Friday, July 25, 2008
Occurrence of English Sheepdog Fatalities
In the dog attack statistical report compiled by Merritt Clifton, the editor of Animal People News, no fatalities by English sheepdogs and their mixes were recorded between the years of 1982 to 2007. The statistics also reveal that the combination of pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for 66% percent of fatalities. The report, Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, U.S. & Canada, is issued each year.
Sheepdogs and their mixes are also absent in the widely quoted CDC report, Breeds of Dogs Involved in Fatal Human Attacks in the United States Between 1979 and 1998. In the report, at least 25 breeds were involved in 238 human fatalities. The combination of pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for over 50% during the 20-year span; between the years of 1997-1998, over 60%. Just last year, in 2007, pit bulls alone accounted for 60% of U.S. human fatalities.
Combining the two studies suggests that in the past 20 years, the occurrence of an English sheepdog mix attacking and killing a human being in the U.S. or Canada is zero, until the tragic death of Addison Sonney.
Addison's Memorial Website
Full News Article
07/25/08: 2008 Fatality: 1-Year Old Erie Girl Killed by Family Dog
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| 7/25/2008 3:16 PM |
This is a truly surprising tragedy and an incident where a study of the dog’s pathology is warranted. The complete absence of any calamitous history by this breed sets this apart from other canine fatalities where the breed is known to be vicious.
Extremely surprising and very sad. May this family find solace and healing in their wonderful memories of an angel returned to heaven.
| 7/28/2008 1:02 PM |
There is a controversial case of an Old English Sheepdog involved in a fatality in December 1984. According to police, an 87-year-old Birmingham woman was mauled to death by her daughter's awarding winning English sheepdog after the woman tripped over the animal.
A trial proceeded chalk full of experts and drama that drew international media attention. The owner of the dog, Kathryn Schwarb, contended that the award winning dog, King Boots, was innocent and argued that [Gertrude Monroe] died of a sudden, massive heart attack on Dec. 19 when she tried to get up from her chair.
The Outcome of the Trial
By January 29th, 1985, District Judge Edward Sosnick ruled the following, but as you can see, the outcome, according to the New York Times, is still not yet definitive as to the cause of Gertrude's death.
"King Boots, a champion sheepdog accused of fatally mauling an 87-year- old woman, was ''doing just fine'' today after being defanged and neutered to comply with a court order."
Another Law Suit and TV Documentary
In June of the same year, a housekeeper filed suit against King Boots, claiming the dog bit her during an attack the prior year. By this point Boots was already defanged and castrated. In the same month, the Associated Press reported that a TV documentary was to be made about the King Boots trial. In this news article, they still refer to Boots as "being accused," instead of a definitive outcome to the dog's guilt.
"Champion show dog King Boots, accused in a district court trial of fatally mauling an 87-year-old woman, will be the focus of a television documentary on the workings of the legal system. A crew from Errol Morris Films of New York City traveled to Bloomfield Hills to interview Jon Kingsepp, a Birmingham city attorney who sought to have the dog destroyed after the attack. Kingsepp, who was interviewed Monday for the public television documentary, said he believed the..."
King Boots Dies
By August of the same year King Boots was dead. Jack Funk, King Boots' show handler and a friend of the dog's owners, Charles and Kathryn Schwarb, said the Schwarb's took the death hard. He also said that Kathryn had recently been ill "due in part to the notoriety of the King Boots "trial" in Bloomfield Hills District Court last January, and grief over the death in December of her mother, Gertrude Monroe."
It's clear the judge ruled that the dog had attacked and bitten the woman; but still unclear how the judge ruled on the actual cause of Getrude's death. If counted as a dog bite fatality, it may need to be asterisked.
| 8/06/2008 7:44 AM |
I have been involved in Old English Sheepdog Rescue for many years and I love and understand this breed pretty well. While OES do not show up in the statistics of breeds that cause a human fatality, they certainly show up in statistics that involve dog bites (as is true for most breeds). The general public assumes that Old English Sheepdogs as a breed, are good with children. That is not necessarily true, it varies from dog to dog. In most cases, OES, a herding breed, are large and physical and can knock tiny people over. It is not correct to assume that all OES are good with children, they are not. As is true with any dog breed, it is prudent to train them well and to supervise play activity between children and pets.