2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Man, 67, Killed by Rescue Pit Bull After Trying to Break up a Dog Fight in East Tulsa

Killed by Rescue Pit Bull in Tulsa
Don Gibson, 67, was killed by a rescue pit bull after trying to break up a dog fight.

Rescue Dog Kills Man
Tulsa, OK - It was reported Wednesday that a man was hospitalized in critical condition after being attacked by one or more of his rescue pit bulls and later died of his injuries. EMSA responders said there were eight dogs at the scene. Tulsa Animal Control took three of the dogs into custody. The victim's wife then asked to reclaim two of those dogs that she did not believe initiated the attack. Those two dogs were given back to her because this was a "first-party bite," officials said.

KOTV-DT identified the victim as 67-year old Don Gibson and interviewed his wife, Gena Carter. Both Gibson and Carter were trying to break up a fight between two of their pit bulls in their garage when a female pit bull, named "Isabella," viciously redirected onto Don. "Finally I just threw up my hands and said 'let them fight 'till the end,’” Carter told KOTV-DT. “And Don said 'no, no.' And I said, 'Don I got to go get help, look at you.' My garage looked like a slaughterhouse," Carter said.

"What made [Isabella] turn, I have no idea,” Carter said. “It's just all a shock to me. But after I seen what she did to Don, I said ‘no, no more."’

Sgt. Brian Collum of the Tulsa Police Department said the injuries Gibson sustained were a "contributing factor" to his death. "There's absolutely no doubt." Collum also cautioned people who rescue dogs that may have a checkered past. "Try to find out some background, try to find out some other things before you actually take this dog into your home,” Collum said. Carter said her other dogs are "all I got to live for now," but she hopes that people will learn from her story.

The attack occurred at the couple's home in the 18000 block of East 4th Street in the morning, according to media reports. Two of the dogs were put down, Isabella and the primarily black pit bull (presumably). As many as six dogs remain on the property. The fenced-in yard shows multiple dog bowls, but there was an absence of dogs outside during the interview with KOTV-DT. A Google Street view from 2015 shows a black pit bull standing in their yard before it was fenced.

More Dog Information

An update from Fox 23 Tulsa states that "Angel," a pit bull-Lab mix, was the other dog involved in the fight. “Angel came bombarding through the door and Isabella, I guess was already out of her pen, and they got in a fight,” Carter explained. They broke up that fight, but Isabella wasn't done. “She came charging back in the gate to get at Angel and when she found out she couldn’t, is when she went after Don and tore chunks out of his arm, his legs and everything," Carter said.

Both Isabella and Angel were put down. Carter does have six remaining dogs on the property. One of them is a rescued wolf-dog hybrid-akita mix, named "Wolfie," who bears little resemblance to either breed. Just last week, Carter said that Isabella had attacked Wolfie over a bone. Wolfie and Isabella were rescued "years ago." Isabella was not a recently acquired rescue. The couple had been married for 23 years. Gibson used to be the owner of Ralph's Hot & Juicy Burgers.

Killed by Rescue Pit Bull in Tulsa

Location where a man was killed by his rescue pit bull after trying to break up a dog fight.

map iconView the DogsBite.org Google State Map: Oklahoma Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Related articles:
05/14/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Owner Charged with Manslaughter After Multiple Attacks
06/21/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dog Sitting Pit Bulls Found Dead in Osage County...

Baseline reporting requirements:
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.

2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Killed by Dog at Visalia Business; Occupational Safety and Health Agency Responded

Man killed by dog at Visalia business
On Tuesday, a man was killed by a dog at a Visalia business on S. Santa Fe Street.

Man Killed by Dog
Visalia, CA - On Tuesday, the Visalia Police Department issued a release about a man attacked and killed by a dog. At 7:48 am, police responded to the 2300 block of South Santa Fe Street regarding an adult male attacked by a dog. The man was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. "The Visalia Police Department Violent Crimes Unit responded," states the release. "The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health also responded to the scene."

Police did not release the victim's name or the breed of dog involved. KSEE reported that the business on South Santa Fe Street is the Jack & Jeff Transfer Company. According to the company's website, the entity has been in business since 1917. It is unknown if the attack occurred inside or outside of the facility or who owns the dog involved. Since the state's occupational safety agency responded, it seems the attack occurred on the business' property.

The property is expansive and has a long roadway leading to the building. A Google Street view from 2019 even shows a dog at the front gate entrance. The fatal attack comes two weeks after Mateo Salvador, a 42-year old construction worker from Guatemala, was killed by four guard dogs after entering a home-turned-business property in Jurupa Valley to perform work for the property's owner, Homeland Electric. Salvador's family plans to sue the company, according to Univision.

Related articles:
03/08/23: 2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Killed by Protection Breeds at Jurupa Valley Business
03/02/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Pack of Dogs in Texas During Power Crisis

Baseline reporting requirements:
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.

2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman, 38, Killed by a Pair of Great Danes She Agreed to Feed in Perry County, Pennsylvania

woman killed by pair of great danes in Perry County
Kristen Potter, 38, was killed by a pair of great danes in Perry County, Pennsylvania.

Woman Killed by Dogs
Perry County, PA - A 38-year woman is dead after being attacked by a pair of great danes she agreed to feed while their owners were away. The attack occurred on March 16 around 5:15 pm in the 700 block of Clouser Hollow Road in Centre Township, near New Bloomfield. Perry County Coroner Robert Ressler said that Kristen Potter died of multiple traumatic injuries sustained in the dog attack. The manner of death was ruled an accident. Both dogs were subsequently euthanized.

The fatal attack occurred about two days after Potter published a distressing post to her Facebook page: "My life should be full and thriving and yet I'm here just surviving." Other posts show that her 11-year old son, Trevor Potter, died in May of 2020 in a tragic accident. The boy's father, Ryan Potter, passed away three months earlier, according to the child's obituary. Both tragedies occurred when the pandemic reached our nation's shores, causing lockdowns, panic and fear.

Her finacee, Jacob Presley Fickett, told the Daily Voice, "She was the Light of my life ... She has done nothing but good to anything she touched. I love her so much I can't even believe that she is gone." Fickett is a combat veteran. "She was able to teach me to love myself and her deeply," he said. She was also looking forward to moving to Florida, where her family would start a new chapter. "She wasn't that unhappy," Fickett said. He added that he is now "lost without her."

During the 2021 Covid year, there was another fatal dog mauling in Perry County. Rhoda Wagner, 60-years old, was killed by three pit bulls she was dog sitting for her roommate. Also, two other women between the ages of 43 and 49 were recently killed a pair or more of their own great danes. In 2022, Mindy Kiepe, 43, was killed by her five great danes in rural Clay County, Iowa. In 2019, Mary Matthews, 49, was killed by her two rescue great danes in Warren County, Ohio.

Prior to these three deaths, our nonprofit has only recorded one other fatal attack inflicted by a great dane since 2005. In 2009, Barbara Chambers, 59, died after being attacked by her prize-winning male great dane named "Lemonade" in Garland, Texas. Information from the 19th Century CDC study (Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998) shows that great danes were involved in seven fatalities during this 20-year period.

There was a third great dane at the home where Potter was attacked, but authorities say the dog was not involved. To add additional tragedy, Potter had gone to the home to feed the dog with her young son. He ran to get help when two of the three dogs attacked her, according to Ressler. Emergency responders were unable to reach Potter until animal control arrived and tranquilized the dogs. No information about the dogs' history or their owners has been released thus far.

A Penn Live article, behind a paywall, states the great danes are owned by Wendy Sabathne, who lives on the other side of the road from Potter's home. Sabathne was breeding and selling "AKC Registered Great Dane Puppies," according to her Instagram page, 240 weeks ago. In June 2019, a person on the Perry County Talk Facebook group reported there were "2 great danes running loose on Clouser Hollow." Sabathne chimed in saying, "They are harmless ... they just bark."

Dogs May Have Been Fighting

Potter's 10-year old son witnessed the start of the attack. “He screamed and ran down the driveway ... two of the great danes had attacked her from behind,” Potter's father Bill Keefer said. Despite being "attacked from behind," police speculated the dogs may have started fighting while Potter was feeding them and turned on Potter as she tried to intervene. Sabathne stated that her third great dane sustained injuries she believe is the result of the dogs attacking each other.

Keefer also said the same dogs had bitten Potter two or three years ago. It was also not the first time Potter had agreed to feed the dogs. Potter had agreed most recently because Sabathne was at a hospital with her mother, who is in intensive care and may not survive. “I’m heartbroken. I’m in shock. I’m in disbelief and I just want to die. I can’t believe this happened,” Sabathne told Penn Live. State police said the investigation is ongoing; it's unknown if any charges will be filed.

According to the audio log files at Broadcastify.com, Potter was found inside the dog pen. [Dispatcher] "Son found mother in a dog pen facedown with blood all over her ... mother is not breathing, is not conscious, has a lot of blood around the neck area. Also, one of the dogs does have blood on the muzzle" ... [Responder] "We have a dangerous situation here. We're not going to be able to get access into the patient .... we're going to need a [17] unit on scene," he said.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help her two surviving sons and to help pay funeral costs.

woman killed by pair of great danes in Perry County

Potter posted this two days before she was killed by a pair of great danes in Perry County. The interpretation of this post is proving to be controversial among family members as well.

woman killed by pair of great danes in Perry County

The dogs' owner, Wendy Sabathne, had bred/sold "AKC Registered Great Danes" in the past.

Related articles:
08/18/22: 2022 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman, 43, Killed by Her Pack of Great Danes in Clay County
08/05/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Pit Bulls She was Dog Sitting in Perry County
11/07/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman, 49, Dies After Being Mauled by Her Two Great Danes

Baseline reporting requirements:
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.

Arkansas Legislature - House Floor Debate for HB 1519, a Bill Prohibiting Cities from Enacting Breed-Specific Laws

Compelling Testimony by Representatives Who Opposed the Bill

Audio from the March 14 House Floor debate regarding HB 1519 in the Arkansas legislature.

Little Rock, AR - On March 14, there was an impressive House Floor debate concerning HB 1519, a bill prohibiting cities and counties in Arkansas from enacting or enforcing breed-specific laws. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. RJ Hawk (R-District 81), was defeated in a 34-45 vote. Representatives who opposed the bill had powerful, compelling arguments. Representatives who supported the bill voiced "well-worn talking points" from the Pit Bull Lobby. They lost the vote.

Further, supporters of the bill during the debate spoke a number of half-truths and untruths. HB 1519 would have eliminated all breed-specific ordinances in Arkansas, not just "breed bans," as they attempted to portray. Hawk even talks about the "capital city's” vicious dog ordinance, but fails to mention that Little Rock has had a breed-specific ordinance in place since 2009 that declares pit bulls "potentially dangerous." His bill would have killed this local ordinance.

Hawk did not have his facts straight about military breed-specific regulations either. He claimed there were none. The truth is, between 2009 and 2012, all three military divisions -- the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force -- banned dangerous dog breeds on bases and privatized housing, primarily: pit bulls, rottweilers and wolf-dog hybrids. These breed restrictions are still intact today and can be verified through the Department of Defense or that military division.

"As to Brown's testimony, said that the military has banned pit bulls. That's completely false. That is completely false!" - Rep. RJ Hawk

Bill supporters also made false claims about the constitutionality of pit bull ordinances. The false claims come just a few months after the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which governs the state of Arkansas, upheld a city's pit bull ban in November 2022. Further, the city of Maumelle's pit bull ban was upheld by the Supreme Court of Arkansas in 1991. Maumelle city council repealed its ban in April 2021, but not because it was allegedly "unconstitutional."

Rep. Pilkington, who opposed the bill, gave passionate testimony (at 5:57) that included the deaths of two young children, killed by a pair of family pit bulls last October. The family had owned the pit bulls for eight years. Rep. Wooten (at 13:11), corrected another untruth by the bill's supporters, who claimed the bill would only "encourage" cities to adopt breed neutral laws."This [bill] does not encourage [cities] it prohibits" them from having breed-specifics laws, he said.

Rep. Gazaway, a former prosecutor, who opposed the bill (at 17:28), has firsthand experience in prosecuting cases of vicious dog attacks. "Two to one they were pit bulls," Gazaway said. He then proceeded to share a terrifying account of a home-invasion attack by a pit bull: "The pit bull actually left its owner's yard, busted up inside of a person's house and attacked the young boy inside of his own home." The child almost died, "because [the bite] could have severed an artery."

"These breeds are inherently dangerous. They are inherently aggressive. They are by their nature capable of producing fatalities." - Rep. Gazaway

Rep. Brown also shared compelling testimony (at 27:15), including the fatal pit bull mauling of a young boy in Faulkner County in 2020. Robby had gone out to check the mail. When he did not return, his mother began looking for him. "She found his shoes in the driveway, she called 911. His 15-year old sister found his body in the field. He had been mauled to death by two pit bulls," he said. Brown was involved tangentially in the criminal case and would sit in court to watch.

"I had to look at the pictures of this child, this 9-year old boy laying down in the field with his jugular tore out," Brown said. "I had to look at the pictures of him on the medical examiner's table when he had his autopsy," Brown said. "But the most haunting thing I heard was his mother wailing in the courtroom." Having two young children himself, hearing Robby's mother wailing in the courtroom bothered him. "Usually, I am dealing with insurance or banking," Brown said.

Bill Sponsor Closes the Debate

When the debate concluded, Hawk took to the podium again and basically unraveled (at 31:36). In fact, we had to stop the audio at one point in order to make a clarification regarding the former Maumelle pit bull ban. Hawk lashed out at Rep. Pilkington's and Rep. Brown's testimony. Apparently, Hawk had no knowledge of the longstanding military breed-specific regulations on bases and privatized housing. Hawk has only been a state Representative for three months.

We encourage readers to send a thank you message to the Arkansas Representatives who provided powerful testimony in opposition of this bill, including: Rep. Aaron Pilkington, Rep. Jim Wooten, Rep. Jimmy Gazaway and Rep. Matthew Brown. Their email addresses are located on the Legislators List page. It's uncommon to see an assembly of well-versed legislators come together to defeat an anti-BSL preemption bill driven by a "little special interest" group.

"I want prevention. I want to stop this. This is not a solution. So that we can help some little special interest group 'get a win' here..." - Rep. Pilkington

On March 13, the House Committee on City, County and Local Affairs held a hearing for HB 1519. Best Friends Animal Society lobbyist Eric Swafford was the "guest" of Hawk during the hearing. 

House Floor debate HB 1519, Arkansas House of Representatives

Left: Rep. Pilkington spoke passionately against the bill. Right: The bill's sponsor, Rep. Hawk.

House debate HB 1519, Arkansas House of Representatives

Several Arkansas Representatives that spoke against HB 1519 during the House Floor debate.

Related articles:
10/11/22: 2022 Double Dog Bite Fatality: Pair of Family Pit Bulls Kill Two Children in Tennessee
01/15/21: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: 9-Year Old Boy Killed by Two Pit Bulls in Faulkner County

Related materials:
TREND: State Legislators are Largely Rejecting State Preemption Bills that Prohibit Local Governments from Adopting Pit Bull Laws