DogsBite Blog ::
Friday, August 22, 2014
Snapshot Summary Report
DogsBite.org - In the first 225 days of this year, 28 Americans were killed by dogs. On average, a fatal attack was inflicted by a canine every 8 days in the U.S. since January 1. Pit bulls and their mixes are responsible for 71% (20) of these deaths. Pit bulls alone have an average kill rate of every 11 days during this period. Followed by two other large molosser breeds, rottweilers (7%) and bullmastiffs (7%), each inflicting 2 deaths. Four dog breeds each inflicted one death.1
In contrast, by August 13, 2013, there were 18 fatalities. In the same period for 2012 and 2011, there were 20 and 18 deaths, respectively. If the current rate persists, an estimated 46 fatal attacks will occur in 2014.During the recent 3.5-week period of July 19 to August 13, pit bulls killed 6 Americans. 83% (5) were children ages 6 and under and 67% (4) involved a babysitter watching the child, including one case where a babysitter was brutally killed in front of a 2-year old child. Of all fatal attacks since January 1, babysitters were present in 21% (6) of these attacks and 29% (8) involved the victim either visiting or living temporarily with the dog's owner when the fatal attack occurred.2
During the first 225 days of 2014, Texas led all states in fatalities with 21% (6); regionally, the Southern United States led with 61% (17). Alabama, Florida and Ohio followed, each with 3 fatalities. In the 9-year period of 2005 to 2013, Alabama had 6 total recorded dog bite fatalities; 3 so far in 2014 is a substantial rise. In Ohio, all 3 fatal dog attacks occurred in the southwestern part of the state (25-miles apart) in a 6-month period and 2 deaths occurred in the city of Dayton.
Regarding criminal charges, Harris County, Texas stunned DogsBite.org followers in July after finally bringing charges under the state felony law that was enacted in 2007. More notably, in what may be the most watched and analyzed fatal dog mauling trial since the death of Diane Whipple in 2001, prosecutors in Michigan filed second-degree murder charges and a felony count of possessing an animal causing death against a couple after their two dogs brutally killed a jogger.
Snapshot Summary Report
Located centrally, the snapshot shows the Large Molosser Breeds group. This small group has inflicted 93% (26) of attacks resulting in death during this period and includes: pit bulls, rottweilers, American bulldogs, mastiff/bullmastiff, presa canarios and cane corsos. Dog breeds displayed in the first two rows of the snapshot are based upon the top killing dog breeds of the last 9-years (See related chart). Thus, not all fatally attacking breeds in 2014 are shown in the snapshot.3
Photographs of six dogs from the Large Molosser Breeds group that killed a person in 2014.
Texas Dog Bite Victims' Advocacy - Join our Texas email list to stay informed
2When "reverse" scenarios are included this number is much higher, 39%. So far this year, 3 cases involved the dog temporarily living at the victim's home when the attack occurred, including the deaths of Je'vaeh Mayes (Texas), Dorothy Hamilton (Texas) and Cindy Whisman (Ohio).
3The snapshot represents a small portion of a much larger Excel data set.
04/21/14: U.S. Fatal Dog Attacks Accelerate During First Part of Year (January 1, 2014...
01/20/14: 2013 U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Statistics - DogsBite.org
01/03/14: 2013 Fatal Dog Attack Identification Photographs
05/20/13: Report: Texas Dog Bite Fatalities, January 1, 2005 to February 17, 2013
From top left: Javon Dade Jr., the crime scene, suspect #1 and the "breed labeling game."
Father, Girlfriend Arrested
UPDATE 08/22/14: Police have arrested and charged two people in connection to the mauling death of 4-year old Javon Dade Jr. On August 13, Javon was first reported missing by his father then discovered dead in the backyard of his father's home by police a short time later. One or more of his father's pit bulls had attacked and killed him. On Friday, his father, Javon Dade Sr., 30, and his father's girlfriend, Alessandra Carrasco, 26, were arrested and charged with child neglect.
According to Dade's arrest report, he picked up his son from his mother's home about 9:30 pm the night before the attack and returned to his home. After his son fell asleep, Dade and Carrasco "began smoking several marijuana cigarettes laced with cocaine," according to the report. When his father and Carrasco woke up the next morning, about 9:00 am, Javon Jr. was nowhere to be found. Police said the front door of the home was locked, but the rear sliding glass door was not.
Notably, now that the police report has been released to the media, we see a distinct language change regarding breeds of dogs. The 5 dogs in question are now being called "pit bull-mixes." The breed labeling game by Miami-Dade Animal Services -- who offered up four different breed names for these dogs, none being "pit bull-mix" -- is now over. This may be due to the fact that the boy's death now involves criminal charges of child neglect and is now fully under police control.1
CBS Miami also spoke to the boy's paternal grandmother, Jocelyn Dade. She said that both her son and his girlfriend have drug problems (as noted in Javon Sr.'s extensive criminal arrests and convictions). Jocelyn also said that the white dogs "grew up" with Javon Jr. but the adult male pit bull -- already euthanized due to aggression -- was a new dog her son had gotten from a neighbor. The related video shows Javon Sr. collapsing to the ground upon learning of his son's death.
08/18/14: DCF Knew of the Pit Bulls
CBS Miami reports that the Department of Children and Families (DCF) was warned that the pit bulls posed a danger to Javon Dade Jr. and his siblings 3-years before one or more of these dogs fatally attacked the boy. According to documents obtained by CBS Miami and their news partners, in March 2011, DCF received a complaint from a neighbor about the "smell" and "feces" and "danger" of the six dogs, two being pit bulls, living in the family's home (See: DCF document).
At that time, Javon Jr., 6-months old, and his two siblings lived with his two parents. The March 2011 DCF narrative in part reads: "There are about six dogs living inside the apartment … the dogs urinate on the floor and the children are frequently on the floor … Two of the dogs are pit bulls … There is concern for the safe care of the children in the home." The DCF report also mentions an incident a year earlier when both parents were bitten trying to break up a dog fight.
When DCF officials confronted the mother, Doreen Reyes, about the allegations, she denied them, claiming to only own three dogs, none of which were pit bulls. At that time, the family was living in Miami-Dade County. DCF failed to contact Animal Services about the dogs being kept illegally by the family. Would it matter if they had though, given that Animal Services is so quick to mislabel any pit bull-type dogs as a terrier-boxer mix, terrier-mix or American bulldog-labrador mix?
Two of the dogs are pit bulldogs,” the DCF report added. If the DCF investigator knew that it is illegal to keep pit bulls in Miami-Dade County, there is no mention of it, and no indication that animal services was informed of the situation.Finally, the DCF report spells out part of the father's extensive criminal record. (We checked this last week as soon as his name was released by searching the Miami-Dade County criminal court website.) Javon Dade Sr., has a history of drug offenses involving cocaine and marijuana; a perfect pairing with running an illegal pit bull breeding operation out of his home. By June of 2011, the parents had split up with Javon Jr. living primarily with his mother and visiting his father.
The DCF probe concluded that Javan and his siblings were in a “moderate to high” risk environment, yet no action was taken to remove the children or the dogs. DCF investigators spoke with teachers, daycare workers and a doctor who said the children appeared healthy and well dressed. - CBS Miami
Summary of DCF Investigations
DCF knew about the pit bulls, which are illegal to own in Miami-Dade County and have been since 1989, but DFC did not know about the county ordinance? Second, DCF documents state that on August 13, "Javon Jr. was mauled to death by the father's pit bull dog." So it will now be harder for Animal Services to mislabel the dog(s) as terrier-mixes or bulldog-mixes, ad nauseam. Finally, if DCF had properly followed up and the breed ban enforced, Javon Dade Jr. would still be alive.
08/15/14: Memorial Grows for Victim
Javon Dade Jr. was visiting his father at the time of his violent mauling death. The boy lives with his mother, Doreen Reyes, and his brother in Palmetto Bay. The two parents are no longer together. Friends of Doreen recently defended her on the Local 10 Facebook page. Doreen also commented: "I brought my kids up in a Godly home and I'm leaving it up to him to get us through this tragedy. So please have compassion for my family and my other son through this time."
CBS Miami reports other social media comments. Beryl wrote to Javon's grandmother (maternal or paternal is unknown): "I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THESE DOGS PITBULLS KILLING OUR BABIES. OH GOD HAVE MERCY SAVE OUR BABIES. WORDS CAN NOT EXPRESS HOW THIS FAMILY FEELS RIGHT NOW." Beryl may be referring to the fact that three young boys, ages 4 to 6, have been brutally mauled to death by family pit bulls in Florida in the past four weeks.
08/14/14: Landlord Update; AC on Record
Kenneth Darbin, the landlord and owner of the property, told CBS Miami yesterday that he warned his tenants a week ago that they had seven days to remove the dogs or face eviction. The day of the fatal attack was the seventh day of his warning, according to reporter Lauren Pastrana who spoke to him. When later reached by phone, he claimed, "They snuck the dogs on the property." The boy’s father had only been living in the house for a little over two months, Narbin said.
New Breed Name -- Will It Stick?
Beginning with Miami-Dade Animal Services labeling 5 of the dogs "labrador-pit bull mixes," then broadening this to "terrier-boxer mixes" finally, Kathleen Labrada, the spokesperson for Animal Services went on record with WSVN last night calling the 5 dogs "American bulldog-labrador retriever mixes." (We've underlined the first name, which is the predominant breed.) Labrada also admitted that the puppies are too young to properly evaluate, but still called them "terrier-mixes."
"A total of six dogs were removed from the scene. Three adults which appear to be American Bulldog and Labrador Retriever mixes, and one pit bull," said a spokesperson Kathleen Labrada of Animal Services. "The puppies appear to be terrier mixes. They are too young to evaluate, they are under six months of age. We're certainly hopeful that through DNA evidence and other evidence we're able to gather, that we will be able to confirm which dogs..." - Kathleen LabradaWhen all else fails, labeling the dog an American bulldog-mix usually sticks. As explained in footnotes, there is no frantic labeling game (throw it until it sticks) about the breed of the number one suspect. If there were, if might get someone from Animal Services fired. It is still unknown, however, which of the adult dogs attacked or if all three did. Currently, Animal Services is trying to pawn off the two adult females (the white and tan dogs) as "American bulldog-labrador mixes."
People who breed pit bulls, like to produce more pit bulls. The goal is not to produce litters of American bulldog-mixes or labrador-mixes. Therefore, they mate pit bulls with other pit bulls, a breed which certainly has a wide variance in colors and weight, but very little variance in the shape of the head. The white and tan dogs are predominantly pit bulls and any label should reflect this, such as "pit bull-mix" or "pit bull-American bulldog mix" or "pit bull-[insert breed name] mix."
Above: Thus far, Miami-Dade Animal Services have labeled 5 of the dogs three different names.
08/13/14: Landlord; Terrier-Mix Label
In an evening update from NBC Miami, the news team spoke to the landlord and owner of the home, Kenneth Narbin, who said that last week he gave the renters2 -- Javon Dade Sr., and his girlfriend -- seven days to remove the "pit bull dogs from the home." Miami-Dade County has banned the breed for over two decades. Despite this legal demand from their landlord, the boy's father kept the dogs along with his homespun pit bull breeding operation. Now his son is dead.
Before reading the Miami Herald update, it is important for readers to understand that the Herald strongly opposes the pit bull ban and urged the public in 2012 to vote to repeal it. The public shrugged off the Herald and voted by a wide margin to keep the ban. The main reason we link to the Herald now is to point out a disturbing new pit bull "mislabeling" trend. The new trend is to replace "pit bull" with "terrier," as was done on the adopted dog that viciously attacked Rita Pepe.
Twenty minutes later, police made a gruesome discovery: Javon had been mauled to death by dogs in the backyard of the Goulds home, his limp body found in the overgrown grass near a fence.The terrier group is a large list of breeds, of which the American pit bull terrier (aka American Staffordshire terrier) is grouped within by many major kennel clubs, along with the border terrier, rat terrier, west highland terrier, Scottish terrier and more. Under this "trending" misleading labeling treatment for pit bulls, a "pit bull-boxer mix" is simply a "terrier-boxer mix." which completely removes the pit bull name to unsuspecting adopters and for dog bite statistical tracking purposes.
In the same yard: Two adult female terrier-boxer mixes, an adult male pit bull and three terrier-boxer mixed puppies between two and four months of age. - Miami Herald
Miami-Dade County Animal Services, who initially labeled five of the dogs as "labrador-pit bull mixes," then switched over to the broader "terrier-mix" label. The Herald immediately pushed this "revised" label. What is truly revolting is that Miami-Dade County Animal Services is tax-funded and under the mission to enforce the county pit bull ban. What the public knows now is that even in the case a fatal dog attack, this agency will "protect the breed" over their public safety duty.3
08/13/14: Dogs Seized, Photographed
Miami-Dade authorities seized and photographed a total of six dogs, three adults and three puppies. Authorities "speculate" that at least one adult pit bull may have been trying to protect the puppies when it unleashed a brutal attack killing the 4-year old boy. According to Animal Services, only one dog appeared to be aggressive, an adult male pit bull (top left). The rest of the dogs are allegedly "labrador-pit bull mixes," despite a female labrador nowhere to be found on scene.4
Above: Local 10 published photos of all six dogs seized after the fatal attack of Javon Dade Jr.
08/13/14: Child Killed by Family Pit Bull
Goulds, FL - In a developing story, Miami-Dade Police confirm that a 4-year old boy was mauled to death by one or more of his family's dogs in Goulds this morning. The attack occurred in the fenced-in backyard of a home at 12301 SW 230th Street. Hovering news choppers at the scene spotted the boy's body covered in a yellow tarp lying in the middle of the backyard. Neighbors described the family's two dogs as being "very aggressive" and believe they are pit bulls.
This is the third little boy in Florida mauled to death by family dogs since July 19. The first two fatalities involved family pit bulls.The CBS Miami video shows numerous first responder personnel and vehicles at the scene. Miami-Dade police also set up a "command post" near the scene. While writing this blog post, police identified the boy as Javon Dade Jr. and confirmed that three dogs were captured. The video suggests that at least one dog was shot. The investigation is ongoing. It is unknown what the circumstances of the attack were or if the boy was under adult supervision at the time.
WSVN offers additional information. In a press conference, Miami-Dade Police spokesperson Robin Pinkard said the call began as a missing child case. When police responded, they canvassed the area and made the horrific discovery. At least three dogs were captured. Police are still trying to determine who owed the dogs and if the dogs resided at the fenced property or broke into it. Animal control is conducting "a series of tests" to determine the breeds of dogs involved.
Police have been dispatched in search of the missing boy when they made the horrific discovery. "According to investigators, at approximately 10:09 this morning, police received a phone call advising of a missing 4-year-old male," said Pinkard. "As officers arrived they did an area canvas where they discovered a black male, 4 years of age, deceased in the backyard." WSVN.comFinally, Local 10 News is now reporting the "predictable" pattern that the boy was "visiting" his father's home at the time of the fatal dog attack. Also, as of 1:45 pm Central time, a total of six dogs have been removed from the property. The father, along with his girlfriend, were at the home at the time of the fatal incident. As DogsBite.org readers know, Miami-Dade County has banned pit bulls since 1989. If the dogs are determined to be pit bulls, criminal fines or charges may follow.
2Only the video contained the phrase "last week." The print version did not.
3Amazingly, for legal purposes and otherwise, the #1 suspect, according to Miami-Dade County Animal Services, is the only dog being labled as a "pit bull." All of the other pit bulls and pit bull-mixes will get recycled back into the community under misleading terrier-mix names.
4Why would Miami-Dade Animal Services pull the "labrador-pit bull mix" stunt? Notably, the breed listed first is the predominant breed. First, it must be explained that puppies this young -- whose physical form has not filled out yet -- are often too young to be properly identified by breed. Second, when two pit bulls mate, this does not produce labrador-pit bull mix dogs. It produces pit bulls or pit bull-mix dogs depending upon the exact make up of each parent. Finally, Animal Services must falsely identify the puppies as anything but "predominantly pit bulls" or else, given the county pit bull ban, they can't adopt out the offspring of a fatally attacking pit bull to the public.
08/08/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Visiting Child Killed by Aunt's Pit Bulls in Fanning Springs...
07/29/13: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Visiting Child Killed by His Uncle's Two Pit Bulls in...
08/16/12: Vote in Miami-Dade County to Repeal Pit Bull Ban Fails by Wide Margin
03/12/12: Attempt to Overturn Miami-Dade Pit Bull Ban Advances: 'Don't They Know?'
Monday, August 11, 2014
Heroic neighbor stopped the attack by stabbing the pit bull with a steak knife.
Little Girl Dies
St. Charles County, MO - Officials confirmed on Monday that a 22-month old girl savagely attacked by her family pit bull-mix last Thursday while under the care of her grandmother has died. Deriah Solem was pronounced dead at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center on Saturday, according to the medical examiner's office. The cause of death was listed as injuries to her head and neck. At the time of the attack, her grandmother was babysitting Deriah and her two siblings.
The attack occurred at the family's home in the St. Charles Hills subdivision; the grandmother also lives at the home. According to police, the grandmother had just finished feeding the little girl and placed her onto the floor. When the family's 80-pound pit bull -- usually kept locked in a back bedroom -- somehow was able to get out. The dog immediatly attacked the toddler. The grandmother intervened and suffered the loss of four fingertips trying to pry open the dog's jaws.
As the attack continued, the grandmother shouted at her two brothers, ages 5 and 8 to flee the house. They ran next door to Jonathan Banta's home. Banta grabbed a steak knife and rushed over. He repeatedly stabbed the dog as it continued to attack Deriah. “I grabbed a steak knife -- that’s all I could find at the time -- went back over there, and the dog still wouldn’t get off, so I stabbed it multiple times,” Banta said. Eventually, the dog let go and collapsed behind a TV.
“I’m still kind of shook up,” he said. “There was a lot of blood, and stabbing a dog is not fun.” - Jonathan BantaThe girl was transported to St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles and later transferred to Cardinal Glennon. The initial Fox news coverage captures the horror of the attack.1 "She had multiple bites covering her whole body, but the most extensive ones were to the neck, stomach and head area … it was extremely urgent .. the blood loss on the child was extensive," Lt. Dave Tiefenbrunn said. The situation was so critical that there was a surgeon in the ambulance.
The family pit bull-mix had no reported history of attacks or biting, according to police, but family members told police the dog had shown aggressive behavior in the past. This may be why the dog was usually kept locked in a back bedroom? Despite this knowledge, as early as Friday, police said that no charges are expected to be filed in the case. Authorities are calling yet another child's horrific death by a family pit bull a "tragic accident." The 10-year old pit bull was euthanized.
08/08/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Visiting Child Killed by Aunt's Pit Bulls in Fanning Springs...
07/29/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Visiting Child Killed by His Uncle's Two Pit Bulls in...
07/22/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Visiting Child Under Babysitter's Care Killed by Family Pit Bull...
04/10/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Owned by Family Members Kill 3-Year Old Mississippi...
02/28/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: 3-Year Old Girl Killed by Family Pit Bull in North Carolina
01/30/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: 4-Year Old Girl Killed by Family Pit Bulls in Bloomington
Photos: St. Louis Post Dispatch and Fox 2 Now
Friday, August 8, 2014
Joel Chirieleison, 6-years old, was killed by two pit bulls on August 7.
Authorities Identify Child
UPDATE 08/08/14: Sheriff's officials have released the name of the young boy killed by two pit bulls while visiting his aunt's home. Joel Chirieleison, the son of Joel Claar and Kristy Chirieleison, had been staying at his aunt's house while his father was at work. The child's aunt, Heather Claar, took the 6-year old boy's father to work that morning then took Joel to her home to watch him. This arrangement had been going on for weeks, according to Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum.
Joel Chirieleison is the 250th American killed by pit bulls since the CDC stopped tracking dog bite fatality data by breeds in 1998.1
08/08/14: Child Dies in Aunt's Care
HardisonInk.com reported new information on Friday about the fatal pit bull mauling. The child had stayed at the home with his aunt and grandfather for the past three or four days before the attack, according to Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum. When he went outside to play about 8:15 am, two pit bulls, which live at the house, had been let out in the yard. At the time of the attack, the aunt was packing things so that she and the boy could visit her mother, the boy's grandmother.
In a video published by WCJB-TV on Thursday, the aunt is named as the owner of the two pit bulls. McCallum was also interviewed in the video. McCallum said, "He has been around [the dogs] for about a month. It is our understanding that the dogs had been in this family for a couple of years. There are other children in the household and there has never been any problem in the past with these dogs." Names continue to be withheld until authorities can notify the boy's mother.
08/07/14: Attack Occurred Thursday
The Levy County Sheriff's Office has issued a press release stating that the 6-year old boy was attacked and killed by one or more dogs on Thursday. It was initially reported that the attack occurred on Tuesday. When responding deputies arrived on scene, the child was already dead. The child had injuries consistent with being attacked by a dog or dogs, according to the release. Animal control removed multiple dogs from the property. The investigation is ongoing.
This unnamed child marks the 250th American killed by pit bulls since the CDC stopped tracking dog bite fatality data by breeds in 1998.2The Ocala StarBanner has also updated their news report. The 6-year old boy had played with his family's two pit bulls many times, but on Thursday morning the dogs suddenly attacked and killed him outside a Fanning Springs home. Before the attack, the boy's aunt had driven his father to work then taken the boy to the home she shares with the boy's grandfather. She let the boy go outside to play and the two dogs followed him. This was routine, according to authorities.
While the aunt and the grandfather were inside watching TV, the aunt looked outside and saw the boy lying in the driveway. She ran outside and the family called 911. First responders from multiple agencies arrived, but the boy was already dead. Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum said, "It appears right now to be a terrible tragedy." McCallum added that the dogs had never caused the family any problems before and that they were "well cared for" and current on all their shots.
Levy County Animal Control seized both pit bulls along with four other dogs on the property.
Visiting Children, Babysitters and Pit Bulls
Though information is still developing, it appears that once again, a child visiting the dog owner's home -- and often under the care of a babysitter at the time -- was mauled to death by the owner's pit bulls. The babysitters in this case were relatives watching the child while his father was at work. Most recently, other child fatality victims with similar scenarios include: 4-year old Kasii Haith (Delaware), 7-month old Jonathan Quarles Jr., (Ohio) and 4-year old Logan Sheppard (Florida).
08/07/14: Pit Bulls Kill Child
Fanning Springs, FL - In a developing story, two dogs attacked and killed a 6-year old child Tuesday morning. Despite already being two days later, few details are available, according to the Ocala StarBanner and Gainsville Sun.3 Levy County 911 Communications Center received a call at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday of a child attacked by two pit bulls at the park, according to the Levy County Department of Public Safety report. The child was already dead when first responders arrived.
Units from the Fanning Springs Fire Department, LCDPS, Medic 2 and Battalion 1, LCSO, and Levy County Animal Control responded to the scene. Assisting the family was a victims' advocate from the Levy County Sheriff's Office. The Dixie County chaplain and Marion County Debriefing Team were called in to assist the first responders and dispatchers involved. Fanning Springs has a population of 764 people and is located in Gilchrist and Levy counties, according to Wikipedia.
3One commenter is stating that the attack was Thursday morning and only involved one dog.
07/29/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Visiting Child Killed by His Uncle's Two Pit Bulls in...
08/13/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Callaway Boy Savagely Mauled by Two Dogs Dies
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Pit Bull Euthanized
UPDATE 08/07/14: The pit bull that killed 59-year old Cindy Whisman was euthanized Thursday, according to Sgt. Melissa Gerhardt of the Butler County Sheriff’s Office. The victim's daughter and owner of the dog, Julie Whisman, surrendered her male pit bull to the county Wednesday after the completion of the investigation by county sheriff's deputies. No charges will be filed at this time. Lt. Mike Craft said, "Detectives found no evidence that this dog had been aggressive in the past."
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones is interviewed in the video. "I've seen the body," he said. "There were a lot of bite marks on the upper body." Jones comments about pit bulls too. "Playing with fire. There may be nicer ones, but [pit bulls] have a tendency to kill people and maul people." Lastly, to clear up confusion about home ownership, Julie and her 2-year old son Marcus, began living with her mother and father two months ago. Cindy had known the dog for a number of years.
08/05/14: Death Ruled Accidental
The Butler County Coroner’s Office ruled the death of Cindy Whisman as accidental. The cause of death was "due to dog bites." Whisman was mauled across her face, neck and abdomen, according to sheriff's officials. Deputies arrived after receiving a 911 call from a neighbor who witnessed the attack. Wayne Walker, 79, who rushed over to help Cindy said, "It looked like [the dog] took a chunk of her throat out around the jugular." Walker knew she was already dead.
At that point, Walker hit the dog across the face with his walking stick and the dog ran away, he said. He immediately grabbed the child and went inside of Whisman’s house. The child did not appear to be injured, Walker said.There continues to be conflicting reports of who owned the home where the attack occurred -- who was temporarily living at the home when Julie Whisman's pit bull of 5-years brutally attacked and killed her mother in front of her 2-year old son? It seems that Walker's statement, who lives directly next door and has known Cindy for 40-years, is the most probable. Julie continues to act bewildered that her pit bull, she touts as "My Guard Dog Polo" on Facebook, killed her mother.
Walker said he has known Whisman for 40 years, and that her husband has health issues and rarely leaves their house.
"It was a terrible thing that happened to her," he said. "She was a good woman." - Wayne Walker, Oxford Press
Julie is hardly the first daughter or son whose dog viciously killed a parent or grandparent. Most recently, in 2013 and 2014, Annabell Martin (rottweilers), Nancy Newberry (pit bull), Dorothy Hamilton (pit bulls), Betty Todd (pit bull) and Elsie Grace (pit bulls) all suffered horrific deaths due to their child's poor choice in dog breeds. As a note to parents and grandparents, it is a terrible idea to allow your beloved children to bring these high risk dangerous dog breeds into your home.
The Dayton Daily News reports that the 5-year old pit bull that killed Cindy might be euthanized today. The video shows the dog in quarantine at the Butler County animal shelter (Animal Friends Humane Society). Executive director Meg Stephenson continues to say that the breed of dog has not been determined, despite the dog's owner saying her dog is a pure bred pit bull. Kurt Merbs, Butler County’s assistant dog warden supervisor, is calling the dog a pit bull-presa canario mix.
The Kumpf Card has already been played this year in Ohio. It's not going to happen twice.1 The public has images of this dog at 3 and 5-years old.Lastly, just before publishing this update, the Oxford Press updated their own article. Apparently, Julie is now having second thoughts about putting Polo down, her 5-year old pit bull that ripped out her mother's throat, killing her. Julie told the media on Tuesday that she wants to see the results of the investigation and better understand what happened before making a determination about her dog's fate. She said after thinking about the "situation" for 24 hours, she is now "indecisive."
08/04/14: Killed by Daughter's Pit Bull
New information reveals that the victim's daughter, Julie Whisman, owns the pit bull that attacked and killed her mother, 59-year old Cindy Whisman. Julie, her 2-year old son and her pit bull began living with her parents two months ago.2 Conflicting information -- which should be cleared up soon -- states that Julie owned the home and her mother was babysitting the boy when she was fatally attacked. What is confirmed is that the pit bull killed the grandmother in front of the child.
"He loved my son ... They played together. My son would sit on him, lay on him. Smack him in the face. He wouldn’t do anything." - Julie WhismanCindy was in the backyard with her 2-year old grandson when the pit bull viciously attacked her. Julie was at work at the time of the incident. A neighbor who witnessed the attack called 911. Another neighbor ran into the Whisman's backyard and beat the dog back with a walking stick, but Cindy was already dead. Julie said she has owned the 5-year old male pit bull, named Polo, since it was 6-weeks old. Another dog owned by Julie was also removed from the home by authorities.
08/04/14: Family Pit Bull Kills Woman
Madison Township, OH - In a developing story, a 59-year old woman was attacked and killed by her family's pit bull in Madison Township. The attack occurred at a residence on the 4700 block of Eck Road just after 1 pm on Monday, according to authorities. The victim has been identified as 59-year old Cindy Whisman. The woman was attacked by the family's pit bull and a neighbor witnessed the attack, according to police. More information is expected in the next few hours.
Cindy Whisman's death marks the third fatal dog attack in Ohio since February. Earlier victims include Klonda Richey, 57-years old of Dayton, brutally killed by her neighbor's two mastiff-mix dogs after stepping outside of her home, and Johnathan Quarles Jr., 7-months old, killed by his babysitter's pit bull while visiting her Dayton home. The City of Dayton resides in Montgomery County, which is adjacent to Butler County, where the most recent Ohio fatal dog attack occurred.
The southwest corner of Ohio also includes Hamilton County, where Cincinnati is located. In June, 6-year old Zainabou Drama suffered "unimaginable" injuries inflicted by two pit bulls in Cincinnati. As described by her grandfather, the dogs, "grabbed her face and literally tore it off." Zainabou remains hospitalized at Cincinnati Children's hospital. Her attack brought about a fierce debate. In 2012, Cincinnati repealed their pit bull ban and Ohio repealed their longstanding state pit bull law.
After Cindy's death, the attacking pit bull was taken to Animal Friends Humane Society. Just last week, the News-Journal ran an article (Recent pit bull attacks raise questions about breed, dog laws) focusing on Butler County and nearby cities with breed-specific laws. The executive director of the organization, Meg Stephenson, was interviewed and voiced the typical, "It’s the owner not the breed." How will she now explain Cindy's death? She trained the family pit bull to kill her?
2Flip switch, in this case the dog's owner had been temporarily living with the victim when her pit bull of 5-years suddenly attacked her mother who was babysitting her 2-year old son. The toddler witnessed the fatal attack.
07/22/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Visiting Child Under Babysitter's Care Killed by Family Pit Bull...
07/02/14: Director of the Division of Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery at Cincinnati...
02/21/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Type Dogs Attack, Strip Naked and Kill Dayton Woman
01/21/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Dog Mauls Grandmother to Death While Babysitting Toddler
Saturday, August 2, 2014
2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Two Cane Corsos Brutally Attack and Kill Jogger in Metamora Township, Michigan
UPDATE 08/02/14: Three adult cane corsos have been euthanized, but prosecutors backed down from their civil complaint filed on July 25 to seize the eight offspring puppies1 ("Complainant believes ... they’re [sic] blood line cannot be reasonably believed to be safe for society"). Instead, prosecutors made a deal with the defendants' attorneys, who deny the dogs' owners are breeders, despite being caught red-handed selling these pure bred cane corsos for up to $1,100 online.
As an attorney and a prosecutor I have a problem with our county giving out these puppies and doing a wait and see and hopefully they are OK and wait and see. Maybe they will do something, maybe they won't. They probably won't, but we can't take that chance. - Mike Hodges, Lapeer County assistant prosecuting attorney, July 30, WNEM.comProsecutors have bigger fish to fry -- Sebastiano Quagliata and Valbona Lucaj. Maybe this is why they lost sight of their original, and noteworthy, public safety concern. Lapeer County Animal Control, who took little preventable actions prior to the death of Craig Sytsma, will choose the rescue organization(s) to send the expensive purebred cane corso puppies to. Prosecutors have placed restrictions on the adoptions and maintain the right to repetition the court in 60-days.
If a shelter for the puppies cannot be found, the prosecutor's office can come back to the court.We encourage readers to write to the Lapeer County Prosecutors Office in regard to their decision (scroll to see the mailing and email addresses). Fatal dog mauling criminal cases are regrettably uncommon and prosecutors are often in search of knowledge to help fill in the voids. Also, unless surprises occur in the short term, this update will complete this blog post. The criminal trial, which will no doubt be extensive, will be covered in a new post dedicated to the criminal proceedings.
"We have the right to repetition in 60 days," he said.
The puppies will be sterilized and anyone who takes them from any shelter would have to be warned of the history of their family, Hodges added.
In the meantime, animal control is attempting to contact other litters from breeds that Quagliata and Lucaj may have sold. He said they aren't looking to take the animals, but rather gather information about their aggressiveness. - Mike Hodges, Lapeer County assistant prosecuting attorney, August 1, 2014, Mlive.com
07/31/14: Charged with Second-Degree Murder
The owners of two Italian cane corsos that mauled to death a jogger on July 23 in Metamora are being charged with second-degree murder, the Lapeer County Prosecutor’s Office announced tonight.2 Sebastiano Quagliata, 45 and former falcon owner, was already in custody Thursday and his wife, Valbona Lucaj, 44, was expected to turn herself in shortly, according to prosecutor Tim Turkelson. Quagliata and Lucaj will be arraigned in Lapeer County District Court at 9 am Friday.
The couple faces up to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder. Prosecutors also charged the couple with possessing an animal causing death (another tier of significant charges if the jury fails to convict on second-degree murder). Murder charges are "exceptionally" rare in fatal dog attack cases. The only conviction in modern times is Marjorie Knoller.3 In 2001, Knoller's two presa canarios brutally killed Diane Whipple in the hallway of her San Francisco apartment.
We guarantee readers that when Lapeer County prosecutors present their case -- just like the prosecutors did in the dog mauling death of Diane Whipple -- that numerous, perhaps even dozens, of new aggression or biting incidents will be presented along with the two reported previous attacks in 2012 and 2013. We predict that prosecutors will show that Lucaj and Quagliata had full knowledge of their dogs' viciousness and showed a wanton disregard for human life.
07/31/14: Facing "Imminent" Deportation
The owners of two cane corsos that brutally attacked and killed a jogger are in the U.S. illegally and were facing "imminent" deportation at the time of the attack, according to officials. Valbona Lucaj, 44, came to the country from Albania in January 1997 after bribing an immigration officer into granting her asylum, according to federal court filings. Her Italian husband and former falcon owner, Sebastiano Quagliata, 45, arrived a month earlier as a tourist and never left the country.
The couple has been fighting deportation ever since U.S. officials learned that Lucaj paid an immigration official in New York $3,000 to grant her asylum. This same asylum was then given to her spouse, Quagliata. Prosecutors are expected to announce a decision on criminal charges this week in connection to the death of Craig Sytsma. It is unclear how much, if at all, the couple's citizenship status -- history of bribery, lies and fraud -- will weigh into this possible prosecution.
As recently as March 31, 2014, a U.S. District Judge refused to stop their deportation, siding with immigration officials who said that Lucaj, "lacked good moral character arising out of fraud in obtaining asylum." By this point, Lucaja and Quagliata's two cane corsos had attacked two people at different times, 2012 and 2013, and the couple was heading into a homespun breeding operation of papered purebred Italian cane corsos, some puppies selling for $1,100 each.
How many other schemes are these two involved in?The couple was first notified in 2005 that the U.S. government intended to terminate their asylum status and deport them. Lucaj traveled to Chicago to appeal the decision. While reviewing her file, immigration officials found more fraud, including that "documents were clearly altered" and that her story was not credible. Quagliata's arrest story was not credible either. Lucaj told investigators he had been arrested on a train and Quagliata told authorities his arrest took place on a boat.
On Friday, Lapeer County prosecutors will ask a district court judge to order the destruction of the two fatally attacking dogs, along with a third adult cane corse found at the home and seven cane corse puppies that are products of the fatally attacking dogs. On the same day, about 140 miles away, Sytsma’s family will celebrate his life and mourn his death at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Jenison, Michigan. Sytsma leaves behind three children and many grieving family members.
07/28/14: Possible Felony Charges
Depending upon the results of the ongoing police investigation, prosecutors could pursue two different felony charges against the owners of the fatally attacking dogs. Lapeer County Prosecutor Tim Turkelson said his office could pursue felony manslaughter charges, if the facts warrant the charge, which carries up to 15-years in prison. His office could also pursue charges of possession of a dangerous animal causing death, which also carries up to 15-years in prison.
Turkelson mistakenly states in the article that fatal dog attacks involving adults are rare. What is true is that mauling fatalities involving persons 18-years and older are not much less frequent than fatalities involving children. During the 9-year period of 2005 to 2013, dogs mauled to death 284 Americans. 153 (54%) involved children 14-years and younger and 131 (46%) involved adults 20-years and older. See related chart: 9-Year U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Chart by Age Groups
Separately, today's Detroit Free Press article points out the woeful inadequacies of Lapeer County Animal Control (Records: Police, animal control did little as dogs attacked walkers) and how authorities took little action in the face of a growing menace involving massive "guardian" dogs -- a bull-baiting dog, fighting dog, mastiff derivative -- selectively bred for bloodsports and hunting large wild game, such as wild boar and cougars. Why not treat them the same as a biting poodle?
The article also slams dog owners Valbona Lucaj, 44, and Sebastiano Quagliata, 45, who neglected to show up in court after the 2012 and 2013 biting incidents. The picture painted of the dogs' owners is that dog bite victims are the "real" menace that can be alleviated by 1.) Never facing them in court and 2.) Paying off a minimal fine. These responses by the owners were okay by Lapeer County Animal Control, who likely view dog bite victims as the "real" menace as well.
07/25/14: "Everything I Own is Aggressive"
The 911 call has been released. Craig Sytsma, 46, was brutally mauled to death by two loose cane corsos on Wednesday evening while jogging. New information was also provided about the dogs' owner and previous victims of the dogs. The owner and his multiple cane corsos moved to Metamora in 2011. Within a year, one of the dogs attacked April Smith of Oxford as she walked along the road near the owner's home. In 2013, the dogs attacked a male neighbor in his 70s.
The dogs' owner — who thus far has not been charged with any crime related to the fatal mauling — moved to the Metamora community in 2011, authorities said. Besides the dogs already surrendered, he has two more, including another adult Cane Corso and multiple puppies.Attorney Glenn Saltsman, who represented Smith, said the male neighbor was bitten in November 2013 also while walking near the owner's home. Both were "very lucky" that their injuries were not more severe, he said. "Unfortunately, the recent victim wasn't so lucky," Saltsman said. "These people know full well what's been going on with their dogs, and they've chosen to do absolutely nothing about it... I don't know for the life of me why the authorities never took these dogs away."
His dogs have been involved in two other attacks, one in 2012 and the other in 2013. And, according to neighbors, had a rough reputation.
"Unfortunately, I wasn't surprised," neighbor Ashley Winter, 31, said of the fatal attack.
She recalls meeting the owner and his Cane Corsos shortly after moving to the neighborhood in June 2012. The man came to introduce himself and had a full-sized pet hawk on his arm; one of the Corso dogs was running loose, she said.
"I said, 'Is he aggressive?' And he said, 'Yeah, everything I own is aggressive,'" Winter said. "I thought, 'What have we gotten ourselves into?'" - Detroit Free Press
Authorities have "known full well" what's been going on with these dogs as well. Even if they could not take the dogs away, they could have required fencing. Two years after the first attack, the owner's property is still unfenced. Not only is this a case of an extremely reckless dog owner, it is an extreme failure of local authorities acting to ensure public safety. Only now, after a man was killed by the animals, are they calling the dogs a "public threat" and "beyond rehabilitation."
What will local authorities do with the multiple offspring, presuming they are "little cane corsos" born from fatally attacking parents? Probably nothing. The owner and his family will simply raise a new round of cane corsos and the process will start all over again, whether they stay in Metamora or move to a new location. Local and state laws must become more aggressive about "extremely reckless dog owners" -- who are already "well-known" bottom of the bucket repeat offenders.
9:48 pm update additions: In addition to the civil complaint filed by prosecutors to seize the puppies of the two fatally attacking cane corsos in the 9:48 pm update, the owners of the dogs were named and parts of their defense explained. Sebastiano Quagliata, 45, and Valbona Lucaj, 44, also want the two attackers put down, according to their attorney Jason Malkiewicz from St. Clair Shores. "Never in their wildest dreams" could they foresee anything like this ever happening.
A third attack, however, naturally follows a second attack. Now let's move onto fences and the "accidental breeding" of papered purebred dogs.Malkiewicz counters that the dogs were "constantly" allowed to run free, as described by neighbor Ashley Winter. He said the dogs were kept in a fenced-in area behind the house. On the day of the fatal attack, Malkiewicz said the dogs had been left in a chain-link kennel at least 6 feet tall by 10 feet wide, with tethers bolted into the ground. He said he does not know how the dogs could have escaped. Though, a cane corso owned by a different neighbor did have fence-jumping capabilities.
Malkiewicz, however, said the family is “not really breeders,” and that a neighbor’s Cane Corso jumped the fence and bred with the mother. He said that the day of the attack, the dogs had been left in an outdoor chain-link kennel at least 6 feet tall by 10 feet wide, with tethers bolted into the ground.As pointed out by the Detroit Free Press, an advertisement selling puppies on Hoobly.com, shows more than a dozen cane corso puppies for sale along with International Cane Corso Federation registration papers, ranging from $600 to $1,100. The listing includes a phone number for Quagliata and Lucaj and was renewed a week ago. The advertisement also says, "I have anther breed coming up 2 puppies." Does the below sound like an "accidental breeding" to readers?
He said he doesn’t know how the dogs could have escaped. He also said his clients always complied with anything animal control asked. - Detroit Free Press
I have cane corso register inccf booth parent champion blood last 2 male's black brindle coming with both shots deworming all peppers coming with puppies is reedy to go end new home am selling last because I have anther breed coming up 2 puppies for $1100 1 puppies $600 I give warranty per puppies more info call or email PH # 586/*** or 586/*** email Email Me Here thank Sebastian or Vali - Hoobly Classifieds07/24/14: Female Victim Speaks Out
Late Thursday, more information was released about one of the previous attack victims. April Smith, 25 of Oxford, recalls when she was attacked by one of the cane corsos in 2012. Smith filed a civil lawsuit against the dogs' owners. Smith said she was horrified to learn the owner was still in possession of the dog. "It's just crazy to me," Smith said. "Animal control should have done something. It should have never gone this far. The fact this has led to a death, it's sickening."
Now that the dogs have inflicted the brutal death of a man, being their third off-property attack, authorities are willing to "take the matter to court" to ensure that the dogs are put down -- that is two victims too late, at the very least, one victim too late. The dogs should have been destroyed after their second off-property attack in 2013. To answer our question from earlier today (italicized below), it appears animal control did absolutely nothing after the first two vicious attacks.
"When I was attacked, I didn't even see it running up to us until it was directly behind me with its teeth out and growling viciously. We were about three houses past the yard the dog lives in, so he ran 50 yards to catch up to us. He tore my leg in three different places and I had to get medical attention. There was a lot of bloodshed and it was very severe. I had bruising for months and had to endure physical therapy. This caused me a lot pain."Prosecutors in Michigan have filed charges in multiple cases after a fatal dog attack, including after the deaths of Kyle Holland, Kylie Cox and the double canine homicide of Cheryl Harper and Edward Gierlach. In 2008, Diane Cockrell pleaded no contest to felony and misdemeanor charges in connection to the deaths of Harper and Gierlach. She was sentenced to a minimum of 3.5 years for allowing her American bulldog-mixes to run free and kill two people in Iosco Township.
She said she filed a lawsuit against the owners, which has been settled. She said the owners have no fence around their house, which was one of the stipulations in the lawsuit.
"I cannot believe this happened to someone," Smith said. "I'm not mad at the dogs, I'm so upset with the owners. I thought something would be done with these dogs, but nothing was done. Nothing was ever done. Those dogs are vicious. It's not a joke." - April Smith, Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Free Press report also notes that the owners of the cane corsos are running a breeding operation. It states that after attacking Craig Sytsma, the two dogs ran back to their property, "where there is at least one other dog and an unknown number of puppies," though authorities are unclear of the breed. Given the rarity of cane corsos and that a "pair" attacked Sytsma, seems likely the pair is a male and female and the puppies are "little cane corsos."
07/24/14: Three-Time Attackers
Updates throughout the day identify the two attacking dogs as cane corsos. Earlier today, ClickonDetroit.com had two photographs of the same dog. The most recent video shows the second dog, which clearly resembles a cane corso. Metamora Police Chief David Mallet said the man's arms were badly bitten. Craig Sytsma died of bite wounds and blood loss. Family members were angered to learn the same dogs had attacked two people in the past, in 2012 and 2013.
It would be interesting to know what, if any, restrictions were imposed upon the dogs' owners by animal control (or the local or county ordinance) after two separate injurious off-property attacks.
07/24/14: Jogger Dies After Dog Attack
Metamora, MI - A man is dead after being attacked by a pair of bullmastiffs while jogging on Wednesday. The attack occurred about 5:30 pm on the 5500 block of Thomas Road in Metamora Township. Officers were initially dispatched for gunshots fired. It later became apparent that a neighbor had shot at the dogs to frighten them away from the victim. Craig Sytsma, 46, was transported to McLaren Regional Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. He did not survive.
The two dogs were located and taken to Lapeer County Animal Control. ClickOnDetroit.com shows photographs of the dogs that police describe as 3-year old bullmastiffs. Police said the victim lived in Livonia and was in the area because he works at Eltro Services in Oxford Township. Sytsma is divorced with three children. Police said both bullmastiffs have been involved in previous bite cases. Police say it is too early to determine if the dogs' owner will face any charges.
In an afternoon report from CBS Detroit, Metamora Police Chief David Mallet said the dogs were actually cane corsos, a similar mastiff breed. Mallet said a neighbor who was cutting his lawn saw Sytsma in a ditch being mauled by the two animals. Mallet said police have received a "couple of calls about animal bites in the past with these dogs." He added, "I do hope something is done…This is disastrous." The Oakland County Prosecutor is investigating possible charges.
2According to some quick Google searches, Michigan has a fairly expansive definition for second-degree murder. As Michigan criminal defense attorneys note on their websites, second-degree murder charges can be brought in drunk driving cases. See also the website, Michiganprosecutor.org, that helps explain these charges.
3Read an overview of the Diane Whipple case on DogBiteLaw.com.
4Read the original 5:17 pm Detroit Free Press news report, which we based our 7/25/14 update upon.
09/05/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Trotwood Senior Citizen Killed by Own Dogs
06/30/11: Justice for Lincoln Park Fatal Dog Attack Victim Finally Emerges
05/29/11: 2011 Dog Bite Fatality: 'Monster Dog' Kills 4-Year Old Brooklyn Boy
07/27/08: Coverage of the Double Fatal Dog Attack in Livingston, Michigan