2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Sleeping Newborn Killed by 'Vicious Canine' Inside Family Home in Hampton, Virginia

Hampton infant killed by vicious canine
A sign outside the home where a sleeping infant was killed by a "vicious canine" in Hampton.

GoFundMe Tall Tale
UPDATE 10/29/20: A GoFundMe identifies the infant as Michelle Ocean Rae Carr. We must point out two parts of the family's statement. One, "Lane" the family German shepherd was not Michelle's "brother." Nor did this canine love or watch over "her with love." This is the very type of anthropomorphizing that can and does lead to fatal dog maulings of infants each year. Notably, even after the infant's death, the grieving parents continue to anthropomorphize this dog.

Two, the deceased infant's parents claim that they "awoke to a panicked, scared Lane and our baby" and that Lane "had heard her crying and tried to bring her to us. He was trying to help, but sadly, her delicate little body could not take the move." Essentially, Lane, the "hero dog" was only "trying to help," but the large-breed canine mistakenly doled out death instead. We hope that parents and dog owners reading this post understand how dangerously foolish this reasoning is.

Lane is a canine, not the infant's "brother" or any human being. The police statement says, "Hampton Public Safety Communications received a call of a vicious canine that had killed an infant in the first block of Scotland Road." Additionally, it states, "The child’s father observed the extensive injuries to the child and immediately euthanized the canine." These statements from police do not corroborate the tall tale fantasy spun by the infant's parents for a fundraiser.

Nor does the father rapidly shooting and killing the dog corroborate this fantasy. "We are not angry, we are not in a rage," states the GoFundMe. Nor, our nonprofit will add, do we the parents take any responsibility in failing to recognize that anthropomorphizing dogs, especially in relation to infants, is dangerous. Pretending that dogs are Nanny Dogs that allegedly "watch over" infants, is also dangerous. Then, inventing a story that the dog was only "trying to help" is sheer madness.

"Michelle Ocean Rae Carr came into our lives on September 1st, 2020 ... Everyday to look at something so beautiful, so pure, how were we so lucky we thought? Michelle’s brother, Lane, an eight year old German Shepard was always by her side. He loved her, and he watched over her with love. He was there at the smallest movement or sounds from her. Lane has never showed a shred of aggression toward anyone in his life. He was a big, curious, goofy child.

On October 26, 2020 at 3:00 am we awoke to a panicked, scared Lane and our baby... Lane had heard her crying and tried to bring her to us. He was trying to help, but sadly, her delicate little body could not take the move. I, the father, explained to him that we were not angry with him but there are consequences for everything in life; even accidents. He was euthanized. We are not angry, we are not in a rage. What happened was purely an accident."

The grieving father also does not understand that 99% of all fatal dog maulings are ruled an "accidental" manner of death, whether there are criminal charges or not. An accidental manner of death simply means an unintentional death, but also a violent death. There are four different non-natural manners of death: accident, homicide, suicide and undetermined. Finally, the last update notes, "Gofundme has requested we explain more in detail our purpose of this fundraiser."1

"We are raising funds to cover costs of our daughters funeral, time off work, to keep our roof over our head, counseling, and a million other obvious reasons. We would love keepsakes of our daughter as well. Gofundme has requested we explain more in detail our purpose of this fundraiser, so this is an unexpected update. We cannot imagine not being together to help each other through this unimaginable time. All funds will be transferred to our bank account..."

We feel terrible for this loss of life. We feel terrible for these parents. Had their beliefs about dogs, however, not been a tall tale fantasy, this loss of life would not have occurred. Hampton police had a realistic and practical view of canines. When asked by a reporter, "What triggered the dog to attack"? Hampton Police spokesperson Sgt. Reggie Williams said, he couldn't say "outside of just a guess or speculation," but "animal behavior can be unpredictable." Dogs are not human beings.

Hampton infant killed by dog

A photograph of infant Michelle from the parent's GoFundMe campaign, uploaded Oct 27.

Hampton infant killed by dog

The elderly German shepherd-mix seen in one of the videos posted to the GoFundMe page.

10/26/20: Infant Killed by Family Dog
Hampton, VA - An infant is dead after being mauled by a dog, according to the Hampton Police Department. At about 3:16 am, Hampton Public Safety Communications "received a call of a vicious canine that had killed an infant" in the 100 block of Scotland Road. "Prior to the officer's arrival, the dog had been euthanized by its' owner," police said in a statement. When officers arrived, they observed a small infant that had sustained injuries consistent with a dog attack.

"The preliminary investigation revealed that the infants' parents were sleeping in their bed when they were awakened by a large amount of motion," states the release. The infant had been in a cradle next to the bed when the attack occurred. "The child’s father observed the extensive injuries to the child and immediately euthanized the canine. The family states that the canine had not been previously aggressive and are fully cooperating with the investigation," police said.

The Virginian-Pilot reports the infant was a 2-month old girl. According to Sgt. Amanda Moreland, one parent shot and killed the dog while the other called police. The injuries were consistent with a canine attack, not just a bite. "There is nothing that would indicate this was anything other than a tragic accident," Moreland said. Police clarified the dog was "shot outside the residence" by its owner. Animal control took possession of the deceased dog, an 8-year old German shepherd-mix.

Infant Deaths in 2020

This infant's deaths marks the seventh infant (< 11 month old) killed by a family dog so far this year and 17% of all dog bite fatalities. In six of these deaths, the breed of dog was released. Pit bulls were responsible for four of these deaths, 67%. Other breeds included a Belgian malinois and this 8-year old German shepherd-mix. Notably, the "mix" portion can indicate a wide range of breeds, including husky, which has a long track record of killing newborns sleeping in cradles.

The cradle in the Virginia fatal dog mauling was later characterized as an "electronic swing" by the Virginian-Pilot. The dog was also identified as a male German shepherd-mix, named "Lane." 

hampton infant killed by vicious canine

Residence where a newborn baby girl was killed by a "vicious canine" in Hampton, Virginia.

1Perhaps GoFundMe did not believe this tall tale fantasy either?

Related articles:
08/11/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Baby Killed by Family Pit Bull While Under the Care of his...
06/14/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Infant Dies After Being Bitten by Family Dog in Hartford

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.

National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day 2020 Zoom Conference

Last year, Responsible Citizens for Public Safety (RC4PS) held the first-ever event on National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day at the Michigan state Capitol building in Lansing. The year's national awareness day is on October 26. Ann Marie Rogers, the founder of RC4PS, interviews Mia Johnson of National Pit Bull Victim Awareness and Colleen Lynn of DogsBite.org followed by a round table discussion in a pre-taped Zoom conference that is about 46 minutes long.

Johnson discusses National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day that was first established in 2015, the related organization, and why it was started. Rogers and Lynn discuss legislative issues, such as the National Defense Authorization Act, which our nonprofit wrote about earlier in October. The round table discussion covers a number of areas, including how the act of the CDC defining a "mauling injury" (32:10), instead of using the "dog bite" vernacular would "change everything."

Mauling Event Protocol

In 2019, a study examining 182 patients at Charleston Area Medical Center in West Virginia became the first study to define "mauling injuries," and used the term "mauling event" as well. "Mauling injuries were recorded when 3 or more bites occurred over 2 or more distinct regional anatomic areas, typically the craniofacial region, back, torso, and extremities." Among the top-biting breeds, pit bulls inflicted the most complex wounds (63%) and mauling injuries (71%).

Selected Findings: "The data showed that compared with other dog breeds, pit bull terriers inflicted more complex wounds, were often unprovoked, and went off property to attack ... The probability of a bite resulting in a complex wound was 4.4 times higher for pit bulls compared with the other top-biting breeds ... and the odds of an off-property attack by a pit bull was 2.7 times greater than that for all other breeds." - Dog-Bite Injuries to the Craniofacial Region: An Epidemiologic and Pattern-of-Injury Review at a Level 1 Trauma Center, March 2020 [2019 Nov 14, Epub]

"Mauling" vernacular was also used in the 2011 Texas study, "Mortality, Mauling, and Maiming by Vicious Dogs." That study concluded, "Attacks by pit bulls are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs." This vernacular describes the severe nature of the injuries, which is an important distinction for doctors treating these injuries and for those who respond to the scene of a severe dog attack.

First responders have emergency codes for what they are responding to. Today, police and fire respond to a "dog bite" or "animal bite" even if there are multiple victims and mauling injuries. Recall the "Judith incident" where a pit bull killed its owner (Devin White) and attacked three other family members. Four ambulances were required and a life-flight was in motion, but was later called off. They were not responding to a "dog bite." They were responding to a "mauling event."

From animal control departments, who fill out a "dog bite" report after a biting incident, to the hospital intake form listing "dog bite" after taking in Daxton (this 14-month old boy underwent a sustained pit bull mauling lasting up to 15 minutes), to numerous medical studies examining "dog bite" injuries, all the way up to the CDC, which obfuscates "dog bites" with mauling and maiming injuries and deaths, there is a daunting vernacular problem that can and should be rectified.

We stated in our 2014 Remedy document to the CDC that they "must make a vernacular distinction between mauling and maiming injuries and deaths (2%) by dogs and garden variety dog bites (93%). Call them what they are: 'mauling and maiming injuries.'" Doctors, coroners, first responding agencies and animal control departments, need not wait for permission from the CDC to change this vernacular. Even changing "dog bite" to "dog attack" would be an improvement.

We recommend three designations for emergency responders:

  1. Dog Bite
  2. Dog Mauling Event
  3. Rampage Mauling - A Multi-Victim Attack

Each designate different events that require a different response. A "dog bite" is a single victim event that may or may not require an emergency room visit (some victims are treated at the scene.) A "mauling event" is a single victim with multiple traumatic dog bite injuries. A rampage mauling, such as the Judith and Oviedo incidents, and the recent Seattle incident, often involves a single or multi-pit bull household, where the dog inflicts serious injuries to multiple victims.

Future Zoom Conference

Please leave ideas for topics and guests for a future Zoom conference in comments. We will forward them to Responsible Citizens for Public Safety, who will be organizing and hosting a future event (our role is post-conference video editing). We would certainly like to hear from doctors, first responders, animal control officers and family members of victims. There are also key civil and criminal liability issues (or a lack thereof) that attorneys or insurance professionals could address.

Dog bite response protocol

Injury severity and multi-victim attacks should be recognized in emergency response codes. When one has listened to as many fire/rescue audio log dispatch files responding to serious and fatal dog attacks as we have, it is clear that a "dog bite" response code is not enough.

Related articles:
10/19/20: Status Update: Heading Into Unknown Times, the 2020 Winter Months, Pit Bull Fraud...
10/21/19: Event at the Michigan State Capitol Building on National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day

2020 Dog Bite Fatality: 26-Year Old Man Dies After Violent Pit Bull Mauling in West Tulsa

tulsa pit bull mauling
Curtis Wickham, 26-years old, was fatally attacked by three pit bulls in west Tulsa.

Updates & Clarifications
UPDATE 10/23/20: On Thursday, 26-year old Curtis Wickham was killed by three pit bulls. Wickham had gone to Champaign Walker's home, his ex-girlfriend, at about 6:00 in the morning demanding his cell phone, which he believed was in her home. This confrontation led to a fist fight between Walker's current boyfriend and Wickham and to Walker's dogs mauling him to death. Walker claimed she and her boyfriend tried to pull the dogs off Wickham, but were unsuccessful.

Police were dispatched to the home due to a "shots-fired" call. A neighbor had fired a single shot into the air to stop the dogs from attacking. It was previously reported that police were unsure who had fired the gun. Police have not yet determined if Wickam's death could lead to any charges. Notably, Walker was wearing a pit bull tee-shirt when speaking to the media that displayed: "I'm telling you I am not a pit bull. My mom said I'm a baby and my mom is always right."

Between these two repellent dog owners and the loss of a 26-year old man's life, it is hard to know where to begin. However, domestic pit bull violence routinely starts when an argument erupts or a fight occurs between two or more people. That was the scenario in Plainfield earlier this year. A family argument led to Devin White's pit bull going on a rampage attack, killing Devin and injuring three other family members. When pit bulls erupt, they typically do so without specificity.

This lack of "specificity" in their victims -- which is akin to a hand grenade going off -- is why 53% of all pit bull fatality victims live in the pit bull's household or are considered well-known to the dog. If Champaign Walker and her boyfriend, "Dias Centavos,"1 had "actually" tried to intervene to help Wickham, they likely would have been injured in the attack -- neither appears to have suffered a single scratch. Walker also wore a "promotional" pit bull tee-shirt for her media interview.

One neighbor said the attack "went on for 10 or 15 minutes."

tulsa pit bull mauling

Champaign Walker, who owned the pit bulls, sports a pit bull tee-shirt in media interview.

Fake donation Facebook thread

The ex-girlfriend tries to defend herself against Wickham's family members on this thread.

10/22/20: Man Killed by Pit Bulls
Tulsa, OK - A man is dead following a disturbance Thursday morning in west Tulsa. Police are also investigating if he was shot. According to Tulsa police, the victim, whose identity has not been released, was causing a disturbance with the homeowner in the 5000 block of West Admiral Boulevard. The two got into a fist fight and the homeowner's dogs attack him, Tulsa Police Homicide Lt. Brandon Watkins said. Police were initially called to the home as a "shots-fired" call.

KJRH reports the incident occurred at about 6:00 am near West Admiral Boulevard and North 49th Avenue. When police officers arrived, they found a young man had been attacked by three pit bulls. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he died. A neighbor told KJRGH the dogs are known for being aggressive and had attacked them and their dog before. Police took the homeowner into custody for questioning. Police are treating the investigation as a homicide.

Police told News on 6 that the man had been mauled so bad, they aren't sure exactly what killed him (the mauling or possible gunfire). "There is definitely a self-defense aspect to it," said Lt. Watkins. "The guy who was mauled and died was over here and up to mischief. So, it's just determining exactly what happened right now." Watkins said detectives would be at the scene investigating for some hours to come. All three dogs were taken into custody by animal control.

Fox 23 spoke to a neighbor, John Efird. He said he heard a woman screaming and saw a man swinging something while three dogs circled him and another man that looked injured. "Another guy was slumped over the fence and I didn’t see him move or anything," Efrid said. Police have been called about these dogs before, he said. "They even killed my girlfriend’s daughter’s chicken, which is buried back there," Efrid said. Police are questioning "all the players" in this "drama."

Police later identified the victim as 26-year-old Curtis Wickham. According to police, interviews with witnesses and neighbors at the scene showed that Wickham went to the residence this morning to contact a former girlfriend and a fight broke out between Wickham and the homeowner. During the fight, the homeowner's three pit bulls viciously attacked Wickham. The homeowner was transported to the Detective Division and released pending further investigation, police said.

Pit Bulls Used in Crimes

In January, a 55-year old man in Kentucky died after being attacked by a female, who went "redneck" on him, then commanded her pit bull to attack him. The coroner's office said that Donald Abner suffered dog bite wounds, but the cause of death was asphyxiation. Melissa Wolke was charged for murder in connection to his death. "The way I look at it is that she used her animal, a pit bull, as a weapon to help her in this altercation," Trooper Scottie Pennington said back then.

Tulsa police are investigating the case as a homicide and also noted a "self-defense" aspect. "We have everybody that we are aware of right now, who are players in this drama" in custody. Will this be the first case where an owner can claim "self-defense" by siccing his pit bulls on a person? 

Tulsa pit bull mauling

One of the three pit bulls seen being taken into custody after severely mauling a young man.

tulsa pit bull mauling

Home on West Admiral Boulevard where a young man died after a violent pit bull mauling.

map iconView the DogsBite.org Google State Map: Oklahoma Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.
1The current boyfriend's name on Facebook appears to be an alias, as it translates into "Days pennies." He also has a pit bull tattooed on his lower chest.

Related articles:
01/22/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Charged with Murder After Violent Pit Bull Attack

Statewide attacks:
Vicious Dog Attacks in Oklahoma by Butch Bridges, a log of Oklahoma vicious dog attacks.

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.

2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by a Pack of Dogs in Walker County, Alabama; Few Details Released

Walker county fatal dog attack
Ruthie Mae Brown, 36-years old, was killed by dogs in Walker County, Alabama.

Woman Killed by Dogs
Walker County, AL - On Monday afternoon, the Walker County Sheriff's Office posted a statement to their Facebook page, "Walker County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the death of a woman on Jagger Road. The woman was the victim of an attack from several dogs. Some of the dogs have been captured." The victim was identified as 36-year old Ruthie Mae Brown. Though some of the dogs were taken into custody, no breed information was released by the agency.

"We are talking about gaping wounds. One of her feet was completely dislocated from her ankle. This was a severe attack." - Coroner Joey Vick

Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the area along Jagger Road about 2:00 pm Monday after a third party called. They responded with multiple agencies. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene. "Still a lot of moving parts at this point, the investigation continues. The DA's office will determine charges after the body returns from forensics," said T.J. Armstrong with the Walker County Sheriff's Office. Brown's family told ABC 33/40 that she was the mother of four children.

Authorities have confirmed that the violent dog attack occurred in the same area where a bull killed a person four months ago. On the Walker County Sheriff's Facebook page, a woman named Brittany stated Monday, "The same owner of the dogs owned a Vicious bull that escaped its pasture and killed my uncle less than 4 months ago!" [sic] ABC 33/40 confirmed this in their news video. Police are asking the public for information about any previous dog attacks in the area.

The Daily Mountain Eagle reports that one owner has claimed two of the dogs involved in the deadly attack, according to Walker County Sheriff Nick Smith. Those dogs are now in the custody of the Walker County Humane Society. "Officers were attempting to capture at least three other dogs Monday afternoon," reports the Eagle. Those dogs are also thought to have owners, Smith said, and are not believed to be strays. The death investigation remains active and ongoing.

"A death that is obviously this violent, it's naturally, just horrific. There are not really words to describe it. It's a terrible situation." - T.J. Armstrong

The rural community where the attack occurred, Nauvoo, has a population of about 220 people, according to Wikipedia. Our nonprofit has no record of a fatal dog mauling in this area -- or even in Walker County -- since 2005. What is stunning is that one of the owner's of the dogs also owned a bull that attacked and killed a man several months ago. That person truly is the owner of vicious animals. Both fatal animal attacks appear to have occurred off the owner's property as well.

On Tuesday, ABC 33/40 published an update that began to shape this attack more clearly. People who lived in the area knew about this roaming pack of dogs, which apparently involved multiple owners. Robin Johnson told the news agency, "It is really scary. I’ve seen them actually attack a deer." She also came in contact with the pack. "I actually had a stick in my hand which I know the owners name and I would call the owners name and they would back off," Johnson said.

"They're really aggressive dogs ... If I wouldn't have known the owner's name it probably would have happened to me." - Robin Johnson

The way Armstrong describes the injuries, "I've seen a dog bite, I've seen a dog attack but I've never seen a situation just as horrible as this," and the lack of officials releasing any breed information, indicates this was a full-on pack attack that may have involved multiple dog breeds. In the 15-year period of 2005 to 2019, only five victims, ages 30 to 39, have been killed in a pack attack (1% of all fatal dog mauling victims). Four of these deaths involved pit bull-type dogs.

Under "Emily's Law," a felony dog attack law that was passed after Emily Mae Colvin was killed by her neighbor's five pit bulls, if the dog(s) was previously declared "dangerous" by a court and it attacks and causes serious injury or death, the owner faces a Class B felony. If the dog has not been declared dangerous, but the owner had prior knowledge of the dog's vicious propensities and demonstrated "reckless disregard" of these propensities, the owner faces a Class C felony.

Thus, Johnson's testimony is critical in proving part two. A prosecutor would also need to determine if the owner demonstrated "reckless disregard" under these circumstances in a county that lacks a leash law. Finally, Armstrong stated that a witness saw seven or eight dogs. Thus far, officials have only caught about four or five dogs, and one owner has claimed two of them. It was previously reported that the other dogs involved have owners and are not believed to be strays.

Walker county fatal dog attack

Home on Jagger Road near to where loose dogs killed 36-year old Ruthie Mae Brown.

Related articles:
12/07/20: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Kill 24-Year Old Woman in Jackson County, Alabama

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.