Friday, June 25, 2010
From left: Edmund Spain, Bernard Moore, Leon Lopez and one of the two pit bulls.
Belize City, BZ - After initially suppressing information about a brutal pit bull attack that killed 65-year old Edmund Spain, authorities are now charging the dogs' owners, Leon Lopez and Shelda Patnett, with Manslaughter by Negligence, Causing Death by Careless Conduct and Keeping an Unmuzzled Ferocious Dog. The charges come after Spain's Belizean-American family members investigated the attack and demanded charges be brought against the dogs' owners.
On June 15, Bernard Moore, his wife Amy Moore and nephew Alton White reported to Amandala Online, a Belize newspaper, that Bernard's brother, Edmund Spain, had been killed by two pit bulls near Hattieville. The three Belizean-Americans had flown from the United States to bury their loved one, who had been minding a house for them near Hattieville. The family questioned why police did not report the May 31 incident and vowed to investigate the deadly attack.
Information uncovered by the family included that on May 31, Spain had gone to Belize City by bus to pick up a bi-weekly allowance from them which he used to help run the house. Upon finishing his trip and purchasing some groceries, Spain was walking toward the house when two pit bulls slid under a neighbor's fence and attacked. Eyewitnesses ran for police help, but because no vehicle was available, police had to use bicycles and did not reach the scene for 20 minutes.
No matter the hospital, no matter the location in the world, a 20-minute sustained attack by two pit bulls equals certain death.Not only did police authorities neglect to report the incident in their daily bulletin, they allowed the dogs' owners to keep the pit bulls. According to Amandala Online, it is standard practice to put down dogs after they kill a person. In a separate news article, Jim McFadzean of News 7 interviewed Spain's brother, Moore, who said that the "nonchalant attitude" on the part of the dogs' owner demonstrates that he holds dogs in greater esteem and value than his brother.
Bernard MooreWe presume the "smirky attitude" dried up after Lopez was charged.
"I look at that young man. I saw him with his sunshade on and with his smirky attitude and his macho behaviour and I said to myself there is something wrong with this young man. If you are going to have two dogs that actually kill a man and you are talking like you are so concerned about your dog instead of concerning about my brother that's the thing that has me real upset."
Moore says any statements by the owners of the dogs that they have reached out to assist the family in any way is untrue.
11/13/09: Family Pit Bull Berserks, Kills 85-Year Old Owner in Peru
08/29/09: Pit Bull Kills Owner, 35, in Bloody Buenos Aires Attack
02/06/09: Ecuador Joins International Trend: Bans Pit Bulls and Rottweilers...
10/10/08: 2008 Fatality: 5-Year Old Girl Killed by Pet Pit Bull in Simi Valley
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| 6/26/2010 12:53 AM |
Katya Todesco...Nearly two years later the case still continues:
What about Karen Gillespie's husband and the family of Lowell Bowden????
| 6/26/2010 6:03 AM |
This is very much going on in the United States.
We have a deep problem, where pit bull interests are IN the authority system in some cases and in some areas, and have corrupted local governments.
Police, local authorities and politicos, individuals on animal control advisory boards, people who work for the health department, fire men, animal control officers, who are involved in dog breeding, pit bull breeding, No Kill pit bull promotion and sales, and even in some cases dog fighting.
There have been coverups and hiding of pit bull attacks, bite reports intentionally not filed or lost to hide the pit bull incident, breed of dog lied about and pit bulls called by another breed, victims harassed by animal control pit bull advocates, refusal to enforce laws against pit bull owners, refusal to call attacking pit bulls dangerous, and more.
This all being done by authority figures and government workers in some areas to protect pit bulls, pit bull owners, and the "reputation" of pit bulls.
These crimes are being committed in the United States, and any pit bull victim (no matter what kind of incident) really needs to immediately contact a lawyer in order to make sure that pit bull- sympathizing authority figures do not hide the attack or try to help the pit bull owner.
Pit bull victims can NOT simply make casual reports after an incident.
Formal, written reports need to be filed all down the line from the time of the incident, preferably by an attorney as there is less likelihood that the reports will be tampered with or hidden.
And lawsuits MUST be filed against the pit bull owner & property owner for any attack, and the local or state government if authority figures misbehave.
This is a life or death issue.
| 6/26/2010 6:05 AM |
As far as pit bull interests corrupting on a national level, have a CDC repeating false pit bull propaganda from the pit bull lobby, and hiding pit bulls killings and attacks and protecting pit bulls.
They are lobbying AGAINST the pit bull victims who are getting badly hurt or killed.
| 6/26/2010 8:38 PM |
Unfortunately, lawyers will not always take these cases or even exhibit an interest in them if they don't see a big pay out down the line. Not everyone who suffers an attack of this nature can afford to hire an attorney, and more often than not the lawyers blow them off as badly as the authorities who are supposed to be helping them.
| 6/27/2010 9:54 PM |
Dark, I am talking about hiring an attorney to file the reports, just as you would hire a lawyer to draw up a will or collect on a bill. That is, to file the incident reports and complaints, and even talk with the city or town and animal control.
It isn't very much, and it prevents a future mauling or death.
These bureaucrats get contact from an attorney, they listen and they behave, even if they are not on the level, because there is an official paper trail being created by an officer of the court. And they get more easily get sued in the future if they misbehave. Bureaucrats can blow off private citizens. They won't blow off a lawyer.
As for suing after an incident, I can speak from personal knowledge that one can ALWAYS find an attorney to take a case if they just keep calling and trying. It may not be a top level one, more like a hungry ambulance chaser, but people need to keep on calling because they WILL find one to take the case.
On very minor cases, they may have to pay the lawyer but it will not be much if it is not complex, and they can request attorney's fees from the court as part of the settlement.
Now that cities and towns are being sued for their negligence, and with homeowner's insurance involved, more and more attorneys ARE taking these cases, because more and more are being won, or settled. The payouts also are getting bigger and bigger as these maulings have become mainstream.
But there are a surplus of attorneys in our society, and there is ALWAYS one hungry enough to take on a dog case.
| 6/27/2010 9:59 PM |
Small claims court is also very easy for smaller things like a vet bill that isn't very high, or damage the dog has done to a fence or property, like breaking through a door, or even flattening those car tires that we see pit bulls doing, or anything else.
The victim can easily handle it themselves, and there are all kinds of sites online that give detailed information about how to do small claims yourself for every state.
But there must ALWAYS be some kind of lawsuit for any damage whatsoever. It is the only way to ensure the responsibility that the pit bull lobby always talks about. It is also the way to make sure there is a paper trail for future use if another incident occurs.
| 6/28/2010 8:36 AM |
I believe there is massive frustration with victims who feel they cannot gain representation when there is no easy "pay out" such as homeowners insurance. Even when there is insurance, victims are often forced to do much of the case work (despite the attorney claiming 33% in awards). State laws vary as well. In California, for instance, where it's strict liability, the dog owner must pay medical damages. In other states, however, a lawyer may not call you back after learning you were the dog's "first free bite" or the bite occurred on the dog owner's property (where no civil claim may be viable). Possibly what Dark is also getting at is the LACK OF ATTORNEYS who CHAMPION and advocate for victims of dog attacks.
ItsATragedy makes a good recommendation to keep calling until you do find an attorney that will take your case. This process, however, may force the victim on his or her own (without help), to learn the ropes about local and state dog bite laws to PROVE to a lawyer that the case is worth taking. Victims are often the ones that have to be highly proactive in this area. This shocks victims as they expect advice and advocacy from an attorney instead of being told: "There's nothing we can do for you; sorry that you're screwed." This is a difficult truth with many dog bite cases. Finally and truly disgusting, when insurance funds are not available in the case, and the dog owner is sued directly, he or she may file bankruptcy upon losing the case and never pay back a dime. Lawyers know this and must weigh it as a potential reality.
I hope there is a civil case for Edmund Spain's family. Owners of these dogs must suffer criminally and financially. Look what this family had to do alone -- in a foreign country no less -- with no mention of an attorney.
| 6/28/2010 11:12 AM |
In my situation, I literally called EVERY attorney listed who dealt with cases even remotely related, not just in my area, but in cities within a 150 mile radius. Not a SINGLE ONE would take my case when they found the owners didn't have insurance or a pot to pee in, so no, you can't always find an attorney, particularly in smaller cities or rural areas. Not only is it frustrating, it's incredibly stressful when you're also a bite victim. When an owner has no assets, even small claims court is more or less a waste of time. If you get a judgment, you still have to figure out how to collect from the scumbags, a process that can take years. Many people never see small claims settlements at all.