Monday, April 4, 2016
DA's Full Press Release
DogsBite.org - On January 3, Tyler Trammell-Huston, 9, was brutally killed by three pit bulls after his half-sister left him alone in a dilapidated trailer with the dogs for three hours. Alexandria Griffin-Heady, 24, arrived home and found Tyler face down near the doorway bloody and covered in bite wounds. All three of her pit bulls were loose in the trailer, including the two younger dogs she had left in an "improvised" collapsible wire crate, requiring padlocks and more to keep the dogs secure.
On January 19, the Yuba County Sheriff's Department issued a statement recommending that criminal charges be filed against Griffin-Heady in connection to Tyler's death. Undersheriff Jerry Read said in the statement that his office forwarded the results of their investigation to District Attorney Patrick McGrath and requested "that a complaint be filed against Griffin-Heady charging her with felony child endangerment.” The forwarded report was over 60-pages in length.
On March 25, District Attorney Patrick McGrath issued a protracted 7-page press release outlining why his office will not bring charges in this case. McGrath did not even submit the case to the grand jury.After McGrath announced that he would not file charges in connection to Tyler's death, we requested a copy of the 7-page press release. We wanted to examine it. In mid February -- along with other groups and individuals -- DogsBite.org submitted a letter to the district attorney strongly encouraging his office to file criminal charges against Griffin-Heady.1 Not only did McGrath decide not to, he did not even provide the opportunity for the grand jury to make this final decision.
A Confession of Cowardice
After reading the 7-page news release, the founder and board members of DogsBite.org all had the same response: Cowardly. After sharing the news release with attorney Kenneth Phillips of DogBiteLaw.com, its meaning became even sharper. The protracted letter is a "confession of cowardice," Phillips wrote, that is ill-considered, unjust and "contrary to the public interest." It mutes the only way the public ever could hear Tyler's voice again, by prosecuting the case.
"Outrageous, ill-considered, cowardly, unjust, and contrary to the public interest. A jury certainly would convict if a prosecutor worth his or her salt tried the case. This long letter is a confession of cowardice." - Attorney Kenneth PhillipsWe also believe that a bold prosecutor, outraged by yet another destructive and preventable pit bull mauling death of a child, could get a jury to convict. Phillips also reminded us that in the case of Diane Whipple, prosecutors only asked the grand jury to indict the defendants on charges that would have brought a 4-year prison sentence. After hearing the evidence, the grand jury instead indicted for second-degree murder, and the trial jury indicted Marjorie Knoller for exactly that.
The failure of McGrath to understand how deeply the public detests dangerous dogs and their equally dangerous owners could not be more evident. The failure to submit this case to the grand jury emphasizes this lack of understanding even more. Tyler Trammell-Huston was the 147th child cruelly mauled to death by a pit bull since the CDC stopped studying this area in 2000. The public is tired of these gruesome deaths and outraged that many of these owners walk away scott-free.
Tyler did not stand a chance. Left alone in a small dilapidated trailer, which was in a "state of disrepair and general uncleanliness, and smelled of urine and animal feces," states the DA's letter. Tyler tried to take refuge from the dogs in a narrow gap along a side wall near the trailer door (18 inches by 4 feet). The gap provided no safety from the jaws of the pit bulls, which destroyed him by attacking his "head and scalp," states the letter. Common fatal injuries inflicted by pit bulls.
Outrageous, Ill-Considered, Cowardly
The very fact this case would be challenging to prosecute -- most fatal dog mauling cases are -- is why McGrath should have at least submitted it to the grand jury. This case involves the savage mauling death of a "visiting" child who was left alone with these dogs in a lousy temporary space. Tyler was left in a cramped trailer in a "state of disrepair" and smelling of "urine and animal feces" with three pit bulls -- two of them were in a "improvised" flimsy wire crate that the dogs dismantled.
That should be enough material to work with right there, along with any previous acts of aggression. McGrath's letter states that Griffin-Heady admitted that she suspected her younger male pit bull killed her cat just a few weeks before Tyler's brutal death. There were over a dozen statements by witnesses too, many of which the public will never hear about now. The sheriff's office also believed there was enough evidence to file the felony child endangerment charge.
In our letter that we sent to the DA's office in February, encouraging them to file criminal charges, we did not address the issue of the "dangerousness of pit bulls." Unfortunately, that is largely separate from the evidence needed to prove guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" in a criminal trial. However, Griffin-Heady did leave Tyler alone with her three pit bulls, two of which were poorly secured. The dog left unsecured, the adult female, was also one of the two primary attackers.2
"A responding deputy described the dogs as scared and panicked, but not aggressive. Two of the dogs -- the older female and the younger male -- were noted to have bloodied facial and body fur." - DA Patrick McGrathWhile perhaps not a legal factor to be considered by a jury, the dog's breed cannot be fully ignored either. Griffin-Heady did not leave Tyler alone with three bichons. If she had, Tyler would still be alive today. Juries understand that powerful dog breeds, and not just one, in this case a pack of them, present a graver risk of danger, especially to children. As this case also shows, two of the pit bulls were able to break out of the "snap together" wire crate in short order and kill Tyler.
Contrary to the Public Interest
In Iowa, after a babysitter's pit bull killed a 4-year old girl under her care, the Jasper County DA's office believed it was in the public interest to bring the case to trial, no matter the outcome. Prosecutors encountered many difficulties too, including the case taking 2-years to reach trial. Those prosecutors deeply sought justice for Jordyn and a penalty for the babysitter. They got it too; the jury convicted on all counts. All of these virtues are absent after the death of Tyler.3
Though in a different state, we bring up the Jena Wright conviction because it was a not a surefire win.4 It was also a "law building" case -- it expanded existing law. We understand that prosecutors refuse many cases that are not surefire wins. Yet critical "gray area" cases, that if won will expand existing law, especially in the area of child protections, are the ones to deeply consider taking a risk on. In the case of Tyler, the Yuba County DA did not even submit the case to the grand jury.5
McGrath could have presented a poor case, leading the grand jury to return no indictment. Then he could have told the public, "There is nothing else I can do." Instead, he refused to submit it to the grand jury at all.What has resulted instead is the worst possible outcome. An ill-considered, cowardly and unjust decision by McGrath that is contrary to the public interest. His decision mutes this boy's horrific and preventable mauling death, mutes any further discussions about criminal charges and allows Griffin-Heady to walk away scott-free after her pit bulls destroyed her 9-year old half-brother. Tyler is now just "one more" child mutilated and killed by vicious dogs whose owner went unpunished.
The "Improvised" Wire Crate
The DA's letter goes to great lengths to carefully explain the wire crate where the two 18-month old offspring pit bulls were secured when Griffin-Heady left that morning. In addition to the factory latches, there were two third party padlocks, one on the top and bottom of the front door of the crate. The side door had no third party padlocks; the bottom latch was secured, the top latch was not. A plastic zip tie secured "a portion" of the top corner of the crate frame, states the letter.
We believe the crate was a 36-inch double door, folding wire crate, similar to this one. (We asked McGrath for the actual model, but he did not know it.) Please visualize two pit bulls inside this wire crate, roughly 40-50 pounds each, a padlock on the top and bottom of the long front door and a zip tie securing "a portion" of the top corner -- that might look something like this.6 The dogs busted through the top edge of the crate to escape, states the letter -- that might look something like this.
McGrath's letter states the dogs had escaped the crate previously by "pawing at the latches" on the front door, which caused Griffin-Heady to get the two padlocks. What was excluded from the letter was part of an affidavit obtained by the Appeal-Democrat in late January that stated the pit bulls could escape "by just pawing at the door and breaking the top off the crate." Her pit bulls had escaped through the top before and Griffin-Heady's only solution was a single plastic zip tie.7
Was it foreseeable the two pit bulls would escape the flimsy wire crate "again," one that never should have had two pit bulls inside? We believe yes, and a grand jury would too if it was ever properly presented to them.Show a grand jury this "improvised" folding wire crate, requiring two padlocks and a plastic zip tie to appear functional with two 40-50 pound pit bulls stuffed inside -- a male and female both unsterilized and sexually mature. Then place the crate on a wooden bench, as it was inside the travel trailer. Was it foreseeable the pit bulls would escape again? On page 7 of the letter, McGrath states that a jury would not find the dogs escaping in the "manner" they did as "foreseeable."
Animal Behaviorist Weighs In
We reached out to animal behaviorist and author, Alexandra Semyonova, as well. The escape of Griffin-Heady’s pit bulls was "foreseeable, both because of the flimsy construction of all wire crates and because of the laws of behavior," she wrote. Semyonova comments on these easily bendable crates, how none can hold a "determined dog," and if a behavior "just once" succeeds in attaining its goal, the animal can be very persistent in trying again and again until the goal is reached."
The crate problemPlease see Semyonova's full response that contains links to videos showing escapes without fully unlocking the wire crate door, escapes by disengaging the front or side paneling or collapsing the whole wire crate and escapes by breaking through the top edge of one of these crates.
None of these wire crates will hold a determined dog. In order to make them light enough for the owner’s convenience, the wire is kept light. This means it’s easily bent. The various clips and catches are also designed for owner ease, which makes them easy for dogs to figure out. Escape from these crates is such a common problem that dog forums and YouTube are full of discussions about it. Dogs big and small try various tactics until they discover a way out. Many escape by simply nosing at a crack until they bend a door, a corner, or the top open. They squirm out without unlocking the door or otherwise actually opening the crate.
Some dogs figure out how to completely disengage the front from the rest of the cage, flipping it down so they can get out. Some even collapse the whole cage. If a dog can’t get the front or a corner to open, it’ll eventually try the top. Dogs easily learn to chew through zip ties too. Some types will even chew at the welds until something cracks open enough to worm out. This is so widely known that advertisers use it to sell their sturdier cages.
The laws of behavior
If a behavior once -- just once -- succeeds in attaining its goal, the animal can be very persistent in trying again and again until the goal is reached. If the behavior that succeeded the first time doesn’t work, the animal will try out other behaviors. A dog has discovered that a sit gets it a treat. The next time, the owner ignores the sit. The dog then tries pawing the owner. It tries sticking a nose under a hand or arm. It whines a bit. It brings a toy. It barks. It has learned that its behavior can get it what it wants, so it tries out all kinds of behaviors. At some point, one of the alternative behaviors gets the dog what it wants. The dog has learned that persistence and varying tactics pay off. Competent trainers use this behavioral law all the time; it’s one of the main things behavior modification is based on. This is exactly what is going on when a dog that has once escaped a crate persistently tries other tactics to get out again. This can go to extremes. A dog that has once -- just once -- escaped a cage can be so sure it’ll succeed again that it seriously wounds itself in trying other tactics. There are only two ways to know if you can safely contain a dog in a crate: 1) The dog is trained such that it doesn’t mind being crated and never even tries to escape; 2) The dog is so securely contained that it never has a success -- not even once -- in escaping.
- Alexandra Semyonova, animal behaviorist and author
We believe that District Attorney Patrick McGrath's 7-page letter is a confession of cowardice. His decision failed to serve the public interest and most importantly failed to provide justice to a 9-year old boy savagely killed by his half-sister's pit bulls, whose only voice today could be heard if prosecutors pursued the case, however difficult. McGrath dismissed the Yuba County Sherriff's Office recommendation to file charges and even failed to submit the case to the grand jury.
The failure of McGrath to recognize how intensely the public abhors dangerous dogs and their reckless owners is painfully evident and comes at a high cost. The choice of cowardice over serving justice to a child left alone with three pit bulls -- two enclosed in the same flimsy wire crate requiring multiple third party devices, in "hopes" of keeping it secure -- ensures that more children will suffer a similar cruel, horrific fate and the owners of these violent dogs will away scott-free.
#TheWorstCowardice #YubaCountyDA #FatalPitBullAttack #NoJustice
PLEASE TAKE ACTION! Three days after we published this update, California-based dog bite attorney Kenneth Phillips began a campaign to call on California Attorney General Kamala Harris to review this case. Any member of the public can participate by downloading the letter drafted by Phillips and sending it to the Attorney General. Please see his post about this and take action!
03/25/16: DA Won't File Charges
The Yuba County DA announced today that there will be no criminal charges filed in connection to the mauling death of a 9-year old boy. On January 3, Tyler Trammell-Huston was savagely attacked and killed by his half-sister's three pit bulls after she left him alone with the dogs for three hours in a travel trailer. This decision comes after the Yuba County Sheriff's Office recommended in January that Alexandria Griffin-Heady, 24, should be charged with felony child endangerment.
"McGrath said the sister leaving the child with the dogs didn’t constitute behavior “incompatible with a proper regard for human life” under the law or indicated that she had a “willing indifference to the consequences” of her behavior." - SacBee.comDA Patrick McGrath's decision ultimately says that if your pit bulls break out of a wire crate, a crate the dogs had escaped from before by just "pawing at the door" -- thus requiring a padlock and cable ties -- and kill a child that has been left alone with the dogs, you will not be penalized. This and other evidence the public never got a chance to see is insufficient to prove Griffin-Heady could have "foreseen" the attack or "foreseen" that her dogs would escape again, according to McGrath.
The decision to not bring charges is explained in a 7-page news release. We requested a copy from the DA's office earlier today. Once received, we can more closely examine the decision.
01/24/16: Court Documents Filed
Court documents filed in connection to the mauling death of Tyler Trammell-Huston, 9, show that the chips are stacking up against his half-sister, Alexandria Griffin-Heady. Tyler was brutally attacked and killed by Griffin-Heady's three pit bulls after she left him alone with the dogs for several hours in a small trailer on January 3. The documents state that her pit bulls previously attacked a child and that Tyler was not allowed to play with the dogs without supervision.
Griffin-Heady may face a charge of felony child endangerment. The district attorney's office will make a filing decision in the coming weeks.A deputy's affidavit states: "Heady told me her dogs have attacked one other person before and that was her 4-year old niece." When the girl went outside, the dogs knocked her down and scratched her face, reports the Appeal-Democrat. Griffin-Heady's attorney Roberto Marquez was quick to dispute the statement, calling it a "miss-characterization" of the incident. The dogs were "licking her" when she was knocked down and accidentally scratched by the dogs, Marquez said.
The affidavit also reveals that both 18-month old offspring dogs, a male and female, were kept together in a metal crate "because they were very destructive of the trailer if she left them alone," states the Democrat. The two pit bulls had been able to escape from the metal crate previously by just "pawing at the door" and breaking the top off the crate, states the document. Griffin-Heady recently used a padlock and cable ties to better secure the crate, according to the affidavit.
Griffin-Heady then blames Tyler for not knowing how to interact with her dogs. In the affidavit, she told the deputy that he "tried to wrestle with Noah to the point that Noah became irritated, growled and pulled away from him," states the Democrat. She also told the deputy, "she has seen him kicking at them and hitting them with a shoe lace," the affidavit states. She even told Tyler that "he was not allowed to interact with them without her direct supervision," according to the affidavit.
Leaving out the disputed incident, Griffin-Heady left Tyler alone with her three pit bulls in a small trailer for three hours. Two of them were allegedly secured inside a metal crate that both dogs had escaped from before. They broke free again and killed Tyler. She then states that Tyler had acted inappropriately with her dogs and was told he could not interact with them without her supervision. Knowing this, Griffin-Heady still left her brother alone with her pit bulls under these conditions.
On Friday, Griffin-Heady got busy on Facebook defending the breed too (see whole thread).
01/19/16: Felony Charges Recommended
The Yuba County Sheriff's Office issued a statement Tuesday evening recommending criminal charges be filed against Alexandria Griffin-Heady, 24, in connection to the death of her 9-year old half-brother. On January 3, Tyler Trammell-Huston was mauled to death by her three pit bulls after she left him alone with the dogs in a dilapidated trailer for three hours. The sheriff's office is recommending that the district attorney charge Griffin-Heady with felony child endangerment.
In the statement Yuba County Undersheriff Jerry Read said that his office forwarded the results of their investigation to District Attorney Patrick McGrath and is “requesting that a complaint be filed against Griffin-Heady charging her with felony child endangerment.” Griffin-Heady has not been charged or arrested yet. The recommendation indicates there is evidence that Griffin-Heady knew her dogs were dangerous; the dogs had shown aggression toward animals or humans in the past.
In a tearful press conference just days after his death, Griffin-Heady apparently said she had never known her dogs to be aggressive toward "humans." However, this direct quotation is not in the edited version of the video. In California, a felony child endangerment conviction can lead to a sentence of up to six years in state prison. It is now up to the district attorney's office to the review the investigation by the sheriff's department and determine whether to pursue the felony charge.
The Appeal Democrat provided more details in a report updated later in the evening. The Yuba County sheriff's detectives report was more than 60 pages in length and included more than a dozen witness statements. Deputy District Attorney Michael Byrne told the Democrat, "Cases like that get reviewed by more than one attorney in the office before we go forward." He added that this can take time. "There won't be any decisions made until the next week or so," Byrne said.
01/13/16: All Three Pit Bulls Euthanized
On Wednesday, the three pit bulls that savagely attacked and killed a 9-year old boy were euthanized, according to Jerry Read, the Undersheriff for the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department. The pit bulls fatally attacked Tyler Trammell-Huston in a dilapidated trailer after his sister, 24-year old Alexandria Griffin-Heady, left him alone with the animals for three hours. Tyler was in the foster care system at the time of his death and was on an approved overnight visit with Griffin-Heady.
On the day Tyler was laid to rest, his father, John Huston, filed a claim for damages against Sacramento County Child Protective Services. Huston suffers from a mental incapacity that limited his ability to raise Tyler, according to a news release written by Huston's attorney, Moseley Collins. "As a result, CPS took Tyler from his father," states the release. In an ABC 10 video, Moseley also states, "How is that protecting a child to let him go stay in a trailer with 3 pit bulls, alone? It's not."
Griffin-Heady has maintained since the attack that not all of the dogs were involved and that she is deeply saddened to see two of the dogs also put down. She maintains that the mother pit bull, Coca, and her female offspring, Athena, were insignificantly involved or uninvolved in the fatal pack attack. She believes the male offspring, Noah, was the primary attacker, even though both he and Athena were allegedly kenneled when she left that morning. Somehow they both got out.
Both offspring are 1.5 years old, the age when pit bulls reach sexual maturity and when the breed's aggressive behavior often first appears.The Yuba County Sheriff’s Office hopes to have their investigation and report completed by the end of the week to forward to the district attorney's office. Whether any criminal charges will be filed is unknown. Griffin-Heady could face child endangerment charges for leaving Tyler alone with her three pit bulls. Tyler's preventable mauling death by his sister's three pit bulls raises many legal and moral questions about who is responsible, if anyone, or are multiple parties to blame.
01/07/16: Father Pursues Lawsuit Against CPS
In a recent article, the Sacramento Bee interviews Tyler's former foster parent, several family members and legal experts. At the time of the fatal pit bull attack, Tyler lived with his foster parent, Gloria Hudson, in Elk Grove. Hudson had concerns about his sister gaining custody of him, but Tyler was so excited at the idea -- and had already been through so much with the loss of his mother in 2011 and bouncing between foster parents -- that Hudson was at peace with it.
Hudson said a judge was going to determine later in January whether Tyler could move in full time with his 24-year old sister, Alexandria Griffin-Heady, and her pit bulls, provided she moved to an apartment. During his school's recent winter break, Tyler spent several weeks with his sister and her dogs in the small trailer parked adjacent to where two of his siblings lived. Hudson was expecting Tyler to return home on Sunday when she got a call from CPS saying he was dead.
"When Child Protection Services called me, I just screamed." - Gloria HudsonOn Sunday morning, during an overnight weekend visit with his sister, Tyler was attacked and killed by her pit bulls after she left him alone with the dogs for three hours. Tyler's aunt, Laura Badeker, holds CPS largely responsible. Badeker had warned CPS that Alexandria was unstable. Tyler's father, John Huston, is pursuing a lawsuit against CPS. Huston is mentally disabled and unable to care for his son, but he visited Tyler regularly, his attorney Moseley Collins said.
Possible Criminal Charges
In a slew of media reports Wednesday night, Alexandria tried her case in front of the media. Gushing regret during a press conference, she said: "There are a thousand things I could have done differently." Alexandria could and should face child endangerment charges after her three pit bulls brutally killed her 9-year old half-brother. At the very least, she needs several years of parole and a strict prohibition from owning any pit bulls and overseeing any child during this period.
As usual in cases like this, in order for Yuba County authorities to bring criminal charges against Alexandria they will likely need evidence that she knew or should have known of the dogs' vicious propensities. Had any of her pit bulls attacked or shown aggression in the past? This may be very difficult to prove since Alexandria lived in multiple places in the country, including in a motel room in Florida with her three pit bulls, prior to moving to Northern California a few months ago.
"[The pit bulls] were my companion animals. They were my babies. What made them do that I will never know." - Pit bull owner, Alexandria Griffin-HeadyThe worst offender is Child Protection Services, who failed miserably in their duty to protect Tyler. In some parts of the U.S. child protection agencies will not allow a parent or guardian with pit bulls to care for the child. They will force the relocation of the dogs. This should be the norm, not the exception across all CPS agencies. In this case, and with Alexandria's extremely troubled past, they allowed the boy to live with her in the travel-trailer with quite literally a pack of pit bulls.
01/04/16: Under the Care of His Sister
The 9-year old boy has been identified as Tyler Trammell-Huston.8 At the time of the deadly attack, he was staying with his older sister who was trying to "rescue" him from the foster system, reports the Sacramento Bee. Instead of "rescuing" him, her three pit bulls savagely killed him after she left Tyler alone with the animals during a weekend visit. His sister, Alexandria Griffin-Heady, 24, discovered his badly injured body when she returned home after being away for several hours.
According to Tyler's aunt, Laura Badeker, Tyler was in protective custody and living at a foster home under the care of Sacramento County Child Protective Services at the time of his death, reports the SacBee. Badeker said that she repeatedly told the county agency she thought Tyler was unsafe with Alexandria, who lives in a travel-trailer and was granted unsupervised overnight visits with her brother after she moved to Northern California from Florida several months ago.
Badeker believes Alexandria was "trying to do the right thing" by aiming for custody of Tyler, but that her living situation was too unstable. Badeker also did not believe Tyler was safe with her three pit bulls. Life for Tyler and his four siblings was "marked by crime, drug abuse and homelessness," reports the SacBee. Their mother, Natalie Griffin-Trammell, died on the streets of Sacramento in 2011, after years of battling homelessness and drug addictions, Badeker said.
Two of Tyler's siblings live with their adoptive parents in a home on a property adjacent to where Alexandria was living in the travel-trailer, Badeker said. Before moving to California, Alexandria had been living in a motel room in Florida with her pit bulls. Badeker said she had a love for pit bulls, believing they are unfairly "stigmatized and maligned." Alexandria's Facebook page is filled with images of her pit bulls, as is her YouTube page, where she refers to them as her "wolfpack."
When Pit Bull Advocacy Kills
On October 7, 2014, she shared a video popular with pit bull advocates on her Facebook page depicting a pit bull crawling into a baby's bed and stated: "Too all pit haters, or people who dislike the bread due to being violent., here is a fun fact. Anybody know what they were originally bread for? Anybody? The nanny... to look over and protect the babies. #Lovemypit" Obviously, that is untrue. Pit bulls were selectively bred for explosive aggression and to execute the killing bite.
Tyler is dead because like many young people, Alexandria believes the false myths about pit bulls, primarily pushed by the Pit Bull Propoganda Machine, that deny the breed's purpose bred heritage of bull-baiting and dogfighting. Who cares if Alexandria now finally recognizes the truth? Tyler is already dead. CPS is part of this boy's preventable death too. They allowed Tyler to be with his sister and her three pit bulls for the weekend in a small travel-trailer without a working bathroom.
As we were writing this update, Alexandria began privatizing (hiding) her Facebook photos.
01/04/16: Family Pit Bulls Kill
Linda, CA - A 9-year old boy was killed by three pit bulls at his home in Linda Sunday, the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department said. The boy had been left alone with the family pit bulls. Sheriff's deputies responded to a report of the attack about 10:00 am. The child's guardian, they learned, left him in the home on the 6200 block of Dunning Avenue with the dogs while she went to work. When she returned three hours later, she found him attacked, suffering life-threatening injuries.
The boy was pronounced dead at Rideout Memorial Hospital just after arrival, according to Undersheriff Jerry Read. No arrests have been made at this time. Child endangerment charges may be forthcoming against the boy's guardian, whose name was not provided, pending further investigation. All three dogs were seized from the home, a 4-year old female pit bull and her two 1.5-year old offspring. None of the dogs had a history with Animal Care Services, Read said.
Nearby Fatal Pit Bull Attack
On December 16, 2015, 57-year old Maria Torres was mauled to death by two family pit bulls just 30-miles away in Gridley, which lies in Butte County and is adjacent to Yuba County. Both counties are north of Sacramento. At the time of Torres' deadly attack, investigators believed she was trying to break up a fight between the two pit bulls. The Butte County Sheriff's Office later issued a press release stating, "the dogs had injuries consistent with being involved in a fight with one another."
2After the DA issued the press release, Griffin-Heady continued to deny the mother pit bull was involved in the deadly attack. She posted a comment on this video, "I had three Pitts. one attacked my brother. One! The eldest of the three tried to stop it. she tried to protect him. and laid with him until I got there." A complete utter fantasy.
3The virtues of Courage, Justice, Responsibility and Perseverance.
4On the last day of the trial, prosecutors presented a rebuttal witness who greatly impacted the case. They learned about the person just a few days earlier. Many things can happen during a trial, including uncovering new evidence.
5McGrath made it clear by February 15 that he had little intention of submitting the case to the grand jury. "He hasn't yet decided if a grand jury will be used to determine if Griffin-Heady will face charges, but it's not likely."
6We created the two pit bulls based upon this YouTube video showing two similar sized pit bulls in roughly a 36 x 24 inch wire crate. When the brown pit bull sits upright, it has to lower its head. Notably this pit bull owner states, "This is for Lady (black/white). Hugo's crate is slightly larger, and you might be able to see it in the background, but this is NOT how they are left while I'm away from home." Griffin-Heady had both of her pit bulls stuffed into one crate.
7Monica Vaughan, "Dogs’ past behavior disputed in mauling," Appeal Democrat, January 22, 2016.
8In earlier news reports, he was identified as Tyler Griffin-Huston. His mother, Natalie Griffin-Trammell, appears to have been married more than once. Tyler was the youngest of 5. His other siblings range from ages 17 to 27.
04/07/16: The Tyler Huston Case: How You Can Take Action - DogBiteLaw.com
04/07/16: Prosecutor Applies Wrong Law, Says Leading Dog Bite Law Attorney
12/17/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Gridley Woman Mauled To Death by Her Two Pet Pit Bulls
09/10/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Kill Man, Injure Woman in North Shore, California
03/25/15: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Stockton Woman Mauled to Death by Pit Bull
11/04/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Kill Modesto Man, Critically Injure Another
10/03/14: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Antelope Valley Woman Mauled to Death by Pit Bulls
05/05/09: Alexandra Semyonova: Heritability of Behavior in the Abnormally Aggressive Dog
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| 1/04/2016 6:47 PM |
What parent leaves their child alone with 3 huge dogs that could easily overpower them? It's even worse that these dogs were bred to kill; and kill they did. That poor little boy. And once again, why do people feel the need to own more than one killer dog?
Owning a pit should be child endangerment, plain and simple. They all need to be eradicated as soon as possible.
| 1/04/2016 10:49 PM |
I am so sorry this sister had to learn her lesson the hard way. And a pitbull advocate again! And all of the other pitbull advocates will find fault and excuses for the dogs. Most municipalities do allow kids of 9-10 to be home alone after school, ect.. I suppose this sister thought the dogs would protect her brother? This is why some states prohibit adoptions to homes with pitbulls!
| 1/05/2016 9:14 AM |
I see the updated post this morning.
In my first comment I had actually put that I would bet the mom had a social media page promoting pit bulls but I edited it out. (First reports said child was with mom not sister)
This poor kid never had a chance in life.
| 1/05/2016 10:51 AM |
I'm sure this pit bull owner fell for the pro-pit-bull lobby’s propaganda that pit bulls used to be nanny dogs that I see pit bull advocates regurgitate all the time. It's time to start suing Tia Torres, Jon Stewart, Yoris, Best Friends Animal Society and other top pit bull advocates who spread this disinformation.
The bottom line is if these pit bulls would have been a beagle or I could name 300 dog breeds, this boy would be alive today. Breed Choice Matters.
If you take the time to read these tragedies most of the pit bulls came from loving homes that killed. From 2005- 2015, 232 killed by pit bulls. When a consumer product injures and kills that many people, and generates comparable liability history, that product is taken off the market. These families know exactly what breed of dog killed their loved one. http://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics-fatalities.php
Here is a video of the pit bull owner loving up her dogs. The lesson that needs to be learn so this child does not die in vain: Pit bulls have been selectively bred for high aggression for hundreds of years for blood sports. They are not safe or appropriate pets and should never be considered as such. Not all pit bulls will maim or kill but predicting which ones will is impossible. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwIeMe5qMRM
These are the causalities that Best Friends Animal Society, ASPCA, HSUS fine acceptable on the deluded altar of the 'pit bull'. Pit "advocates", shelters, and rescues are all complicit in the carnage caused by this breed when they promote pits as pets.
| 1/05/2016 4:58 PM |
Just saw the updates that it was his older sister and not his mother.
She looks like an obvious nutter from that second picture. The quote from her YouTube video shows both that she believed that stupid nanny myth and probably (stupidly) thought her brother would be perfectly fine around those frankenmaulers. (Also, hard to listen to someone trying to tell me what a dog was "bread" for when said person can't even spell bred.) And of course, in typical nutter behavior, once her dogs kill someone, all of a sudden her extremely vocal pro pit Facebook page disappears.
This girl should be ashamed for leaving her brother in these conditions and charged with child endangerment. She said she wanted to "rescue" him from foster care, but all she did was cause his demise by buying 3 dogs BRED to kill and leaving him alone with them. That infuriates me. He'd probably still be alive today if she just left him in foster care. Prayers for his family.
| 1/05/2016 6:04 PM |
Just something I feel I need to say. With this event as usual, I've been seeing typical "NO CHILD should be left alone with ANY dog" line from several pit defenders. I even mentioned something similar in my original post before the updates were given. I think I need to bit clearer.
I strongly believe that no baby, infant, newborn, toddler; ANY child between the ages of 0-6 should be left alone with any dog. I don't care how "gentle" or "well trained" the dog is. Children between those ages in my opinion are just too vulnerable and usually don't yet fully understand how to stay safe around a dog. Once a child has turned 7, I think they are perfectly fine being left a alone with a small, non-aggressive, normal breed of dog. No parent should have to be hovering over their 10 year old kids 24/7 because of their dog. If they are, then that's not a safe dog. At 13, I'd say being alone with larger breeds is okay too, but only non-aggressive, NORMAL breeds. Bully breeds are not safe, normal breeds. (Obviously, no one of any age should be around bully breeds in my opinion.)
My point is that pit defenders act that leaving a child of any age alone with any dog is inherently dangerous and irresponsible. I know several people in my life and online who have children that they leave alone with their dogs. Because their dogs are small, non-aggressive breeds that weren't bred to kill other living beings. If you were to tell a parent that they should never leave their 9 yr old daughter alone with their Yorkie, chances are they'd look at you like you were crazy. Leaving a 9 year old alone with 1 or even 3 Yorkies is relativity harmless. The worst that could happen would be a bad nip. Leaving a 9 yr old alone with 3 pits is deadly.
Sorry for the rant; just felt that I needed to get that off my chest and clarify that I'm not saying that leaving a child alone with a dog was the biggest problem here.
| 1/05/2016 7:55 PM |
yes, pit pushers will always say "never leave any dog alone with a child (wink, wink)" in the aftermath of each new attack, but then they post child endangerment pictures, using their children as props for pictures of their "nanny dogs" -
But these same pit bull nuts fail to mention how a mom is supposed stop an attack when the "family pit bull" goes after a child, even if she's right there.
| 1/06/2016 9:23 AM |
A pit bull advocate pushing the nanny dog myth. Knowing full well these dogs are bred to kill she uses the term wolf pack. 10 years in prison is not enough for this murderer. Yes i believe the owner of dangerous dogs should be charged like they killed the victom themselves.
| 1/06/2016 6:50 PM |
I am just sickened by reading about this and even further by people STILL advocating for the dogs. Even after killing a child, there are those who make excuses for the dogs, citing living conditions, etc. What is wrong with people? When did the life a deadly animal become more important than the safety of people?
| 1/08/2016 11:29 AM |
Xavier Strickland's mom was "right there" but still couldn't save him. Kara Hartrich's grandma too. Declan Moss' granddad couldn't save him either.
And many more.
It wasn't the trailer rv that caused his death, it was the mutant choice of dogs in the property.
"You can take the dog out of the fight but you can't take the fight out of the dog."
| 1/09/2016 3:00 PM |
Well, this disproves the "nanny dog theory", I love her spelling of the word breed and bred. There should be no dogs in any household where CPS is placing children at risk. And no kids should be placed in a trailer. Poor child.
| 1/09/2016 4:11 PM |
It is incredible isn't it? I was talking to my neighbor once, she's a dog owner (larger mutt types), and does not seem to have any interest in pit bulls. We had never talked about them until that day. She's also very intelligent. When the subject came up, her entire face changed -- I knew it was coming. She looked down than up at me with her eyes only and said, "You know they were bred to be nanny dogs." Given that we do talk about intelligent matters, I fired back, "That is completely false and I know for a fact you will never be able to cite an actual source for that nonsense, which by the way gets kids killed every year." Further, just consider for a moment, given all of your knowledge of dog breeds, what you just said. So, intelligent people buy into all the time too…
| 1/09/2016 6:27 PM |
Ahhhhh! If I hear this Nanny dog rubbish anymore, I'll go crazy! Kids need human parents. Not dogs!!! I've sure never seen a dog wipe a butt and pour a sippy cup of milk. Good God!
| 1/10/2016 3:37 PM |
Wow, so many people on other sites are saying that the boy probably "did something to the dogs" to make them attack. To me, this goes hand in hand with the asinine comments about trespassers deserving to die by pit because they crossed a property line. No pet should kill a child because he "did something to it". Normal dogs that make good pets will let the child know that it is reaching the end of its tolerance, and ultimately may bite him. But to maul to death? This is such a blatant over-reaction on the dog's part, that the animal must be insane - or a pit bull. People actually think that a dog should defend itself from a child by killing it, that this is right and justified. I am at a loss for words when trying to respond to such idiocy.
| 1/10/2016 9:36 PM |
So, Alexandria has uploaded a tribute video to Tyler with the background music, "You said you would never leave me here alone", complete with "I am sorry" and smiley face illustrations.
| 1/11/2016 4:47 PM |
Agreed completely. I can't believe people think it's "normal" or "okay" for a dog to attack or kill a person just because they may have done something the dog didn't like. That's B.S. and any dog that does that should not be allowed to live. (Then again, we know that a majority of the dogs that do this are bully breeds which snap for no discernible reason.) Sometimes I just I wonder if they'd say the same thing if it happened to them.
| 1/11/2016 7:39 PM |
No way they would feel the same if it were them. I doubt any of these "they deserved it" types have sat with a mauled child or person as they fight the pain and swelling. I doubt they know of the emptiness, silence and despair of loosing your loved one to a Pitbull attack. The helplessness of wishing it could be undone and you could
hold your loved one as if it never happened. All pitbull owners should spend some time in the victim's shoes before the go run their big mouths.
| 1/11/2016 8:04 PM |
I often come across comment threads defending Pitbulls after they attack or kill and it literally takes my breath away. I feel so discusted. But then I remember who we are dealing with here... Teenagers and 20 year olds (who don't know what love, or community means yet). Rescue marytrs that literally can't see anything BUT the pitbull they rescued. And then you have the dumbest of the dumb who are are just ignorant or just really dumb. I try hard not to get too caught up in the arguments of these people. My husband sais "don't argue with idiots, before long you won't know who the idiot is".
| 1/15/2016 4:20 PM |
This story is such a shitshow on so many levels...it breaks my heart when I read stories about little kids who never had a snowball's chance in hell in this life.
What sort of idiot (much less humane caring owner) thinks it is okay to keep three large dogs in a trailer? And what sort of decent trailer park would permit it (guess I just answered my own question)? There's nothing "wrong" with being poor, but FFS, if my life was that unstable, I wouldn't even keep a CAT. Maybe a betta fish...? Maybe? Houseplants?
Can you imagine that boy's last minutes of life?
Every adult in this story, with the possible exception of the foster mom, gets a big fat F-. Big sister needs parole, a psych evaluation, and a court-ordered IUD.
Jesus, what a life.
| 1/16/2016 2:52 AM |
I am an insurance claims investigator and have worked many dog bite claims and unfortunately seen first hand the damage the inflicted by this breed. What people can't or won't understand is the mechanics of a dog bite. There are as many types of dog bites as there are dog breeds. The most dangerous type of bite is the immobilizer bite. The dog bites and holds on and either pins the prey until it stops moving or fiercely shakes the prey until it goes limp. The way the Pits and Rotwielers and other large prey driven dogs mouths and jaws are set allows for maximums damage. The dogs are big and extremely strong.
So when somethin goes wrong and a dog attacks the bites are devastating causing deep tearing wounds. The bites tear flesh from bone and if flesh releases the dog quickly latches on again and again. Their jaws do not lock. People who approach an attack in progress often think the jaws are locked because no matter what you do the dog does not release its prey. The reason this happens is the dog doesn't want to give up what he has latched on to. If there is more than one dog attacking it becomes a frenzy.
Pits and Rotwielers are also two of the most unpredictable breeds there are. Then you factor in irresponsible pet owners that do not spay and neuter their animals and the fact that these breeds are popular among a class of people that aren't the most responsible and it all adds up to a recipe for disaster.
This child was failed on so many levels I don't even know where to begin. But when I read that the owner was upset because all three dogs were put down when she believed it was only the male that was involve made me sick. As long as we have this mentality owning powerful unpredictable dogs we will see this story repeat itself over and over again.
Most insurance companies won't write homeowners or renters policies to anyone that owns these breeds. There is a good reason for this. The breeds are unpredictable, when they attack the injuries are devastating and the lawsuits resulting from these breeds are almost always successful and the awards have lots of zeros.
| 1/20/2016 10:23 AM |
"The recommendation indicates there is evidence that Griffin-Heady knew her dogs were dangerous; the dogs had shown aggression toward animals or humans in the past."
I would expect the kittens that were in one of the videos were victims of the maulers. Nutters do seem to have a very cavalier attitude towards cats and probably would not even consider that "animal aggression".
I am long past weary of these stories, and still shocked when I inevitably read "accident" and "we don't know what set the dogs off", and "dog is being tested for rabies". I am sure I already know the answer but has their ever been a case of a pit bull that has committed homicide being positive for rabies?
| 1/20/2016 10:38 AM |
We are waiting for more information before publishing more, but the detective shares more information here:
| 1/25/2016 7:52 AM |
"I would expect the kittens that were in one of the videos were victims of the maulers."
Yes, I'd imagine the adult cat sitting on the couch on the bottom photo is long gone, too.
| 1/26/2016 3:53 PM |
Is anyone willing to take a bet that if this woman escapes jail time (or as soon as she is out of jail) she will once again surround herself with pitbulls.
Seriously, blaming her brother for causing the attack by citing him playing with a shoestring...... I guess shoestrings do have to be added to the ever growing trigger list.
Any sympathy I might have had for the sister (and I had almost zero) is out the door.
| 3/25/2016 6:20 PM |
As per the ruling on 3/25:
Ain't that just peachy. You can leave your dependent child with multiple supermaulers and cannot be held accountable for the outcome. This is just super.
And, this tracks back to my overarching narrative - you can kill with your pit bulls, but you may not own one? How does that make sense?
I am not a religious person, but I hope everyone involved burns in hell!
| 3/25/2016 11:26 PM |
From the Sacramento Bee article on this: "In an interview Friday, Griffin-Heady said she is only now beginning to stop blaming herself for Tyler’s death."
In the second article DBO links to: "Griffin-Heady, who had been a strong pit-bull advocate, said she doesn't hate and she can't hate a dog she doesn't know.
"There are plenty of pit bulls that haven't and will never snap," she said. But, to owners of dogs who have small children, she said: "Don't assume they'd never do that."
What a manipulative little [expletive deleted]. She stops blaming herself the instant that piece of insincere "oh, poor me" drama isn't necessary to avoid jail time. She admits that without a jail sentence hanging over her head, she now gets it that no blame touches her. She's already picking up again on pimping for pit bulls -- 'oooo, plenty of them aren't dangerous at all'. She's already saying they're only unsafe with SMALL children.
I'm sure she'll have a trailer full of new pit bulls within months.
| 3/28/2016 10:54 AM |
Sputnik, I could not agree with you more.
Not only will she have a trailer full of pit bulls, my guess is she will also wind up having a trailer full of her own children as well.
She should never stop blaming herself. She is responsible for Tylers death.
| 4/04/2016 6:58 PM |
If she didn't believe that the dogs were dangerous, why cage them at all? This whole incident is bullshit. It's all a big lie. What a horrendous ending to an innocent child's short life. At very least she should be advocating against this breed and trying to save lives. I'm sickened and deeply appalled by her actions. Disgusting person.
| 4/05/2016 7:45 AM |
Again, the decision to not file charges is hugely disappointing!
Griffin-Heady is a threat to public safety. She indulges in dangerous dogs that she cannot control. If she had left a loaded pistol within reach of Tyler, she would be in jail REGARDLESS of the outcome.
| 4/06/2016 8:13 PM |
I truly hope that when she does get more pits, they do the same to her that they did to Tyler. People like her are not only a waste of oxygen, but dangerous to everyone around them.