Saturday, April 25, 2009
"Miracle child" killed by family pit bull and his uncle, Terrence Lovejoy.
An uncle of the Eastpointe boy who was killed Wednesday by the family pit bull urged parents to "get rid" of pit bulls so they or their children don’t become the next victim of a fatal attack. "There’s no good to come out of these dogs," Terrence Lovejoy said during a news conference held at the Eastpointe police station. Like many other victims, he also added, "[This] does not have to happen to anyone else." The family had raised their 5-year old male pit bull from birth, Lovejoy said.
Lovejoy said his brother and sister-in-law, who are in their 40s according to police, have been married about 17 years, and had tried for years to have a child. He said, "God blessed" them with a son. They were preparing for his first birthday party on May 3. Lovejoy described the attack in the following way: "The dog "didn’t growl, didn’t bark," just walked over and grabbed the child, who was standing on a bed," reports the Detroit Free Press. The boy's father shot and killed the dog.
The father used a registered 45-caliber handgun. He also had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, police said. The father fired eight shots at the dog, police said. Lovejoy said the pit bull was kept in the house and was familiar with the couple and the child. Lovejoy called the attack "a sneak attack the dog did on my nephew." Eastpointe Police Lt. Leo Borowsky said the case remains under investigation. There is no record of the dog attacking anyone before, he said.
No Warning Signals -- Just Attack
Documented evidence shows that due to selective breeding practices for the purposes of dogfighting, pit bulls attack "unpredictably" and often fail to communicate intention prior to an attack. Specifically, there may be no growl, bark or direct stare -- just a "surprise attack." Please read page 133 from The Ethology and Epidemiology of Canine Aggression, by Randall Lockwood. This evidence was used to uphold the City and County of Denver's pit bull ban.
In addition to a lowered threshold for attack and higher pain tolerance in many fighting animals, selection for fighting has apparently resulted in the disruption of normal communications in individuals from recent fighting lineages. Under natural conditions, the aggression of wild canids is held in check by a detailed set of postural and facial signals that clearly indicate mood and intent (Fox, 1971a; Schenkel, 1967) In addition, aggressive encounters are normally ended rapidly, when one individual emits the appropriate ‘cut-off’ behavior, such as infantile vocalizations (whining, yelping) and submissive displays (Fox, 1971b). Dogs from fighting lineages have been under selective pressures that suppress or eliminate accurate communication of aggressive motivation or intent. It is to a fighting dog’s advantage for its attack to be unexpected. Many accounts of such attacks on people not that the incident occurred ‘without warning’. Similarly, once initiated, such attacks are often not ended by the withdrawal of the opponent or the display of the species-typical submissive behavior. Combat involving fighting dogs can continue for several hours and separation of the animals may require the use of a “parting stick” to physically pry the animals apart. - Randall LockwoodAdditional Information:
- "One City's Experience Denver: Why Pit Bulls are More Dangerous and Breed Specific Law is Justified," by Kory A. Nelson, Municipal Lawyer, (2005)
- "Dog Bite Prevention for Law Enforcement Officers and Other First Responders," by Randall Lockwood, PhD, Tawzer Dog Videos (2004)
- The Care of Pit Bulls in the Shelter Environment," by Leslie D, Appel, DVM, ASPCA (2004)
- "Do's and Don'ts Concerning Vicious Dogs," by D.A. Clifford, DVM, MPH, PhD, AVMA Professional Liability Insurance Trust (1993)
Police have not identified the 11-month old boy who was mauled to death by his family's pit bull or the child's parents. The attack occurred in the 22000 block of Nevada about 2:45 pm Wednesday. Neighbor Ron Baumgartner, 57, said he was home when he saw the police speed up to the house. "I saw her with her head in her hands, going berserk," he said of the child's mother. He added that she stood on the porch and screamed, "The dog got the baby by the head, by the head!"
Baumgartner, a longtime resident of the area, said the couple -- whom neighbors refer to as Earl and Felicia -- rented the house about a year ago. He and other neighbors said the couple was told they couldn't have children, so they were excited when they learned Felicia was pregnant. "It was a miracle child," he said. He also said that the couple "watched that kid like a hawk." I can't believe that dog got near that child, Baumgartner said. Police continue to investigate the boy's death.
The Detroit Free Press article depicts a "Beware of Dog" sign on the couple's fence. According to the city's online code (Section 610-11), pit bulls are declared "vicious." in Eastpointe.
04/22/09: Father Shoots Dog After Attack
Eastpointe, MI - A family's pit bull fatally mauled a 1-year old child and the boy's father killed the dog, officials say. Eastpointe Fire Chief Danny Hagen said the only way they were able to get the dog to release the (child) was to shoot the dog. The dog locked onto the kids head, Hagen said. The child's father used a handgun to shoot the dog when it attacked the baby. Police Detective Lt. Leo Borowski said the dog was not licensed in the city. The incident is still under investigation.
The names of the boy and his father have not been released. It is unknown if charges will be filed.
Related ZUPF video
04/01/09: 2009 Fatality: 7-Month Old Boy Killed by Grandmother's Pit Bulls
03/31/09: 2009 Fatality: 2-Year Old Boy Killed by Pit Bull in Luling, TX
09/09/08: Top Dog Experts Fooled and Surprised by Pit Bulls
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| 4/22/2009 10:01 PM |
"He said the boy’s mother stood on the porch and screamed, “The dog got the baby by the head, by the head!”
Baumgartner said the child’s father appeared to be in shock and couldn’t say anything.
Neighbors said the dog was named Prince.
“It was a mean dog,” neighbor Keith Ferszt, 36.
Baumgartner called the couple “real good people. They watched that kid like a hawk. I can’t believe that dog got near that child.”
| 4/23/2009 1:04 AM |
The article said the couple struggled for a long time to have children and didn't think they'd be able to. If I wanted a child that badly and was blessed with a so-called miracle child, the last thing I'd have around it is a pit bull. I'm sorry for the innocent child who was killed in such a horrible way, but I have to second the sentiment that at least it was the owners' child and not a neighbor's. They gambled, and they lost.
| 4/23/2009 6:40 AM |
Many people have been led to beleive these dogs are great around children, nanny dogs. It's to bad our government doesn't require schooling for ownership of these dogs. Had these people been through a class, would they still have had this dog as part of their household ?
| 4/23/2009 7:39 AM |
This reminds me of a fatality we had in Texas in 2004. A rottweiler bit a baby on the head killing it. The parents then FOUGHT THE COUNTY to keep the dog alive. Having a pit or a rott in the home with a small child should be grounds for CPS to intervene. Some people are too stupid to take care of their children.
| 4/23/2009 8:30 AM |
As long as we are being told that pits are good family members and HSUS is being called murderers for their stance on pits, we will have people who believe the pit is a wonderful family dog.
I would like to see someone make it a child endangerment issue and parents would have the book thrown at them if they have a pit that attacks their children. I was told that this won't happen because it would mean more children in foster care if their parents go to jail. And most of the time, the dog gets blamed and people feel sorry for the parents. The dog should have known better, not the parents. If a parent puts a baby in a tub of water and walks away, would they not charge that parent with the child's death? Of course, but not so much when the "family pet" kills the child, it becomes the dog's fault. We all know that dogs have morals and ethics, don't we?
| 4/23/2009 12:01 PM |
This is the cost of buying into the "Nanny Dog" myth. A dead child is the result of believing "pit bulls are just like any other dog, it's all in how you raise them," or, "if they are properly socialized..."
The cost of failure when trying to "properly socialize" a pit bull is too high.
| 4/23/2009 1:55 PM |
"The cost of failure when trying to 'properly socialize' a pit bull is too high."
You hit the nail on the head. Of course there are pit bulls out there who have never attacked anyone. That's akin to saying a hurricane has never hit my beach house. It's no guarantee it won't, and if I can't afford the insurance, I'm an idiot for living there. Nobody can afford the risk of a pit bull. The price paid is much, much too high.
| 4/23/2009 2:14 PM |
An uncle of an Eastpointe boy who was mauled to death Wednesday by the family pit bull urged parents to “get rid” of pit bulls so they or their children don’t become the next victim of a fatal attack.
“There’s no good to come out of these dogs,” Terrence Lovejoy said today during a news conference at the Eastpointe police station. “It does not have to happen to anyone else.”
| 4/23/2009 4:05 PM |
I think the people who are calling these dogs nanny dogs, saying they are just like any other breed, saying they just need love, and telling all these lies about pit bulls being ok need to be HELD ACCOUNTABLE
Best Friends and Bad Rap, AKC and the breeders, and the rest need to be held accountable for the lies they are telling.
If a company told such lies and gave such "guarantees" they would be bankrupted by lawsuits.
Since these groups either are businesses (like the breeders) or acting as businesses, they need to be held accountable
| 4/23/2009 6:49 PM |
"Watching a child like a hawk" isn't good enough when a pit bull is involved. Particularly a pit bull that required 8 bullets to kill it and a "Beware of Dog" sign to be hung on the fence.
| 4/23/2009 11:56 PM |
When asked about the couple, he called them "really nice people" and said, "They took care of the baby like a little king. And they took care of that dog, too."
| 4/24/2009 6:37 AM |
Yes, it is insane that it took that many shots! Here is how a pitnut Pit Rescue whitewashes this trait:
"However, pit bulls do seem to have an above average amount of determination for things they are interested in. In fact, they were selectively bred to never give up. Their focus may be barking at squirrels, fetching rocks or sticks, but whatever they do, it's done with a great deal of enthusiasm. If they happen to grab onto something they don't want to release, it can be quite difficult to extract it from them. "
Absolutely disgusting! I truly feel sorry for these parents. It definitely sounds like they were not abusing this dog. Their canine IED finally went off, and they are paying a terrible horrible price. I commend the uncle for speaking out against owning these beasts.
| 4/24/2009 7:02 AM |
Tough to believe this was a safety issue was unknown to this family...
Last August Robert, Howard was killed by Pit Bulls on the streets of Detroit maul city.
The casket filling operations have to stop!
| 4/24/2009 7:07 AM |
Enter now the question:
Who bred and sold this Level 6 mauler and where are his littermates?
What is the responsible Pit Bull community going to do about them? Wait until they are identified by the LifeFlight Helicopters taking off?
| 4/24/2009 1:21 PM |
It's entirely possible it didn't take 8 shots to stop or kill the dog. When adrenaline hits, a person will often fire more shots than needed to do the job. I know if a kid of mine were being mauled by a dog, I'd empty the magazine into the thing in a heartbeat, assuming I had a clear shot and wasn't afraid I'd hit my child. Please don't construe this comment as a defense of the pit bull. It's not in any way. I'm just not sure the dog wasn't dead before the man stopped firing.
| 4/24/2009 4:23 PM |
So, it was OK to have this dangerous dog, when the family assumed he ONLY posed a risk to the innocent neighbors.....evidenced by the "Beware of Dog" sign, and the one neighbor who let slip that the dog was "mean". I am sure the neighbors feel terrible for the family's loss, and are NOT being vocal about what they really thought about the dog.
I guess the age old concept of "do unto others" really has hit home. The family owned a dangerous dog, but felt it was OK as long as the dog was good with them. They paid the ultimate price for not "loving thy neighbors as thyself".
As the above posters pointed out, its a terrible tragedy for the child, but it would be far worse had it been a neighbors child.
| 4/25/2009 2:28 PM |
They are considering bringing charges against the family. I think they should. I think whenever a child is mauled or killed by a family dog of a known aggressive breed, the owners should be charged with child endangerment. There are enough cases, and there is enough evidence that these dogs are more dangerous than the average dog to make a strong case for that. See how quickly the rescues back off their "nanny dog" stance when pit owners start getting arrested for having them in the house with children.
| 4/25/2009 4:03 PM |
If the dog was "rescued" from a shelter, that should be made public. Unfortunately, there are virtually no real journalists left today who would ask such a common sense question...
Where did the killer dog come from?
| 4/26/2009 5:57 AM |
It turns out that "FEASTPOINTE" had Pit Bull regulations and were duped into rescinding them.
Tha Law can still be viewed the city website:
Can you say CULPABILTY!!!
BTW...The family is raising donations to cover funeral costs. I suggest City council members donate. As is customary not a dime will come from the Pit Bull community.
| 4/26/2009 9:26 AM |
WHERE DID THIS DOG COME FROM, is the question that needs to be asked every time, as well as reproductive status. In my investigations, I find that almost every case is from an unaltered dog. There are exceptions of course. And having this info can go a long way to convince officials to support altering.
BUT to know where these dogs are coming from is even more important. With this "No Kill" crap shelters feel pushed to adopt out dogs they might not otherwise. Is it their fault, yes and no. If they do what they think is right to euthanize a healthy pit then they are condemned. I would like to invite people to approach their shelters and ask them if they can keep records, unofficially or officially, on these two questions.
| 4/26/2009 9:22 PM |
I have found no confirmation as to the rumors of Eastpointe's code -- which declares pit bulls as "vicious" -- has been repealed. Section 610-11, if still valid, basically seals the case shut as to the negligence of these parents. The code is crystal clear:
(4) "Vicious dog" is defined as follows:
A. "Vicious dog" means a dog that, without provocation, and subject to paragraph (a)(4)B. hereof, meets any of the following requirements:
1. Has killed or caused serious injury to any person;
2. Has caused injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person, or has killed another dog or domestic animal; or
3. Belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog. The ownership, keeping or harboring of such a breed of dog shall be prima-facie evidence of the ownership, keeping or harboring of a vicious dog.