Saturday, March 5, 2016
UPDATE 06/15/16: Four months after 7-year old Talan West was mauled to death by a neighbor's pit bull, the city of Lumberton passed a pit bull ordinance. The new ordinance, passed in a 5-3 vote, is based upon the ordinance in Edenton. Talan's mother, Jamie West, was a powerful force behind the passage of the new law, which declares pit bulls "potentially vicious." The ordinance bans the tethering of pit bulls, requires a secure pen with a concrete floor and liability insurance.
"My baby’s life counted. Other children’s lives count ... We’ve got to start somewhere and I promised my 8-year-old we would." - Jamie WestThe three no votes came from council members who all own pit bulls. Since 2012, pit bulls have killed three people in Robeson County. No other dog breeds have inflicted a fatality in the county since 2005, as far back as our data set for all U.S. dog bite fatalities goes. Since 2005, canines have killed 20 people in North Carolina; 75% (15) of these attacks were carried out by pit bulls. This is a much higher rate than the national rate of 64% for pit bulls over the same period.
Jamie West is an amazing mother of five children today who has overcome extreme odds since the horrific death of her son Talan in January, including keeping her family together after his death when Robeson County officials wanted otherwise. Now Jamie has managed to help pass a pit bull ordinance in an area of the country and North Carolina that for so many years has desperately needed one. Jamie's persistent efforts will save the lives of future innocents in Lumberton.
03/05/16: Mother Regains Custody
We wanted to let readers know that on March 2, a Robeson County judge returned custody of her five children to Jamie West and allowed her family to return to their home. The custody battle between Robeson County social services and Jamie began at the end of January, just days after her 7-year old son, Talan West, was brutally killed by a neighbor's pit bull. Jamie initially fled the state of North Carolina with her children to stop social services from breaking up her family.
Jamie also started a petition on Change.org to Robeson County Commissioners to improve the county's dog ordinance. Currently, there is not even a leash law in the county. As for possible charges being filed against the owner of the dogs, it was reported on February 9 that detectives had nearly completed their investigation; the next step was to send the case to the district attorney's office for review. That was nearly a month ago now and the last news report available.
In memory of Talan West. Due to social services' fiasco, Jamie could not even attend his funeral.
01/29/16: Mother Flees State with Children
In a very heartbreaking development, the mother of a 7-year old boy killed by a pit bull, Jamie West, and her remaining five children will not attend Talan's visitation or funeral service. Talan West, her youngest son, was mauled to death by a neighbor's pit bull last Sunday. Jamie fled the state of North Carolina with her children to stop social services from taking them away from her. 5-years ago, her children were taken away for reasons unknown, but she won back custody.
"I can't bring back Talan, but I can hold onto my five." - Jamie WestIn an interview with WRAL News, Jamie said that social workers told her, "I could go to the service with my children. They would not walk in there to get them during the service, but pretty much after it was over and we left, we could discretely, I could hand them over," she said. All of her children are currently with her and are holding up as well as they can, she said. "I have prepared all of them, that if something happens and they have to leave, I will be back to get them," Jamie said.
People on social media have been cruel to the boy's family and are also harassing the GoFundMe page for the boy's burial costs. The person running the page is a close friend of Jamie, who at this stage has no way to run the page herself. It is very common for close friends and family members to manage these donation pages. The situation on the page began with a nasty comment left by a person with the Facebook name of "Fa Kyu" several days ago and it has only deteriorated since.
Several days before Jamie fled the state with her children, the boy's father Steven West posted to his Facebook page, "This dog didn't just bite him, he butchered him." He describes his son's injuries as being ripped 15 to 20 times. Including the neck injuries -- the pit bull latched onto his neck and broke it -- the dog tore into his face, ripped into his midsection and tore out his calf muscle completely. All of the injuries described are common fatal injuries inflicted by pit bulls.
01/26/16: Victims' Family Speaks Out
The mother of 7-year old Talan West spoke to the media Monday about the devastation she is suffering after Talan was mauled to death by two pit bulls. His 8-year old brother Jaylan West witnessed the attack and was also injured by the dogs. The two brothers were among four children chased and attacked by a group of dogs on Sunday. Talan died of his injuries; Jaylan suffered bites to his lower leg requiring stitches. Jaylan was treated and released from the hospital.
Talan and his three siblings were playing in a field behind their home, when three dogs began running after them. Jaylan said he jumped onto a car, but Talan could not get away. “One [dog] was on that leg, one [dog] was on that leg – the big one just all over his face biting him up,” Jaylan told WNCN. One of the dogs, a pit bull, attacked Talan. “[The pit bull] broke his neck, but it took pretty much the entire back of his neck off and that’s when he died,” said his mother Jamie West.1
While county authorities investigate, Talan's parents were told by social services they cannot have any unsupervised visits with their children.ABC 11 interviewed the boy's father, Steven West. According to Steven's account, only Talan and Jaylan were involved -- the other two siblings were not. Steven witnessed an unnamed woman attempting to give CPR to Talan. "I saw the lady trying to do all she could on my son to keep him alive and my heart goes out to her," Steven said. He also said the tool Jaylan grabbed to fight the dogs off was a pair of pruning shears, not a machete or hatchet as reported in other stories.
Dog Ownership Information
WRAL.com reports that the dogs belong to Afreda Locklear. Her brother, Spencer Oxendine, said that one of the dogs recently had a litter of puppies. The Fayetteville Observer reports that the property where the attack occurred is owned by Alfredia O. and Jack D. Locklear, according to Robeson County tax records. Finally, the attacking pit bull died on scene, but had no visible injuries, The Robesonian reports. A veterinarian is examining the dog, the sheriff's office said.
WBTW Update Adds Details
On Tuesday, WBTW updated their earlier article. It now includes information from Sheriff Kenneth Sealey. There were three dogs involved in the fatal attack. They were taken by animal control and have been euthanized. Sealey described the other dogs as mixed-breeds. Puppies parented by the pit bull and one of the mixed-breeds were taken to an unnamed rescue in Robeson County. We hope the rescue is forced by law to tell any adopters that the parent dogs killed a child.
Melissa Locklear, a cousin of Talan, is also interviewed in the piece. It is unclear if Locklear is related to the owner of the dogs. Locklear believes the owners should be held responsible. "They should be held responsible because, like I said, pit bulls already have a bad reputation," she said. "Everyone knows they’re naturally aggressive," Locklear explained. If you're going to have pit bulls, she said, one must be extra vigilant in understanding its temperament and keeping it secure.
01/24/16: Pit Bull Kills Child Injures Another
Lumberton, NC - Two children, ages 7 and 8, were attacked by a pit bull at a home on the 2400 block of Odum Road in Lumberton Sunday morning, according to the Robeson County Sheriff's Office. Authorities identified the 7-year old as Talan Nathan West. Deputies and EMS responded to a 911 call that was placed about 11:30 am. Talan was found unresponsive with severe injuries. Both children where transported to Southeastern Regional Medical Center, where Talan died.
Talan suffered "severe puncture wounds" in unspecified areas and 8-year old Jaylan Ray West suffered bites in the lower part of the body, states the release. Jaylan has been treated and released, according to the sheriff's office. Both children lived on the 2600 block of Odum Road. “At this time the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Division and the Juvenile Division are doing an investigation on the child’s death to determine the cause," states the news release.
Third Fatal Pit Bull Attack Since 2012
The death of Talan marks the third fatal pit bull attack in Robeson County since 2012. In October 2012, Mary Jo Hunt, 53-years old, was struck down by her seven rescue pit bulls in Pembroke. At the time of the attack, Hunt worked for Robeson County Claws and Paws Rescue. In November 2014, Alemeaner Dial, 83-years old, was mutilated and killed by her granddaughter's four pit bulls in Rowland. The granddaughter and her pit bulls had moved in with Dial about 5-months earlier.
08/06/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Adopted Out Pit Bull Kills 6-Year Old Boy in Henderson...
11/03/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies After Violent Pit Bull Attack in Robeson County
10/04/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Pembroke 'Dog Rescuer' Killed by Rescued Pit Bulls
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| 1/24/2016 8:44 PM |
I'm so furious and sad to hear this news! I'm sick thinking of these boys being attacked. Another family ripped apart by a stupid pitbull. This 8 year old is suddenly alone and traumatized in life without his brother and best friend and playmate. Just playing in the woods with his brother, acting like a little boy.... And a miserable bully monster running loose AGAIN! Pitbulls destroy EVERYTHING, I hate them!
| 1/24/2016 10:10 PM |
ALL OF THESE DEATHS IN THIS COUNTY BY PITS. Just like most of the fatalities nationwide. When does our government step in and protect its apoplectic? It's time for laws specifically aimed at this breed. It's the breed and its mixes.
| 1/25/2016 10:47 AM |
pit bulls seem to be on a record pace for 2016. How much longer can legislators ignore this? How does the tide turn against these awful animals?
Just the other day I had to endure someone with a pit mix at an equestrian event. They were next to us and the woman was complaining how "the minute she says its a pit bull mix" (which is obvious) "people are afraid and how the dog is so sweet". I of course am never one to bite my tongue and said "they always are until the day they aren't". She had nothing to say back. I would have happily engaged her.
This was not the only one there. There was also what looked to be a purebred staffordshredder that I did not notice until I went to sit and watch a class. It fixed its reptilian stare on me so I moved to another part of the arena......
These dogs were never meant to be pets and never meant to live in society.
This poor little boy. The boy that lived will carry this with him the rest of his life. That is a huge burden for anyone much less a 8 year old boy.
| 1/25/2016 7:32 PM |
Its very sad to see a child loose there life over someone elses stupidy. That type of dog should have been chained or fenced in properly. That child had not even began to enjoy life as we know it and having it took away like that was not right. My heart goes out to the parents and the sibiling. If you want to have those type of dog or any dog in that manner as the owner do your job and properly secure your animals and keep them in your own yard and if for some reason u can't then u really don't need them. As the owner of the dog how can u live with yourself knowing your animal killed this poor child whom was playing outside with his sibiling and scared the other for life. No matter what bes done to the dog the family will forever be scared and very much heartbroken. Shame on the dog owner for not doing a better job on keeping your animal chained or fenced in how u gonna live with YOURSELF??????????
| 1/26/2016 7:55 PM |
This is so sad. I'm sick and tired of stories like this. When will people realize that these animals are not fit to live alongside humans. In the report, Jaylan says Talen's legs were each being bitten by a mauler while the 3rd was ripping his face off. Who in the hell would defend a creature after hearing they've attacked a child like that? That was like a pack of wolves ganging up to attack prey. That is not a pet. That is disgusting. And poor, poor Jaylan. I feel so bad for him. Having to see his brother be torn apart by these frankenmaulers; not being able to do anything to help save his brother. And now he and his family will have to live the rest of his life without him because this nation sees this as okay.
And of course while I was browsing the internet today I see some obvious pit nutter website with some "survey results" showing the dog breeds with the most and least bites. What were some of the breeds they said had the least bites you ask? American Pit Bull Terrier, American Bulldog (pitbull), American Staffordshire Terrier (pitbull), American Bully (bigger uglier pitbull), Boxer, and English Bulldog (Last two aren't pits, but they're still extremely dangerous if you ask me. Not to mention that they're often mixed with pits). How utterly misleading and insulting to Jalen and all others who've been injured and killed by these beasts. Every attack starts with a bite and pits are the number one mauler on the planet.
| 1/27/2016 11:50 AM |
I have read this article and it's updates and I cannot figure out why the parents have had their children taken away and are not allowed unsupervised visits! Does anyone know why this has happened?
| 1/27/2016 12:01 PM |
"That type of dog should have been chained or fenced in properly"
Pit bulls get off chains and tethers easily, and they can scale 12 foot fences or just break through.
No fence or chain restrains a pit bull properly. That's what hundreds of years of specific breeding to create a canine gladiator creates.
| 1/27/2016 12:06 PM |
Dayna, we do not know, except that child deaths often have specific protocols until the investigation is complete. It appears the attack happened on the dog owner's property and neither of the boy's parents were present/supervising. So this may be why they are adhering to a strict protocol right now.
| 1/27/2016 12:10 PM |
BREEDERS. Again. Killing a child for greed. Cashing in on the created pit bull marketing fad.
This is all pit bull advocacy and "rescue" has created. It is built on a foundation of marketing and protection for breeders, and thus we have an ever expanding number of breeders breeding aggressive dogs, and creating an out of control situation for even the dogs themselves
Pit bull advocacy just greases the path for this massive overbreeding and the destruction that follows
No one seems to care about anything but enabling the breeders and the money making
People have to start getting active in animal control issues in their towns and demanding enforced laws to prevent roaming dogs and deal with aggressive dogs before the attack, but also to be regulating the breeders and requiring some responsibility. Why should communities suffer for the greed of a few?
As long as lawlessness for breeders is tolerated, then everything gets worse for everybody, and again that includes the dogs themselves
| 1/30/2016 8:43 PM |
I just don't understand. Whatever this woman's history she had earned her children back. How is someone's pit bull murdering her child on her? What a very cruel turnfor this family.
| 1/31/2016 1:27 AM |
I got the comment from Fa Kyu this afternoon on my blog post. Who ever this is they are piling on. I feel that the lack of compassion and the need to rush in and take those kids so fast may result in something just horrible happening.
| 1/31/2016 1:42 AM |
Talan is the seventh person killed by pit bulls in North Carolina in just the past 27 months. For the record, the other six recent NC deaths by pit bull:
Katherine Atkins, 25, killed by boyfriend's pit bulls on November 4, 2013
Braellynn Coulter, 3, killed by parents' pit bulls on February 24, 2014
Kasil Haith, 4, killed by family friend's pit bulls on May 7, 2014
Alemeaner Dial, 83, mauled by granddaughter's pit bulls on October 25 2014, died on November 2, 2014)
Joshua Strother, 6, killed by neighbor's pit bull on July 7, 2015
Cathy Wheatcraft, 48, killed by neighbor's pit bull on August 24, 2015
It may be that NC social services has some strict protocol, but it may also be that they are aware that CPS in California is being blamed (and sued) for the death by pit bull of Griffin-Heady's brother, Tyler Trammel-Huston, just three weeks earlier. No matter the history, a judge found that Talan's mother was now fit to have custody of her children. That makes this new action by NC social services look (wrongly or rightly) like a 'cover our asses' operation.
The more so because, as the above list shows, the problem with pit bulls in North Carolina is not one of parents allowing their children to play unattended outdoors close to home. Like Talan's death, the other NC deaths by pit bull attack also occurred while people were doing normal and/or essential daily activities -- feeding the pit bulls (Atkins), playing with the family pit bull in the parents' presence (Coulter), going for a quick pee while a child continued to play with well-known pit bulls he'd been playing with all day (Haith), sitting on one's own porch (Dial), checking the mail (Wheatcraft), returning to a neighbor's yard to play again with a pit bull the child had played with many times before (Strother).
Developmental psychologists agree that it's essential to a child's physical, mental and social development to spend time playing outdoors without adults present. A seven-year-old boy is old enough for this, especially if he's out with older friends or siblings. It seems that NC social services and NC legislators would now blame a parent for trying to follow developmental wisdom by giving their children this opportunity. It seems that NC social services and NC legislators would rather take this essential activity away from children than ban the non-essential activity of keeping a type of dog created only to maul, maim and kill.
However, banning outdoor play for children would not be enough. To save children's lives from pit bull attack, social services / child protective services would also have to ban parents from peeing while there's a pit bull in the home or in the neighborhood. They'd have to ban parents from allowing a child to be with them in their own living room if a pit bull type dog is also present. To save other lives, they'd have to ban sitting on your porch, checking your mail, and even feeding your pit bulls (which of course would lead to animal cruelty charges as the pit bulls starve to death).
This newest action by NC social services looks like a blatant attempt at blaming a woman who was doing what was best for her children rather than taking on the issue of the danger pit bulls in any community present for everyone.
Shame on North Carolina Social Services.
They should be fighting to have the owner of the pit bulls prosecuted for criminal negligence aggravated by depraved indifference. How dare they suggest that it's just fine to leave pit bulls out unattended and unconfined, and that instead we have to confine our children? They should be pressuring legislators to rid North Carolina of this entire class of dogs. How dare they suggest that the rest of us are criminal and should lose custody of our children because some disturbed neighbor chooses to keep this type of dog?
It boggles the mind.
| 1/31/2016 10:40 AM |
I sent the comment to you at email@example.com. This person does not mispell a word and is articulate. If this person is connected to SS, then privacy laws are being broken. I've known SS to do worse. I've had to deal with them once when my special needs child was very young. I feel "VENDETTA" going on here. There's a harshness to this person's words. It's excessive!!!Give me a word back that you got the email.
| 1/31/2016 1:52 PM |
It is the same person -- she comments a lot on this very long comment thread (http://wncn.com/2016/01/25/nc-mom-speaks-out-after-son-dies-from-pit-bull-attack/). She claims to work with a rescue worker that was on site after the attack, "and my best friend was working ER when the children were brought in." She talks about the comment she left on the GoFundMe page. She is extremely vitriolic toward the mother and father. Of the many accusations she makes about them, she also said she's heard rumors that the dogs belonged to the boy's father. She goes on and on about the machete too, which actually turned out to be a pair of pruning shears -- so even her alleged "on scene" information is not accurate.
I'd be shocked if "Fa Kyu" is 25-years old yet.
| 1/31/2016 4:04 PM |
This Fa Gyu is revealing personal information about this family
Is this person connected to the social services department or perhaps the dog owner and trying to help the dog owner avoid charges and being sued, which someone in those comments referred to?
| 1/31/2016 6:01 PM |
This is so sad. And it's infuriating that people are trying to blame the children and their mother for this. Is it really that strange for children to be playing outside of their house? When I was a kid, me and my young brother and our friends played outside behind our house in the yard all the time. We were also able to walk to and from our school bus stop.
Children should be able to play outside without being killed by dogs. Plus, pit bull advocates seem to forget that these dogs are capable of killing supervised children. What about the young child who was killed recently when walking down the sidewalk with his mom? Once one of these dogs has its fighting instincts triggered, it can be impossible to stop it without a gun and several shots. And frankly, people should be able to walk down the street without being armed.
I'm so disgusted by all of this. I had dogs as a kid (various mixes) and they were a wonderful part of my childhood. I love my current two dogs. However, so many kids have to fear dogs because of sociopathic people who insist on breeding fighting breeds.
| 1/31/2016 6:39 PM |
DogsBite.org did get many screenshots and live text of her comments. I don't want to repeat her allegations here because they are just so cruel. However, as Joelande and Decatur pointed out, it appears she is breaking privacy laws, and also that, "she seems to report details from the social services department before they are released to the media." She is getting access to some information. CPS refused to discuss the case in the media, which is perfectly normal due to privacy issues.
She was an early commenter on the piece. So to see many of her allegations, you have to keep hitting that "Show more comments" button, literally like 20 times.
| 1/31/2016 8:38 PM |
In one of her comments, she claims that she got some information from her friend who works in the emergency room of the hospital where this boy and his brother were taken after the attack
So someone in the emergency room of that hospital is breaking HIPPA laws
Social services is also refusing to comment to the media but is disclosing personal information to a young woman barely out of her teens? This makes no sense.
Does anyone from this family recognize who this is who is preying on them? They have some valid complaints about this vendetta and the players involved in i, and about state and federal laws being broken.
Where does the Robeson County Board of Health stand in this? I saw on Decatur's page that the head of that department was blaming the boy after the attack.
| 2/01/2016 10:12 AM |
We are releasing a few of Fa Kyu's key comments so that you do not have to dig through the mire of that comment section. These are also considered "images" by Google (there is no "live" text) and are not easily searchable on the Internet.
| 2/01/2016 12:43 PM |
She also wrote that one of her friends giving her personal and restricted informaion about this was a first responder to the scene. So does that mean a police officer or an EMT?
This is very ethically troubling.
| 2/01/2016 12:59 PM |
Whoah, i take some of that back.
I reread her comments
She works with a rescue worker who was on scene after the attack, who disclosed personal and confidential information to her. Works!
So this Fa kyu works in either the EMTs office, the police department, or the social services department!
Can anyone figure out where the rescue worker first responders are deployed from in Robeson County? This could also be through the fire department. Or could she work for animal control through the Health Department?
So that explains how she gets personal and confidential information, through local government departments.
Now the question is, why haven't the dog owners been charged?
| 2/02/2016 8:15 PM |
We wanted to let readers know, in particular "Fa Kyu," that we now know this person's full name and former job title.
Fa Kyu recently left several comments that we declined to publish -- this is a moderated comment thread.
| 2/03/2016 7:01 AM |
I'm so glad that you do moderate this thread. There aren't many places you can go and not be bombarded with the pro-pit propaganda and victim hating. I cannot understand how someone could be so vicious to someone who just had a child killed, and their entire life turned upside down, because of a neighbor's pet. The lack of empathy alone is stunning. When you try to respond to these haters the thread then becomes all about them and their pits. The victim gets lost.
| 2/03/2016 9:10 AM |
A little more background on Robeson County. "Operation Tarnished Badge," the largest in the state's history, was the result of a 6-year investigation into corruption in the county (It began in 1994). "The investigation shook the Sheriff's Office, leading to the conviction of one-sixth of its force." Sheriff Sealy became the next sheriff (in 2005), rebuilding the department from scratch. Sealy has been sheriff during the last three fatal pit bull attacks in the county. There was also a big dogfighting (and cockfighting) bust recently.
1988 - Robeson County's 'Third World Ills'
2008 - Ex-sheriff gets prison time for corruption
2013 - Operation Tarnished Badge: Years later, tarnish remains
2013 - Five Sentenced in Dog Fighting Ring
| 2/08/2016 9:05 PM |
My son was mauled by a pit bull on Oct 20th,2015. The owner of the dog has no assets and no insurance. What are we supposed to do with this $45,000($45,000 after being cut in half if we pay) bill for the hospital and plastic surgery?
| 6/15/2016 12:33 AM |
Finally some good news for this family: https://robesonian.com/news/88601/lumberton-passes-breed-specific-dog-ordinance
Good for Jamie West for not giving up, for fighting in Talan's memory!