.com promises: No pet fees or a security deposit in housing, no airline fees and the letter lasts one full year.3
CertaPet.com, TherapyPet.com, TheDogtor.net and others, are for-profit entities that provide ESA letters via private online assessment.The fraud entails claiming to have a disabling condition and not truly having one under all three acts. The main difference between service dogs and ESAs is that ESAs require no training. Their only function is to provide comfort to a person with disabilities. Unlike service dogs, ESAs are largely housedogs and require no exposure to complex situations, such as a cramped, crowded airplane. Yet in most aircrafts, ESAs are allowed unrestrained in the cabin. What could go wrong?
The Unprovoked Attack
On June 4, Marlin Jackson of Daphne, Alabama, boarded Delta Flight 1430 at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport bound for San Diego. When he reached his aisle, passenger Ronald Kevin Mundy, Jr., was sitting in the middle seat with his dog in his lap. Witnesses said the dog, described as a 50-pound lab-mix, growled at Jackson just after he got into his window seat. After Jackson asked three times, "Is the dog going to bite me?" The dog repeatedly attacked him in the face.
Passenger Bridget Maddox-PeoplesWe don't learn many more details until four days later, when Jackson's attorney J. Ross Massey of Alexander Shunnarah & Associates released a statement, along with photographs of Jackson's severe facial injuries. From the incident report, we learn this was an escalating violent attack, which in no way represents a common "dog bite." The 50-pound dog attacked his face once and was pulled off by Mundy. The dog broke free from Mundy's grasp and attacked Jackson again.
There was a call for help. You could hear a dog growling and a bark, and someone scream, "I need help, there's a medical emergency."
His face was covered in blood. It was around his eyes, his nose, his cheeks, his shirt. When he walked out, he had a cloth over his face. It was just completely bloody.
The area was completely covered in blood. They came in and sanitized the area. And replaced the airplane seats.
The gentleman in front of the victim and the dog owner indicated that he had cause for alarm. The dog had been growling at this gentleman and the gentleman said, "Is this dog going to bite me?" three times.
There was no [motion] to remove the dog off the plane. - Fox 5 Atlanta
Marlin Jackson of Daphne, Alabama boarded a Delta Air Lines flight traveling from Atlanta to San Diego on Sunday, June 4. Mr. Jackson was assigned a window seat on the left side of the plane. When Mr. Jackson approached his aisle, passenger Ronald Kevin Mundy, Jr. was sitting in the middle seat with his dog in his lap. According to witnesses, the approximately 50-pound dog growled at Mr. Jackson soon after he took his seat.According to Delta, the attack occurred "prior to pushback," before the plane started moving. What if the attack had occurred 15 minutes later as the plane rushed down the runway, engines roaring, with all flight attendants buckled in? Who could have helped Jackson then? What was this 50-pound unrestrained dog doing on Mundy's lap to begin with? Certainly Delta failed in their policy, which calls for the re-accommodation for passengers with larger service animals or ESAs.
The dog continued to act in a strange manner as Mr. Jackson attempted to buckle his seatbelt. The growling increased and the dog lunged for Mr. Jackson's face. The dog began biting Mr. Jackson, who could not escape due to his position against the plane's window. The dog was pulled away but broke free from Mr. Mundy's grasp and attacked Mr. Jackson a second time. The attacks reportedly lasted 30 seconds and resulted in profuse bleeding from severe lacerations to Mr. Jackson's face, including a puncture through the lip and gum. Mr. Jackson's injuries required immediate transport to the Emergency Room via ambulance where he received 28 stitches. - J. Ross Massey
After Jackson was vacated and transported by ambulance to an emergency center, a Delta crew came in and sanitized the scene, according to Maddox-Peoples. The crew literally pulled out the bloody airplane seats and replaced them with new ones, she said. Local law enforcement did not charge Mundy and ultimately "cleared the dog to travel." Mundy was re-accommodated on a later Delta flight; his attacking support dog was placed in a kennel in the cargo hold for its duration.
No media outlet has been able to reach Mundy since. Delta won't comment on what documentation Mundy presented to the airline.Despite the volume of news articles written about this attack, only Atlanta Patch stated the dog had its rabies vaccination. Delta does not require a health certificate for service dogs or ESAs on domestic flights -- no proof of vaccinations is required. Furthermore, as is standard in most jurisdictions, including Atlanta, there was no 10-day rabies quarantine for the dog in Atlanta. It is unknown if local law enforcement arranged for a quarantine when the dog arrived in California.
Let's Review What Just Happened
- Before the airplane pushed back, a large unrestrained ESA repeatedly attacked a passenger seated next to it on board a Delta aircraft packed with passengers.
- The dog's owner, a 24-year old active duty Marine Corps member, could not stop the dog's first attack or the second, despite the 50-pound dog being within his grasp.
- The 44-year old victim had no way to defend himself or escape. He was trapped in a window seat when a uncontrolled dog seated next to him attacked him in the face.
- Delta does not require rabies vaccinations for service dogs or ESAs. Mundy's dog was vaccinated. But bites to the face may still require rabies vaccine treatment.
- It is unknown if Mundy's dog ever underwent a standard 10-day rabies quarantine, which is a period used to observe a dog for rabies even if it has been vaccinated.
- Mundy was not charged after his unrestrained ESA viciously attacked a passenger. He was re-accommodated on a later Delta flight with his dog flying in a kennel.
- This type of unprovoked attack by an unrestrained dog could have resulted in a dangerous dog hearing had it occurred in any other public environment.
- It is unknown if there is any adjudication process when an "alleged" service dog or ESA inflicts an unprovoked severe attack upon a passenger on an aircraft.
When Fox 5 Atlanta broke the story featuring the vivid testimony by Maddox-Peoples, another important piece of news came to light. Mundy, 24-years old, was seen cradling the dog in his arms in the gate area after departing the plane. According to the flight crew, they saw him weeping and repeatedly saying, "I know they're going to put him down." That was Mundy's response after his allegedly "fully trained" to behave in the cabin ESA viciously attacked a passenger in the face.
According to news accounts, the police report stated Mundy was a military service member with the Marine Corps who "advised that the dog was issued to him for support." We could find no online documentation confirming this statement from any U.S. military branch, which implies the military "issued" this ESA. Recovering service members and veterans may be "eligible" for a service dog through an accredited vendor. Otherwise, it is unclear how soldiers obtain ESAs.
The Case Against Delta
The case against Delta is a complex one. The Delta policy states that ESAs "must be trained to behave properly in public settings" and that a kennel is not required in the cabin "if they are fully trained and meet the same requirements as a service animal." Delta's last condition conflicts with the definition of an ESA, which requires no training, not even basic obedience training. The only true requirement for an ESA in the cabin is a letter from a licensed mental health professional.
The paradox is that if a person with a disability has a dog with the training of a service dog, that dog by definition is a service dog not an ESA.Despite this contradiction, and according to Delta's policy, an ESA that does not require a kennel is equivalent to a service dog in training requirements and for stowing purposes. So Mundy's 50-pound dog should have triggered Delta's re-accommodation for passengers with "larger service animals" if the dog could not fit underseat. But this policy was not triggered on Delta Flight 1430. Instead, the 50-pound emotional support dog was on Mundy's lap in tightly cramped quarters.4
The FAA requires that all service animals be stowed on the floor space below your seat for safety purposes during takeoff and landing -- unless it is a small lap-held service animal. The animal may not encroach on other passengers or extend into the aisles. If a service animal is too large for these conditions to be met in a standard seat, they must be re-accommodated to a seat with more room. Delta did not follow its own service animal requirements nor did it follow FAA regulations.
Competing Public Interests
Jackson's attorney, J. Ross Massey, made several compelling arguments after the attack. We combined the main ones below. First, why wasn't Delta's policy for the re-accommodation of "larger service animals" followed? Second, passengers expect large dogs traveling unrestrained in the cabin to be trained to handle this environment. The other 99% of travelers on a plane have a legitimate public interest in knowing if a large unrestrained dog seated next to them is safe.
Massey makes these arguments without stating the elephant in the room -- the people who are gaming the system by claiming to have a disabling condition and are taking poorly or untrained dogs onto airplanes in order to have their pets fly free. Alarmingly, these people are able to easily do so within the heavily regulated United States airline industry, where safety standards are supposed to be the highest because travel occurs at 30,000 feet in the air at 550 miles per hour!
We are "concerned with Delta Air Lines' compliance with their policies to ensure the safety of all passengers," Massey said in a written statement released the to media. "It is troubling that an airline would allow a dog of such substantial size to ride in a passenger's lap without a muzzle. Especially considering the dog and its owner were assigned a middle seat despite Delta Air Lines' policies that call for the re-accommodation of larger animals."
"We expect airlines to follow procedures as required and verify any dogs traveling unrestrained in the open cabin are trained for handling the large crowds and enclosed environments encountered on board an airplane," Massey said.
In a subsequent Atlanta Journal-Constitution piece, Massey said, "You have two completely legitimate public interests." There is "the public interest for people who need support animals to have the support animals. But the other 99% of paying customers on that plane have a legitimate public interest as well to know that if they are seated next to a large unrestrained animal, that they can at least feel safe that that animal is trained."
Massey said he believes airlines should still be able to require proof of training or a temperament test because the law says airlines must accept animals except when "the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others." - Kelly Yamanouchi, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 14, 2017
Inconsistent Safety Policies
Recently, another glaring airline incident occurred that shows how inconsistent federal and airline policies are in regards to service animals and ESAs versus passenger safety (See: Mom forced to hold toddler during flight). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Delta allow "lap infants." A parent or guardian can travel with an infant under the age of two, about 25-pounds or less, on their lap without purchasing a ticket. Any child over the age of two is required to have its own seat.
The FAA, however, recommends a government-approved child safety restraint system or device, instead of your lap because "Your arms aren't capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence." Yet, it was suitable, at least on this Delta flight, for Mundy to hold a 50-pound unrestrained ESA on his lap. What happened to basic passenger flight safety, such as "unexpected turbulence" or "cabin pressure loss" while holding a large service animal or ESA?
Larger lap-held service animals may be a widespread practice too. Some airlines are effectively not re-accommodating them to save money.5According to FAA regulations, the placement of lap-held service animals (Section 3-3576) is reserved for service animals that need to be in a person's lap to perform a service for a person with a disability. Lap-held service animals can be "no larger than a lap-held child," states the FAA, which is the 25-pound limit. Otherwise, service animals must be stowed underseat within the person's foot space or re-accommodated to a seat with more room if the service animal is larger.
Continuing on at the FAA website, we've inserted bracketed additions in the following: "There is no limit to the number of service animals [or ESAs] that can be on any flight. Service animals [and ESAs] do not need any health certificates to travel and they do not need to be confined in a container or cage." These animals do not need proof of vaccinations -- regular traveling pets do -- nor do they need to be confined in the cabin. Remember how easy it is to qualify for an ESA?
ESAs Should Be Limited in Size in Cabins
"There are a lot of ingredients you could put in place to prevent attacks, including restricting where the dog and its owner sits or how big the animal is," Massey states in the AJC piece. We agree. The public is unconcerned about small ESAs tucked beneath a seat, whose sole function is to provide comfort to a person with disabilities. That comfort, however, must be scrutinized differently when passengers may be forced to sit next to a large unrestrained and unvetted support dog.
Due to the loopholes in the ADA and ACAA that allow people to game both acts, there are more for-profit online companies than ever today promising an individual can be eligible for an ESA that is "free to fly," at least for a year. Since their emergence in 2008, the Department of Justice has done nothing to deter online companies from selling fake service dog and ESA vests and credentials either. The DOJ is enabling an even larger scale fraud than what already exists.
Even in a perfect world, where no fraud existed, there is a legitimate public interest in restricting large unrestrained ESAs in cabins on aircrafts because they are not required to have any training for these cramped conditions. Even Jackson asking three times, "Is this dog going to bite me?" was not enough for the owner to take preventative action. When one combines the reality of air travel with no training or vetting legally required for ESAs, it becomes a safety issue of its own.
This attack by an unrestrained ESA that disfigured a man's face, possibly permanently, should be a wake up call to the Department of Transportation regarding large ESAs in cabins. The dog's owner could not stop the first attack or the second. By federal law, airlines must accept ESAs in the cabin except when "the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others." Yet the law requires no training for ESAs either because their "sole function is to provide comfort."
Addendum - Psychiatric Service Animals
Though psychiatric service animals did not come into play in the Delta attack, they also warrant examination. Psychiatric service animals (PSA) are trained to perform specific tasks that mitigate psychiatric disabilities of their disabled partners. However, PSAs are treated differently under the ACAA than service dogs. Like ESAs, PSAs require a letter from a licensed mental health professional stating the passenger has a mental health-related disability when flying on an aircraft.
PSAs pose additional challenges to airlines -- and a host of other entities -- because mental disabilities, such as post-traumatic stress, are as not as recognizable as physical disabilities. Service Dog Central, a high authority grassroots website, states PSAs were not always treated differently than traditional service dogs on airplanes. The requirement of a letter for PSAs by a health professional only became necessary after too many "fakers" abused the system.
"You can thank the fakers for that because it didn't used to be that way until faking became such a problem," states the website. - Service Dog CentralVeterans Affairs Ongoing Study
In 2012, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) stopped funding PSAs because the agency is authorized to only pay for evidence-based therapies. The VA only provides service dog benefits to veterans with visual, hearing, or mobility impairments. It reads in part, "VA has not yet been able to determine that these dogs provide a medical benefit to veterans with mental illness. Until such a determination can be made, VA cannot justify providing benefits for mental health service dogs."
In late 2011, the VA launched an internal study on whether service dogs can help heal veterans with PTSD. In April 2016, the Associated Press reported that by four years into the study, only 50 dogs had been placed with veterans. Initially, three nonprofits were contracted to provide 200 service dogs for veterans, which would be compared against a control group that did not receive dogs. By August 2012, all three contracts were terminated due to biting incidents and aggression.
The effort soon ran into trouble. The VA cut off two of the three dog vendors following biting incidents involving participants' children. The final contract was terminated in August 2012 amid allegations of lax veterinary care and placement of dogs "with known aggressive behavior," according to VA records. By then, only 17 dogs had been placed."The debate has highlighted an overall lack of standards in the service dog industry," continues Breed. Medical doctors and trainers have conflicting opinions about the study's design. The VA will only pay benefits for service dogs trained by a group accredited by Assistance Dog International. Of the vendors chosen in the revamped study only one was accredited by ADI and none had prior experience training animals for veterans with PTSD. The VA's study is set to conclude in 2018.
During the next year and a half, the study protocol was revamped to exclude veterans with children under age 10. It also dropped the no-dog control in favor of a group that would receive less-specialized "emotional support dogs" whose "sole function is to provide comfort." - Allen Breed, Associated Press, April 21, 2016
Eventually, progress will be made and increased standards of training and accreditation will prevail for psychiatric service animals for veterans. In May of this year, ADI posted to their website they completed developing definitive standards for the placement of service dogs assisting veterans with PTSD. Once the standards are ratified by ADI membership any organization seeking accreditation in order to place dogs with military-related PTSD will have to meet those standards.
2Prior to the revised ADA act taking effect in 2010, service animals could be monkeys and other non-domesticated animals (like reptiles). It is likely true that the horrific attack by a pet chimpanzee on Charla Nash in 2009, leaving her blinded and horribly mutilated, impacted the decision to remove these animals from protections under the ADA.
3Notably, CertaPet states in response to their FAQ, "Can I use this for campus housing?" that CertaPet mental health professionals "no longer accept university housing requests." This appears indicative of the wide spread fraud of ESAs under the Fair Housing Act over the past decade. One must assume it is not logical to believe that so many students have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities allowing for an ESA. Over the years, several university housing organizations have contacted DogsBite.org expressing the rampant abuse in this area. At least CertaPet is no longer offering these letters for campus housing.
4Delta's re-accommodation policy for larger service animals also includes when a person with disabilities has "multiple service animals." In 2015 the Department of Justice issued clarifications to the ADA. One of them was that people with disabilities may use more than one service animal to perform different tasks and that efforts should be made by entities to accommodate each. This includes on airplanes. Thus, dog owners who exploit the well-known loophole in the ADA so their dogs can fly free aren't limited to one service dog in the cabin either.
5We could find no specific "lap-held" policy for service animals or ESAs on the Delta Air Lines corporate website. But we did find information from other airlines. All of them infer or directly state a small animal, in accordance with FAA regulations. American Airlines states, "Animal must fit on your lap, at your feet or under your seat." JetBlue Airways states, "All animals must remain on the floor unless the animal can fit completely and comfortably in your lap." United Airlines states, "Small animals may remain in the passenger's lap during the flight." Spirit Airlines spells out the whole FAA clause, "If your emotional support and/or service animal must sit in your lap … provided the animal is no larger than a lap child." Southwest Airlines also uses the FAA language, "Assistance and emotional support animals can be placed on the aircraft floor or (provided the animal is no larger than a child under the age of two) on the customer’s lap." Finally, Alaska Airlines states, "Service animals should be small enough to sit in the lap of the accompanying passenger with a disability or in the personal space of that passenger's seat..."
Recent news articles:
12/28/16: Phony Comfort Pets, Owners Perplex Airlines - USA Today
10/09/16: Emotional Support Animals? Vague Rules Fuel Conflict - USA Today
02/19/16: Emotional Support Animal System So Broken We Registered a Stuffed, Fake Dog
Related dogsbite articles:
03/17/16: Experienced Dog Trainer Shares Dog Attack Story & Professional Opinion
02/11/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: 'Visiting' Child Killed by PTSD Service Dog in Kentucky
09/27/10: Guest Blog Post - 'Fully Vetted' Pit Nutters and Their Service Dogs
08/17/10: Department of Justice Axes Monkeys, Other Creatures From Service Animals
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
On Tuesday, a pack of dogs killed Vinson Tucker, 79, near Whitley City, Kentucky.
Family Owns Pit Bulls
UPDATE 07/12/17: Police have not released the breed of dogs involved in the fatal mauling of Vinson Tucker, 79. On Tuesday, Tucker stopped by Stephens Towing and Wrecker Service. The business owner, Mike Stephens, was not home at the time, according to neighbor Eric Branscum. Stephens apparently told police the dogs were "strays," but Branscum disagrees. "It's hard to say you don't own a dog if you take care of it and it lives at your house, at your business," he said.
"Mike is stating the dogs aren't his, but yet they stayed at his garage ... he had a bunch of puppies from them dogs at his house. - Eric BranscumTwo of Stephens' children, Michael and Stacey, have previously posted public photographs to Facebook showing that family members have owned pit bulls since at least early 2015. In April 2015, Michael posted asking, "Anyone needing a puppy?" He posted an image of the dog and writes, "Mom is a pit, no idea on the dad." In January 2016, Stacey posted a different photograph of a pit bull and confirmed there was a similar pit bull puppy at her father's wrecking business.
07/12/17: Dogs Were Not Strays
The dogs were not strays, according to a neighbor, but belonged to the owner of Stephens Wrecker Service located on Highway 1651. Eric Branscum told WLEX, "It was the worst thing I ever saw in my life." Vinson Tucker knew Mike Stephens and had visited his business several times, Branscum said. When Tucker stopped by Tuesday, Mike was not home. "The dogs turned violent," he said. "The detective said that he had a dog on each arm and a dog on each leg."
"Mike is stating the dogs aren't his, but yet they stayed at his garage. He fed them. Apparently, they had been there a long time, because he had a bunch of puppies from them dogs at his house.One must acknowledge Branscum's courage for speaking out. Stephens' company is likely well known in this rural area and is certainly well known by every Kentucky State Police (KSP) officer within a 50-mile radius. Stephens told KSP he did not own the attacking dogs. In reality, according to Branscum, the dogs lived at Mike Stephens' towing business, he fed them and he even had puppies from them. Branscum says his neighbor Tucker deserves justice after his mauling death.
It's hard to say you don't own a dog if you take care of it and it lives at your house, at your business. I would just like to see justice for his family ... and dealt with accordingly." - Eric Branscum
There are multiple fatal dog attacks that have occurred under this scenario: A person walks into a wrecking company or auto body shop and is fatally attacked by two or more dogs. In 2015, De’Trick Omar Johnson did not even walk onto the property of C.J.'s Garage, an auto repair shop. Johnson had driven there to get his car serviced. When he exited his vehicle in front of the closed gate, a pack of pit bulls tore through the bottom of the garage's front gate and brutally killed him.
07/11/17: Dogs Attack, Kill Man
Whitley City, KY - A 79-year old man was found dead Tuesday morning following a vicious dog attack in McCreary County. About 9:00 am Tuesday, Kentucky State Police received a report of a body lying in the yard of a home off Highway 1651 near Whitley City. Upon arrival, officers discovered the body of Vinson W. Tucker of Stearns. Police obtained surveillance video from a nearby residence. The security footage showed several dogs attacking Tucker and killing him.
Police discovered the dogs near the attack scene. The dogs were euthanized and sent to the State Veterinarian for necropsy and rabies testing. Tucker's body will be transported to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Frankfort, where an autopsy will be performed Wednesday. No other information was released about the dogs, including the number of dogs, the breeds involved, who owned them or if the attack happened on the owner's property. The investigation is ongoing.
Detective Billy Correll discovered Tucker's body, reports the Herald-Leader. Correll said that four dogs were involved in the deadly attack. The dogs were strays that had been seen roaming the area for some time, but had not caused any problems previously, Correll said. Tucker had stopped by to visit the owner of the property when the dogs approached him and attacked, he said. After reviewing the surveillance video, Correll said the attack "looked like it was very unprovoked."
Correll said the footage showed that two of the dogs approached Tucker without incident. When the third dog approached, all of the dogs quickly began attacking and Tucker fell to the ground. Three of the dogs were shot to death and the fourth ran off, Correll said. The dead dogs were sent to the State Veterinarian for necropsy and rabies testing. Correll described the fatal attack as a "tragedy." No breed information was released and it is unclear if the fourth dog was captured.
The last fatal dog attack in Kentucky occurred in 2012 after a Fort Campbell soldier's trained and certified PTSD service dog, fatally mauled a 6-year old boy in Oak Grove, Christian County.
04/19/16: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pack of Pit Bulls Kill Man in Jefferson County, Arkansas
Monday, July 3, 2017
The Attacking Pit Bull is an Alleged "Support Dog" for a Child
Susannah Jean Murray, 3-weeks old, was killed by a family pit bull in Grand Rapids.
UPDATE 07/03/17: Today we visited our P.O. Box and received the opinion from Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker that we requested on June 19. Reports by the media left out critical details, including that Momma was in the room with the infant, along with Rhino, when the baby was discovered injured. To recap, from the get-go we suspected Momma was involved because the baby's father said the female killed the baby. Momma was the only female dog in the home.
The family adopted Momma from the Kent County Animal Shelter several years earlier, the same agency that refused our FOIA about this issue.The two adults said they were only on the porch for five minutes. When Rodriguez went inside to check the baby, she noticed Rhino licking Susannah's face. "Momma was also in the room at this time, but this dog was not next to the baby," Becker wrote. The medical examiner indicated the cause of death was "craniocerebral trauma." Susannah had "multiple laceration, abrasion, contusions, and puncture wounds of the head consistent with dog bites," Becker wrote.
"There was no way to conclusively prove which dog bit Susannah. Rhino, the dog that was found licking Susannah and was closest to the baby, was a support dog for one of Ms. Murray's children. Rhino completed a "Doggy Manners" course in November of 2016 through Happy Trails Dog Training and had also been certified by the American Kennel Club as a "Canine Good Citizen" in February of 2017 ... The other dog in the room, Momma, had been with the family for years and there were no reports of any issues with the dog, other than when animal control arrived on scene. Animal control was told the dog "didn't like men." However there are no reports of Momma attacking or biting any men. All three dogs have been turned over to animal control and Ms. Murray surrendered control of the three of them to Kent County Animal Control for euthanasia." - Prosecutor Chris BeckerIt is true there would be no way to irrefutably prove which of the dogs attacked the baby. There were no witnesses for five minutes, leaving four minutes and 55 seconds for the dogs to act. Both dogs may have been involved too, as is often the case in fatal dog attacks. As a reminder to parents, an attack like this, enough to fatally injure a newborn, can happen in mere seconds. Think about that the next time you see a propaganda photo of a pit bull lying with a baby on Facebook.
06/19/17: No Criminal Charges
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker issued a three page opinion today regarding the pit bull mauling death of an infant. Susannah Murray, 3-weeks old, was severely attacked in the head after being left alone with her family's three pit bulls for about five minutes on May 25. The fatal attack occurred in the 1100 block of Kalamazoo Avenue SE. The baby died after seven hours of surgery on May 26. The baby's mother, Michelle Murray, will not face any criminal charges.
On June 19, we sent a fax to the prosecutor's office requesting a copy of the three page opinion. At that time, Becker's office was already closed.Becker states he found no evidence that any of the pit bulls had been violent in the past -- often a necessary requirement to bring charges. The family claimed one of the dogs was a "support dog" for a child -- which is not a "service dog" nor is it covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. An emotional support animal (ESA) does have rights under the Fair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act, but requires a letter from a physician. It's unclear if that obligation was met.
At the time of the attack, there were other children in the home, but not in the living room area where the baby had been left in a bouncy seat. The family's three pit bulls were also loose inside the home. Murray and her friend, Bobbi Rodriguez, had stepped out onto the porch for about five minutes for a smoke. When Rodriguez came back inside, she saw one of the pit bulls, named Rhino, licking the baby's face. She kicked the dog away and saw the infant was covered in blood.
Clarifying the Family Pit Bulls
According to the MLive article, the family's three pit bulls are the same ones identified in earlier news reports: Rhino, a 2-year old male, Devlin, a 2 or 3-year old male and Momma, a 3 1/2 year old female. As we stated in late May, Rhino passed the Canine Good Citizen test in February and Momma was adopted to the Murray family by the Kent County Animal Shelter when it was 3-months old. Also, a family member stated in comments that all three dogs were "rescues."
Rhino was likely the killer, which shows that passing the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test has no bearing on unpredictable aggression, particularly when the owner is not present. The CGC is not an aggression test to begin with (here are the testing requirements). Earlier, the baby's father had stated the killer dog was a female leading us to believe that Momma was the killer. However, Becker said that none of the other dogs could be ruled out; all three were euthanized Monday.
According to Becker, Rhino was also the alleged "support dog." With the proper documentation, Rhino could sit next to anyone on an airplane.Rodriguez told police that her 11-month old had been in the home with these dogs before the fatal attack without any incident. In December, Murray posted a photo to her Facebook page of a baby the same age snuggling with Rhino -- Hey, it was great for social media points back then? In fact, Murray can't get enough social media points. After her pit bull killed her baby, she allowed her daughter to post a photo of the now deceased baby lying with Devlin, the other male family pit bull.
Failure of the Law
Despite unpredictable aggression being a well-documented trait in pit bull terriers, criminal statutes ignore this. "The law imposes culpability in situations where a person knew of a danger and could have prevented something from happening when it must have been apparent injury would result. Neither of these elements are present," Becker states. "Simply having three dogs in the home, even if all of them are a pit bull mix, is not enough to hold a person criminally liable," he states.
First, two of these dogs are full breed pit bulls -- enough with the "mix" nonsense. Second, we remind readers that criminal charges require being proven "beyond a reasonable doubt," the highest standard of all. Since criminal charges are about proving a "mindset" (of criminal intent), why can't statutes be written to address people who choose to own a dog breed 1.) Selected for unpredictable aggression and 2.) Kill more people than all dog breeds combined each year?
Another child, in this case an infant, is dead due to a family pit bull. This particular dog had passed the CGC test and is an alleged "support dog" for a child, which requires no training or certification and is not afforded the same privileges as a "service dog." Obviously the Murray family is enamored by the breed, they had three adult pit bulls in the home, not just one. Furthermore, to prove how "safe" their pit bulls are, they posted multiple photos of their pit bulls lying with babies.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes this family before they obtain new pit bulls. Don't they have an even greater duty now, albeit narcissistic, to prove how "misunderstood" and "safe" pit bulls are? Don't they have an even greater duty now, albeit narcissistic, to prove, "It's all how you raise 'em?" What family members should do is read Misunderstood Nanny Dogs, by J. Thomas Beasley, to learn about the genetic heritage of a dog breed selected to fight to the death in a pit.
05/29/17: When Pit Bull Advocacy Kills
The mother of a newborn recently killed by one of her three family pit bulls has been identified as Michelle Murray of Grand Rapids. Murray left her 3-week old infant alone in her home for about five minutes with three pit bulls roaming loose. We already provided a link that "unpacks" the role Murray's teenage daughter played in caring for the dogs. "I pay for their care all by myself," she wrote in 2016. On Sunday, the daughter posted the below image as her Facebook Cover photo.
The image depicts the now deceased newborn lying on a bed with one of the family's two male pit bulls. As far as we are concerned, Murray is 100% responsible for her daughter's recent Facebook action. Michelle Murray should be prosecuted for the "vividly clear" preventable mauling death of 3-week old Susannah Jean Murray, which Murray then followed up with sociopathic pit bull advocacy. We hope Child Protection Services takes both children away from Murray -- for good.
Meanwhile, Kent County Animal Shelter has five days to reply to our public information request.
05/27/17: Dog Mauling Victim Identified
A 3-week old baby girl killed by a family pit bull has been identified as Susannah Jean Murray. An autopsy confirms the infant died due to severe dog bite injuries to her head. The Murray family owned at least three pit bulls -- two males and a female according to their Facebook pages. On Saturday, we sent a public information request to the Kent County Animal Shelter (KCAS) asking them which of the pit bulls inflicted the attack, and if that dog was adopted out by their facility.1
Late Friday, we posted an image of three pit bulls belonging to the Murray family that was posted to a family member's page on June 21, 2016. These same three pit bulls were also posted in another photo as recently as January 1, 2017. The black pit bull-mix, a female named Momma, was adopted to the Murray family about four years ago by KCAS. A family member also created a "Momma's Journey" Facebook page last year that details a surgery that pit bull underwent.
Finally, as we try to sort through which of the three family pit bulls attacked and killed the infant, a man who claims to be the baby's father said the attacking dog was a female. Thus, we are led back to Momma as the primary suspect, until KCAS answers our public information request or clarity is gained through new media reports.2 We invite readers to watch two videos posted to the Momma's Journey page. The pit bull playing tug-of-war and the three dogs interacting as a pack.
Remember, the infant was left alone in the house in a glider (which is similar to a bouncer) for five minutes with three pit bulls roaming loose.
05/26/17: Infant Killed by Family Pit Bull
Grand Rapids, MI - A 3-week old baby girl is dead after being left alone with three family pit bulls, Grand Rapids police report. The fatal dog attack happened about 6 pm Thursday at a home in the 1100 block of Kalamazoo Avenue SE. After about 5 minutes, an adult checked on the infant and found her bloody with severe head injuries. One of the pit bulls had blood on its mouth, detectives said. The baby was transported to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital where it died Friday morning.
The dogs were taken to Kent County Animal Shelter where they are under quarantine. All three are pit bulls. - Grand Rapids Police DepartmentGrand Rapids police Sgt. Terry Dixon said during a press conference the baby girl underwent seven hours of surgery before dying. No one heard crying or sounds of an attack. Child Protection Services was contacted because another child lives in the home, he said. Once the investigation is complete, police will meet with Kent County prosecutors to determine if any criminal charges will be brought. The pit bull suspected in the baby's death is about 2-years old, reports Mlive.com.
Dixon also said during the press conference, "Any dog can bite." That is not the issue to discuss after a mauling death or an attack resulting in catastrophic injuries. Both horrific scenarios are largely inflicted by a very small group of dog breeds. Pit bulls make up about 6% of the total U.S. dog population, yet are responsible for 65% (254) of all dog bite deaths (392) from 2005 to 2016. The second leading killer, rottweilers, trails significantly, responsible for only 11%, (43).
Infant Fatalities in 12-Year Period
Reviewing our 12-year dog bite fatality data set -- January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2016 -- we see the U.S. infant fatality rate for ages under 12-months old. During this period, canines killed 392 Americans. 12% (47) were infants under the age of 12-months. Of this subset, 45% (21) were neonates ages 3-weeks old and younger. Of all 47 deaths, pit bulls were responsible for 51% (24). Huskies were the number two killer, inflicting 7 deaths, followed by rottweilers, inflicting 6 deaths.
During this same 12-year period five infants were mauled to death by dogs in Michigan, the majority killed by family pit bulls. Holden Garrison of Davisburg, was killed by "catahoula leopard" dog while being held by his uncle in 2014. Tarilyn Luciana Bowles of Detroit, Darius Tillman of Kalamazoo and Leonard Lovejoy Jr. of Eastpointe, were all killed by family pit bulls from 2009 to 2012. Lastly, Kylie Cox of Warren was killed by a rottweiler while siting in a car seat in 2007.
The family pit bulls from left: Devlin (male), Rhino (male) and Momma (female). Rhino passed the Canine Good Citizen test in mid February this year, according to Happy Tails Dog Training LLC.
Also, at that time, attorney Kenneth Phillips, left a related comment, stating: "In law, there is a saying: 'the appearance of justice is as important as justice itself.' (Offutt v. United States (1954) 348 U.S. 11, 14 (U.S. Supreme Court).) This officer has damaged the appearance of justice by showing his or her bias. The results will damage Kent County in the future: the officer’s word will not be trusted in court and other legal proceedings, and significant numbers of residents will feel less safe as long as he or she remains on the job. Kent County: Fire this officer!"
2As if this cannot get more confusing, there is another female pit bull named Bella -- the red and white dog in the Cover photo for the Journey page. This dog is "around" but it's unclear who owns it or where it lives full time.
05/09/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Family Pit Bull Kills Baby in Northwest Las Vegas
03/24/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: 8-Month Old Baby Boy Killed by Family Pit Bull in Maryland
04/29/16: 2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Rehomed by Humane Society Kills Newborn Baby
09/26/14: ArtPrize Exhibit, 'Out of the Blue,' First Physical Memorial for Fatal Dog Attack Victims
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Melissa Barnes, 65-years old, died after being attacked by two pit bulls in Bozeman.
Victim Passed Away
UPDATE 06/28/17: On Tuesday, a Bozeman woman donated her organs and was taken off life support after being horribly mauled by two dogs. Melissa Barnes, 65-years old, was left brain dead after two pit bulls belonging to a tenant attacked her Saturday. Doctors had to wait nearly three days after she was declared brain dead before taking her off life support because the dogs were not vaccinated. Doctors had to await the rabies tests results before donating her organs.
Our hearts go out to this woman's family. There is no preparation for what they saw in that hospital room; the aftermath of a multi-pit bull mauling.The attack occurred on June 24 at 5499 Love Lane. The dog's owner, Wayne Bartlett, rented from Barnes and lived on the same property as her for six years. Comments left by Bartlett's girlfriend indicate that she lived upstairs. "She was the landlady upstairs," she wrote. Certainly Barnes was familiar with the pit bulls and vice versa. Bartlett's dogs -- Bane, a 6-year old male pit bull and Kitty, a 13-year old female pit bull-mix -- were put down, allowing the rabies tests to proceed at all.
Neither Bartlett or his girlfriend were home when the attack occurred. Their pit bulls and children were under the care of Bartlett's niece. The children went outside where Barnes was working in the yard and the dogs followed. What shortly ensued was a violent unpredictable pit bull mauling that left a woman dead. The unpredictability and severity of attacks by pit bulls is why over 1,000 jurisdictions in the U.S. regulate this dog breed and worldwide, jurisdictions in over 40 countries.
06/26/17: Victim Brain Dead After Mauling
Bozeman, MT - The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office confirmed a woman was declared brain dead after being attacked by two dogs Saturday. The confirmation comes after conflicting reports earlier today about whether or not she survived her injuries. Melissa Barnes, 65, was pronounced brain dead on Sunday, Sheriff Brian Gootkin said during a press conference today. Both dogs were euthanized and are being tested for rabies. The results of the tests will determine future actions.
The victim is an organ donor. This is why medical officials are waiting on the rabies results, Gootkin said. Neither of the dogs were vaccinated.Sheriff Gootkin said the attack happened Saturday morning at a home on Love Lane. Barnes was doing yard work at the time. The dogs belong to a tenant that lives on her property. The victim was airlifted to a trauma center in Billings, where she succumbed to her injuries. Gootkin stated that only one of the dogs, a pit bull, has been confirmed as the attacker at this time. It's unclear if another breed was involved. The investigation is ongoing as the family awaits rabies test results.
Late Evening Updates
Late evening news reports identified the dogs' owner as Wayne Bartlett, who seemed genuine in his interview with KRTV. Bartlett was not home at the time of the fatal mauling, but three children, including his niece, were. Bartlett said he and his pit bull "Bane" have rented from Barnes for six years. "She's sweet, she's very hard-working, she works day and night, she's always really kind to me," he said. "My dog Bane has lived here just as long, never really had a problem with him."
Bartlett clarified that his other dog involved in the attack (white and brown dog) is a pit bull-mix.
The last time Montana came on our radar was during the 2015 legislative session. Utah-based fighting dog advocates, Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS), drafted a state preemption bill prohibiting local governments in Montana from adopting pit bull laws. SB 239 was sponsored by Senator Douglas Kary. The bill died on February 21, 2015 during its Second Reading. Senior BFAS lobbyist, Ledy VanKavage, vowed to "try again" with the legislation in future years.
Since 2005, there have been two documented dog bite fatalities in Montana. The state has a low population, about a million residents. In February 2006, a rottweiler killed a 4-year old boy in Ulm. The pit bull mauling death of this woman marks the second death. Over the 12-year period of 2005 through 2016, the combination of pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for 76% of all dog bite fatalities in the U.S. Both top killing dog breeds are now represented in the state of Montana.
04/20/15: 2015 First Quarter Legislative Highlights: Local Control Dominates...
04/20/15: A Primer on State Preemption Laws and Charts for Advocates
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Dog Biting Incidents: 2008 to 2017
DogsBite.org - Animal control or health departments in at least 28 U.S. states report that pit bulls are out biting all other dog breeds, including: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. The oft-quoted claim by pro-pit bull groups that pit bulls "do not bite more than other breeds" is wholly false. Along with dominating bite counts, the pit bull bite is also the most damaging, often inflicting permanent and disfiguring injuries.
In June 2017, after two life-threatening pit bull attacks required victims to be airlifted to trauma hospitals, Pueblo Animal Services (PAS) released dog attack statistics. Of the 13 dog attacks on humans this year, 11 have involved pit bull-type dogs, according to Lindsey Vigna, lieutenant of animal law enforcement for PAS. The vicious attacks, occurring less than a week apart, involved two family pit bulls attacking an elderly woman who suffered severe facial, hands and torso injuries, along with a fractured jaw. The other attack involved an 18-month old boy mauled by a family pit bull-mix at his home. The boy suffered severe injuries to his head, face and neck.
URL:http://www.chieftain.com/news/pueblo/pueblo-boy-severely-hurt-in-attack-by-family-dog-animal/article_20af9b41-6e4d-5d08-a8d6-d92ed74ec546.html. Accessed: 2017-06-15. (Archived by Archive Is at http://archive.is/5qxkl)
Lena Howland, "Pueblo grandmother attacked by pit bulls," KOAA News, June 9, 2017 (www.koaa.com)
URL:http://www.koaa.com/story/35631598/pueblo-grandmother-attacked-by-pit-bulls. Accessed: 2017-06-15. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6rF4eSQlo)
Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio
In late April 2017, the Dayton Daily News reviewed dog biting incidents in the city and county after a pit bull broke free of its chain and fatally attacked a 60-year old man. According to the Public Health Department of Dayton and Montgomery County, there were 169 reported dog bites from owners who resided in Dayton last year. So far this year -- from January 1 to late April -- there were 56 reported dog bites from dogs whose owners live in Dayton. "In Montgomery County, there have been 245 reported dog bites so far this year. About 60 (24%) of the bites involved pit bulls, which was far more than any other breed identified," reports the Dayton Daily News.
URL:http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/local/dayton-man-mauled-dog-that-neighbors-had-worried-about/S38cxDYrJnydT2UX0rAvZM/. Accessed: 2017-04-26. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6q1REVrTG)
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
In March 2017, the Cape Code Times reviewed dog bite and registration records across Cape Cod. Between January 2016 and February 2017, pit bulls had the most biting incidents, 58, nearly twice as many as the next closest breed, labrador retrievers, which inflicted 29 bites. German shepherds followed, inflicting 26 bites. Pit bulls represented 12.6% of the breeds listed on bite reports, but only make up 1.2% of the registered dogs. In contrast, Labrador retrievers were 6.3% of the breeds listed on bite reports and make up 11.5% of the registered dogs. German shepherds represented 5.7% of the breeds listed on bite reports and make up 2.2% of the registered dogs.
In a special addition, we are including statistics for the City of Montreal, poised to adopt a pit bull ban on September 27, 2016. The legislation comes three months after the brutal mauling death of Christiane Vadnais, killed by a neighbor's pit bull. On the eve of this historic vote, Montreal officials released dog biting incident statistics. Over the past 1.5 years, 362 serious dog bite incidents required police intervention. Since January 1, 2015, 137 people and animals have been badly injured or killed by pit bulls or pit bull crossbreeds. Pit bulls, which account for just 4.6% of registered dogs in Montreal, are responsible for 38% of all serious dog bite-related injuries.
Port Huron, Michigan
In January 2016, after the back-to-back fatal pit bull attacks of 22-year old Rebecca Hardy in Port Huron and 4-year old Xavier Strickland in Detroit, The Times Herald published dog bite statistics for Port Huron, a city with about 30,000 people. In 2014, pit bulls were responsible for over half of all dog bites in the city. There were 61 reported dog bites in 2014, and 33 of those were inflicted by pit bulls. This is in contrast to the city of Toronto, a population of 2.6 million people, where pit bulls only inflicted 13 bites in 2014. The Province of Ontario adopted a pit bull ban in 2005. Since this time, attacks inflicted by pit bulls in Toronto, Ontario's largest city, have dropped by 92%.
Eric Andrew-Gee and Joel Eastwood, "Pit bulls were Toronto’s biggest biters, before the ban," TheStar.com, October 3, 2014 (www.thestar.com) URL:http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/10/03/pit_bulls_were_torontos_biggest_biters_before_the_ban.html. Accessed: 2014-10-06. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6T834ej0h)
"Ontario’s pit bull ban is working and mustn’t be repealed: Editorial," TheStar.com, October 6, 2014 (www.thestar.com)
In November 2015, Cleveland 19 published dog bite statistical data from Cleveland showing the results of two time periods. In 2014, pit bulls were responsible for 40% of all dog bites where the dog's breed was identified. During the next 8-month period, January 1, 2015 to August 12, 2015, pit bulls were responsible for 41% of all dog bites involving an identified breed. Despite this, the city's Chief Animal Control Officer, Ed Jamison, denied that pit bulls posed a danger to the public and also denied that the city shelter -- with a pit bull occupancy rate of 40% -- posed a problem to the shelter. Cleveland 19 dubbed the city shelter, "The Pit Bull Motel." (View: full data file).
In October 2015, Hastings city officials discussed repealing their pit bull ordinance that prima facie declares pit bulls "dangerous." During discussions, Hastings City Police Chief Jeff Pratt shared statistics on dog-related complaints dating back to 2011. The statistics showed that 48% of all dog bites involved pit bulls, 41% of dangerous or aggressive dog complaints involved pit bulls and 66% of dogs shot by officers were pit bulls. Overall, “45.7% of our dog calls involve the pit bull breed,” Pratt said. “To me, this is a very significant number." These statistics clearly show that removing the existing ordinance, which does not prevent people from owning pit bulls, is injudicious.
Sandra Ponsetto, Dog discrimination to be a thing of the past for City of Hastings, Hastings Banner, October 29, 2015 (www.hastingsbanner.com) URL:http://hastingsbanner.com/dog-discrimination-to-be-a-thing-of-the-past-for-city-of-hastings-p8148-84.htm. Accessed: 2015-11-12. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6czT5H6Bn)
Orange County, Florida
In June 2015, WKMG 6 News published the results of county dog bites over a 1-year period. From October 2013 to September 2014, Orange County Animal Services issued 331 citations to dog owners for failing to control their pets that resulted in a bite. Pit bulls and their mixes were responsible for 35% of all bites. Labs followed in distant second place with 7%. German shepherds and chihuahuas each made up 6% of all reported bites. The records showed that 7% of all bites occurred when someone tried to break up a fight between two dogs or rescue a dog being attacked by another dog and 2% of the owners were repeat offenders. (View: graphic chart).
"Web Extra: Animal Bite Statistics," WKMG 6 News, June 2, 2015 (www.clickonorlando.com) URL:http://www.clickorlando.com/news/web-extra-animal-bite-statistics/33356480. Accessed: 2015-06-03. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6Z1dDCYdp)
In March 2015, the Oregonian released results of an investigation of Portland-area dog bites since 2010. The investigation showed that there were 3,940 total reported biting incidents. Pit bulls inflicted 510 of these bites and were responsible for more bites than all other dog breeds. Labs, which outnumbered licensed pit bulls by nearly 5-to-1, fell at a distant second with 427 bites. Among the highest biting rates by breed, pit bulls were number one with a 120 rate, followed by chows with a 100 rate, rottweilers 87 and mastiffs 76. The lowest biting rate breeds were golden retrievers, poodles and pomeranians with 12 and 13 rates accordingly (View: graphic chart).
In November 2014, ABC 13 Eyewitness News did an investigation into the number of dog bites in the City of Houston. This is the first known reporting of total dog bites in Houston on record in many years (and possibly ever). Statistics pertain to January 1, 2014 to September 24, 2014 and were supplied by the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control (BARC).1 Of the 1540 total reported bites during this period, pit bulls led with 518, double the number of the next topmost biting breed, German shepherds with 253 biting incidents. Labs followed in third place with 171. Notably, Belgium malinois were also represented in fifth place with 37 (View: graphic chart).
Houston Dog Bites, January 1st through September 24th, 2014, Source: BARC (Archived by DogsBite.org)
1 We do not believe bites reported in unincorporated Harris County were included.
San Diego County, California
Also in November, NBC 7 released an investigative report after examining 7,600 bite reports between July 2011 and June 2014 in the jurisdiction of Animal Services, which includes the unincorporated portion of the county, and the cities of San Diego, Carlsbad, Santee, Solana Beach, Del Mar and Encinitas. Pit bulls had the most bites, a total of 851 during the 3-year period. Followed by German shepherds with 349 (less than half). In the 11-month period of December 2011 to November 2012, dogs in San Diego County killed four people, five if one includes a San Diego pit bull that was taken across the border and within a week killed a little girl in Tijuana.
Des Moines, Iowa
Also in November, after city council wrestled with pit bull advocates about their ordinance that declares pit bulls "vicious," assistant Des Moines city manager Kandi Reindl presented data showing that pit bulls are still out biting the most popular dog breed despite being regulated. The fist six months of data from 2014 showed that pit bulls were responsible for 27 biting incidents, more than any other breed, out of 150 incidents. Labs followed with 14. However, there are 1,831 licensed Labs compared with 466 licensed pit bulls, according to licensing data. "We have more bites by a pit bull than a Lab and there are four times as many Labs in the city," Reindl said.
In September 2014, after a 20-month old boy was badly bitten in the face by his grandmother's pit bull in Manheim Township, the LancasterOnline wrote an editorial (Pit bulls and small children may be dangerous mix) and provided state dangerous dog designation statistics. Of the 562 dogs on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Dangerous Dog registry, pit bulls accounted for a whopping 41%. The next highest category on the list, mixed-breeds (non-pit bulls), accounted for 23%. "That is not even a single breed," notes the editorial. The single breed with the second-highest percentage on the list were German shepherds, accounting for just 7%.
King County, Washington
In August 2014, after a series of pit bull attacks in Western Washington, KIRO 7 obtained bite statistics from area municipalities and learned that pit bulls are 8.5 times more likely to attack than other dog breeds. Of the areas investigated, King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County and the City of Tacoma, only King County collected dog bites "by breed." In that county (presumably excluding Seattle), there were 178 total dog bites in 2013. Pit bulls topped the charts with 36 bites, followed by Labs with 28 bites. However, there are 16,651 labs and only 2,520 pit bulls registered in the county, which means that pit bulls are 8.5 times more likely to bite than Labs.
In June 2014, Boston.com published an article titled, 'But, My Pit Bull Would Never Attack' May Be Wishful Thinking. The publication then plowed through several years of dog bite statistics. From January 2012 to June 2014, there were 661 total dog bites in Boston, which includes bites against human, animal and unknown victims. Pit bulls and their mixes were responsible for 27% (180), despite pit bulls only making up 3% of the registered dog population. In 2012, a state anti-BSL law signed by Governor Deval Patrick struck down the City of Boston's Responsible Pit Bull Ownership Act. Ever since, attacks by pit bulls have been on the rise. See: related graphic.
Hamilton County, Ohio
Also in June, after one of the worst attacks the region has ever seen, Hamilton County Health Department data showed that from January 1 to May 11, 2014, there were 38 biting incidents involving pit bulls and their mixes. In 2013, there were 74 total pit bull biting incidents. 2014 is on pace to top the total reported in 2013. Notably absent from the data is 2011 comparison statistics when Cincinnati still had a pit bull ban. Cincinnati repealed their longstanding ban in May 2012. The recent victim, 6-year old Zainabou Drame, suffered unimaginable injuries, including her tongue ripped out and her jaw torn off. Two pit bulls latched onto her face and pulled it apart.
Tom McKee and Greg Noble, "Girl's family says 6-year-old suffered horrific injuries in pit bull attack in Westwood," WCPO Cincinnati, June 6, 2014 (www.wcpo.com) URL:http://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/pit-bulls-attack-child-in-front-of-westwood-home. Accessed: 2014-06-21. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6QVIr2XEo)
Franklin County, Ohio
In May 2014, Franklin County Department of Animal Care and Control released 2013 statistical data showing Nuisance, Dangerous and Vicious Designations by Breed (See: data chart). This data is a reflection of the new state law adopted in 2012. Pit bulls topped the charts in all three categories. Of the 208 total Nuisance designations in 2013, pit bulls received 79 (38%), followed by "mix" with 69 and Labs with 8 -- pit bulls towering over Labs by a 990% margin. Of the 291 total Dangerous designations, pit bulls received 124 (43%), followed by "mix" with 87 and German shepherds with 15. Of the 23 total Vicious designations in 2013, pit bulls received 13 (57%).
In February 2014, Alderman John Strasser introduced a pit bull sterilization ordinance to combat shelter overpopulation and a disproportionate number of attacks by pit bulls. Statistics complied by Public Health Madison and Dane County showed that: "More than half of the dogs euthanized at the humane society during 2010-12 were pit bulls … Pit bulls accounted for 12 percent of incidents involving dogs biting humans and 38 percent of the dog-on-dog attacks in the city in 2013. They also made up 21 percent of the cases of dogs running at large and 48 percent of abandoned dogs. Of the 15 dogs that were declared dangerous during 2011-13, 14 were pit bulls."
Bullhead City, Arizona
In January 2014, after a pit bull repeatedly escaped its yard terrorizing citizens and killing a pet dog, Bullhead City Police Department released dog bite statistics. The statistics showed that pit bulls were responsible for nearly half of all biting incidents. In 2013, animal control officers responded to 126 dog bites. Of these bites, (48%) -- 60 -- were inflicted by pit bulls and their mixes. The other half was spread among a variety of breeds. The release of the statistics and discussion of creating a stronger dog ordinance came just weeks after a Bullhead City man was fatally injured by his own five dogs trying to break up a dog fight in late December.
Also in January, Medford City Council began considering ways to crack down on the growing number of attacks by dangerous dog breeds. In the past three years, 89 reports of dog bites were received, according to the Medford Police Department. Pit bulls were involved in half of the attacks, and pit bulls or their mixes were responsible for 8 of the 11 fatal attacks on animals. Councilor Karen Blair began looking into the matter after a series of aggressive dog-on-dog attacks. Blair wants to review how other cities have controlled the problem, which includes reviewing cities with pit bull bans, mandatory pit bull sterilization or insurance requirements.
In December 2013, the Chicago Tribune published dog bite statistical data logged by the city's Commission on Animal Care and Control during 2012. Of the total dog and cat bites recorded in 2012 (according to 2011 Chicago data, canines were responsible for about 98%), pit bulls and their mixes topped the chart accounting for 44.3% of all bites. The published statistical chart shows just how much of the pie -- total dog and cat bites combined in the City of Chicago -- pit bulls and their mixes make up from 2006 forward. In 2006, pit bulls were responsible for 26.5% of all bites; in 2008, this grew to 31.2%; in 2010, up to 39.2% and in 2012, 44.3%.
In November 2013, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that nearly one-third of all dog bites in 2012 were attributed to pit bulls, according to the city animal services department. In 2012, 84 of the 271 reports of dog bites were attributed to pit bulls (31%). At a distant second were Labs with 28. As of October 2013, 70 reports of dog bites were attributed to pit bulls followed by chihuahuas with 24; the disproportional trend continues in 2013. The article then cites defenders of the breed. One falsely claimed that pit bulls are one of the most "popular dog breeds in the country," thus the high number of bites. In truth, pit bulls make up 6% of the total U.S. dog population.
1Does castration really alter male dog behavior?, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People, July 30, 2012
Spokane County, Washington
In August 2013, after a man had his lower jaw ripped off by a pit bull, KXLY.com examined the records from the Spokane Regional Health District, which tracks all dog bites. Since the start of 2012, there have been 249 dog bites. Pit bulls account for the "vast majority of those bites with 56," 63 bites when adding their mixes. Pit bulls make up 3% of licensed dogs and account for 25% of the recorded bites in the city and county of Spokane. German shepherds and their mixes account for 6% of all licensed dogs and account for 11% of all bites. Labradors and their mixes account for the largest percent of licensed dogs, 14%, and account for 7% of all bites.
Hot Springs, Arkansas
In June 2013, after a 5-year old boy was mauled to death by a bullmastiff-mix, Hot Springs Animal Services reported that the "largest number of breed-specific bites were pit bulls at 21% in 2008 and 2009." In 2012, pit bulls and their mixes accounted for 58% of all bites, according to Animal Services Director Dan Bugg. He added that in recent years, the number of pit bulls in Hot Springs and Garland County has continued to rise along with an alarming number of bites. The dog bite data was announced as Garland County discusses a vicious dog ordinance that places added restrictions on "high-risk breeds," including pit bulls and their derivatives.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
In May 2013, The Journal Gazette published dog bite statistical data from Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control. During 2012, 709 biting incidents were reported (human and animal victims). Pit bulls racked up 242 bites, 34.1% of all biting incidents. Pit bulls out bit the next closest breed -- German shepherds with 51 bites -- by nearly 5 times. The article also details a vicious attack by a pit bull-mastiff mix during the period. Angela Diamente was walking her leashed boxer, named Dulli, and pushing her 2-year old daughter in a stroller when the dog latched its jaws around Dulli's throat. The violent and bloody struggle to free her dog lasted 10 to 15 minutes.
In March 2013, after two pit bulls killed a little boy in Walworth County, Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) released 2012 dog bite statistics. Back in 2011, we reported dog bite data from the same agency for the years 2008 to October 31, 2011. Placing the years into chronology, the continued rise of pit bull biting incidents is sobering. We predict pit bulls will be out biting all other dog breeds combined in the Milwaukee area within 9 months. In 2008, pit bulls made up 33% of all biting incidents; in 2009, the percent grew to 39%; in 2010, 44%; in 2011, 45%; and in 2012, pit bulls made up 48% of all biting incidents.
Broward and Palm Beach Counties, Florida
Also in March, animal control records from Broward and Palm Beach counties once again showed that pit bulls were the leading biters. "No other breed came close," notes the news article. (See: Related Sun-Sentinel graphic.) In Broward County, pit bulls (151 bites) led the second top biter, German shepherds (23 bites), by nearly 7 times. Of all reported dog bites in Broward County (305), pit bulls were responsible for about 50%. In Palm Beach County, pit bulls (330 bites) led the second top biter, Labs (122 bites) by almost 3 times. Of all reported dog bites in Palm Beach County last year (1,411) pit bulls were responsible for about 23%.
West Memphis, Arkansas
Also in March, West Memphis City Councilman Tracy Catt presented an Animal Control Commission report to city council members showing that pit bulls were responsible for 57% of the city’s 28 dog bites in 2012. The report states that of the 16 pit bull bites reported, 31% of the bite victims were children 14 and younger. 81% (13) of all pit bull bites happened at the dog’s house, while the dog was under the supervision of the owner. The report also states that pit bulls account for more than 30% of all dogs taken into the city's shelter. City council members are currently drafting a new dog ordinance, but have not released ordinance specifics.
Royal Oak, Michigan
In February 2013, Royal Oak again made the list of cities reporting pit bulls as the leading biters (scroll to see 2009). Royal Oak is a suburb of Detroit and has a population of about 57,000 and a total area of 11.8 square miles. The city is currently discussing new regulations for dogs classified as dangerous (dogs with a history of biting, attacking or damaging property). Of the 32 dog bites and 21 "vicious dog incidents" reported in Royal Oak in 2012, pit bulls were responsible for 31% of all biting incidents and 52% of all incidents involving vicious dogs. Pit bulls, however, only make up less than 7% of all registered dogs in the city.
San Bernardino County, California
Also in February, dog bite statistical data from San Bernardino County came to our attention. San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control reported 629 total biting incidents in 2011. Pit bulls led all dog breeds with 188 reported bites, out biting the second place breed by a whopping 3 to 1 margin, German shepherds with 60 total bites. 30% of all biting incidents in 2011 were attributed to pit bulls. In 2012, the department reported 704 total biting incidents. Pit bulls again led with 185 reported bites, out biting the next breed by a 2.8 to 1 margin, Labs with 65 total bites. 26% of all biting incidents were attributed to pit bulls in 2012.
Monroe County, New York
In October 2012, iTeam 10 Investigates obtained police reports from all major police departments in Monroe County over the course of one year. The news agency felt compelled to examine if their reporting was biased against pit bulls (as breed advocates had accused).1 What News 10 found is that pit bulls were the leading biters and heavy leaders in police calls. Of the 436 police calls for dogs in the City of Rochester, over half of them, 242 (56%), involved pit bulls. Of reported biting incidents in the suburbs, pit bulls were responsible for 28%, more than any other dog breed, followed by shepherds and their mixes with 17%.
1The irony is that pit bull advocates cried "media bias" before this investigation subsequently causing this investigation, which led to even more damning evidence against pit bulls.
In August 2012, DogsBite.org reviewed 5-years of Austin dog bite data (2007 - 2011). Pit bulls and their mixes led bite counts responsible for 22% (1,288) followed by Labs and their mixes, which inflicted 12% (682). Austin ended its Pet Licensing Program in 2008/2009. Thus, the last year anyone can evaluate the population of dog breeds is 2007. Though pit bulls weighed in as the second most popular dog breed in 2007, making up 10% (1,551) of the registered dog population (15,871), pit bulls out bit the most popular breed, Labs representing 18% of the registered dogs (2,832), by nearly a 2 to 1 margin over the 5-year period.
2007-2008 Austin Dog Breed Licenses - Austin Animal Services
In May 2012, Roanoke Valley SPCA confirmed that the number one breed brought into the regional animal control center is pit bulls -- a situation mirrored by nearly all open admission shelters in the country. Wsls.com stressed that a single breed, pit bulls, have been "taxing resources for both the Roanoke city animal control and adoption services" for some time. Roanoke police provided statistics showing that between May 2011 and April 2012, 41% (397 of 978) of all dogs brought into the center were pit bulls. During this same time period there were 169 biting incidents in Roanoke. Pit bulls were responsible for 38% (57).1
1Though technically the article did not show that pit bulls led all biting incidents, 38% is a very high percentage. It also must be noted that the dog population (by breed) of unwanted dogs in open admission shelters in no way reflects the dog population (by breed) in the community as a whole.
In April 2012, after Malden City Council passed an ordinance requiring unregistered and new pit bulls to wear a muzzle when in public, Councillor Neil Kinnon cited city dog bite data in a clarifying article: "According to Animal Control fifty-seven dog bites were recorded from 2009-2011. Eighteen of the bites were committed by pit bulls. The next closest breeds that bit were German Shepherds, Bull Mastiffs and Dobermans, which recorded only two bites each. The data broken down in its simplest terms means pit bulls account for approximately 6.7% of our registered dogs and committed 31.6% of the dog bites."1
1Under pressure from pit bull advocates, who didn't even understand the ordinance, Mayor Gary Christenson vetoed the measure, placing the "Maul" back into Malden.
Also in April, after 3 pit bull attacks in 3 days, the Victoria Advocate reported that so far in 2012, data from Victoria Animal Control showed that of the dogs quarantined for biting incidents, pit bulls made up 28%, twice as many as any other dog breed. Pit bulls were responsible for 10 biting incidents, followed by Labs and chow-mixes each with 5. Of the pit bull incidents, one involved the death of young boy killed by a chained pit bull on March 25. Just prior to the boy's death, the Advocate upset the pit bull advocacy community by publishing this photo and a story concerning 3 pit bull incidents in one week in mid-March.
In March 2012, Redeye Chicago published dog bite statistical data logged by the city's Commission on Animal Care and Control during 2011. Just over 1,830 animal bites were reported in 2011; canines were responsible for 98%. Notably, the agency separated pit bulls and their mixes into two categories -- a separation not done for any other dog breed.1 "Pit bull/Pit bull mixed" topped the list with 26.43%. When combined with the second category, "American pit bull terrier," (13.38%) the breed accounted for nearly 40% of all bites. Data from the City Clerks office shows that pit bulls and their mixes make up about 4.5% of the 37,546 registered dogs in the city.2
1It appears that pure bred American pit bull terriers have their own distinct classification. Failure to combine them into the overall "Pit bull/Pit bull Mixed" category creates misleading data.
2Though ranking far below pit bulls in biting incidents, German shepherds were the most popular AKC registered dog in Chicago for 2011.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Also in March, KTNV.com investigated whether or not pit bulls were "dangerous or docile?" The investigation came after a series of pit bull attacks in Las Vegas, Nevada. One victim, Sarah Chatley told the news group: "They went from tails wagging, to jaws clamping, in a split second ... I was down on the ground trying to protect my dog, and they were just ripping her apart. It was just so violent." Within the article, KTNV.com exposed the 2011 dog bite statistic data for the City of Las Vegas: "There were 364 reports of bites by pit bulls. That was the most of any breed. Next on the list were Chihuahuas with 122 bite reports."
Multiple Counties, North Carolina
In February 2012, WITN.com investigated the "pit bull debate" and discovered that pit bulls led bite counts in at least 4 North Carolina counties. The group then back peddled by buying into the myth that pit bulls make up a large part of the dog population (pit bulls make up less than 5% of the total U.S. dog population). The article states, "In 2011 in Pitt County there were around 250 dog bites. Pit Bulls had the most with 41. In Onslow County there were 334 dog bites. Pit Bulls lead the way with 55. Craven County had 211 dog bites. Pit Bulls had the most with 37. Lenoir County reported 69 dog bites involving people. Leading the way was Pit Bulls with 14."
Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin
In January 2012, when Fond du Lac City Councilman Rob Vande Zande proposed an ordinance that would prohibit new pit bulls, Zande provided research of the number of reported dog bites in the city over the past 5 years: "The percentage that is attributable to pit bull breeds has increased from 10.7 percent of the bites in 2007 to 33.3 percent of the bites in 2011." Zande also noted that he knows a resident who sustained a severe pit bull bite while delivering papers. The man incurred about $100,00 in medical bills related to his injury. Shortly after Zande's proposal, pit bull advocates bombarded Zande and he folded.
A free reference to this article is located at the Wisconsin law firm website Miller & Ogorchock.
Pima County, Arizona
In November 2011, KGUN9-TV aired a segment titled, "What's the truth about pit bulls?" The show followed the grisly mauling of Michael Cook, a Tucson man who was attacked by his pet pit bull in August and subsequently died. Before his death, doctors were forced to amputate both of his arms and infuse the victim with over 100 pints of blood. Dog bite statistics from Pima County Animal Control over the last four years were also featured on the episode, and once again, pit bulls led all biting incidents with 848 bites, followed by German shepherds with 633, Labs with 496, Chihuahuas with 361 and Chows inflicting 231 bites.
New York, New York
Also in November, the New York Post published updated dog bite statistical data from the city's health department. In February, the data showed that pit bulls were responsible for nearly 25% of all dog bites, now the data shows 28% -- over six times more than the second "toothiest" breed. Pit bulls and their mixes totaled 833 bites by November, compared to the next top biter, chihuahuas, with 128 "incisor incidents." City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. said, "People refuse to admit that pit bulls are bred to fight, they have higher pain tolerance, stronger jaws, and they do not have the instinct to back down -- they refuse to submit."
Also in November, after a pet pit bull, named Prince, nearly killed its 52-year old caretaker, Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) released dog bite statistical data showing that pit bulls inflicted over four times more bites than the next closest breed. From 2008 to 2011, pit bulls were responsible for 302 biting incidents followed by German shepherds with 68 and Labs with 40. TODAY'S TMJ4 -- who set out to "find the truth" about pit bulls -- takes a nose dive into decades old erroneous territory by comparing "shelter intake" dog breed data to bite data instead of "registered" dog breed data to bite data.1
1Dogs that end up in open admission shelters are loose, unwanted or have bitten or displayed aggression and often times all three. Thus, shelter intake does not accurately reflect dog breed populations within a community. Pit bulls shoring up 40% occupancy at MADACC -- and open admission shelters across the U.S. -- is standard today; this in no way reflects the actual population of pit bulls, which makes up less than 5% of the total U.S. dog population. (See: ANIMAL PEOPLE Editor Responds to Fact Cooker Article by Mark Robison)
State of Delaware
In October 2011, The News Journal reported on the City of Wilmington's pit bull problem and its renewed effort to enforce their pit bull ordinance, which includes: registration, sterilization, a lease allowing a pit bull to be housed there, muzzled while in parks and owners must be 21-years old. The article also lists state dog bite statistics. According to the Delaware Division of Public Health, from January 2008 to October 2011 there were 5,156 biting incidents (See: Data chart). Pit bulls lead with 1,003 bites followed by "unknown"1 with 884 bites, Labs with 479 bites -- less then half of pit bull bites -- and German shepherds with 401 bites.
1The "unknown" factor may be the result of some counties not tracking dog bites by breed.
Also in October, after an infant was killed by a family pit bull-mix, Amarillo Animal Control statistics showed that pit bull bites were three times higher than those of any other single dog breed in the city. According to Shannon Barlow, assistant director of Animal Control, pit bulls accounted for 123 reported bites in Amarillo in 2009-10, the latest period for which city data was available. The breeds with the next-highest reports of bites were Labs and German shepherds, each with about 40 biting incidents, followed by boxers with 16 and rottweilers with 15. About 550 total dog bites are reported to officials each year, Barlow said.
San Diego County, California
In July 2011, after 75-year old Emako Mendoza was brutally attacked by her neighbor's two pit bulls, San Diego County Animal Services released data showing that pit bulls are the most prolific biters in the county. Of the 2,699 recorded dog bites in the past fiscal year, pit bulls were responsible for 389, nearly 15% (See: Graphic chart). Next in line, with almost half that number, were Labs with 199 bites and Chihuahuas with 174. To show how rare citations are issued after a biting incident, SignOnSanDiego.com pointed out that only 290 citations were issued during this same period even though almost 10 times as many incidents were reported.
Muskegon County, Michigan
Also in July, records from the Muskegon County Health Department showed that pit bulls were responsible for more biting incidents than any other dog breed for the past three years. In 2009, pit bulls produced 59 bites, in 2010, 75 bites, and in the first six months of 2011 already produced 41 bites. After two pit bulls brutally attacked a 60-year old Wyoming man, city lawmakers began discussing different pit bull regulations, including a breed ban for the City of Wyoming. The article also mentions a bill introduced by State Representative Timothy Bledsoe in June that would eventually ban the breed from the State of Michigan.
Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio
In June 2011, the Public Health Department of Dayton and Montgomery County posted animal bite statistics of the last fiscal year -- June 28, 2010 to June 28, 2011. Of the 736 total reported dog biting incidents, pit bulls were far and away the leaders, responsible for 16% (117 bites). The next closest breed, "mix," was responsible for 64 bites and Lab-mixes with 46. The department also posted statistics from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. Of the 693 total reported incidents, pit bulls were responsible for 14% (95 bites), again, nearly twice the number of the next closest breed, Labs with 58 bites, followed by "mixed" with 56.
Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Also in June 2011, Severna Park Patch reported that from 2009 to 2010, there were 233 incidents involving pit bull attacks against people and dogs in Anne Arundel County. In that same period, the next closest breeds, German shepherds and Labs, caused just 93 incidents combined. Lt. Glenn Shanahan of Anne Arundel County Animal Control said that pit bulls lead all other breeds by at least two to one when it comes to attacks over the last five years. "The numbers say what they say. We're not making it up," Shanahan said. "It's demonstrably overwhelming." Officials said that pit bulls are also more frequently labeled "dangerous."
Ventura County, California
In May 2011, the Ventura County Star reported that in the fiscal year 2008-09 -- the latest that statistics were available -- 1,617 animal bites were reported to the Ventura County Animal Regulation Department. Of these, dogs accounted for 78%. Pit bulls had more recorded biting incidents than any other breed (121) followed by chihuahuas (119). Monica Nolan, the department's director, said, "Pit bulls are a terrier breed, and they are built to grab prey and hold on to prey." Chihuahua bites "are quick bites," she said. To help soften the damaging news, Noland also said that pit bulls are among "some of the gentlest dogs I have ever seen."1
1During this same year, a Ventura County pit bull savagely mauled to death 5-year old Katya Todesco. This incident was recorded as "one dog bite."
Maricopa County, Arizona
In March 2011, field manager Al Aguinaga of Maricopa County Animal Care told KPHO that pit bulls are the number one biting breed in the county -- inflicting 12% of all reported dog bites -- followed by German shepherds and chihuahuas. When asked if pit bulls are "truly more aggressive than other dogs, or are they simply getting a bad rap?" Aguinaga said, "Typically bites are more severe" and "people go to hospitals" and "animals are attacked or killed." Aguinaga also called out the pit bull’s physical strength. Referring to a recent pit bull berserking incident, he said, "It took five officers, a whole squad, to chase that [pit bull] down" Tuesday.
URL:http://www.kpho.com/news/27294714/detail.html. Accessed: 2011-03-24. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5xQl2w7Bf)
New York City, New York
In February 2011, the New York Post published a tongue-and-cheek article about "pint-sized" chihuahuas and shih tzus, breeds among the top five biters in 2010, according to the city's Health Department. What's not so tongue-and-cheek is that pit bulls led biting incidents with 815, nearly 25% of all biting incidents recorded in the city. Rottweilers followed in second position. One hardly needs to state the difference between a pit bull or rottweiler bite and the bite from a pint-sized fashion accessory. Furthermore, it is irrational to assume that pit bulls and rottweilers make up anywhere near the majority of household dogs in New York City.
In January 2011, The Sacramento Bee published a story about Poppy Watson, who was bitten in the face by a pit bull in November. The article helped promote a fundraiser on her behalf, Popfest 2011. Restaurateurs organized the event to help Watson pay for reconstructive surgeries. Watson told the Bee that her face looked like "it went through a windshield" after the attack. The male pit bull, which had formerly slept with its owners, was put down after the incident. The Bee also noted that Sacramento Animal Care Services investigated 165 incidents of animal attacks and bites in 2010. "The vast majority of those cases involved pit bulls."
In October 2010, Pittsburgh Animal Control records showed that pit bulls comprise 5.2% of the registered dogs. Yet of the 133 biting incidents reported so far in 2010, pit bulls made up 40%. Animal Control Supervisor Gerald Akrie -- a shameless pit bull apologist -- tried to blame the disproportionate numbers on "knucklehead" dog owners. Back in April, Pittsburgh police officer Christine Luffey and her daughter were attacked by three pit bulls that jumped a fence. Akrie minimized that incident by calling it an "accident," requiring DogsBite.org to fire off an email to Public Safety Director Mike Huss. Yet Akrie is up to his pit bull distortions again.
Also in October, City of Memphis records showed that there were 388 biting incidents in 2009. Of those, nearly half were inflicted by pit bulls. Other biters included German shepherds and Chows. The My Fox Memphis news article notes that based on DogBiteLaw.com -- and other groups that track national fatal dog attack data, including DogsBite.org -- pit bulls also cause over half of the attacks that result in death. The article comes several months after the deadly attack of William Parker who suffered a heart attack after being severely mauled by two loose pit bulls. Four other people were bitten and hospitalized in the July 20 rampage.
In August 2010, when the City of Lynn was discussing the adoption of a pit bull ordinance, Police Chief Kevin Coppinger said that 51 biting incidents were reported in the city last year -- 29 involving pit bulls (57%). Coppinger added that there had been at least four pit bull attacks since July 10. The ordinance discussed defined pit bulls as "dangerous animals" with "powerful instincts for dominance" and "unyielding aggressiveness." The ordinance would require pit bull owners to register their dog; pay a $50 licensing fee; if a renter, to notify the landlord that a pit bull was on the premises and to muzzle the dog when off property.
In July 2010, City Manager Michael O'Brien recommended to City Council an ordinance intended to deal with rising public safety concerns about pit bulls. Councilor William Eddy, who has championed the city's adoption of a pit bull law, said that over the past three years, pit bulls caused 25% of all biting incidents even though pit bulls only comprise 2% of the dogs licensed by the city. The new ordinance would require pit bull owners to abide by supplemental licensing and registration rules, ensure their dog is leashed and muzzled when off owner's property, obtain landlord consent (if a renter), and post a warning sign on the property.
San Bernardino County, California
In June 2010, after two deadly pit bull attacks, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved a measure requiring all pit bull owners to spay or neuter their animals. Brian Cronin, Chief of County Animal Care and Control, said, "This year alone, we've had two human deaths, and four deaths1 in five years, because of pit bull attacks. No other death has been attributable to any other breed." He said that of the 686 reported biting incidents in the county in the 2008-09 fiscal year, 137 involved pit bulls (20%). He added that because pit bulls are the least likely to be adopted, the county must already euthanize about 1,300 annually.
1Omar Martinez, Nathan Aguirre, Kellie Chapman and Shaun Lee McCafferty.
Clark County, Nevada
In May 2010, Clark County biting statistics were brought to our attention. Clark County publishes these statistics online. Biting incidents by breed during the 7-year period from 2003 to 2009 show that of the 6,798 reported incidents, pit bulls were responsible for 1,474 (22%). The next closest breed was the German shepherd with 671 (10%) incidents. In 2008, pit bulls out bit shepherds by more than three times -- 234 pit bull bites versus 77 shepherd bites. The same was nearly true in 2009, 215 and 88 respectively. Essentially, the Clark County pit bull community sold dogs that produced over 200% more bites than the shepherd community.
Franklin County, Ohio
In April 2010, Bryan Wagner, Chief Environmental Specialist for the Franklin County Environmental Court, testified in opposition to HB 79, a bill that seeks to repeal the Ohio law that requires pit bull owners to securely confine and leash their dog and carry $100,000 in liability insurance. Wagner said statistics show more bites are attributed to pit bulls than other dog breed. In Franklin County, 126 of the 333 dog bites (38%) reported last year were attributed to a pit bull. Wagner added, "I believe that pit bull dogs represent a substantial and real threat to the citizens of a crowded, urban environment such as Franklin County."
In December 2009, Toledo Lucas County Health Department data showed that pit bulls led the number of biting incidents from January 1 to November 8. Of the 380 total biting incidents, 65 were attributed to pit bulls. This accounts for 17% of all bites, despite pit bulls accounting for less than 5% of the county's dog population. Though pit bulls are regulated under Ohio and Toledo laws, the breed still led biting incidents. The Lucas County Dog Warden's office keeps track of serious bite injuries. Of the 150 bites listed as "serious" this year, pit bulls and their mixes accounted for 42 (28%). In 18 of the cases, the victims were under 18 years of age.
In September 2009, it was reported that more than 2,400 dog bites had been recorded by animal control services in Bakersfield and areas of unincorporated Kern County since January 2007. "By a wide margin," the breed that bites most often is the pit bull, according to records compiled by the county. The city does not track bites by breed, which is an indicator that the city's animal service opposes BSL. The article also notes the questionable "mixed-breed" category: "Since 2007, pit bulls have bitten 389 victims in Kern. Mixed-breed dogs hold a dubious second place with 254 bites, and German shepherds are third with 140 bites."
Royal Oaks, Michigan
Also in September, another Detroit suburb discussed pit bull legislation (view related map). According to a report provided by City Manager Don Johnson on the 5,311 licensed dogs in Royal Oak, "Pit bulls account for only 1.7% of licensed dogs in Royal Oak but were responsible for about 35% of reported dog bite incidents this year." It is important to point out that Detroit is known as the "dogfighting capital" of the U.S., thus an area rich with the breeding and ownership of pit bulls with explosive aggression. The Detroit area is also the center of U.S. medical research regarding pit bull injury to humans1. This is not a coincidence.
1Pitbull Mauling Deaths in Detroit (case report) and A Ten-Year, Two-Institution Review of Pediatric Dog Attacks (study)
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
In August 2009, it was reported that pit bull bites were up 20% in Mecklenburg County. According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control, in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, pit bulls represented 208 bites. Labs were second with 152, followed by German shepherds and Chows. The news article followed the July pit bull attack involving 9-year old Jisseth Moquete. The girl's neighbor, Jonathan Hall, had been "showing" the pit bull to her family in hopes they would buy the dog. As Moquete was petting the pit bull, the dog latched onto her face. A stranger had given the dog to Hall "for free" one day earlier.
Also in August, the mayor of Springdale, Doug Sprouse, said that over half of the bites reported over the last 2 years have been by pit bulls. That can be a little misleading, he said, "but that's still a hefty number." City officials agreed that they wanted to "prevent bites before they happen," particularly by pit bulls, yet were hesitant about targeting a specific breed in the ordinance. The nearby city of Siloam Springs declares pit bulls "vicious" (Sec: 10-101) and requires owners to adhere to restraint requirements, attain liability insurance and to muzzle their dog when off property. The law specifically targets pit bulls to prevent future pit bull bites.
Hamilton, Ohio (Butler County)
In July 2009, after a pit bull named "Monster" escaped its pen and attacked its owner's young daughter, the Hamilton Health Department released dog bite statistics. From 2001 to July 2009, pit bulls lead with 157 biting incidents, representing 19% of all dog bites. Despite the fact that Ohio declares pit bulls "vicious" and requires special restraint measures (955.22) and liability coverage, pit bulls were still the top biters. The closest follower was "mixed," with 133 incidents (16%). Yet this category is questionable given that U.S. dogs are rarely sold or adopted under the generalized name "mixed." Labs followed with 65 incidents (8%).
Hillsborough County, Florida
Also in July, the Tampa Tribune requested data on dog bites from the Hillsborough Department of Animal Services regarding the 2,400 cases recorded in the last 18 months. The data shows that 103 different dog breeds were responsible for the bites. Pit bulls topped the chart with 371 incidents, 15% of all bites during the period. Labs followed with less than half of this amount with 151 incidents (6%). German shepherds ranked 3rd with 105 incidents (4%) and Chows ranked 4th with 80 (3%). As depicted on the chart, the Tribune seemed to think it was no big deal that one dog breed accounted for such a large percentage of bites.
Ventura County, California
Ventura County Department of Animal Regulation released it annual data (July 2008 to June 2009) this month too. The report showed that pit bulls ranked 9th in licensing, down from 8th in the previous year, but were still the top biter producing 121 biting incidents, up from 117 in the previous year. Often cited by pro-pit bull groups as the leading biter, Cocker spaniels ranked 7th in licensing, but 9th in bite numbers producing only 19 incidents. Pit bulls also topped impounds with 1,399, up from 1,260 in the previous year. By comparison, Labs who rank 1st in licensing and are the most popular dog breed, had 580 impounds and 74 biting incidents.
Ventura County Department of Animal Regulation FY 2008-2009 Statistical Report (www.countyofventura.org) (Archived by DogsBite.org)
Woonsocket, Rhode Island
In June 2009, Capt. Kenneth Paulhus of the Woonsocket Police Department issued a 3-year report concerning the alarming pit bull trend. "In 2006, pit bulls accounted for 32 percent of all the dog bite cases in Woonsocket," Paulhus says in the report. "The number increased to 37 percent in 2007. The year 2008 reflected half of all dog bites in the city were attributed to pit bulls." He added that "many were serious." Animal Control Officer Doris Kay1 says in the report that she used to think all dogs were created equal. But she says she's learned that, "In Woonsocket pit bulls bite more often, and cause more injury, than any other breed."
1Nine months later, Officer Kay is attacked and seriously injured by a pit bull while in the line of duty.
Also in June, after a pit bull attacked 10-year old Baylee Harris, Lincoln Animal Control officials said that pit bulls are the leading breed in reported attacks. Since September of 2008, there have been 38 pit bull bites in the city followed by Labs with 27. The Lincoln County Animal Control 2008 Annual Report (truncated) shows that in 2008, a licensed population of 858 pit bulls and their mixes produced 60 biting incidents. The city's population of Labs and Lab-mixes, 5448 dogs, produced 39 bites in the same period. The data shows that 1 out of every 14 pit bulls in Lincoln is a biter, while its takes over 142 Labs to produce a bite.
Richmond County, Georgia
In the same month, it was reported that Richmond County had 139 complaints of animal bites so far this year, 26 of them involving pit bulls. This is about 19-percent and the most of all dog breeds, according to the article. Diane Downs, the Director of Richmond County Animal Control, said that pit bulls "tend to get the most exposure because unfortunately they do the most damage." The news article came in response to a pit bull attack that left an Augusta man hospitalized. As we see in so many of these cases, the pit bulls escaped owner property (through a gap in the fence) "just to attack" a man who had been walking down the street.
Syracuse, New York
In May 2009, it was reported that the Syracuse dog control department had responded to 19 pit bull bites since the start of the year. According to the article, this is nearly double the amount during all of last year. "It's the beginning of dog control officer Jason Driscoll's shift," the article states, "and already he's responding to a pit bull call." In this instance, the two pit bulls (with a history of bad behavior) had also escaped owner property. Last year one of the same dog's bit a young girl. Dog control officers told WSYR TV that they run into trouble with other dog breeds as well, but pit bulls make up the "majority of reported attacks."
In April 2009, after a 16-year old girl was attacked by loose pit bulls while walking down a street, the Dyersburg Police Department reported there were 21 "dog bite" reports written in 2008. The figures show that nearly half of those bites (10) were from pit bulls. In the first four months of 2009, three of the five police reports written on dog bites involved pit bulls. The article also includes information from the Dyersburg City Attorney's office. City records show there were 35 court cases involving dogs within the last year. Of the 35 cases, 29 of them involved pit bulls. There were also six dog bite cases and all of those were from pit bulls.
In March 2009, the City of Ogden considered a new ordinance that would toughen requirements for pit bull owners including carrying liability insurance. Bob Geier, director of the Ogden Animal Shelter, was in support of this new ordinance. Based on the APPA national survey statistics, Geier estimated that there are about 16,000 dogs in Ogden, including 3,200 pit bulls. During the last two years, pit bulls have accounted for about 20 percent of the dog population at the city animal shelter. During that same period, according to Geier, pit bulls and their mixes have been responsible for about 40 percent of reported dog bites in the city.
Lake County, Florida
Also reported in March, Marjorie Boyd, the director of Lake County Animal Services, said, "Pit bulls lead all breeds of dogs and cats in bite incidents the county has investigated in the past two years." According to Boyd, pit bulls represented 12.7 percent of bite cases in 2007, 12.5 percent in 2008 and 18 percent of cases thus far this year. The article came in response to the mauling of 22-year old Tracy Lindsey. At the time, Lindsey had been jogging down Getford Road when two pit bulls escaped their property and attacked her. Lindsay was airlifted by a Life Flight helicopter to Orlando Regional Medical Center and rushed into surgery.
Broward County, Florida
South of Lake County, the Broward County Dog Bite Database depicts a vivid picture of the "top biter." During the years of 2005 to 2008, Labs produced 151 biting incidents with 98 inflicted on humans and 53 on animals, while Cocker spaniels produced 16 biting incidents with 15 on humans and 1 to an animal. In the same period, the pit bull/American Staffordshire terrier community produced a whopping 618 biting incidents with 323 inflicted on humans and 296 on the county's pet and livestock population. The data shows that human-aggression is just as prevalent as animal-aggression in pit bulls produced by local breeders.
Pinellas County, Florida
According to a 2009 Florida Senate Interim Report by the Committee on Community Affairs, Pinellas County had a total of 122,225 licensed dogs in 2007 and a total of 1,233 dog bites. For a county in which less than 3% of the dog population (3,666) is made up of pit bulls, they accounted for over 19% of the bites (235). The registered population of pit bulls produced 1 bite incident per every 15.6 pit bulls. The next highest number of bites was attributed to Labs, which represent 9% of the dog population (11,000) and accounted for 11.5% of the bites (142). The registered population of Labs only produced 1 bite incident per every 77.5 Labs.
Altoona city records showed in March that of the 5,056 dogs licensed in 2008, 162 (3%) of them were pit bulls or their mixes. City dog law officer, John Iorio, handled 178 biting incidents in 2008. Of these incidents, 110 (61%) involved pit bulls. Iorio believes the actual number of pit bulls in the city to be 400 (8%), but this hardly reduces the alarming number of bites attributed to them. In July 2009, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDF) records showed that 112 dogs in a 5-county region were declared legally "dangerous." Pit bulls accounted for 42 (38%) of these dogs. No Cocker spaniels or Labs appeared on the list.
In February 2009, The Indianapolis Star reported that pit bull bites were at a record high -- 282 in 2008, an increase of 33 percent from the previous year and about three times the total from 2006. The Marion County Dog Bite Database shows that pit bulls produced 490 biting incidents while Labs produced 152 and Cocker spaniels only produced 27. The Star also reported that out of 3,000 pit bulls in animal care last year, nearly 2,500 were euthanized. Despite these statistics, the active pit bull community and the Indianapolis Humane Society, managed to "table" a new dog ordinance designed to reduce pit bull bites and deaths.
In January 2009, the Wichita Department of Environmental Services released a number of pit bull statistics. The figures are based upon the Wichita Animal Control department's investigation of 733 dog bites in 2008. Included in the data are pit bulls encountered by the Wichita Police Department. In the 1-year period, 95% of police encounters with aggressive dogs were pit bulls. The report also showed that the percentage of pit bull encounters had increased from 66% in 2004 to 95% in 2008. Subsequently, four months after the release of this data, the City of Wichita enacted a mandatory pit bull sterilization law.
- 55% of all dogs deemed dangerous were pit bulls (41 pit bull dogs deemed dangerous).
- 34% of attacks and bites involved pit bull dogs (246 pit bull attacks/bites).
- 28% of dogs found running at large were pit bulls (1,279 pit bulls found running loose).
- 25% of dogs impounded were pit bulls dogs (1,575 pit bulls impounded).
- 37% of all dogs euthanized were pit bull dogs (1,255 pit bulls euthanized).
- 23% of dog complaints involved pit bull dogs (2,523 complaints involved pit bull dogs).
In September 2008, when the City of Canton was in the process of adding American bulldogs to their existing pit bull ordinance (pit bulls are deemed "vicious" under Ohio state law), the Canton Repository published dog bite statistics from the Canton Health Department. From January 1, 2005 to September 2008, pit bulls led biting incidents with 89 bites. German shepherds (including police dogs) followed with 68, mutts with 50 and rottweilers with 33. It must be noted that under a 1991 Supreme Court of Ohio ruling, the court validated that "dogs commonly known as a pit bull dog" includes close breeds such as American bulldogs.
North Texas Cities
In August 2008, The Dallas Morning News reported that one third (33%) of all dog bite incidents from July 2007 to July 2008 in Duncanville, Cedar Hill and Mesquite involved pit bulls. Each of these cities passed resolutions urging the state Legislature to allow breed-specific laws, as lawmakers were hoodwinked by the dog lobby in 1991 and passed a preemptive state-wide anti-BSL measure (822.047). The next closest breeds were German shepherds (9.6%) followed by Labs (9%). While breed population data was not available in this article, it's presumable that the pit bull population is lower than the other two breeds.
Ventura County, California
In July 2008, Ventura County Department of Animal Regulation released a 1-year statistical report (July 2007 to June 2008). The report showed that pit bulls ranked 8th in licensing, but were still the top biter producing 117 biting incidents in this period. Often cited by pro-pit bull groups as the leading biter, Cocker spaniels ranked 6th in licensing, but 8th in bite numbers with only 28 incidents. In September 2008, 5-year old Katya Todesco of Simi Valley suffered catastrophic face and neck injury after she reportedly "bumped into" a pit bull. She died 6 days later. The pit bull mauling death of Katya was recorded as "one biting incident."
El Paso County, Colorado
In May 2008, after a pit bull burrowed under a fence and attacked a 5-year old boy, Ann Davenport of the Pikes Peak Region Humane Society said, "Pit bulls and pit bull mixes have accounted for more dog bites than any other breed in El Paso County this year. They were involved in 216 bites, about 18% of the 1,381 attacks reported. Labrador retrievers were second on the list, with 157 attacks, and German shepherds were third, with 93 bites." The attack occurred in Cimarron Hills, just east of Colorado Springs. The child received 2,000 stitches and underwent two immediate surgeries with many future facial surgeries expected.
In February 2008, the City and County of Lubbock experienced a "pit bull epidemic," which by March ended in the deaths of 23 animals due to loose pit bulls. The February article provided 2007 Lubbock Animal Services data regarding dog incidents. Of the 247 dog bites, pit bulls accounted for 75 incidents (30%). Labs followed with just 17 incidents (7%) and German shepherds with 15 (6%). Unfortunately, the writers of the article were hoodwinked into the myth that pit bulls are one of the "most popular" dog breeds in the nation. 2009 U.S shelter data shows that the total U.S. pit bull population is no greater than 5% of all dogs.
San Francisco, California
In July 2005, about 6 months prior to San Francisco enacting a pit bull sterilization law, the San Francisco Chronicle reviewed hundreds of dog bites logged by the city. According to Animal Care and Control department records, pit bulls and their mixes accounted for 27% of reported dog bites since 2003, even though they accounted for only 6% of licensed dogs. Of the 900 bite incidents recorded in this period, 626 traced to a specific dog. Of those, 169 bites were attributed to pit bulls. As the Chronicle writer points out, "that's more than the number of bites by German shepherds (69), Labradors (58) and rottweilers (34) combined."
08/31/15: Who Can Identify a Pit Bull? A Dog Owner of 'Ordinary Intelligence'...
02/11/15: 2014 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities - Dog Bite Statistics - DogsBite.org
01/07/15: 2014 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org
06/01/14: Cities with Successful Pit Bull Laws; Data Shows Breed-Specific Laws Work
01/20/14: 2013 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities - Dog Bite Statistics - DogsBite.org
01/03/14: 2013 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org
04/22/09: Report: U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities January 2006 to December 2008
Photos: German shephered: Brigitte Mardorf and Labrador Retriever: Elf, both: CC BY-SA 3.0