Delta Bans Pit Bull-Type Dogs as Service, Support Animals in the Cabin and Limits Support Animals to One Per Person

Delta bans pit bull-type dogs as service, support dogs
Starting on July 10, Delta bans pit bull-type dogs as service and support animals.

Delta's News Release
Atlanta, GA - On June 20, Delta Air Lines announced increase restrictions on service and support animals. The restrictions include limiting each passenger to one emotional support animal per flight and prohibiting pit bull-type dogs as service or support animals. "These updates, which come as the peak summer travel season is underway, are the direct result of growing safety concerns following recent incidents in which several employees were bitten," states the Delta news release.

This announcement follows Delta's "enhanced requirements" for passengers flying with service and emotional support animals (ESA) that went into effect in March. The new policy requires that passengers traveling with an ESA or psychiatric service animal must submit a signed Veterinary Health Form (proof of rabies and distemper vaccinations) and a signed Confirmation of Animal Training form. Passengers with service animals must also provide proof of immunizations.

Both policy changes came after an alleged "support" dog repeatedly attacked a passenger in the face in June 2017. It was an escalating violent attack. The dog's owner could not stop his dog from mauling the victim, nor did the owner heed to multiple warnings the victim asked before the attack, "Is this dog going to bite me?" The victim was trapped in a window seat. The 50-pound dog was on its owner's lap seated next to him. Last year, we issued a special report about this attack.

The March enhanced policy also came after an 84 percent increase in reported incidents involving service and support animals since 2016, including urination, defecation and biting, states the news release. Currently, public comment is being taken by the Department of Transportation (through July 9) to determine the "appropriate definition of a service animal" and ways to reduce the likelihood that passengers will falsely claim that their pets are service and support animals.

Delta Bans Pit Bull-Type Dogs as Service, Support Animals

Delta's June 20 announcement, which prohibits pit bull-type dogs as service or support animals, is due to "growing safety concerns" after two employees were bitten by a passenger’s emotional support animal last week. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- which is based in Atlanta along with Delta -- provided more details. Apparently, a passenger attempted to board a plane in Atlanta with not one, but two alleged emotional support pit bulls. Two Delta crew members were bitten.

The incident occurred in Atlanta during boarding of a flight to Tokyo Narita, and one employee was medically treated on site, according to the airline. The passenger with two pit bulls was removed from the flight.

Delta said when the new policy takes effect it will no longer accept "pit bull type dogs" as service or support animals. - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The tipping point of the ban involved a passenger abusing the loophole in the Air Carrier Access Act that allows emotional support animals (ESA) in aircraft cabins if the passenger has a recognized mental health-related disability. Many of those gaming the system with ESAs claim to have a disabling mental health condition. Numerous for-profit entities, like Certapet.com, offer private online assessment for a fee to obtain an ESA letter from a mental health professional.

Gaining an ESA letter from a mental health professional can begin by taking a 5-minute online quiz. We answered "rarely", "no" and "never" to the key questions and still qualified as a "good candidate." The next step is to purchase the ESA letter ($149 to $199) and a $25 review by a mental health professional, who screens a longer online assessment test. CertaPet.com promises: No pet fees or a security deposit in housing, no airline fees and the letter lasts one full year. - DogsBite.org, July 14, 2017

Delta clarified the pit bull ban even further to People. "We must err on the side of safety. Most recently, two Delta employees were bit by a pit bull traveling as a support animal last week. We struggled with the decision to expand the ban to service animals, knowing that some customers have legitimate needs, but we have determined that untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk," Delta said in a statement to People.

Airlines are Not Subject to the Americans with Disability Act

In the frequently asked questions about service animals and the ADA, the FAQ points out that airlines fall under the Air Carrier Access Act. Question 37 asks, "Do commercial airlines have to comply with the ADA?" The answer: "No. The Air Carrier Access Act is the Federal law that protects the rights of people with disabilities in air travel. For information or to file a complaint, contact the U.S. Department of Transportation, Aviation Consumer Protection Division..."

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) is entirely different than the ADA because it is specific to air travel, where safety standards are several orders of magnitude greater than they are on the ground. Delta was correct in stating that "untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk." Under the ACAA, the prohibition of pit bulls is apparently legal, as a safety standard, (§382.117) and Delta is free to "err on the side of safety."

(f) You are never required to accommodate certain unusual service animals (e.g., snakes, other reptiles, ferrets, rodents, and spiders) as service animals in the cabin. With respect to all other animals, including unusual or exotic animals that are presented as service animals (e.g., miniature horses, pigs, monkeys), as a carrier you must determine whether any factors preclude their traveling in the cabin as service animals (e.g., whether the animal is too large or heavy to be accommodated in the cabin, whether the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others, whether it would cause a significant disruption of cabin service, whether it would be prohibited from entering a foreign country that is the flight's destination). If no such factors preclude the animal from traveling in the cabin... - The Air Carrier Access Act

The Fall Out from "Celebrities" and "Animal Groups"

First, one must consider that neither celebrities nor animal groups have any expertise in aviation safety. Neither have expertise in human safety either. To state this more concretely, aviation safety experts make policy decisions for what is safe -- and when to err on the side of safety -- during aircraft takeoff, landing and while the plane is traveling over 500 miles per hour at 30,000 feet in the air. Air travel has the highest standard of safety in transportation available to the public.

So, Shorty Rossi, an actor who appeared on the now defunct series Pit Boss, complaining to Delta on social media is childish. Rossi is not an aviation safety expert. In fact, Rossi only cares about himself and his pit bull. Delta takes responsibility for the safety of ALL of their passengers and employees for every single flight, where zero margin of error is allowed -- a mighty undertaking. Delta has more than 15,000 daily departures and over 180 million passengers annually.

In the over 400 comments on Rossi's post, one pit bull owner, Lorraine Weiss, states, "This was Delta's response to my email. Seriously?" No doubt Weiss was taking instructions from Rossi. That was the point of his post. Rossi wanted to create a fury in his base of pit bull supporters and direct them to contact information of Delta officials. Delta handled Weiss' complaint with grace, stating that they had worked with their Advisory Board on Disabilities to develop the new policy.

Hello Lorraine, RE: Case 01211022 Thank you for sharing this information and the photo of your dogs however, we have worked with our Advisory Board on Disabilities to develop this more detailed policy. Pit bull type dogs tend to not behave as well in small spaces and we feel not allowing them is in the best interest of our customers and employees. And unfortunately, there have been at least two instances where a pit bull bit another passenger and our crew member and safety is our first priority. Again, thank you for writing and know that I will share your feedback with those that make these policies. - Delta Air Lines

On June 21, the president of the ASPCA, Matt Bershadker, an avid pit bull supporter, chimed in as well. The sole mission of the ASPCA is "to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States." The ASPCA has no mission relevant to human safety and certainly no expertise in aviation safety. So Bershadker's fraudulent claim that Delta's pit bull ban "spreads false and life-threatening stereotypes" is about as hollow as a drum, given the source.

While pit bull advocacy and propaganda is free to rage "on the ground," it has limitations in commercial air travel space. In fact, it stops when you enter one of Delta's aircrafts starting on July 10. Delta aviation safety experts have determined that "untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk" to their passengers and crew members. Delta no longer accepts them in the cabin nor do they accept them traveling in cargo.


Delta bans pit bull type dogs
Some of the dog breeds most often categorized as pit bull-type dogs affected by Delta's ban.

Related articles:
01/25/18: Delta Tightens Reins on Untrained 'Support' Dogs in the Aircraft Cabin
07/14/17: The Friendly Skies Fade After a Delta Passenger is Severely Attacked by an Unrestrained 'Emotional Support Dog'

2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Back-to-Back Dogo Argentino Attacks, One Fatal, Both with Similar Circumstances and Victims

huntingtown Dogo argentino breeder
A for sale add on the victim's fiance's Facebook page, posted September 3, 2017.

Victim Did Not Survive
UPDATE 06/21/18: Police confirm the Huntingtown dog attack victim has died. Jenna Sutphin, 28, was savagely attacked by a Dogo argentino about 7:15 am this morning. She was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition with bite injuries to the back of her head and neck. Earlier today, it was reported that her family was "preparing for the worst." Sutphin and her fiance, Jason Hammer, who is a Prince George's County Correctional Center K-9 handler, breed and sell Dogo argentinos.

The attack unfolded in front of the couple's home, which overlooks Route 4. A driver traveling along Route 4 called 911 about 7:00 am after seeing an animal attacking something, reports WTOP. When the trouper arrived at the overgrown area near the highway, the dog was still actively attacking her. The trouper shot the dog causing it to flee. The driver who called in this attack and this trouper will forever live with the memories of seeing a gladiator dog destroying a woman.

The attacking dog, named Rocky, was the male counterpart of the couple's breeding pair. The animal had been living with the couple for about four years. At the time of the attack, her fiance Hammer was at a "training session with his new K-9 partner," reports WTOP. Hammer had recently undergone a 16-week training program with his malinois-shepherd mix. Sutphin was also employed by Prince George's County, working as an aide for the county attorney since May 2016.


jenna sutphin killed by dogo argentino


06/21/18: Woman Airlifted after Dog Attack
Huntingtown, MD - Earlier today, a savage attack by a Dogo argentino left one if its owners -- a 28-year old female -- in critical condition. She was airlifted to Washington MedStar Hospital Center to undergo treatment. Initially, very few details were released about the attack. We were only able to locate the dog's owners on Facebook through a photograph. The victim was later identified as Jenna Rae Sutphin. She and her fiance breed and sell Dogo argentinos openly on Facebook.

"At about 7:15 a.m. this morning, a trooper from the Prince Frederick Barrack responded to the unit-block of Cherry Hill Road and Route 4 in Huntingtown, Maryland, after receiving an animal complaint from motorists passing by the area. Upon his arrival to the scene, the trooper found the dog actively engaged in the attack in an overgrown area near the highway, adjacent to the front yard of the victim’s home. Police believe the dog is owned by the victim’s fiance." - Maryland State Police news release, June 21, 2018

Police shot and killed the animal to prevent it from harming anyone else, states a press release issued by the Maryland State Police. Sources who responded to the scene said that the woman was bitten in the back of the head and neck, and that her family is preparing for the worst, reports WTOP. According to Sutphin's fiance's Facebook page, he is a law enforcement officer. This vicious attack comes on the heels of a very similar attack in Fairfield, California one week ago.

Fairfield Dogo Argentino Breeder Attack

Last Thursday, a 29-year old female was airlifted to the Bay Area for treatment of life-threatening injuries after a Dogo argentino brutally attacked her. The attack occurred in the 1600 block of Kentucky Street. "I thought he had killed her because she had stopped screaming for a little while," neighbor and witness Yolanda Kendrick said. “I really thought he had done killed her.” Police shot and killed that dog too. There were reportedly up to 20 other Dogos at the home.

Authorities confiscated all of the dogs. It is unknown what their status is at this time. There may be no additional news reports about this attack.

The victim's husband operates a Bay Area Dogo argentino kennel named, Dogos Del Gran Patron. Since the near fatal attack of his wife, he has removed the kennel's Instagram page. He also continues to publish "solid white" photos to his Facebook profile. "Solid white" is another expression for the Dogo. This may or may not be some type of social media signal to other Dogo breeders. Commenters at this rescue group report his wife lost at least one arm in the attack.

Both attacks involve the spouses of Dogo argentino breeders. Both women will suffer lifelong permanent injuries before the age of 30. The Fairfield victim has two young children. The stakes are quite high when breeding a ferocious fighting breed that is banned in multiple countries. Like the South African boerboel, Dogo argentino population numbers in the United States are low. However, these back-to-back horrific attacks show that their population numbers are rising.

As explained in the South African boerboel post -- which also involved one of the breeder's own dogs attacking -- the Dogo argentino is one of several "reinvented" ancient gladiator breeds used for the purposes of guarding and fighting (combat dogs). It is generally agreed upon that the Dogo is a "reconstitution" of an extinct gladiator breed created by crossing the Cordoba fighting dog with mastiffs and old white bull terriers. Learn more about Dogo argentinos at Daxton's Friends.

Dogo argentino is the result of a breeding program started by Dr. Antonio Nores Martinez and his brother Agustin in the 1920's. Inspired by the legends of the mighty Alaunt and the working Viejo Perro de Pelea Cordobés ... Developed from old white Bull Terriers, Cordoba Fighting Dogs, English Pointers, Deutsche Dogges, French Mastiffs, Spanish Mastiffs ... this white mastiff also found a place for itself in the world of dogfighting, where it gained notoriety as a fearless and tireless pit fighter. Molosserdogs.com, 2011

We also discussed in the boerboel post, "Who worships, breeds or owns boerboels?" The same question can be posed about the Dogo argentino. In the two recent vicious attacks, both involved seemingly "macho" male owners, who are also breeders with young wives that have now been forever damaged by their own Dogo. No one can claim ignorance about a dog's heritage when the conversation turns to destructive gladiator combat breeds, like the boerboel and Dogo argentino.


Dogo argentino kennel bay area

dogo argentino attack

Related articles:
05/17/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: South African Boerboel Breeder Killed by One of Her Gladiator...
03/24/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: 8-Month Old Baby Killed by Family Pit Bull in Calvert County

2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Infant Mauled to Death by Babysitter's Dog in Georgia

Paige Bradley, killed by babysitters dog
Paige Bradley, 5-months old, was killed by her babysitter's dog in Forest Park.

No Charges Warranted
UPDATE 06/15/18: There will be no charges after a 5-month old baby was mauled to death by a family dog while she was sleeping. Investigators concluded that no unlawful or neglectful act was committed. In the early morning hours of Sunday, June 10, about 2:55 am, police received a 911 call from a "frantic" caller who was "not able to communicate the nature of their emergency," according to a news release issued by the Clayton County Police Department on June 14.

Upon arrival, responding officers discovered that the family dog (German Shepherd) had mauled a 5-month-old female to death. According to the family of the child, she was placed in a bed to sleep and left in the care of her mother’s roommate while her mother left the home for a few hours. When the mother returned, she discovered that her roommate had fallen asleep in another area of the home and when they went to check on the welfare of the baby, it was discovered that the baby had been mauled to death in the bedroom where she had been placed to sleep.

The family advised detectives that the dog had been around the baby since the baby’s birth had never shown any signs of aggression toward the baby or anyone else in the home. The dog was removed from the home by Clayton County Animal Control officers on the night of the incident and has since been surrendered by his owner to Animal Control and euthanized.

At the conclusion of the investigation, it was determined that no unlawful or neglectful act had been committed by anyone in the home and no charges were filed. - Clayton County Police Department, June 14, 2018

The release clears up the conflicting date of death being reported by different news outlets, and more importantly (in our minds) clears up where the baby lived. Earlier, we reported that the child was visiting the babysitter's home, which is one of our 33 parameters in collecting dog bite fatality data. However, the Clayton County Police Department confirms the baby lived at the home on Watts Road with her mother and her mother's roommate, who is also a longtime family friend.

On Thursday, the baby's mother, T'erika George, spoke to WSB-TV. Struggling through emotions, she gave a slightly different version of the timeline. What is clear in her voice is her immense grief for the loss of her baby. "I told her I’m so sorry because I always take you with me," George said. When asked by the reporter, "What do you think happened?" George replied, "I can't even say. I just gave it to God and I told him to figure this all out for me." Our hearts go out to this mother.


06/14/18: Baby Killed by Family Dog
Forest Park, GA - An infant is dead after being mauled to death by a dog. The deadly attack occurred Tuesday at a home on Watts Road in Forest Park. At the time of the attack, the baby was under the care of a babysitter, her mother's roommate. The mother told police she left her daughter with her roommate for a few hours. When she returned, she found her infant dead and the roommate asleep. Clayton County authorities seized the roommate's German shepherd.

There is conflicting information about the date of the baby's death -- Sunday or Tuesday and whether the baby lived at home on Watts Road.

After WSB-TV updated their article, "roommate" was dropped and the babysitter became a "longtime friend" of the child's mother, T'erika George. According to police, this male friend was watching the baby that night. He put the baby down to sleep on a bed in one room then he fell asleep in another room. About 3:00 am, someone called police saying a German shepherd had killed a baby. According to George, baby Paige had been around this particular dog her whole life.

"He ate by us, he slept by us, he followed us and sometimes I had her in her car seat and he would go over and check on her and walk away. I never heard of anything like this," George told WSB-TV. No criminal charges have been filed so far and animal control already euthanized the dog, police said. The family has set up a GoFundMe page. "All proceeds go toward the funeral arrangements for Paige. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers," states the fundraiser.

The death of baby Paige while under her babysitter's care marks the fourth infant, 8-months old or younger, attacked and killed by a family dog this year, 31% of all dog bite fatality victims.

Baby Paige Bradly killed by babysitter's dog

Related articles:
06/18/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Infant Killed by Pit Bull While Under Care of Grandmother...
05/07/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Baby Killed by Family Dog While Under Her Grandmother's Care
04/11/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Pet Wolf Hybrid Kills 8-Day Old Baby Girl in Virginia


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.

2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Infant Killed by Family Pit Bull While Under Care of Grandmother in Miramar, Florida

pit bull kills baby in miramar
Liana Valino, 9-months old, was killed by a family pit bull in Miramar, Florida.

911 Call Released
UPDATE 06/07/18: On May 30, a baby was mauled to death by a family pit bull in the 2400 block of Kingston Drive. Liana Valino, 9-months old, was pronounced dead at the scene. Media footage showed an investigator removing the infant from the home wrapped in a red blanket. On Wednesday, the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death was accidental. The family had owned the pit bull for 3 or 4 years. The family also had two other pit bulls, both related.

Miramar police also released the 911 call made by the baby's grandmother. At the time of the attack, Liana was under her care. The grandmother told a Spanish-speaking 911 translator, “My son’s dog killed the 8-month-old girl,” she said. “I locked the dog in the bathroom and the baby is dead in the living room.” The dispatcher tells the grandmother that paramedics and police are on the way. The frantic grandmother responded, “The baby’s on the floor, dead, in the living room.”

The grandmother was babysitting the 9-month old in a household with three adult pit bulls that belonged to her son. What could go wrong?

Authorities confiscated all three pit bulls after the attack. None of which had a history of reported attacks in Broward County, according to Stefanie Chicko, assistant director of the county’s animal care division. As of Wednesday, the attacking dog was turned over to the county, reports the Sun Sentinel. It is unclear what occurred to the family's two remaining pit bulls -- neither of them participated in the attack. So far, the baby Liana's funeral fund has reached over $14,500.

Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam, who is currently looking into the city's reported dog bites and dangerous dog designations to evaluate if there is a problem, told the Sun Sentinel, “It’s just a heartbreaking story for any family to endure." Messam also addresses the fact that this baby was killed by a family pet and states, “it begs the question, would an ordinance have prevented what happened?” The only ordinance that could have prevented this deadly attack is a pit bull ban.


05/31/18: Pit Bulls Bring Tragedy
On Wednesday, a 9-month old baby girl was mauled to death by a family pit bull while under the care of her paternal grandmother in Miramar, Florida. Liana Valino was pronounced dead at the scene. The child's mother, Brenda Villasin, told reporters that her daughter lived with her, but she often dropped her off at her grandmother's home when she didn't attend daycare. The grandmother's household had three pit bulls, all related, a mother and her two adult offspring.

The culprit was one of the offspring, a male pit bull about 3 or 4 years old. Broward County Animal Control officers confiscated all three dogs.

The death of Liana falls under multiple attack scenarios that our nonprofit tracks. Liana was visiting her grandmother's home when she was killed by the pit bull. Liana was also under the care of her grandmother at the time -- the owner of the three pit bulls (technically) was away. From 2005 to 2017, 27% (116) of all dog bite fatality victims were either visiting or living temporarily with the dog's owner when the fatal attack occurred. Pit bulls inflicted 73% (85) of these deaths.

A statement by Miramar Police Officer Yessenia Diaz describes what happened: "The child was in a bedroom, in a bouncy chair, and the grandmother was with the child" when the dog attacked. What preceded this is less clear, though USA Today and Buzzfeed report the grandmother was bringing the pit bull back from a walk, when it overpowered her and "went directly into the room where the child was bouncing and attacked her." Buzzfeed attributed that statement to Diaz.

The family had raised the dog since it was a puppy. Of the 284 fatal attacks inflicted pit bulls from 2005 to 2017, 52% (149) involved killing a family or household member. Right now, two families after separate attacks are mourning the loss of a child after a family pit bull attack. Last week, 6-year old Gauge Eckenrode was killed by a "rescued pit bull" that had belonged to his family for several years. The boy's father could only stop the attack by stabbing the pit bull multiple times.


05/30/18: Multi-Pit Bull Household
A 9-month old baby girl is dead after being attacked by a family pit bull, police confirmed Wednesday afternoon. The baby was under the care of her grandmother at the time of the deadly attack. There were three dogs in the family's home -- all related. The attacker was a male pit bull, 3 to 4 years old and had been raised by the family since it was a puppy, Miramar Police Officer Yessenia Diaz said. The other two dogs were its sibling and their mother, both pit bulls.

Earlier today, police confirmed the baby was in a bouncy chair in a bedroom when the pit bull attacked her. The Sun Sentinel spoke to Alex Bernal, who is the landlord of the family's home on Kingston Drive. Bernal said they have been renting for about 18 months. "They are excellent tenants," Bernal said. Police are withholding the baby's name until relatives can be informed of her tragic death. "We want to respect their wishes, being that the child was so young," Diaz said.

"She was the best thing to ever happen to me," the baby's mother, Brenda Villasin, said. "We smiled every morning. She was my world."

However, the child's mother, Brenda Villasin, identified her daughter as Liana Villasin to the Miami-Herald and other news agencies. Villasin said she drops her daughter off at her grandmother's home every morning so that she can go to work. "Nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks they are going to lose the person they love," Villasin said. Yet, the infant's grandmother had multiple pit bulls in her home, a mother and its two offspring, which is a reckless "babysitting" environment.

After arriving at the scene, Villasin told Local 10 News, "I'm numb right now. I don't feel -- I can't express myself correctly. My emotions are all over the place." Part of this video footage shows an investigator from the medical examiner's office removing the infant from the home wrapped in a red blanket. The footage also shows a woman, presumably the grandmother, being escorted from the home by detectives. The Department of Children and Families is investigating the family.

Finally, in a late afternoon update, WSVN sheds more light on the people living at the Kingston Drive home and their relationship. The ex-husband of Brenda Villasin, who is the baby's father, resides at the home with his mother (the baby's paternal grandmother). Thus, the ex-husband may actually be the owner of the dogs. The ex-husband was not home when one of his pit bulls killed baby Liana. Police have not identified the baby's father or the baby's paternal grandmother.


family pit bull kills baby miramar


05/30/18: Family Dog Kills Baby
Miramar, FL - Miramar Police have confirmed that an 8-month old baby girl is dead after being attacked by a dog. Police responded to 2420 Kingston Drive about 11:30 am. At the time of the attack, the baby was under the care of a female relative, Miramar Police Officer Yessenia Diaz said. There were three dogs in the home (one large seen in video here). The breeds have not yet been identified. Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office investigators were at the scene.

Over the 13-year period of 2005 to 2017, 16% (68) of all dog bite fatalities involved a babysitter, grandparent or relative watching a child, or the dog being "watched" by a person other than its owner when the canine inflicted a deadly attack. Pit bulls carried out 74% (50) of these attacks. In the most recent fatality, the WSVN 7Skyforce chopper shows 32 minutes of raw footage of police and investigators at the scene, where the baby's home is taped off, and media crews setting up.

Afternoon Updates

Miramar Police confirmed the attacking dog is a "spotted brown pit bull" the family has owned for 3 to 4 years. The infant was in a bouncy chair in a bedroom when the deadly attack occurred. The infant was under the care of her grandmother at the time, police said. The family had three dogs in their home on Kingston Drive. Police confirmed that the large dog seen in the backyard by the WSVN 7Skyforce chopper was not the attacker. This continues to be a developing news story.

Local 10 News reports that Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Division removed all three dogs from the family's home. "This child is only eight months old," Officer Yessenia Diaz told Local 10. "It is very difficult for the entire department and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the entire family." This infant's death marks the fourth child, 13-months old or younger, killed by a canine this year. In three of these deaths, 75%, the baby was under the care of a babysitter at the time.

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

Police shielding fatal pit bull mauling scene from public and reporters in Miramar

Related articles:
05/07/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Baby Killed by Family Dog While Under Her Grandmother's Care
04/06/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Dog Kills 13-Month Old Baby Girl at Babysitter's Home
03/09/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Pet Wolf Hybrid Kills 8-Day Old Baby Girl in Virginia


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.

2018 Dog Bite Fatality: 6-Year Old Boy Killed by Rescued Pit Bull in Blair County, Pennsylvania

rescued pit bull kills boy in blair county
Gauge Eckenrode, 6-years old, was killed by a family pit bull in Lakemont.

Rescued Pit Bull
UPDATE 05/26/18: On Saturday, Blair County Coroner Patricia Ross officially identified the 6-year old boy killed Thursday by a family pit bull as Gauge Eckenrode. A fundraiser started by Taylor Crawford on May 24 had already done so. Logan Township Police Chief David Reese confirmed that family members tried to stop the attack by stabbing the dog. Police ultimately killed the dog. The dog was a "rescued pit bull" and had belonged to the family for several years, Reese said.

No other information was released about the pit bull, such as which rescue agency was involved, the dog's gender or spay/neuter status.

The boy's family had two dogs, according to news reports. The attacking pit bull was killed, and the family asked authorities to take away their other dog. The deadly attack occurred inside the family's home, Rick Vaughan said, a spokesman for the family. The child's father was cutting grass when he heard the mother screaming and discovered "the dog on the boy." By stabbing the dog, the father was able to get the animal off the child, but "It was already too late,” Vaughan said.

05/25/18: Family Pit Bull Kills Boy
Lakemont, PA - Blair County Coroner Patty Ross confirmed late Thursday that a 6-year old boy was killed by a family pit bull. The coroner ruled the boy died of blunt force trauma. The attack occurred at a home on Gesser Avenue. The child attended Baker Elementary School. Logan Township Police continue to investigate. Counselors will be available to help students and staff Friday. The child's name is being withheld out of respect for the family's wishes, reports WTAJ.

Rick Vaughan, a friend of the boy's family, said the boy died after the family dog attacked him just before 6:00 pm. Vaughan told the Altoona Mirror the boy's father was cutting grass when he heard the mother screaming and rushed to find "the dog on the boy." Despite the father's actions to get the dog off the child, "It was already too late," Vaughan said. The dog that killed the boy is dead. The family asked police to remove a second dog from their home, reports the Altoona Mirror.

A fundraiser for the little boy's family identifies him as Gauge Allen Eckenrode. He was a "happy little six year old boy who lost his little life to a pit bull attack," states the fundraiser page, created by Taylor Crawford. "We are trying to raise money to help cover all the expenses that this family needs, from medical bills all the way to the funeral expenses." The family "never expected" for anything like this to ever happen, states the page. Gauge had a little sister named Gypsy.


Lakemont boy killed by rescued pit bull

Gauge Allen Eckenrode killed by rescued pit bull
Gauge Allen Eckenrode killed by rescued pit bull

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

Related articles:
11/24/17: Man Dies in North Philadelphia After Being Attacked by Four Pit Bulls on...
04/28/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull-Mix Kills Owner in Upper Macungie Township


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.

After Blind Woman and Guide Dog Endure Multiple Attacks, She Hopes City Officials Crack Down on Loose Dogs

Agnes Courville Addressed City Council Members in Early May

Agnes Courville loose dog attacks Opelousas
Agnes Courville, legally blind, stands before Opelousas city council on May 8, 2018.

Blind Woman Testifies
Opelousas, LA - Last week, Agnes Courville of Opelousas shared with us a powerful letter she hand delivered to the mayor on May 8, 2018, just before she gave testimony at the Opelousas City Council meeting. Courville said that council members reassured her at that time that they would work on safety issues involving loose dogs and dog attacks. Opelousas is legally blind. Loose dogs have attacked Courville and her highly trained service dog multiple times since March 4.

The attacks started one day after she returned home with her guide dog after three weeks of training at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Florida.

So far, Courville has also met with the Opelousas director of Animal Control, the Opelousas director of Public Works and the city's K9 officer. She states in her email to us that she is "hoping for a successful change" though it may take years to accomplish. "It takes a village to change the mindset regarding how you treat animals," she wrote. Courville used to volunteer for St. Landry Parish Animal Control. She has seen the neglect and abandonment some parish dogs endure.

Her primary concern is the roaming dogs she and her guide dog constantly encounter -- two pit bulls in particular. Once, she was even thrown to the ground while in front of her own home. That dog jumped on her back then jumped her highly trained guide dog. Courville points out in her letter how serious this issue is for guide dogs, "Dog attacks and interference from other dogs are a problem for any dog owner, but they are a potential career-ending event for guide dog teams."

Courville told the Daily World that the police chief and mayor have not contacted her since her May 8 testimony. As for the two problematic pit bulls, Courville has reported them to Opelousas Animal Control Warden Joey Stelly and St. Landry Animal Control, but nothing has been done. “Joey Stelly is aware of the dogs and who they belong to," she said. Courville's case presents a powerful argument against a city that knowingly allows this dangerous problem to persist.


To: Reggie Tatum
Opelousas City Mayor
Opelousas, LA 70570
Subject: “Uncontrolled dogs in our Community, safety concerns”
Dear Mayor,

Today, May 8, 2018, I am attending Opelousas Council meeting to inquire about a dangerous situation in our city of Opelousas.
I have been living in Opelousas since 2013, I live in the historic district next to Opelousas South City Park, I work as a teacher at Park Vista Elementary, and I am an active volunteer in my city.

A few years ago, I developed a visual impairment and lost my driving privileges as I am legally blind. I became a pedestrian on the streets of Opelousas, not an easy task to accomplish, there is a lack of sidewalks, grass not cut, holes that are barely announced or not tagged, and lately I experienced loose dogs attack.

However, my main concern is about loose dogs that are rooming in our City as I walk the route to my work every day.

I came back with my guide dog March 3, 2018, after 3 weeks of training at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Florida. The following day on Sunday March 4, I had two dogs “pit bull breed” coming at me, I had to use the pepper spray. These dogs were loose, no collars, no leash in front of their house with owners who believe that they have the right to do so, because they are on their property.

I have been attacked by loose dogs numerous times since March 4, 2018.
I called St Landry Parish Animal Control, Opelousas animal control, St Landry Parish Sheriff’s office and Opelousas City Police came to my house. Several times, loose dogs came to my door steps, once I have been thrown on the ground as I was in front of my house, a loose dog came from the back and jumped on my back, he then jumped on my guide dog, I did not have enough time to use my mace. As I was falling on the ground I protected my guide dog and scared the loose dog away, I ended up with a swollen knee and some bruises. I have every incidents documented.

I am calling your attention regarding the safety of our streets, the different attacks I experienced as a hazard for the children, the elderly, the mailman, delivery workers and any citizen in our community.

Louisiana has a strict liability dog bite statute that states that the owner of a dog is liable for injuries to persons or property caused by the dog which the owner could have prevented and which did not result from the injured person's provocation of the dog. L.A. C.C. Art. 2321.

What about loose dogs? Who is liable? Who is responsible for the damage that can be caused by loose dogs and dogs’ attack?

Training a guide dog requires efforts and money investment. My guide dog is not only valuable, my dog is my safety net. Altercations with other dogs put my guide dog at risk and jeopardize my safety. The results of my encounters range from emotional injury to physical injury and can end the career of my guide dog.

Dog attacks and interference from other dogs are a problem for any dog owner, but they are a potential career-ending event for guide dog teams. Recently, The Seeing Eye (this country's first, and the world's oldest, guide dog school) conducted a survey of guide dog handlers to determine the scope of the problem (see US Survey document attached).

I am addressing Opelousas City Mayor, City Council President and Council president and members to find a solution to this ongoing issue.

Thank you for your time.
Agnes Courville
Copies:
Opelousas City Council President
Opelousas City Council members
Joey, Opelousas City Animal Control
Mr. Bill Fontenot, St Landry Parish President
St Landry Parish Council President
Stacey A McKnight, St Landry Parish Animal Control
Nicole Poiencot, MSW LMSV, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, Lafayette, LA
Scott Crawford

Related articles:
05/25/18: Opelousas Dealing with Animal Control Issues in Light of Pit Bull Attacks
01/24/18: Delta's Policy Response After a Passenger Attacked by an Emotional Support Dog
07/13/17: Delta Passenger is Severely Attacked by an Unrestrained Emotional Support Dog

2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies After Being Attacked by a Pack of Dogs Near Ardmore, Oklahoma

pack of dogs kill woman in ardrmore
Tracy Garcia died late Thursday after being attacked by a pack of dogs near Ardmore.

Vet Removes Post
UPDATE 05/17/18: Yesterday, inaccurate headlines about this fatal dog mauling went viral. Here are the themes: sausage dogs maul and weiner dogs attack. The media went viral around the world, not restricted to the United States. This is despite a statement by a veterinarian disputing it, who had examined these dogs while alive, the best way to determine breed identification. Dr. Douglas Aldridge stated, "The dogs appear to me to be a pit bull and 4 pit-bull mix puppies."

Two employees at the Ardmore Animal Shelter -- who received the dogs dead, never examined them alive -- are responsible for deliberately mislabeling six of the dogs as predominantly "dachshund." Vet technician Amanda Dinwiddie, whose husband has bred and sold pit bulls in the past, and shelter co-director Tena Layton, an owner of multiple pit bulls, are 100% responsible for misleading the sheriff, media and public about the breeds involved in this deadly attack.

What is a mystery to us is why Layton ever supplied photographs of the dogs to the public? Because one of those images "clearly" identifies the largest dog as a pit bull. It's younger offspring cannot even reliably be called dachshund-mixes. (The ears, among other things.) Bull terrier-mixes is a much better assessment. "Mixed-breed" will always technically be accurate as well. Some media stories are updating now after the explosion of inaccurate news stories yesterday.

Dinwiddie and Layton also claimed that all of the dogs were under 40 pounds. Dr. Aldridge refutes that as well, stating yesterday on Facebook, "There was one that was larger, approximately 55-60 pounds, that the owners described as the sire to these shorter dogs." Dr. Aldridge is referring to the pit bull, visible in the photographs as the largest dog in the pack. Furthermore, Aldridge spoke to the owner of the dogs and confirmed the male pit bull was the sire of the smaller offspring.

Earlier today, on May 17, Dr. Aldridge removed his post from the Westwood Veterinary Hospital Facebook page. All that we have now are screenshots. Instead of writing about this victim and her death, we are being forced to refute bullshit. As Alberto Brandolini's Bullshit Asymmetry Principle shows: "The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it." You can thank Dinwiddie and Layton for this bullshit. Both should be fired ASAP.


Amanda Dinwiddie and Tena Layton of the Ardmore Animal Shelter


05/15/18: Dog Mauling Victim Identified
Yesterday, the victim was identified as 52-year old Tracy Garcia. Several news stories were published stating that pit bulls were not involved. Mind you, this is after the Ardmore Animal Shelter released photographs of the dogs with at least one depicting a pit bull. Amanda Dinwiddie, a vet technician at the Ardmore Animal Shelter claimed that "dachshund" was the primary breed, mixed with terrier. Dinwiddie also claimed the pit bull was a "border collie mix."

Since 2005, border collies have been involved one fatal dog attack, which also involved two American bulldogs and a Neapolitan mastiff.1

Dinwiddie's assessment was incorrect. Further, her husband used to breed and sell pit bulls. Prior to the dogs reaching the Ardmore Animal Shelter, they were taken to the Westwood Veterinary Hospital, where they were euthanized. Due to the upheaval caused by Dinwiddie's "border collie mix" claim, Dr. Douglas Aldridge has spoken out on the Westwood Veterinary Hospital Facebook page. "The dogs appear to me to be a pit bull and 4 pit-bull mix puppies," Dr. Aldridge wrote.

There is no more "breed mislabeling" -- the good doctor has spoken. But readers can see that Dinwiddie of the Ardmore Animal Shelter was trying to alter U.S. fatal dog attack statistics to "protect the pit bull breed." She may have had the help of the shelter as well. The death of Tracy Garcia is tragic. She endured a horrible pack attack involving pit bulls. Then for Dinwiddie to deliberately mislead the sheriff, media and public about the breeds involved? That is a disgrace.2

Dr. Douglas Aldridge statement


"We have been receiving a lot of negative messages regarding the breeds of dogs involved in the terrible attack Thursday night. I believe that people are missing the point regarding the breeds of dogs that were involved. A woman died. The dogs appear to me to be a pit bull and 4 pit-bull mix puppies. Who knows what the female was. She looked to me like an Australian Shepherd mixed with something with short legs. It was tragic. The person who made a statement about the breed previously works at the shelter, not here.- Dr. Aldridge" Westwood Veterinary Hospital, May 15, 2018


05/11/18: Pit Bull Involved
Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant confirmed that one of the dogs involved in the mauling death of a woman Thursday was a pit bull. The six other dogs were medium-sized dogs of mixed-breeds. All seven animals belong to the same owner. The attack happened at a residence just before 10 pm on Banyon Road near Ardmore. "Once we were notified that this female had succumbed to her injuries," the owner of the dogs decided to put the remaining dogs down, Sheriff Bryant said.

KXII reports that arriving officers shot and killed one of the dogs that charged them. The animals belonged to one of the victim's neighbors. "Anytime you go to a dog bite call or a dog is attacking people in general, it is disturbing," Bryant said. "Our prayers are with the family of the victim, and the rest of the community because this is a very unfortunate situation." Authorities are still investigating the fatal pack attack. There is no leash law in unincorporated parts of Carter County.

Photos of the seven deceased dogs released from the Ardmore Animal Shelter show one pit bull, five dachshund-(pit bull) terrier mixes and a longhaired mixed breed, which Shelter Co-director Tena Layton previously said could be the mother of the younger dogs. Authorities have not identified the dogs' owner or the victim. Sheriff Chris Bryant said that autopsy results will be forwarded to the district attorney's office to determine if the dogs' owner will face any charges.


05/11/18: Pack of Dogs Kill Woman
Ardmore, OK - A woman is dead after being attacked by a pack of dogs. The attack occurred Thursday night east of Ardmore. About 9:45 pm, Carter County Sheriff’s office, Ardmore Police Department Animal Control, Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service and Air-Evac were dispatched to Banyon Road and Mary Niblack Road for a call about a woman being mauled by seven dogs. The woman, in her 50s, died at the scene. Authorities have not released her name.

Animal control officers seized all seven dogs. They were taken to Westwood Veterinary Hospital where they were euthanized, according to police records. Their bodies were then taken to the Ardmore Animal Shelter. Shelter Co-director Tena Layton said six of the dogs were about a year old and the other was possibly their mother. The dogs, smaller in nature, appeared to be part dachshund and part terrier. They were heavily infested with fleas and ticks, Layton said.

Conflicting information was released about the ownership of the dogs. Authorities did not release information about the circumstances of the attack, the degree or location of the victim's bite injuries or the health of the victim prior to the attack. Though extremely rare, there have been fatal dog maulings in the past involving two small dogs or a pack of small dogs killing an incapacitated or elderly person (See: case 3). The Carter County Sheriff’s office continues to investigate.

Oklahoma Dog Bite Fatalities

From January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2017, canines killed 11 people in Oklahoma. When considering the death rate per population of 10 million, Alaska has long maintained the highest rate. In 2012, Oklahoma had the sixth highest death rate. During the full 13-year period (2005 to 2017), Oklahoma had the seventh highest death rate. Arkansas, not even seen in the top ten states in our 2012 post, has since shot up to the third highest death rate in dog bite fatalities.


dogs involved in fatal attack near ardmore Oklahoma


1The 2005 pack attack death of 83-year old Boyd Fiscus in Indiana was most certainly mainly carried out by the heavy lifters -- two American bulldogs and a Neapolitan mastiff. One of these American bulldogs had attacked a child previoulsy too, which is why criminal charges were pursued.
2On May 17, Dr. Douglas Aldridge removed his Facebook post. We have replaced it with a screenshot.

Related articles:
05/09/13: 8-Year U.S. Dog Bite Fatality State Map (2005 to 2012) and Discussion Notes
09/28/11: 2011 Dog Bite Fatality: Ardmore Man Mauled to Death by Chained Pit Bull


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.

2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Elderly Woman Killed by Two Pit Bulls in Gulfport, Mississippi

two pit bulls kill woman gulfport mississippi
Georgia Ruth Morgan, 75, died after being attacked by two pit bulls in Gulfport.

Victim Identified
UPDATE 05/17/18: Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove has identified the victim as 75-year old Georgia Morgan. Hargrove said she died of her injuries after being attacked by two dogs Wednesday morning on Deidra Court. Gulfport deputy police chief Chris Lopposer told WLOX: "Through an investigation, we determined that a woman entered a closed property through a gate, shut the gate behind her, and while inside the fenced in yard, was attacked by two dogs."

Morgan was mauled to death by two pit bulls belonging to Emily Craft. Police arrested Craft afterward on an outstanding warrant from 2017.

There is only speculation as to why Morgan entered Craft's yard. Morgan was known as "the can lady" who collected cans in the area. She may have been trying to reach cans she saw in Craft's yard. Diana Jones, who lives next to Craft, said, "How she got in, I don't know, but she was going to get her cans." In 2017, after Craft's pit bulls attacked Jones' dog for the second time, Jones filed a vicious animal complaint. This is why there was an outstanding warrant for Craft's arrest.

Jones also spoke to Fox10 News. "We heard a cry, a scream," Jones said about the morning of the attack. "There was pieces of clothing and stuff all in the front yard ... I hit the floor when I found out it was her." Jones showed Fox10 how Craft's pit bulls would escape the fencing around the home. She said Craft's pit bulls have always been aggressive. Craft surrendered both pit bulls to authorities for euthanasia. No criminal charges have been filed in connection to Morgan's death.


05/16/18: Pit Bulls Kill Woman
Gulfport, MS - An elderly woman is dead after being attacked by two pit bulls. On Wednesday, just before 8:00 am, Gulfport Police responded to a call of a woman being attacked by pit bulls in the 14400 block of Deidra Court. Arriving officers found the woman in the yard of a home, but she had already succumbed to her injuries. Gulfport Detectives, Crime Scene Units, and the Harrison County Coroner responded, states a news release issued by the Gulfport Police Department.

According to investigators, the 75-year old woman was known to walk in the area. She allegedly opened a closed gate to a fenced-in yard and was attacked by two pit bulls that resided inside. The victim did not live at the home, states the release. The owner of the two pit bulls surrendered both animals to Gulfport Animal Control. "While this is a tragic situation which is still under investigation, there are no charges at this time," states the Gulfport Police Department release.

Afternoon Updates

The Sun Herald reports that Gulfport Police arrested the owner of two pit bulls that attacked and killed a woman this morning. Emily Craft was arrested after the fatal mauling on an outstanding warrant issued last July for two misdemeanor charges -- having a dog at large and a vicious animal charge. A neighbor of Craft, Diana Jones, filed the vicious dog complaint after Craft's two pit bulls attacked her golden retriever for a second time. Jones did not report the first attack.

Police have not released the name of the 75-year old woman killed by Craft's pit bulls. She was known in the Orange Grove neighborhood as "the can lady." She walked daily and collected cans in the neighborhood. She was a kind lady and always greeted the children at the bus stop, Jones' daughters told the Sun Herald. Gulfport Police continue investigating her death. Sadly, there are other innocent victims of pit bull maulings whose only acts were daily walks and collecting cans.

Suspected Pit Bull Owner

The Sun Herald article states that the name of Craft's large male pit bull is "Cash." An Intelius search revealed that only one Emily Craft resides in Gulfport, Mississippi. In August 2016, a Gulfport-based Emily Craft Facebook user posted a "lost" announcement stating that her two pit bulls, Cash and June, "went missing." She claimed a $100,000 reward on the Stolen Lost Found Pets of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Facebook group for anyone who located her missing pit bulls.

Craft is also a backyard breeder and seller of pit bulls. In December 2016, this same Craft posted about pit bull puppies for sale in the Slidell Online Garage Sale group. Of all things, she was trying to sell merle pit bulls for $200 to $250; most pit bull breeders and organizations disdain merle breeding. Just five days ago (expand comments), Craft posted about non-merle pit bull puppies for sale in the Pets for sale South MS Facebook group. The price of her puppies is $200 each.

We continue to work to verify this suspected pit bull owner in this breaking dog bite fatality. At about 11:00 pm Central Time, Fox10 News identified the victim as Georgia Ruth Morgan.

Emily craft pit bulls arrested fatal dog attack

inadequate fencing by pit bull owner emily craft after fatal attack

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

Related articles:
03/08/18: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Second Human Fatality Inflicted by Same Pit Bulls
09/21/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies of Injuries After Pit Bull Mauling in Mississippi


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.