DogsBite Blog ::
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
After Blind Woman and Guide Dog Endure Multiple Attacks, She Hopes City Officials Crack Down on Loose Dogs
Agnes Courville Addressed City Council Members in Early May
Agnes Courville, legally blind, stands before Opelousas city council on May 8, 2018.
Blind Woman Testifies
Opelousas, LA - Last week, Agnes Courville of Opelousas shared with us a powerful letter she hand delivered to the mayor on May 8, 2018, just before she gave testimony at the Opelousas City Council meeting. Courville said that council members reassured her at that time that they would work on safety issues involving loose dogs and dog attacks. Opelousas is legally blind. Loose dogs have attacked Courville and her highly trained service dog multiple times since March 4.
The attacks started one day after she returned home with her guide dog after three weeks of training at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Florida.So far, Courville has also met with the Opelousas director of Animal Control, the Opelousas director of Public Works and the city's K9 officer. She states in her email to us that she is "hoping for a successful change" though it may take years to accomplish. "It takes a village to change the mindset regarding how you treat animals," she wrote. Courville used to volunteer for St. Landry Parish Animal Control. She has seen the neglect and abandonment some parish dogs endure.
Her primary concern is the roaming dogs she and her guide dog constantly encounter -- two pit bulls in particular. Once, she was even thrown to the ground while in front of her own home. That dog jumped on her back then jumped her highly trained guide dog. Courville points out in her letter how serious this issue is for guide dogs, "Dog attacks and interference from other dogs are a problem for any dog owner, but they are a potential career-ending event for guide dog teams."
Courville told the Daily World that the police chief and mayor have not contacted her since her May 8 testimony. As for the two problematic pit bulls, Courville has reported them to Opelousas Animal Control Warden Joey Stelly and St. Landry Animal Control, but nothing has been done. “Joey Stelly is aware of the dogs and who they belong to," she said. Courville's case presents a powerful argument against a city that knowingly allows this dangerous problem to persist.
To: Reggie TatumRelated articles:
Opelousas City Mayor
Opelousas, LA 70570
Subject: “Uncontrolled dogs in our Community, safety concerns”
Today, May 8, 2018, I am attending Opelousas Council meeting to inquire about a dangerous situation in our city of Opelousas.
I have been living in Opelousas since 2013, I live in the historic district next to Opelousas South City Park, I work as a teacher at Park Vista Elementary, and I am an active volunteer in my city.
A few years ago, I developed a visual impairment and lost my driving privileges as I am legally blind. I became a pedestrian on the streets of Opelousas, not an easy task to accomplish, there is a lack of sidewalks, grass not cut, holes that are barely announced or not tagged, and lately I experienced loose dogs attack.
However, my main concern is about loose dogs that are rooming in our City as I walk the route to my work every day.
I came back with my guide dog March 3, 2018, after 3 weeks of training at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Florida. The following day on Sunday March 4, I had two dogs “pit bull breed” coming at me, I had to use the pepper spray. These dogs were loose, no collars, no leash in front of their house with owners who believe that they have the right to do so, because they are on their property.
I have been attacked by loose dogs numerous times since March 4, 2018.
I called St Landry Parish Animal Control, Opelousas animal control, St Landry Parish Sheriff’s office and Opelousas City Police came to my house. Several times, loose dogs came to my door steps, once I have been thrown on the ground as I was in front of my house, a loose dog came from the back and jumped on my back, he then jumped on my guide dog, I did not have enough time to use my mace. As I was falling on the ground I protected my guide dog and scared the loose dog away, I ended up with a swollen knee and some bruises. I have every incidents documented.
I am calling your attention regarding the safety of our streets, the different attacks I experienced as a hazard for the children, the elderly, the mailman, delivery workers and any citizen in our community.
Louisiana has a strict liability dog bite statute that states that the owner of a dog is liable for injuries to persons or property caused by the dog which the owner could have prevented and which did not result from the injured person's provocation of the dog. L.A. C.C. Art. 2321.
What about loose dogs? Who is liable? Who is responsible for the damage that can be caused by loose dogs and dogs’ attack?
Training a guide dog requires efforts and money investment. My guide dog is not only valuable, my dog is my safety net. Altercations with other dogs put my guide dog at risk and jeopardize my safety. The results of my encounters range from emotional injury to physical injury and can end the career of my guide dog.
Dog attacks and interference from other dogs are a problem for any dog owner, but they are a potential career-ending event for guide dog teams. Recently, The Seeing Eye (this country's first, and the world's oldest, guide dog school) conducted a survey of guide dog handlers to determine the scope of the problem (see US Survey document attached).
I am addressing Opelousas City Mayor, City Council President and Council president and members to find a solution to this ongoing issue.
Thank you for your time.
Opelousas City Council President
Opelousas City Council members
Joey, Opelousas City Animal Control
Mr. Bill Fontenot, St Landry Parish President
St Landry Parish Council President
Stacey A McKnight, St Landry Parish Animal Control
Nicole Poiencot, MSW LMSV, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, Lafayette, LA
01/24/18: Delta's Policy Response After a Passenger Attacked by an Emotional Support Dog
07/13/17: Delta Passenger is Severely Attacked by an Unrestrained Emotional Support Dog
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Tracy Garcia died late Thursday after being attacked by a pack of dogs near Ardmore.
Vet Removes Post
UPDATE 05/17/18: Yesterday, inaccurate headlines about this fatal dog mauling went viral. Here are the themes: sausage dogs maul and weiner dogs attack. The media went viral around the world, not restricted to the United States. This is despite a statement by a veterinarian disputing it, who had examined these dogs while alive, the best way to determine breed identification. Dr. Douglas Aldridge stated, "The dogs appear to me to be a pit bull and 4 pit-bull mix puppies."
Two employees at the Ardmore Animal Shelter -- who received the dogs dead, never examined them alive -- are responsible for deliberately mislabeling six of the dogs as predominantly "dachshund." Vet technician Amanda Dinwiddie, whose husband has bred and sold pit bulls in the past, and shelter co-director Tena Layton, an owner of multiple pit bulls, are 100% responsible for misleading the sheriff, media and public about the breeds involved in this deadly attack.
What is a mystery to us is why Layton ever supplied photographs of the dogs to the public? Because one of those images "clearly" identifies the largest dog as a pit bull. It's younger offspring cannot even reliably be called dachshund-mixes. (The ears, among other things.) Bull terrier-mixes is a much better assessment. "Mixed-breed" will always technically be accurate as well. Some media stories are updating now after the explosion of inaccurate news stories yesterday.
Dinwiddie and Layton also claimed that all of the dogs were under 40 pounds. Dr. Aldridge refutes that as well, stating yesterday on Facebook, "There was one that was larger, approximately 55-60 pounds, that the owners described as the sire to these shorter dogs." Dr. Aldridge is referring to the pit bull, visible in the photographs as the largest dog in the pack. Furthermore, Aldridge spoke to the owner of the dogs and confirmed the male pit bull was the sire of the smaller offspring.
Earlier today, on May 17, Dr. Aldridge removed his post from the Westwood Veterinary Hospital Facebook page. All that we have now are screenshots. Instead of writing about this victim and her death, we are being forced to refute bullshit. As Alberto Brandolini's Bullshit Asymmetry Principle shows: "The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it." You can thank Dinwiddie and Layton for this bullshit. Both should be fired ASAP.
05/15/18: Dog Mauling Victim Identified
Yesterday, the victim was identified as 52-year old Tracy Garcia. Several news stories were published stating that pit bulls were not involved. Mind you, this is after the Ardmore Animal Shelter released photographs of the dogs with at least one depicting a pit bull. Amanda Dinwiddie, a vet technician at the Ardmore Animal Shelter claimed that "dachshund" was the primary breed, mixed with terrier. Dinwiddie also claimed the pit bull was a "border collie mix."
Since 2005, border collies have been involved one fatal dog attack, which also involved two American bulldogs and a Neapolitan mastiff.1Dinwiddie's assessment was incorrect. Further, her husband used to breed and sell pit bulls. Prior to the dogs reaching the Ardmore Animal Shelter, they were taken to the Westwood Veterinary Hospital, where they were euthanized. Due to the upheaval caused by Dinwiddie's "border collie mix" claim, Dr. Douglas Aldridge has spoken out on the Westwood Veterinary Hospital Facebook page. "The dogs appear to me to be a pit bull and 4 pit-bull mix puppies," Dr. Aldridge wrote.
There is no more "breed mislabeling" -- the good doctor has spoken. But readers can see that Dinwiddie of the Ardmore Animal Shelter was trying to alter U.S. fatal dog attack statistics to "protect the pit bull breed." She may have had the help of the shelter as well. The death of Tracy Garcia is tragic. She endured a horrible pack attack involving pit bulls. Then for Dinwiddie to deliberately mislead the sheriff, media and public about the breeds involved? That is a disgrace.2
"We have been receiving a lot of negative messages regarding the breeds of dogs involved in the terrible attack Thursday night. I believe that people are missing the point regarding the breeds of dogs that were involved. A woman died. The dogs appear to me to be a pit bull and 4 pit-bull mix puppies. Who knows what the female was. She looked to me like an Australian Shepherd mixed with something with short legs. It was tragic. The person who made a statement about the breed previously works at the shelter, not here.- Dr. Aldridge" Westwood Veterinary Hospital, May 15, 2018
05/11/18: Pit Bull Involved
Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant confirmed that one of the dogs involved in the mauling death of a woman Thursday was a pit bull. The six other dogs were medium-sized dogs of mixed-breeds. All seven animals belong to the same owner. The attack happened at a residence just before 10 pm on Banyon Road near Ardmore. "Once we were notified that this female had succumbed to her injuries," the owner of the dogs decided to put the remaining dogs down, Sheriff Bryant said.
KXII reports that arriving officers shot and killed one of the dogs that charged them. The animals belonged to one of the victim's neighbors. "Anytime you go to a dog bite call or a dog is attacking people in general, it is disturbing," Bryant said. "Our prayers are with the family of the victim, and the rest of the community because this is a very unfortunate situation." Authorities are still investigating the fatal pack attack. There is no leash law in unincorporated parts of Carter County.
Photos of the seven deceased dogs released from the Ardmore Animal Shelter show one pit bull, five dachshund-(pit bull) terrier mixes and a longhaired mixed breed, which Shelter Co-director Tena Layton previously said could be the mother of the younger dogs. Authorities have not identified the dogs' owner or the victim. Sheriff Chris Bryant said that autopsy results will be forwarded to the district attorney's office to determine if the dogs' owner will face any charges.
05/11/18: Pack of Dogs Kill Woman
Ardmore, OK - A woman is dead after being attacked by a pack of dogs. The attack occurred Thursday night east of Ardmore. About 9:45 pm, Carter County Sheriff’s office, Ardmore Police Department Animal Control, Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service and Air-Evac were dispatched to Banyon Road and Mary Niblack Road for a call about a woman being mauled by seven dogs. The woman, in her 50s, died at the scene. Authorities have not released her name.
Animal control officers seized all seven dogs. They were taken to Westwood Veterinary Hospital where they were euthanized, according to police records. Their bodies were then taken to the Ardmore Animal Shelter. Shelter Co-director Tena Layton said six of the dogs were about a year old and the other was possibly their mother. The dogs, smaller in nature, appeared to be part dachshund and part terrier. They were heavily infested with fleas and ticks, Layton said.
Conflicting information was released about the ownership of the dogs. Authorities did not release information about the circumstances of the attack, the degree or location of the victim's bite injuries or the health of the victim prior to the attack. Though extremely rare, there have been fatal dog maulings in the past involving two small dogs or a pack of small dogs killing an incapacitated or elderly person (See: case 3). The Carter County Sheriff’s office continues to investigate.
Oklahoma Dog Bite Fatalities
From January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2017, canines killed 11 people in Oklahoma. When considering the death rate per population of 10 million, Alaska has long maintained the highest rate. In 2012, Oklahoma had the sixth highest death rate. During the full 13-year period (2005 to 2017), Oklahoma had the seventh highest death rate. Arkansas, not even seen in the top ten states in our 2012 post, has since shot up to the third highest death rate in dog bite fatalities.
2On May 17, Dr. Douglas Aldridge removed his Facebook post. We have replaced it with a screenshot.
05/09/13: 8-Year U.S. Dog Bite Fatality State Map (2005 to 2012) and Discussion Notes
09/28/11: 2011 Dog Bite Fatality: Ardmore Man Mauled to Death by Chained Pit Bull
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.
Georgia Ruth Morgan, 75, died after being attacked by two pit bulls in Gulfport.
UPDATE 05/17/18: Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove has identified the victim as 75-year old Georgia Morgan. Hargrove said she died of her injuries after being attacked by two dogs Wednesday morning on Deidra Court. Gulfport deputy police chief Chris Lopposer told WLOX: "Through an investigation, we determined that a woman entered a closed property through a gate, shut the gate behind her, and while inside the fenced in yard, was attacked by two dogs."
Morgan was mauled to death by two pit bulls belonging to Emily Craft. Police arrested Craft afterward on an outstanding warrant from 2017.There is only speculation as to why Morgan entered Craft's yard. Morgan was known as "the can lady" who collected cans in the area. She may have been trying to reach cans she saw in Craft's yard. Diana Jones, who lives next to Craft, said, "How she got in, I don't know, but she was going to get her cans." In 2017, after Craft's pit bulls attacked Jones' dog for the second time, Jones filed a vicious animal complaint. This is why there was an outstanding warrant for Craft's arrest.
Jones also spoke to Fox10 News. "We heard a cry, a scream," Jones said about the morning of the attack. "There was pieces of clothing and stuff all in the front yard ... I hit the floor when I found out it was her." Jones showed Fox10 how Craft's pit bulls would escape the fencing around the home. She said Craft's pit bulls have always been aggressive. Craft surrendered both pit bulls to authorities for euthanasia. No criminal charges have been filed in connection to Morgan's death.
05/16/18: Pit Bulls Kill Woman
Gulfport, MS - An elderly woman is dead after being attacked by two pit bulls. On Wednesday, just before 8:00 am, Gulfport Police responded to a call of a woman being attacked by pit bulls in the 14400 block of Deidra Court. Arriving officers found the woman in the yard of a home, but she had already succumbed to her injuries. Gulfport Detectives, Crime Scene Units, and the Harrison County Coroner responded, states a news release issued by the Gulfport Police Department.
According to investigators, the 75-year old woman was known to walk in the area. She allegedly opened a closed gate to a fenced-in yard and was attacked by two pit bulls that resided inside. The victim did not live at the home, states the release. The owner of the two pit bulls surrendered both animals to Gulfport Animal Control. "While this is a tragic situation which is still under investigation, there are no charges at this time," states the Gulfport Police Department release.
The Sun Herald reports that Gulfport Police arrested the owner of two pit bulls that attacked and killed a woman this morning. Emily Craft was arrested after the fatal mauling on an outstanding warrant issued last July for two misdemeanor charges -- having a dog at large and a vicious animal charge. A neighbor of Craft, Diana Jones, filed the vicious dog complaint after Craft's two pit bulls attacked her golden retriever for a second time. Jones did not report the first attack.
Police have not released the name of the 75-year old woman killed by Craft's pit bulls. She was known in the Orange Grove neighborhood as "the can lady." She walked daily and collected cans in the neighborhood. She was a kind lady and always greeted the children at the bus stop, Jones' daughters told the Sun Herald. Gulfport Police continue investigating her death. Sadly, there are other innocent victims of pit bull maulings whose only acts were daily walks and collecting cans.
- 2017 - Maurice Brown, 60-year old, of Dayton, Ohio
- 2016 - Crisencio Aliado, 52-years old, of Honolulu, Hawaii
- 2015 - Neta Lee Adams, 81-years old, of Washington, Georgia
- 2015 - Carolyn Lamp, 67-years old, of Redbird, Oklahoma
- 2009 - Luna McDaniel, 83-years old, of Ville Platte, Louisiana
The Sun Herald article states that the name of Craft's large male pit bull is "Cash." An Intelius search revealed that only one Emily Craft resides in Gulfport, Mississippi. In August 2016, a Gulfport-based Emily Craft Facebook user posted a "lost" announcement stating that her two pit bulls, Cash and June, "went missing." She claimed a $100,000 reward on the Stolen Lost Found Pets of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Facebook group for anyone who located her missing pit bulls.
Craft is also a backyard breeder and seller of pit bulls. In December 2016, this same Craft posted about pit bull puppies for sale in the Slidell Online Garage Sale group. Of all things, she was trying to sell merle pit bulls for $200 to $250; most pit bull breeders and organizations disdain merle breeding. Just five days ago (expand comments), Craft posted about non-merle pit bull puppies for sale in the Pets for sale South MS Facebook group. The price of her puppies is $200 each.
We continue to work to verify this suspected pit bull owner in this breaking dog bite fatality. At about 11:00 pm Central Time, Fox10 News identified the victim as Georgia Ruth Morgan.
03/08/18: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Second Human Fatality Inflicted by Same Pit Bulls
09/21/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies of Injuries After Pit Bull Mauling in Mississippi
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.
Monday, May 14, 2018
Dangerous dog breeds do not discriminate when they attack. We do not discriminate in our advocacy.
U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities: Breeds of Dogs Involved, Age Groups and Other Factors Over a 13-Year Period (2005 to 2017)
Fatal Pit Bull Attacks - The Archival Record by DogsBite.org
Fatal Pit Bull Attacks - Child Fatalities - The Archival Record by DogsBite.org
Fatal Rottweiler Attacks - The Archival Record by DogsBite.org
Fatal Wolf Hybrid Attacks - The Archival Record by DogsBite.org
Jamie Owsley, 21, died in February after being bitten in the neck by a family pit bull.
UPDATE 05/14/18: On February 26, 2017, a 21-year old man died after being bitten in the neck by a family pit bull. The pit bull belonged to his roommate and cousin Kerry Talburt II. The two resided at 1005 1/2 Jersey Street. The male pit bull that inflicted the attack, Hercules, had bitten three people before delivering a bite that killed Jamie Owsley. Hercules was euthanized on March 7. Talburt, however, owned at least two other pit bulls and his legal troubles were only just beginning.
On July 8, Talburt was arrested after allowing one of his pit bulls to attack a man. "Police said Talburt had gotten into an altercation with his downstairs neighbor, and Talburt's dog got loose and bit the man," reports the Herald-Whig. Talburt was also accused of pushing his thumb in one of the man's eyes. At that time, Talburt was charged with six felonies: home invasion, aggravated battery, reckless conduct, criminal trespass of a residence and two counts of obstructing justice.
Substantial drug-related charges were later added to the mix when Talburt was arrested again on November 20 and December 31, 2017.On Monday, Talburt was sentenced to 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections as part of a negotiated plea deal. Kerry D. Talburt II, 22, pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated battery, unlawful possession with intent to deliver cannabis between 30 and 500 grams and a variety of other drug trafficking charges in Adams County Circuit Court. The judge assigned three years to the 2017 aggravated battery charge. Talburt was also ordered to pay $13,476 in restitution.
In February 2017, one of Kerry Talburt's pit bull killed his cousin. In July, another pit bull owned by Talburt attacked a man in the face during an altercation. That "altercation" ended in six felony charges, including a home invasion charge, which was later dropped. On New Year's Eve, Talburt was busted on a slew of drug charges. That bust landed him a 7-year jail term alone. All in all, 2017 surely has to be the worst year of his life, making Talburt a token "jailbird" by the age of 22.
Police Report & Coroner's Findings
11/11/17: In early November, we received the Quincy Police Report of the dog bite case involving Jamie Owsley, 21, of Quincy. Owsley was pronounced dead at 3:38 am on February 26 after arriving at Blessing Hospital. Forensic Pathologist Dr. Denton ruled his cause of death was "penetrating and crushing injuries of the neck, due to a dog attack," states the report. Owsley's death received very little media coverage; no news reports were published after February 27.
The attack occurred at his home at 1005 1/2 Jersey Street. The dog involved was one of three pit bulls belonging to his roommate and cousin Kerry Talburt II. The police report states, "[Talburt] heard some rustling in the living room and heard his dog growling. He got up and went to the living room. He saw his pit bull, Hercules, had his mouth latched onto Owsley's neck. Talburt stated he grabbed the dog and pulled him off, took him into his bedroom, and put him in his kennel."
Talburt did not call 911. He called his grandfather instead. After his grandfather arrived, they took Owsley to the emergency room.Family members said Owsley had a history of recent seizures. Between 3:00 and 4:00 pm of the previous day, Owsley suffered a seizure at his apartment. It is believed he suffered another one before the pit bull latched onto his neck, crushing his "larynx and hyoid bone" in his neck. Dr. Denton stated in his report, there were no defensive injuries associated with the dog bite neck injuries, "consistent with Mr. Owsley being unresponsive, but alive during the attack," he wrote.
When [Talburt] looked into the living room, his full-breed male pit bull, Hercules, had his mouth latched on to Owsley's neck. Talburt said he pulled the dog off Owsley's neck and went to take the dog into his room. Talburt said he almost fell in the doorway and smacked the dog against the wall. He then put the dog in the kennel. Kerry stated he believes that is where the blood on the wall came from, when he hit the dog on the wall. - Quincy Police ReportThe Roommate and His Pit Bulls
During police interviews, Talburt said he kept three pit bulls in his apartment. He said Hercules, a male blue pit bull, was about 4-years old, Java was about 2-years old and Hoss was about 1.5 years old. "Talburt indicated during the interview that if Java and Hoss were out of their cages, that Hercules would be in his cage because they did not get along," states the report. Talburt said Hercules had bitten three people prior to biting Owsley, including a bite that required stitches.
On March 7, Hercules was put down. But Talburt's troubles were just kicking in. On July 8, Talburt was arrested after allegedly allowing one of his pit bulls to injure a man. Talburt was charged in Adams County Circuit Court with six felonies: home invasion, aggravated battery, reckless conduct, criminal trespass of a residence and two counts of obstructing justice. Police said Talburt got into an altercation with his downstairs neighbor. His dog got loose and bit the man in the face.
The Quincy Police Department said officers were called to 1005 Jersey on July 8 in response to a report of a 30-year-old man who was bitten in the face by a dog. Police said Talburt had gotten into an altercation with his downstairs neighbor, and Talburt's dog got loose and bit the man.Kerry D. Talburt II, 21-years old, faces up to 30-years in jail if convicted of the home invasion charge. It is a Class X felony, the most serious felony offense in Illinois short of first-degree murder. If convicted of the other charges, he also faces the possibility of consecutive sentences. In October, Talburt pleaded not guilty to all charges. A jury will hear his case in the future. Adams County Court online records show that Talburt is no stranger to criminal legal proceedings.
Charging documents say Talburt put his thumb in one of the other man's eyes and allowed the pit bull to bite him. They also allege he gave false information to police." - Herald-Whig, September 12, 2017
02/27/17: Coroner Releases Name
Quincy, IL - A 21-year old man died after a dog attack early Sunday morning. Adams County Coroner Jim Keller identified the victim as Jamie Owsley of Quincy. Police said that a death investigation was underway. Police said they received a call from the emergency room about a person with a dog bite. The attack occurred at 3:26 am Sunday morning at 1005 Jersey Street, inside the two-story brick home. A Beware of Dog sticker was adhered above the front door.
No other details will be released until the final autopsy results, which could take up to 2-weeks.
05/29/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: 5-Year Old Boy Fatally Attacked by Pit Bull in Chicago
11/12/14: Video: Two Mothers Share Their Tragic Stories of Losing a Child in Family Dog Attack
04/29/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: 4-Year Old Girl Killed by Family Pit Bulls in Bloomington
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.
Friday, May 11, 2018
Shelters and Humane Groups Often 'Encode' and 'Conceal' Aggression in Adoption Advertisements for Unplaceable Dogs
What They Tell the Public vs. What They Tell New Holding Facilities
Described as "loving, gentle," but has dog, stranger and handler aggression.
DogsBite.org - In September 2016, we published an expose about what lies behind the web advertisements of aggressive shelter dogs available for adoption today. We determined that many shelters candy-coat dogs with aggressive behaviors in their zeal to increase "live release rate." Animal behaviorist Alexandra Semyonova provided a detailed analysis of the 34 case files we obtained from a county shelter, along with a special report about behavior testing shelter dogs.
Which brings us to today. We have another example. These advertisements aimed at the public are often deliberately fraudulent. However, there is a willingness on the part of shelters to disclose the dog's true nature when the intention is to obtain a different holding place for the dog. One of these facilities provided this recent example to us; primarily due to the many requests they receive for unadoptable dogs with "serial" aggression issues that will never find a "forever" home.
The fraudulence is driven by the holy grail of boasting a high "save rate" at any cost, including over the welfare of high-risk dogs and public safety.First, we invite you to read the fraudulent advertisement of a dog named Hershey located on the Cherryland Humane Society's Facebook page (accessed May 4, 2018). Note, "I can be kind of anxious," decoded translates into "extreme anxiety" even after "medication and behavior modification." Also, "I am continuing to work on my self-confidence," decoded translates into "stranger aggression as well as dog aggression" and "aggression towards his person/handler."
Cherryland Humane SocietyNow, we invite you to read the letter sent to a potential holding facility. Ask yourself, "Why are the two so different? Why do they have to 'encode' for the public? Why would they create such false hope?" This dog was returned at least three times and has a multiple bite history. No-kill devotees will bend the truth or conceal it to place a high-risk dog like this into a home with an unsuspecting family with children, but they are factual when the intent is to unload the dog on a sanctuary.
February 25, 2018
I'm ready for you.....are you ready for me? So questions HERSHEY! I'm a youngish (2 1/2 years old) lab mix and I am looking for a kind of calm, laid back home and best friend I can really connect with. So, I know most of the basic commands and like interacting with people but can be kind of anxious so that's why I am looking for someone to compliment my loving, gentle personality and who would love to have me as their only pet. I am continuing to work on my self-confidence and perhaps could use your help! Let's get together!1
My name is , I am the Animal Behaviorist at the Cherryland Humane Society in Traverse City, Michigan. Best Friends, recommended that we reach out to you regarding a dog we currently have, Hershey, we are running out of options for him.In a desperate attempt to "save them all," shelters, humane groups and rescues try to place unadoptable and dangerous dogs at sanctuaries across the country. Entities that claim to accept numerous dogs like Hershey often become hoarding operations, such as Spindletop and Olympic Sanctuary. A dog like Hershey, who can't be handled safely and has both human and animal aggression, could only co-exist at a sanctuary by living in total isolation with no quality of life at all.
Hershey has extreme anxiety and with medication and behavior modification, it does not seem to help. We have had him for 7 months. He is very protective of his people to the point of stranger aggression as well as dog aggression. Hershey has a few bites on his record towards people and dogs. In Hershey's calm state he is affectionate, playful, loving, and kind of a goofball. Hershey can redirect his anxiety into aggression towards his person/handler. He has been returned twice and returned by a foster, which did not work out after almost a month.
We would appreciate any advice or assistance in finding Hershey an alternate place to live, as we are unable to adopt him out. Thank you, Animal Behaviorist / Enrichment Coordinator Cherryland Humane Society...
The very inventor of the term, "save them all," Utah-based fighting dog advocates Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS), is also mentioned in the correspondence. With an excess of $80 million dollars in donations in 2016, and adoption facilities in four cities, BFAS recommends referring this unplaceable dog to smaller, under financed sanctuaries that are already stretched thin. BFAS, apparently, did not even welcome this problematic dog into its own five square mile sanctuary.
The Dichotomy of Disclosure
The case of Hershey shows the dichotomy of disclosure. What is shared about the dog's true nature depends upon the intention of the shelter. If the intention is get the dog into the home of a gullible family, they encode and conceal the dog's aggression into a "baby talk" style adoption listing. If the intention is to obtain a different holding place for the dog, they are pragmatic: "stranger aggression as well as dog aggression" and "aggression towards his person/handler."
Due to the prevalence of fraudulent adoption advertisements, we remind the public to always request the uncensored behavioral and medical files prior to adoption. As noted in our earlier piece, it is critically important to understand that "disclosure" is not the same as "full disclosure." In order to gain full disclosure, you need to see the complete case file. Otherwise, you may wind up with a Hershey -- a dog disposed to mauling or killing a beloved pet or seriously injuring a person.
When Adopting From a Shelter
- Do your research
- Go in with questions
- Bring a trainer with you to the shelter to evaluate for signs of aggression2
- Request all behavior records for the dog
- Request all medical records for the dog
- Request all "outcomes" for the dog (if the dog was returned to shelter)
Animal behaviorist and author Alexandra Semyonova provides analysis and a special report: Behavior Testing Shelter Dogs -- A Summary of Where We Are Now
"Save them all" is a myth with real life consequences. People pay. Beloved pets pay. The unplaceable dog pays and hearts are broken. There is no such thing as a "forever home" for dogs like Hershey. Not even reputable sanctuaries want dogs that cannot be safely handled and require a "prison-like" existence. We first obtained a copy of the letter to the sanctuary in late April. It is unknown what the final outcome was for this dog. Humane euthanasia would have been kind.
2Preferably a trainer who is not a fan of any breed in particular. The idea is to eliminate bias.
09/20/16: What's Behind the Click and Bait Web Advertisements of Aggressive Shelter Dogs Available for Adoption Today?
Monday, May 7, 2018
A 3-month old baby died after being mauled by a family dog in Sherman Oaks.
UPDATE 05/07/18: The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office has identified the baby girl killed by a family dog. Gaia Nova died shortly after arriving at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Saturday. At the time of the attack, Gaia was under the care of her grandmother. When she left the infant in a room to get a bottle, one of the three family dogs clamped down on the baby's head, killing her. Authorities seized all three family dogs: a rottweiler, labrador retriever, and small terrier.
Police do not know which of the dogs attacked the infant or if more than one dog was involved. Earlier news reports stated that DNA samples were taken to determine which of the dogs killed the baby. Authorities have not released the gender or spay/neuter status of the dogs or any photographs of the dogs. No criminal charges are expected. Police are calling the baby's death a "true tragedy." Gaia is the third baby girl mauled to death by a pet dog since March 7, 2018.
05/06/18: Family Dog Kills Baby
Los Angeles, CA - A baby is dead after being bitten on the head by a family dog in her Sherman Oaks home. The incident was reported at 3:25 pm Saturday in the 14400 block of Benefit Street, Officer Stacy Ball of the Los Angeles Police Department said. At the time of the attack, the baby was under the care of her grandmother. The grandmother rushed the infant to Sherman Oaks Hospital. She was then airlifted to Cedars-Sinai Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
This is a horrible case. It has touched all involved family, friends and first responders. Our hearts go out to the family and friends. - Capt. Lillian CarranzaAt the time of the attack, the 3-month old baby girl was in her own home. There were three dogs present in the home, LAPD Police Services Officer Stacy Ball said. Police described the dogs as a 98-pound rottweiler, 89-pound labrador and 10-pound terrier. Animal control took all three dogs into custody. It remains unclear if one or more dogs inflicted the deadly attack. KABC-TV reports that DNA samples were taken to determine which of the animals fatally injured the infant.
Circumstances of how the attack happened are also vague. Detective Moses Castillo stated, "It's a reminder to those who may have a large dog in the family and maybe have some little ones at home to remain vigilant -- constant observation of their little ones." CBS Los Angeles reports the baby's grandmother turned her back for a moment and when she returned, she found the infant with head and face injuries. The investigation continues. Criminal charges are not anticipated.
04/11/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Pet Wolf Hybrid Kills 8-Day Old Baby Girl in Virginia
04/06/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Dog Kills 13-Month Old Baby Girl at Babysitter's Home
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.
Thursday, May 3, 2018
U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities Over a 13-Year Period; Breeds of Dogs Involved, Age Groups and Other Factors (2005 to 2017)Multi-Year Report
DogsBite.org - Today we released our multi-year dog bite fatality report (2005 to 2017). The report identifies the breeds of dogs involved in fatal attacks on humans, victim age groups, number of dogs involved, household factors, criminal charges and more. The 9-page report also examines key changing metrics since a government body last examined this issue in 2000 -- the rise of adults killed by dogs and the increasing number of fatal attacks involving 2 or more dogs.
The report contains six table charts, including a list of all dog breeds involved, a comparison of two periods within the 13-year period, the rising number of adult victims and the decreasing number of attacks inflicted by a single dog. The tables also show the nine states with the most fatal dog attacks over the period, which states brought the most criminal charges after a fatal dog mauling, and in the case of one state, Illinois, how no criminal charges have been filed since 2005.
Download 9-Page Report | Read Full News Release
Austin, TX, May 03, 2018 --(PR.com)-- DogsBite.org, a national dog bite victims' group dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks, releases a multi-year U.S. dog bite fatality report. From January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2017, canines killed at least 433 people. The majority of these victims were ages 10 and older. The 9-page report examines over 20 factors involved in fatal dog maulings and key changing metrics since a government body last examined this issue in 2000.
The 13-year report shows that pit bulls contributed to 66% of all dog bite fatalities. Within this period, deaths attributed to pit bulls rose from 58% (2005 to 2010) to 71% (2011 to 2017), a 22% rise. Rottweilers, the second most lethal dog breed, inflicted 10% of attacks resulting in death. This is a decrease from an earlier period (2005 to 2010) when rottweilers inflicted 14% of the total recorded deaths. Together, these two dog breeds accounted for 76% of all deaths.
The 9-page report examines the breeds involved in fatal attacks on humans, age groups and genders of the victims, the number of dogs involved, family and dog relationships, property statistics, household and time factors, criminal prosecutions following fatal dog attacks and states with the most occurrences. The report also compares two metrics -- the age of victims and the number of attacks involving 2 or more dogs -- to years previously studied (1979 to 1998) ... (Continue reading news release)
02/28/18: Discussion Notes: 2017 U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Statistics - DogsBite.org
02/21/17: Discussion Notes: 2016 U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Statistics - DogsBite.org
Monday, April 23, 2018
Illustration of wolves from the Biodiversity Heritage Library, The Animal Kingdom, 1829.
Introduction by Alexandra Semyonova
The wolf-dog hybrid, also called ‘wolfdog’, is an emotional trap people walk into all too often. Sometimes it's about the latest macho fashion -- a rottweiler or a pit bull isn't good enough, you're not a real man until you have a half-wolf playing with your children. Sometimes it's about television dog trainers or romantic novels and movies, who tell us the dog is basically a dulled-down wolf, thus that a (half-)wolf becomes a dog if only you get it when it's young. Other times, it's simply the selfish wish to have the most exclusive pet in the neighborhood. All kinds of animals pay the price for these vanities, but as our archive shows, it is most of all our children who are suffering the consequences. Due to the misery and death the wolfdog phenomenon causes, both animal and human, we need some cold, hard biological facts here -- a reality check. Fact: The breeding and keeping of ‘wolfdogs’ is bad for dogs, bad for wolves, and above all bad for our human children.
As more and more research shows, the dog did not ‘descend from’ the wolf any more than you ‘descended’ from your sixth cousin. A wolf is not just some wild kind of dog, and the domestic dog is not merely some inferior or tame form of wolf. All of a wolf’s physiology, its senses, inherent motor patterns, reflexes and emotions are adapted to a rich but hard life in the wild. It took tens of thousands of years of evolution to make the domestic dog equally superbly honed for life with us. When you mix the two, you create creatures that are inferior to both wolf and dog, and that are destined to be miserably unhappy -- they fit neither in a wild world nor in our human one.
Hybrid character is generally unpredictable because it’s impossible to know which dog vs. wolf traits a particular animal has inherited. There are, however, some common behaviors almost all hybrids share. They are escape artists and roamers. They are extremely shy and may be aggressive with humans they haven’t known intimately all their lives. A hybrid often won’t let a human touch it and can respond with severe biting if someone tries -- even their owner. They don’t hesitate to kill small animals and other canids (including your neighbors’ dogs). Most tragic of all, a human infant or child can trigger the same reflexive hunting chain that a lamb does in a hungry wolf. These are genetically determined traits. You cannot socialize a hybrid into being a dog that just looks a lot or a little like a wolf.
None of this is the animal’s fault, but all that does is put the responsibility onto us to abandon our Game of Thrones fantasies (ditto Call of the Wild, White Fang, etc) and stay in the real, adult world. Keeping hybrids is dangerous for us, our children, our livestock and our pets. Keeping hybrids is cruel to the animals themselves. The hybrid is never really happy, no matter how much work you put in. In addition, most people dump the animal when reality overtakes the fantasy they held. The vast majority of hybrids end up abandoned before their third birthday. A few live on in a specialized refuge. Many go to shelters where in the end they are euthanized, too unpredictable and dangerous to place. Many more are abandoned in the countryside, where they starve, are shot by a rancher, or die hit by a car. Keeping hybrids is cruel to real wolves. Contamination of the wolf gene pool by these hybrids is a hindrance to attempts at wolf conservation. These are all reasons why hybrids are banned in a dozen states and strictly regulated in fifteen more.
Perhaps the worst of the lot are the breeders of hybrids. Some are extremely dishonest and uninformed, no matter their pretense of expertise. Others know what misery they’re causing, but don’t care about the animals -- wolf, dog and hybrid -- they exploit. None apparently care about the risk their product poses for the public, especially for our children. Hybrid breeding is a ruthless enterprise, based on ignorance, arrogance and love of cash -- and all other things be damned, from the wolf to the dog to the dead bodies of too many of our children.
The Archival Record
- 03/07/18: Baby Jane Doe, 8-days old (Lee County, VA)
After 8-years without a wolfdog killing a child, a newborn was mauled to death by her family's wolf hybrid while lying in a bassinet. She suffered "very serious injuries to the upper body and the head," Sheriff Gary Parsons said. At the time of the deadly attack, the family was also fostering two young children that had been approved by the Wise County Department of Social Services to live in the wolfdog household.
The family had obtained the wolf-malamute mix from AE Kennel in October 2014, a Florida-based wolf hybrid breeding operation co-owned by Erika Andreas and Antoine Robertson. Two days after the newborn was killed, AE Kennel removed their business website and their business page on Facebook. The kennel claimed they have been providing "quality northern breed mixes and wolfdogs" since 1998.1
- 07/12/10: Kyle Holland, 5-years old (Lincoln Park, MI)
Killed by a male wolf hybrid owned by his mother's boyfriend. The dog attacked and partially ate the boy while he was sleeping. He had over 80 puncture wounds and over 250 abrasions, Dr. Carl Schmidt, chief Wayne County medical examiner testified during the trial. "His buttocks were gone to the point that his sacrum was gone, part of his pelvis was gone, the right hip joint was only partially present," Schmidt said.2
- 10/05/07: Jane Doe, 73-years old (Pahrump, NV)
Killed by her son's eight wolf hybrids after entering into their "Fort Knox" dog pen. Neighbors said the owner, known only as "Malcolm," had two layers of fencing -- one chain link, the other wood along with concrete walls -- but the wolf hybrids were so tall, they could be seen over the top of the fence line. Due to the high amount of blood involved in the attack, all eight wolf hybrids were destroyed at the scene.3
- 07/17/06: Sandra Piovesan, 50-years old (Salem, PA)
Killed by her nine wolf hybrids she said she had a "spiritual connection" with who also gave her "unqualified love." Piovesan was found dead by her daughter on July 17 inside the pen where she kept her pack of wolf hybrids. She had extensive injuries, including being partially eaten by her wolfdogs. Animal Planet created a TV segment about her in their "Fatal Attractions" series, "Wolf-Dogs Kill Owner."4
- 04/29/03: Andre Thomas, 13-months old (Mountain Home, ID)
Killed by wolf hybrid while visiting the dog owner's home. The baby and his mother, Starla Thomas, had stayed the night with Brandon Jenkins, whose roommate owned a 1.5 year old female wolf hybrid name Koa. The next morning, the baby was found on the floor with over 100 bite injuries. The child died after the wolfdog tore out the baby's jugular vein. Previously, Koa had attacked and bitten a 7-year old boy. 5
- 06/09/02: Timothy Adams, Jr, 5-years old (Wickliffe, KY)
Killed by a male wolf hybrid while visiting his grandmother's home. The wolfdog, which was attached to a long chain, attacked the boy in his grandmother's yard then dragged him into the dog's own yard. Latasha Laster, 23, was charged with second-degree manslaughter, but pleaded guilty to a felony count of reckless homicide. She was ordered to serve six months in jail with a picture of the child on her cell wall.6The picture Judge Will Shadoan ordered to be hung on her cell wall was an 8-by-11-inch photograph of T.J. Adams that was taken while he was hospitalized after the devastating attack by Laster's wolfdog. - The Associated Press, March 2004
- 10/22/00: Oberen Burgin, 5-years old (Miami Township, OH)
Killed by his grandmother's wolf hybrid while visiting her home. Obie was mauled to death by an 18-month old female wolfdog after he wandered into the "death radius" of the chained animal. Obie was under the care of his grandmother, Mavis Miller of Miami Township, at the time of the deadly attack. The boy's uncle, Mike Golden, 27, shot the 85-pound wolf hybrid with a .22-caliber pistol as firefighters arrived. 7
- 08/21/99: Cody Fairfield, 4-years old (Egelston Township, MI)
Killed after entering into the "death radius" of a chained wolf hybrid. The wolfdog, named Tanner, was tied up behind a barn when it crushed his throat. The cause of death was "strangulation and bleeding caused by the manual compression of the neck. The head and neck also suffered blunt trauma." The wolf hybrid came from a litter bred by Rick Buie, whose littermates and sire were killed due to aggression.8
- 12/18/96: Debbie Edmonds, a 39-years old (Black Forest, CO)
Killed by two wolf hybrids she had been caring for. Edmonds marked the first adult to be killed by wolf hybrids; previously only children were victims. The two wolfdogs, a male and female, had escaped their pen earlier and attacked Edmonds as she got out of her car. The wolf hybrids dragged Edmonds between one and two-tenths of a mile from the driveway, continuing their vicious attack in front of her two children. 9
- 01/01/95 - Russell Evans, 2-years old (Black Hawk, SD)
Killed when he wandered into the "death radius" of two chained wolf hybrids. Evans' death is referenced on the Hunt Talk Forum Board and a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (1995-1996) from the CDC. "In January 1995, a 2-year-old boy in South Dakota wandered into a neighbor's yard, where he was attacked and killed by two chained wolf-German shepherd hybrids." We found no other references.10
- 10/22/93: Josh Garner, 12-years old (Eldorado at Sante Fe, NM)
Killed by his neighbor's wolf hybrid, named Kodiak. The male wolfdog was 5-years old and stood nearly four feet at the shoulders. The Garners sued the dog's owners, Chuck and Velma Sanchez. A settlement was reached, but terms were not disclosed. Due to a 1989 savage attack by a hybrid on a child in the same area, the Sanchez' were required to have reinforced enclosures; it's unclear if they were compliant.11
- 12/11/93: Kevin Lahey, 3-years old (Townshend, VT)
Killed by a wolf hybrid after wandering away from his day-care center. The 120-pound, 2.5 year old female wolfdog sprang over a makeshift pen where she was confined with her nine puppies. Cathy Barrows, an animal control officer from Brattleboro, estimated the animal was three-quarters wolf and one-quarter dog. "It was extremely aggressive." The hybrid and her puppies were killed after the attack.12
- 04/28/91: Nicholas Hinton, 2-years old (Fort Wayne, IN)
Killed by a wolf hybrid and pit bull after climbing into their padlocked pen. At just two years old, Nicholas was able to climb a 6-foot chain link fence, where his father kept a male wolfdog and female pit bull. Police believe when he got to the top of the fence, he fell inside. The Allen County Coroner said the number of bite marks were "too many to count" and, "there wasn't a part of his body that was untouched."13
- 09/05/90: Curtis Hawkins, 2-months old (East Orange, NJ)
Killed and partially consumed by his family's 6-month old wolf hybrid. The baby's mother, Petera Hawkins, left the child in his crib on the third floor of their home and was visiting her in-laws on a lower level when the wolfdog killed the child. Officials said the baby died of bilateral fractures of the rib cage, collapsed lungs, multiple contusions, lacerations and puncture wounds and partial devourment by an animal.14
- 04/13/90: Paul Mahler, 4-weeks old (Anchorage, AK)
Killed by female wolf hybrid while being held in his mother's arms. Mahler died of extensive skull fractures after being bitten in the head by a wolf hybrid. Linda Borer took her baby into the Wasilla-area kennel of a friend's pregnant wolfdog and held him for the animal to lick. The dog clamped his jaws onto the baby's head. Borer had previously owned at least six wolfdogs and was active in local hybrid groups.15
- 03/17/90: Tonya Elliot, 2-years old (Otisville, MI)
Killed while playing near the "death radius" of a chained wolf hybrid. Tonya's death occurred while Michigan legislators were debating a statewide ban on wolfdogs. Ruth Wilson and her daughter were visiting the home of the dog's owner when Tonya wandered near the animal. The wolf hybrid grabbed the child by the neck and shook her, tearing out her throat and nearly decapitating her, according to news reports.16
- 06/03/89: Alyshia Berczyk, 3-years old (Forest Lake, MN)
Killed after wandering into the "death radius" of a chained wolf hybrid. Alyshia was visiting the home of her father, Joseph Berczyk, whose roommate owned a wolfdog named, Spock. Her father was only 25 feet away when the wolf hybrid grabbed her dress and slammed her to the ground so hard, she suffered massive liver damage. The medical examiner said her death was caused by multiple traumatic injuries. 17
- 03/02/89: Angie Nickerson, 5-years old (National Mine, MI)
Killed and partially eaten by a wolf hybrid after exiting her school bus. According to her mother's obituary, written by Animal People, the wolf hybrid-malamute was adopted from a shelter and given to Angie's aunt Tammi Alderton by a boyfriend five days before the fatal attack. Angie’s partially eaten remains were not found for more than an hour because each family thought she had gone to the home of the other.
Angie's horrific death led to Michigan banning the breeding and ownership of wolf hybrids. "All I want is for the breeding to stop, and I will fight for that until I take my last breath," said her mother, Patti Nickerson, who spearheaded the effort to pass the "Wolf-dog Cross Act," enacted in memory of Angie Nickerson. Patti was murdered by her second husband -- shot to death -- three months after the act went into effect.18
- 09/24/88 - Nathan Carpenter, 4-years old (Ft. Walton Beach, FL)
Killed by a neighbor's wolf hybrid adopted out by the Pan Handle Animal Welfare Society in Florida two hours earlier. The shelter agreed to a $425,000 settlement, the highest ever at that time. Nathan's death caused many agencies to reevaluate their adoption policies for wolf hybrids and other potentially dangerous dogs. The animal that killed Nathan was a 5 year old, 75-pound male, neutered wolf-husky mix.
The dog was advertised in the newspaper as "Pet of the Week -- Gentle Giant -- Well Behaved." After adoption, it was placed in a fenced yard while its new owner went to get groceries. The wolf hybrid quickly jumped the 4 foot fence and ran loose in the neighborhood. Nathan's mother saw the dog, and as she was calling it in, it rushed into her back gate where Nathan was playing. The wolfdog tore out his throat.19"Many wolf hybrids live out their lives locked indoors or chained up outside. Most of these animals escape at some point, and the HSUS has received many reports of hybrids hit by cars or killed while harassing or killing livestock or pets." - Randall Lockwood, PhD, HSUS, Shelter Sense Volume 14, Number 02 (1991)
- 09/18/86 - Brandon Ingle, 4-years old (Forest City, NC)
Killed after entering into the "death radius" of a chained wolf hybrid. The boy and his mother were visiting the home of Horace Bailey when the fatal attack occurred. The dog, part German shepherd and part wolf, was blind due to a shotgun blast to its face a few years earlier. It was tied to a stake behind Bailey's home. Brandon slipped away through the rear patio door. The wolfdog tore into his head, neck and arms.20
- 05/05/86 - Nicola Martin, 2 years old (Big Lake, AK)
Killed while playing near the "death radius" of a chained wolf hybrid. The Martin family was visiting the Schumachers, who owned the wolf-husky mix. Nicola was playing nearby with another 2-year-old when the wolfdog attacked, biting into her neck. Family members scooped her up, jumped into a pick up truck and raced toward a hospital. But they crashed into a tree while trying to get around traffic.21
- 10/19/83 - David Hammer, 3-years old (Malad, ID)
Killed by his family's pet wolf they were breeding. The female white wolf and her two cubs, wolf-husky hybrids, escaped their pen on DeVon Hammer's farm. While Hammer's children were trying to coral the animals and get them back into the pen, David started running and the mother wolf chased after him, Oneida County Sheriff Ken Wharton said. The wolfdog attacked the boy's head and neck, killing him.22
- 09/13/81 - Eric Turner, 2-years old (Wayne, MI)
Killed after entering into the "death radius" of a chained wolf hybrid. Eric wandered into his neighbor's yard where the wolfdog was kept. Brian Walsh, 20, was convicted of possessing an animal on the state endangered species list, a misdemeanor. The parents of the boy sued Walsh, Royce and Barbara Sissom, who where keeping the animal at the time of the attack, and Don Burroughs, who sold the wolf to Walsh.23
- 04/12/80: Dusty Redding, 2-years old (Wheatland, WY)
Killed after entering into the "death radius" of a chained wolf hybrid. After biting a child in Story, Wyoming, then escaping its quarantine at a veterinary clinic and killing a young calf, the wolf hybrid was shipped back to Ohio, where it had come from. The owner of the wolf, Randy Prater, went to Ohio and brought the wolfdog back to Wheatland, Wyoming, where he was a renter, living on the Redding property.24
“Fact: The breeding and keeping of ‘wolfdogs’ is bad for dogs, bad for wolves, and above all bad for our human children.” - Animal behaviorist and author Alexandra Semyonova.
Reading List & End Notes
- Wolf Hybrids, by Claudine Wilkins and Jessica Rock, Founders of Animal Law Source (www.animallawsource.org)
- Can You Turn A Wolf Into A Dog? By Pat Tucker & Bruce Weide, Published by Wild Sentry, 1998 (www.wildsentry.org)
- Wolf-Dog Hybrid Test - UC Davis Veterinary Medicine (www.vgl.ucdavis.edu)
- Historical: Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, U.S. and Canada, September 1982 to May 11, 1998, Animal People (www.animals24-7.org)
- Historical: Wolf Hybrids: Some Facts About a Growing Problem, by Randall Lockwood, HSUS, Shelter Sense, Volume 15, Number 04 (1992)
Dances with Wolves is a 1990 epic Western film starring, directed and produced by Kevin Costner. There was a massive upsurge in wolf hybrid breeding and ownership after this film during the 1990s. By 1992, the HSUS was already warning shelters and the public, Wolf Hybrids: Some Facts About a Growing Problem. By the end of the 90s, at least two dozen states were grappling with whether to prohibit or regulate the "unhappy half-dog, half-wolf creation of unnatural breeding" (The Bastard Wolf, by Merritt Clifton, Animal Protection Institute, Summer 1995).
2Kyle Holland - Steve Pardo, "Boy in fatal mauling was missing body parts, medical examiner says," The Detroit News, September 16, 2011 (www.detnews.com) and "Medical Examiner: Boy Was Torn Apart By Dog," ClickonDetroit.com, September 16, 2011 (www.clickondetroit.com) | View more citations
3Jane Doe - A female wolfdog was in heat and inside the home at the time of the fatal attack; it was not euthanized. The son's breeding operation likely continued after his mother's death | Jonathan Humbert, "Pahrump Woman Dies After Attack by 8 wolf hybrids," Channel 8 Eyewitness News, October 5, 2007 (www.lasvegasnow.com) and Christina Eichelkraut, "Woman killed in attack by dogs," Pahrump Valley Times, October 10, 2007 (www.pvtimes.com)
4Sandra Piovesan - Annie O'Neill, "Woman's body found in pen of 9 hybrid wolves," Pittsburg Post-Gazette, July 18, 2006 and Linda Wilson Fuoco, "Wolf dogs killed owner, autopsy determines," Pittsburg Post-Gazette, July 18, 2006 (www.post-gazette.com) | View more citations
5Andre Angel Thomas - Jonathan Brunt, "Child killed by wolf-dog hybrid," The Idaho Statesman, April 29, 2003 (timberwolfinformation.org); "Mountain Home Baby Killed by Wolf-Dog Hybrid," The Spokesman-Review, April 29, 2003 (news.google.com) and Katy Moeller, "No charges to be filed after dogs maul 4-week-old baby," November 22, 2017 (www.idahostatejournal.com)
6Timothy Wayne "T J" Adams, Jr - Angie Kinsey, "Dog Owner Pleads Guilty In Boys Death," The Paducha Sun; Associated Press, "Woman to Hang Dead Child's Photo in Cell," Washington Post, March 6, 2004 (www.washingtonpost.com) and a collection of news clippings from the Hunt Talk Forum Board (www.onyourownadventures.com)
7Oberen "Obie" Burgin - Three months after the boy was mauled to death, his mother Kathy Phillips, 40, was killed in an apparent fire in her Cincinnati home in the 1500 block of Lingo Street | Joel Wessels, "Wolf hybrid kills grandson, 5," The Cincinnati Enquirer, October 22, 2000 and Tom O'Neill, "Northside woman dies in blaze at residence," The Cincinnati Enquirer, January 1, 2001 (www.enquirer.com)
8Cody Tyler Fairfield - "Killer dog came from ‘bad’ litter," The Muskegon Chronicle, August 23, 1999; Myrna Leslie, "Michigan Owners Brace for Aftermath of Boy's Death in Hybrid Attack," The Wolf Hybrid Times, October 1999 and Betsy Sikora Siino, "The Case Against Hybrids - Crossing the Line – The Case Against Hybrids," ASPCA Animal Watch – Winter 2000 (Posted to PetFinder.com)
9Debbie Edmonds - Marcus Montoya, Gazette Telegraph, Colorado Springs, December 18, 1996 (groups.google.com) and Deborah Mendez, "Unpredictable Wolf Dogs Pose Dangers, Animal Experts Warn," Deseret News, March 6, 1997 (www.deseretnews.com)
10Russell Evans - A collection of news clippings from the Hunt Talk Forum Board (www.onyourownadventures.com) and Dog-Bite-Related Fatalities -- United States, 1995-1996, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC.
11Josh Garner - "Fear In Eldorado After Fatal Animal Attack," The Santa Fe Reporter, September 22, 1993 and "Killer Dog Was Hybrid, This Expert Says," The Santa Fe Reporter, September 22, 1993.
12Kevin Michael Lahey - "Wolf-dog protecting puppies kills Vt. boy, 3," Boston Herald, December 11, 1993; "Wolf-Dog Kills 3-Year-Old Boy Next Door To Day-Care Center," Rocky Mountain News, December 11, 1993 and "'Wolf-Dog' Attacks, Kills Boy, 3," Albuquerque Journal, December 11, 1993.
13Nicholas Hinton - David Allen, "Family's Dogs Maul 2-Year-Old To Death," Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, April 29, 1991; David Allen, "Dogs Who Mauled Boy Killed Tot Apparently Climbed Fence, Fell Into Kennel," Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, April 30, 1991 and The Hybrids Howl: Legislators Listen -- These Animals Aren't Crying Wolf, by Barbara J. Kramek, Rutgers Law Journal, Spring, 1992.
14Curtis James Hawkins - "Family's Hybrid Wolf kills E. Orange Boy," The Star-Ledger, September 4, 1990 and "Autopsy Report Released On Infant Mauled By Pet," The Star-Ledger, September 12, 1990.
15Paul David Mahler - The female wolf hybrid, named Kessie, was not put down after the deadly attack, and the Coroner's Jury findings could not be enforced | "Infant Girl Dies After Mauling By 80 Pound Hybrid Wolf In The Valley," Anchorage Daily News, April 12, 1990; "Mauling Of Infant Under Investigation," Anchorage Daily News, April 13, 1990; "Owner Fights To Spare Dog," Anchorage Daily News, April 14, 1990 and "Coroner's Jury Finds Mother Negligent In Case Of Baby Killed By Wolf-Dog," Anchorage Daily News, September, 1990.
16Tonya Elliot - Various archival findings from the Detroit Free Press, March 17, 1990; Detroit Free Press, March 18, 1990 and The Hybrids Howl: Legislators Listen -- These Animals Aren't Crying Wolf by Barbara J. Kramek, Rutgers Law Journal, Spring, 1992.
17Alyshia “Bunny” Berczyk - Other historical references to this attack state, "The wolf tore up her kidney, liver and bit a hole through her aorta," but we could find no media reports to confirm this | Mark Brunswick, "Big Lake girl, 3, dies after being attacked by a domesticated wolf," Star Tribune, June 5, 1989 and "Boy, 5, bitten by captive wolf, is still critical," Post Bulletin Minnesota, July 4, 1989.
18Angie Nickerson - Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated. Chapter 287. Animal Industry; Wolf-dog Cross Act, Michigan State University Animal Legal & Historical Center; Louis Sahagun, "Born Prisoners," Los Angeles Times, August 17, 1997; Woman whose daughter's death fueled anti-wolfdog fight killed," The Argus Press, September 25, 2000 and Human Obituaries, Patti Nickerson Manning, Animal People, November 2000.
19Nathan Carpenter - "'Pet of the Week' kills toddler," UPI, September 24, 1988 and "Shelter Agrees to $425,000 Settlement in Fatal Attack by Wolf-dog Hybrid," by Dr. Randall Lockwood, HSUS, Shelter Sense Volume 14, Number 02 (1991) and The Hybrids Howl: Legislators Listen -- These Animals Aren't Crying Wolf by Barbara J. Kramek, Rutgers Law Journal, Spring, 1992.
20Brandon Joel Ingle - Ken Soo, "Chained, Blind Dog Kills 4-Year-Old," Charlotte Observer, September 20, 1986 and "Chained Dog Kills Boy, 4, Child Was Mauled At Friend`s Home," Charlotte Observer, September 20, 1986.
21Nicola Martin - "Girl Attacked By Dog Dies After Frantic Race To Hospital," Anchorage Daily News, May 5, 1986 and "3 Hurt Trying To Help Girl With Fatal Bite," The Seattle Times, May 5, 1986.
22David Hammer - "Pet wolf kills child," Janesville Gazette, October 19, 1983 and a collection of news clippings from the Hunt Talk Forum Board (www.onyourownadventures.com)
23Eric Turner - Lansing State Journal, December 18, 1981; The Pantagraph, September 30, 1981 and The Star-Democrat, September 30, 1981.
24Dusty Marie Redding - "Wolf Attack Fatal for Two-Year-Old," The Platte County Record-Times, April 15, 1980 and Wolf Attacks on Humans by T. R. Mader, Abundant Wildlife Society of North America, 1995.
Fatal Pit Bull Attacks - The Archival Record by DogsBite.org
Fatal Pit Bull Attacks - Child Fatalities - The Archival Record by DogsBite.org by DogsBite.org
Fatal Rottweiler Attacks - The Archival Record by DogsBite.org
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
2017 Dog Bite Fatality: South African Boerboel Breeder Killed by One of Her Gladiator Dogs in Asheville, North Carolina
A Brief History of the South African Mastiff - The 'Farmer's Bulldog'
Jane Marie Egle, 59-years old, was killed by her South African boerboel on May 1.
UPDATE 04/17/18: On May 1, 2017 the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office responded to a residence after receiving a call for assistance. They found Jane Egle, 59, dead on the floor of her home. One of the victim's South African boerboels was also in the home, exhibiting so much aggression that deputies "destroyed" it at the scene. Egle's cause of death was not released. The only incident report released by the sheriff's office indicated the victim had "minor" injuries.
On April 16, 2018, nearly one year later, Egle's autopsy results were released. The autopsy was performed May 3, 2017 under the presence of "representatives for Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office," states the medical examiner's report. The cause of death was "exsanguination due to multiple penetrating and blunt force injuries of the head and neck, consistent with canine bites due to dog mauling." The sheriff's office knew the cause of death on May 3, but misled the media.
The sheriff's office failure to release cause of death forced us to exclude Egle from our late February release of 2017 dog bite fatality statistics.The Buncombe County Sheriff's Office delayed the release of any information about Egle's death until four days afterward. We noted that action as a "red flag" in our initial post. On May 5, Natalie Bailey, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, told the Citizen-Times, the exact cause of death had not yet been determined. Bailey stated the same thing to the Citizen-Times on May 9, six days after the autopsy was complete and the official cause of death was known by the sheriff's office.
On November 22, 2017, after three FOIA requests, we received a copy of the 1-page incident report from the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office. Within the "Injury" area, there are multiple boxes to choose from, including "Broken Bones, Severe Lacerations, Other Major" and more. The officer checked the "Minor" box only. His or her supervisor signed the report. We now know the incident report was fraudulent. The South African boerboel ripped out the front of Egle's throat.
05/17/17: Time for Honest Dialogue
Asheville, NC - On May 5, it was a reported that a 59-year old woman was found dead in her home with an aggressive South African boerboel. Deputies had discovered her body four days earlier -- red flag. We looked into the case and quickly learned that Jane Egle was a breeder and seller of South African mastiffs. She had a dedicated website, "Beloved Boerboels," that notes she previously worked with rottweilers and bullmastiffs, along with Facebook and Instagram pages.
In addition to the delayed release of her death information, the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office quickly resorted to, "visible cuts on her body that are consistent with an animal attack, but her exact cause of death" is undetermined. It remains unknown today, 15 days later, if her death is an actual dog bite fatality -- red flag number two. In our ten years of tracking dog mauling deaths, when law enforcement limits the release of injury information, there may be other factors at play.
In the past, other factors have included trying to dampen public interest or media attention to the mauling case, which we have seen backfire too.When deputies arrived at the scene, the gladiator dog -- one of the fiercest guarding breeds -- predictably would not allow first responders into the home. Deputies were forced to dispatch the massive dog to reach the woman. Seven other boerboels were also seized from Egle's yard along with a great pyrenees. Asheville Humane Society, which operates the Buncombe County animal shelter, stated right away the adult boerboels were dangerous and slated them for euthanasia.
Memory Lane: In 2015, the Asheville Humane Society (AHS) adopted out a pit bull that passed a temperament test. Three weeks later, the dog brutally killed a 6-year old boy. No temperament test can measure unpredictable aggression. These tests can measure obvious aggression, as can observation, which is the case with the boerboels that Egle liked to dress up with bling. Recall that AHS also had a habit of anthropomorphizing pit bulls with bling to make them more palatable.
The Dog Behavior Consultant
On May 8, WLOS interviewed Kim Brophey, a certified dog behavior consultant that evaluated the South African boerboels, six adults and one 4-month old. As one would imagine, she was terrified of the dogs. "I was terrified, and I've done this a long time," Brophey said. "It was a difficult thing to do. Both myself and the other evaluator were appropriately cautious given the expressed threatening behavior of the dogs, it was warranted. We had a job to do, and we did it," she said.
Yet, Brophey's logic goes south with the young boerboel, which also should have been put down, effectively wiping out Egle's entire breeding operation.1 Pertaining to the adult boerboels she states, "Given their propensity to harm others, it would have been negligent to do anything other than what was done." Speaking about the breed as a whole, she states: "If we have no tolerance for the specific behaviors that dogs were bred for, maybe we shouldn't be breeding them."
"They were so highly threatening that one could not even interact with them in order to assess them -- all of them." - Kim Brophey, dog behavioristBy May 15, as we began writing this post, Brophey spoke to the Citizen-Times and admitted the adult boerboels were so dangerous they could not even be assessed by personnel, outside of observation. In a stunningly forthright video, Brophey states, "Our message really is ... we should take the opportunity to open a very honest dialogue ... about the big picture of our dog's behavior. We like to act as if dogs are all simply just pets, and that it's all how we raise them," she said.
"The truth is there are many other factors that are facilitating their behavior. If we are not prepared for those behaviors, if we don't look into their history, understand the biology and the genetics, the interplay of their environment, their socialization" and more, Brophey said, "then we are going to continue to find ourselves surprised and in some cases, tragically so ... These incidents are doomed to continue to happen if we don't get honest and practical in our discussion," she said.
History of the South African Boerboel
The South African boerboel is one of several "reinvented" ancient gladiator breeds used for the purposes of guarding and fighting (combat dogs). There is no trustworthy source of information online, in English, about the breed's history -- most are written by boerboel breeders who glorify the dogs. As visually apparent, the bullmastiff was a heavy influencer in resurrecting the breed as they share common ancestors. Calling these dogs a "farm dog" or a "farmer's dog" is deceptive.
The boerboel name is more appropriately translated into the "farmer's bulldog" or "farmer's mastiff," according to academic researchers.No one has done more to "resurrect" the ancient gladiator breeds than Dr. Carl Semencic, who was once billed as a "world-renowned authority on fighting dogs" and continues to get his aging books reprinted: The World of Fighting Dogs (1984), Pit Bulls and Tenacious Guard Dogs (1991) and Gladiator Dogs (1998). The Gladiator Dogs book "brings to life 13 breeds originally used as fighting dogs." All of the usual suspects are on the list, including the South African boerboel.
Semencic's book purports to explain the history of these gladiator breeds and their different "combat techniques." The fact that Semencic dedicates an entire chapter to the boerboel is telling, right along side the better known baiting, fighting and war dog types, such as pit bulls and presa canarios. South African boerboels are rare in the United States but certainly are not in South Africa. We reached out to animal behaviorist Alexandra Semyonova who provides more details.
Alexandra Semyonova - Gladiator Breeds
The story of the "boerboel" (which means "the farmer's bulldog" in Afrikaner Dutch) is basically the same as that of the Cuban Bloodhound (second profile).
They were created by crossing the bull / bear / horse baiting bulldog of Elizabethan England and the war dogs European colonists used to subdue, terrorize and sometimes help eradicate native populations. These bulldog-war dog mixes were introduced in South Africa by the Dutch in and after 1652, together with the introduction of slavery there. The "boerboel" was used to guard colonizers' farmlands from the natives the lands were stolen from, to guard and terrorize slaves, and in battles with the indigenous populations. To this day, the "boerboel" is still one of the most vicious and destructive guard dogs that exist in South Africa.
In 2010, a South African surgeon warned that the "boerboel" was presenting an alarming new danger to children:
"Speaking from his rooms at Somerset Aesthetic Surgery in Somerset West, Toogood said: 'Dog bite cases outnumber the cases I see involving motor vehicle accidents, incidents involving pedestrians, and domestic violence.
'And of the dog bite cases, approximately 80 percent of the cases I see involve boerboels.
'The remaining 20 percent (are made up) of all the other breeds of dogs combined.
'I'm simply telling you what's coming through my doors and they are children bitten by boerboels.
'This is not just an affable farm dog with big slobbery chops," said Toogood.
'They are inherently dangerous, with a strong streak of unpredictability, but breeders are not saying so and hence they are being kept as house pets.'" - Murray Williams, "Boerboel attacks on kids on rise," IOL News, February 24, 2010 (www.iol.co.za)
Cape of Good Hope SPCA CEO Allan Perrins, admits in the article, "I know that the pit bull has the 'killer dog' reputation. But I'm afraid it's being fast superseded by the boerboel," writes Semyonova.
According to South African government sources, the export of "boerboels" suddenly greatly increased in 2011. In the United States, South African breeders were getting up to $9,600 for a single animal. It's not surprising then, as this surgeon remarked, that "boerboel" breeders are not honest about what they're selling: "[Boerboels] are inherently dangerous, with a strong streak of unpredictability, but breeders are not saying so and hence they are being kept as house pets," writes Semyonova.
Who Worships, Breeds or Owns Boerboels?
It would be dishonest not to discuss the types of people who own and breed these dogs, including Egle, who graduated up to South African boerboels after raising rottweilers and bullmastiffs. There comes a point where people can't claim ignorance anymore about a dog breed's heritage, nor deny that the real motive is often pathological narcissism -- including the narcissist's insistence on living in a self-aggrandizing fantasy world. Neither of these photos are cute; they are disturbing.
A week before her death, Egle posted to Instagram: "Aslan and Mojo ... before they figured out how to break through that gate and take their boerboel five pack out to meet our suburban neighbors and their many adorable kiddos. Whew! Fortunately, they were only out a few minutes and were friendly and sweet. The neighbors were so charmed by them (all five dogs instantly came when I called them, YES!!), that I now have a new posse offering to take them on walks."
We are deeply thankful that no one else in the community was harmed by Egle's pack of gladiator dogs. They were certainly on track to do so.Semyonova also points out that a neighbor interviewed by WLOS, Jennifer Odom, described Egle as very sweet, friendly and kind. "How sweet, friendly and kind is it to infest one's neighborhood with a type of dog that endangers the lives of every living thing within miles?" Asked Semyonova. "Ones that, as the surgeon pointed out in the 2010 article, are even deadlier than the smaller pit bull types?" Odom also plays the fantasy game by calling the dogs "very sweet, gentle giants."
This is in stark contrast to the heritage of the "Farmer's bulldog" -- selected for willingness to commit sustained, unprovoked attacks and with a physique that makes defense impossible -- that author Semencic worships and promotes in his book. As well as the honest assessment by Brophey, who said these South African boerboels "were beyond threatening and aggressive, as ferocious of an animal as I have ever met in a 20-year career specializing in aggression."
The South African boerboel is still uncommon in the United States. Their high purchase price and annual care costs make it unlikely for this gladiator breed to ever achieve remotely modest population numbers in this country. The American bully, a pit bull "designer" breed frequently infused with bullmastiffs and other mastiffs to create extreme exaggerations in the weight, size and features of a traditional pit bull, appears to be the larger and more troubling trend in the U.S.
Local media outlets are interested in this story and obtaining the cause of death. The Medical Examiner's Office told WLOS it could take 2-3 months to receive the official report -- this is fairly standard and can take much longer when contributing factors are involved. What is not standard in this case is the lack of receiving any preliminary autopsy report or reasons why. We are only left to speculate as to why, which might include trying to dampen public interest or media attention.
Lastly, as recognized by animal behaviorists Alexandra Semyonova and Kim Brophey and columnist John Boyle of the Citizen-Times, this case demands an honest discussion about dog breeds. Some dog breeds are vastly more dangerous than others, which is the focal point of our nonprofit's website. The consequences of believing the myth, "It's all you raise 'em," and ignoring the genetic heritage of a dog's breed results in life-altering injuries and deaths every year.
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05/05/09: Alexandra Semyonova: Heritability of Behavior in the Abnormally Aggressive Dog