2024 Dog Bite Fatality: Child Dies After Violent Bull Breed Mauling in Morgan County, Alabama

Beau Clark, 4-years old, died after a violent bull breed mauling in Morgan County, Alabama.

No Criminal Charges
UPDATE 02/29/24: On Thursday, Morgan County Sheriff Ron Puckett issued a release, stating that no charges are expected in the death of 4-year old Beau Clark. Investigators determined the dog was "securely maintained on its own property" and had "no history of violent or aggressive behavior." The child was riding his bike, but for "unknown reasons entered the yard he had been in numerous times." The "child was familiar" with the dog and had been around it "numerous times in the past."

Sheriff Puckett added, "the families are friends and have routinely shared many life events together" and that "this is an incredible tragedy in the truest sense of the word." We know from our own 19-years of data (2005 to present day) that fatal dog maulings resulting in criminal charges compromise 20% or less of all fatal attacks. Seldom is someone to blame when a pit bull "explodes" -- attacking and killing a child and severely injuring an able-bodied adult male, who intervened to save his son's life.

Details from Earlier Reporting

We retrieved the article from Daily Decatur, which had previously been behind a paywall, because it contains additional details. Morgan County Sheriff's Office spokesman Mike Swafford said the call initially indicated the child had been hit by a car. Deputies were unprepared for the horrific scene that awaited them. “Once they arrived on scene, one of our deputies was helping the father with the child, and the other deputy was able to locate the lost dog, which was still aggressive,” Swafford said.

The article also delves into the similar breed history and functionality of the Olde English bulldog (a modern "revived" bull baiting breed) and pit bull terriers -- both engineered to excel in bloodsports and are descendants of fighting and baiting dogs. Morgan County Animal Shelter Director Darren Tucker, "whose department collected the dog’s body and sent off specimens for analysis, said the animal appeared to be a pit bull-mix weighing between 40 and 60 pounds," reports Daily Decatur.

We were unable to obtain a photograph of the dog involved. Director Tucker, however, who collected the animal, believes it is predominantly pit bull.

Tucker said the dog's owners called about getting the dog's remains. The health department "would not allow it," he said. "The dog has to be sent in because of the severity of the incident.” He added that "97% of the calls that Animal Control responds to for aggressive animals end up being pit bull related." His shelter relies heavily on rescue groups to adopt out dogs. But at least two of those groups "will not take pit bulls at all because the breed’s 'trigger' is unpredictable," Tucker told Daily Decatur.

Tucker also made a statement that victims' advocates say. "It’s in that dog to not let go. If it had been a golden retriever, a cocker spaniel, an Irish setter -- it would have probably bit and have been done, and that child could be alive today," he said. Similar to the view of advocates: "If these pit bulls were a beagle, or I could name almost 300 dog breeds, this child would be alive to today." Tucker urged people to carefully investigate breeds and temperament when adopting dogs, reports Daily Decatur.

02/27/24: Child Killed by Bull Breed
Hartselle, AL - Last night, the Morgan County Sheriff's Office published an update about a violent bull breed mauling involving a 4-year old boy. It began with, "A dog bit a child. Child in critical condition. Deputies had to put down dog." The next update, shortly thereafter, states, "The child has passed away." At about 6:00 pm, deputies were dispatched to a home on Ramblewood Private Drive off Vaughn Bridge Road. The dog involved belonged to the child's neighbor, the sheriff's office said.

That same night, the sheriff's office posted another update: "Please pray for the family of the child who was killed by a dog tonight in our community, as well as our Deputies, EMS, Coroner, VFD and Dispatchers that handled this call or responded to the scene. Tonight is hard." The word "dog" was later changed to "Olde English Bulldog." The audio dispatch logs from Decatur and Morgan County Public Safety became difficult to listen to when we heard the ETA of the Air Evac was 20 minutes.

The boy's father sustained serious injuries trying to save his son; he was treated and released from the hospital. Both families involved are friends.

"4-year old male. Attacked by a canine," the dispatcher states. "He's covered in blood. CPR is in progress. Child has bite wounds to the neck." A few seconds later, he states, "Advise that the canine is in the neighbor's yard." Then the ETA is announced. "Survival flight 20 is in route. It has an ETA of 20 minutes," the dispatcher states. The segment ends with details about the landing zone. The sheriff's office warned people to stay away from the area, "Use caution. Large police and EMS presence."

The Olde English bulldog is not recognized by the AKC or the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI). It's yet another "revived" bull breed "created for the English sport of bull baiting, practiced from approximately 1100 until 1835," states the UKC. This "revived" bull breed was created in a 1971 breeding program that "began using a linebreeding scheme" to rapidly achieve a dog that matched the look "of the bull baiting dog of the early 1800s." The UKC did not recognize the breed until 2014.

According to working bulldog breeders, "the foundation crosses consisted of English bulldog, and bullmastiff, American pit bull terrier, and American bulldog." The Olde English bulldog (also spelled, Olde English Bulldogge) is one of the breeds used in the creation of the American XL bully, the largest of four sizes of the American bully breed, which was recently banned in the United Kingdom. The dog that killed this little boy was first identified as a pit bull likely because it looked and acted like one.

A GoFundMe created for the boy's family has raised over $30,000 in only 5 hours. "Kevin and Hailey Clark are beloved members of the Hartselle, AL community," states Emily Reeves, who organized the fundraiser. "Tragically, they lost their 4 year old son, Beau, on February 26, 2024. Please donate to help support them and their family during this difficult time." Our hearts go out to the Clark family and to all of the medical and law enforcement responders who worked so hard to save his life.

Mother is a Teacher

The Decatur Daily, which is behind a paywall, states the victim is the "son of a beloved Hartselle High School English teacher. Hailey Clark, Beau's mother, previously taught at Hartselle Junior High before transferring to the high school, according to Principal Brad Cooper." The photograph on the high school's website is the same one used in the GoFundMe. Brian Clayton, the superintendent of Hartselle City Schools, confirmed Beau was a student who attended Crestline Elementary.

Morgan County Coroner Jeff Chunn commented on Facebook about the support the family has received: "I have been in public service going on 43 years and never seen so many people come together as one, as they did [last night]. There were so many, from the dispatchers, police officers, Fire, EMS, hospital staff and even the bystanders were kneeling in prayer. It makes you proud to live in a community and be a part of a first responder family like this. Please continue to pray..."

Boy dies in violent bull breed mauling in Alabama

A relative of the dog owner lives in Hartselle and breeds/sells Olde English bulldogs (OEB) on Facebook, "Bulldog Babies, Hartselle Alabama". In typical "American bully breeder" fashion, he mixes and matches his bull breeds. He crosses OEBs with French bulldogs, boxers, and more. He also owns pit bulls that he blends into his designer bull breed "concoctions."

Related articles:
12/01/23: 2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Infant Killed by Pet Wolf-Dog Hybrid in Alabama
11/13/23: 2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Birmingham Woman Killed by Dogs Coroner Says

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.

2024 Dog Bite Fatality: Newborn Dies After Being 'Bit by a Dog' and 'Head Injury' in Milford, Connecticut

Newborn bit by a dog head injury
A 2-week old baby died after being "bit by a dog" and "head injury" in Milford.

Cause of Death Released
UPDATE 02/29/24: The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the infant died of blunt impact injury to his head, reports Milford Mirror. The manner of death was accidental. The Mirror also confirms our earlier reporting of data obtained from the audio dispatch log files of the Milford Fire Department. Firefighters responded to the home after a 911 call reported a dog had bitten an infant. They found the incident "as initially reported." The infant was taken to a hospital, but did not survive.

One week after the fatal mauling, the infant's uncle, Kevin Morse, who co-founded On Scene Media New Haven County, a Facebook-based media outfit that posts footage and livestreams of crimes and accidents, spoke to News 12, but would not share the circumstances of the attack. He stated the incident was not "an attack" by the dog but rather "a tragic accident." However, a bite to an infant's head and death by "blunt impact injury to the head," is typically caused by an aggressive dog bite.

02/24/24: Infant Died Last Friday
Milford, CT - A newborn died after being bitten by a family dog, suffering a head injury. Despite the infant's family not releasing details of what happened, the family states it was "not an attack" by the dog but rather a "tragic accident." Brayden Burwell, 2-weeks old, died on February 16. A local media outlet first reported the newborn's death on February 23. A GoFundMe organized for the infant's mother has raised over $17,000. The dog has since been euthanized, according to family members.

According to the mother's Facebook page, the family dog is "Dakota," a male husky. They obtained the dog when it was a puppy. "And just like that we have a new puppy, a 4 month old purebred Siberian husky," she posted on February 9, 2019. The other dog on her page, "Tucker," crossed the rainbow bridge in 2021. "To have to say goodbye for good to our furbaby was one of the hardest things I've had to do," she posted on March 23, 2021. "Can't wait to build an even closer bond with Dakota."

According to the audio dispatch log files for the Milford Fire Department on Broadcastify.com, responders were dispatched to a home in the 100 block of Gresham Street at approximately 5:15 pm. "Medic 3, we're diverting you to a different call ... [redacted] Gresham, two week old bit by a dog unsure if the child's conscious," states the dispatcher. "Two week old. Bit by a dog. Head injury," she states a minute later. A responder then asks the dispatcher to "put a call into animal control please."

The loss of an infant's life is a "tragic accident." Brayden's death is also a fatal dog mauling. The husky pattern of biting a newborn on the head, often a sleeping newborn, has been documented for many years. Recent attacks include the death of a 4-day old infant in Cave Springs, Arkansas, where "the husky's tooth penetrated the baby's head." In 2019, a 2-year old pet husky "bit a 22-day old baby on the head an undetermined number of times, killing the infant," our nonprofit wrote at that time.

Breed-Specific Traits

In our multi-year report of dog bite fatalities published in May 2018 -- U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities: Breeds of Dogs Involved, Age Groups and Other Factors Over a 13-Year Period (2005 to 2017) -- we pointed out a breed-specific trait pertaining to huskies. "Of the 13 fatal attacks inflicted by huskies, 62% (8 of 13) were infants ≤11 months old and 92% (12) were ages ≤5 years old. The single adult death, a 22-year old female victim, was a multi-breed attack involving a female husky and a male pit bull."

Our research finding was also footnoted with the following: "In comparison with the other top-six killing dog breeds, only 15% (3 of 20) of German shepherd victims were infants ≤11 months old, 13% (6 of 45) of rottweiler victims, 10% (28 of 284) of pit bull victims, 7% (1 of 15) of American bulldog victims, 0% of mixed-breed victims, and 0% of mastiff/bullmastiff victims were infants." Often in the cases of husky-inflicted infant deaths, the baby is sleeping when the dog bites or punctures the infant's head.

Are There New Findings?

Due to the Covid macro-level forces that have impacted our ability to track fatal dog maulings, we divided our tracking into two databases, pre-Covid (2005 to 2019) and post-Covid (2020 to present). For the purpose of reviewing husky fatalities, we joined the husky cases from both. Little has changed since our analysis in 2018. Despite huskies being infrequently involved in fatal dog maulings in the U.S., they are still among the top killing dog breeds, and they still disproportionately attack infants.

From 2005 to present day, we've recorded approximately 745 dog bite fatalities. Huskies have been involved in 17 of these deaths. Of these victims, 65% (11 of 17) were infants ≤11 months old and 88% (15) were ages ≤5 years old. In the two adult deaths, 22-year old Rebecca Hardy was killed in a multi-breed attack involving a female husky and a male pit bull, and 84-year old Loretta Moore was killed in a multi-breed pack attack involving two huskies, one pit bull and two dogs of unknown breeds.

The two most recent wolf-dog hybrid attacks also involved biting an infant or newborn on the head. Last year, Leo Caddle, 3-months old, died after "being carried around in a dog's mouth." The Shelby County Coroner said the parents tried to get the baby away from the wolfdog, but it was too late. In 2018, Aurora Little, 8-days old, was killed by her family's wolf-dog hybrid while lying in a bassinet. She suffered "very serious injuries to the upper body and the head," Sheriff Gary Parsons said.

Of the 11 husky-inflicted infant deaths, 9 have information about the victim's surroundings. 7 deaths, 78%, involved the infant lying in a bassinet, baby carrier, crib or inside a playpen at the time. 2 deaths, 22%, involved the baby "resting in a bedroom." In one of those deaths, Olivia Rozek was lying on a bed in a bedroom next to her twin sister when the pet husky pulled her from the bed and mauled her. Rozek suffered puncture wounds to her head as well as crushing injuries from the dog's jaws.

In the death of Brayden, the circumstances are unknown, except that Fire and EMS responded to a "Two week old. Bit by a dog. Head injury." The idea of a husky being involved in an "tragic accident" with an infant, killing the infant, without intentional teeth contact sounds as likely as this 1978 husky-inflicted infant death. The director of an animal hospital speculated back then, the husky "may have accidentally knocked over the crib and attacked the infant when the falling crib surprised her."

Related articles:
12/21/22: 2022 Dog Bite Fatality: Newborn, 4-Days Old, Killed by Pet Husky in Arkansas
07/09/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Sleeping Infant Killed by Family Husky in Hall County, Georgia

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.

2024 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Killed by Pack of Breeding Pit Bulls in Compton, California

35-year Dominic Cooper was killed by a pack of breeding pit bulls in his backyard in Compton, CA.

Man Killed by Pit Bulls
Compton, CA - A 35-year old man is dead after being mauled by a pack of breeding pit bulls in the backyard of his home. The attack was reported around 7:10 am in the 900 block of North Thorson Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Just before 9:00 am, deputies were still trying to enter the yard where the pack of aggressive pit bulls were fighting near the man's body, reports Patch. "They're trying to make a plan to enter the backyard," Deputy Maria Lucero said.

The victim has since been identified as Dominic Cooper, 35. His cause of death is listed as "deferred," meaning the investigation is not complete.

KTLA Sky footage captured the chilling scene of a firefighter atop a stone wall looking down into a yard of kennels and pit bulls. The man's body was covered in blood, laying inside one of the kennels. The firefighter is helping a woman safely evacuate the yard. Animal control confiscated 13 pit bulls -- five adults and eight puppies. According to investigators, surveillance video captured part of the attack. The man appeared to have been feeding the dogs when several of them began fighting.

KTLA reports the attack likely occurred Thursday night between 7:30 pm and 8:00 pm, but his body was not found until a concerned friend visited his home on Friday to check on him. Neighbors said the man lived alone at the home with the dog pack. Lt. Michael Gomez with LASD’s Homicide Bureau said in a press conference, "It is believed he was feeding the dogs, at which point, maybe there was an altercation between some of the dogs, and [they] ultimately attacked and mauled the victim."

FOX 11 Sky also captured footage of the scene. It is believed it was the victim's girlfriend who called 911 to report the incident. "We cannot show you what we discovered in that backyard, but apparently there are two homes out here that are breeding pit bulls," said a FOX 11 reporter from a helicopter above the scene. "When I say there is a number of them, I mean a large number of pit bulls out here. And sad to say, we did see one person not moving and very bloody in the backyard as well."

According to a press release from the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC), the eight puppies taken into custody are 4 to 6 months old. The father of the victim is cooperating and has signed over the 13 pit bulls to DACC. "Preliminary information suggests that the deceased individual was involved in breeding and selling pit bulls. DACC continues to work diligently to gather additional details surrounding the circumstances of this tragedy," states the release.

Covid Macro-Level Forces

There has not been a media-reported fatal pit bull mauling in California since February 2020. Between May 2020 and July 2021, our nonprofit uncovered three non-media reported California fatal pit bull maulings. From 2005 to 2019, there was an average of 3 fatal pit bull maulings in California per year. But there were no media-reported pit bull fatalities in California in 2021, 2022, and 2023. That is potentially 8 or 9 fatal dog maulings unaccounted for due to ongoing Covid macro-level forces.

Pack of breeding pit bulls kill man in Compton, CA

Dominic Cooper, 35, was killed by a pack of breeding pit bulls in Compton, California.

Pack of breeding pit bulls kill man in Compton, CA

Scene after Dominic Cooper was killed by a pack of breeding pit bulls in Compton, California.

Pack of breeding pit bulls kill man in Compton, CA

Footage from ABC7/KABC-TV shows the kennel operation and one of the pit bulls.

map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: California Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

Related articles:
11/07/23: 2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Taylorsville Woman Killed by Her Son's Pack of Pit Bulls

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.

2024 Dog Bite Fatality: Breeder Killed, Husband Severely Injured After Attack by Catahoula Leopard Dog

Breeder killed by catahoula leopard dog, chiefland
A breeder was killed, her husband injured after being attacked by a catahoula leopard dog.

Killed By Own Dog
Chiefland, FL - Last week, a news report was published by WCJB about a woman killed and her husband seriously injured by one of their catahoula leopard dogs on January 29. Levy County sheriff's deputies said the couple had bred catahoula leopard dogs for more than 25 years when one of them turned on them. The husband and wife, who were not identified by police at that time, were badly mauled. The couple has since been identified as Leonora Lawhon Hale and her husband, Jim.

According to audio dispatch log files from Levy County Public Safety, the attack occurred around 9:15 pm in the 6800 block of Northwest 88th Lane. After stating the address, the dispatcher states, "reference 72-year old female, animal bite." About seven minutes later, a second responder was sent to the same address. "Reference second patient, animal bite," states the dispatcher. Jim remains hospitalized but is expected to recover from his injuries. He is being moved to a rehab center soon.

Jim's Facebook page, which he shares with his wife, states, "We love dogs, horses, fishing and music." Multiple catahoula leopard dogs are seen on the page. Both are listed in a 2021 show roster for the International Dog Shows and International All Breed Canine Association. They were competing with a catahoula leopard dog named, "Hale's Doc Holiday." Koon's Bleu Ace is the sire and Hale's Sparkle is the dam. It's unknown which of their dogs attacked them, or what the circumstances were.

The couple is active with the Levy County Horse Club Trail Riders (LCHCT), a nonprofit organization. Business records from the Secretary of State show that Leonora was the director from 2017 to 2018. She also participated in horse shows in the region. A December 2017 post from Jim states, we have "been saying Merry Christmas together for 48 years today. Wishing you all the best." Indicating the couple has been married for over a half century. We hope that Jim makes a full recovery.

Breeder killed by catahoula leopard dog, chiefland

Lenora Lawn Hale, 72, died after being attacked by one of her catahoula leopard dogs.

Related articles:
12/06/23: 2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman, 67, Killed by American Bulldog-Mixes in Suwannee 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.