2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Joshua Tree Woman Killed by Four Pet Pit Bulls Belonging to a "Guest"

joshua tree woman killed by pit bulls
Lana Bergman, 70-years old, was fatally attacked by four pit bulls in Joshua Tree.

Conflicting Accounts
Over the last two days, storylines took a wild swing. The overstaying guests with four pit bulls -- who were strangers to Bergman -- were not parked on Bergman's property in a trailer. Instead, their colorful bus broke down and Bergman allowed them to "camp out" on her property. "Thursday they are being pulled out no matter if it's raining or what," Bergman said in a recent voicemail. "They have to leave the premises." But on Wednesday night, the pit bulls brutally killed her.

"Dead men tell no tales." The only people who can tell police conflicting accounts are alive, including the owners of the pit bulls, a couple from Oregon with four children who outstayed their welcome; Bergman's roommate, Joe Fairbanks, who discovered her body; Bergman's estranged husband, Allen; and her brother Jay Barnett, a Palmdale resident. Fairbanks was also named in her recent voicemail: "Allen called Joe and told him to get those people off of my property now."

This story has become so "bizarre" that at least one scenario claims Bergman (who is dead and cannot defend herself) "attacked the dogs with a sword." Bergman was a huge dog lover. She owned at least one Labrador at the time of the attack and had previously owned three others. The "bizarre" and the "baroque" frequently plays out when police do not identify the owners of the dog or provide identification photographs of the dogs. How is the community supposed to help?

At the very least, thanks to the media, the broken down bus belonging to the pit bulls' owners was depicted, which may be identifiable to residents.

Though facts continue to be murky, Barnett told The Press-Enterprise the time length involved -- a two day stay by the owners of the pit bulls turned into two weeks. This information is vastly different than the police press release, which stated that Bergman had helped care for the dogs "over the past year." Barnett is calling on residents to "call the Morongo Sheriff Station and demand that the owners of these dogs be held criminally liable for the death of my sweet sister."

Bergman also has two sisters, Ilene Cromer and Harriet Sagalow. One told the Hi-Desert Star the length of stay was only 1.5 weeks. Sagalow said the pit bulls had already attacked Bergman's Labrador and were supposed to be kept separate from Bergman and her dog while staying on her sister's property. "She never had any connection with those dogs," Sagalow said. "Just days before my sister was murdered, I have a recording of her saying that she wanted them gone."

pit bulls kill joshua tree, bus parked

The broken down bus belonging to the owners of the pit bulls seen on Bergman's property.

01/17/19: Pit Bulls Kill Woman
Joshua Tree, CA - A 70-year old woman is dead after being attacked by four pit bulls, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department stated Thursday. The fatal dog mauling occurred Wednesday in the 59000 Block of Sunflower Drive. Deputies from the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station responded to the home about 10 pm. Lana Bergman, 70, and her husband live at the residence with a male friend. Bergman allowed her friend to keep his four pit bulls at her home.

Bergman had been helping to care for the dogs over the past year, according to a release issued by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office. At the time of the attack, Bergman was alone with the pit bulls. "She was mauled by all four of the animals," states the release. "She succumbed to her injuries a short time later." Animal control took all four pit bulls into custody. "There is no indication the dogs were neglected, as they appeared well cared for," states the release.

KESQ spoke to Bergman's brother, Jay Barnett, who said that Bergman is estranged from her husband, and had been living on the property alone for years -- until recently. Barnett said that Bergman allowed a couple with four pit bulls to park their trailer on her property for a weekend,1 but they never left, despite her objections. "These dogs were loaded guns," Barnett said. "They ended up killing my sister." He said his sister loved dogs, but was not friendly with these pit bulls.

"It's just a sad, violent way to end your life," Barnett told KESQ. "We are all heart broken. We feel guilty because we wish we could have done more, but she thought she could handle it. And people took advantage of her. Her husband took advantage of her," Barnett said. The version of events told by Bergman's brother differs drastically from the Sheriff's Department's version of events. The owners of the pit bulls, who outstayed their welcome, have not been identified.

DATE/TIME: January 16, 2019 10:11 p.m.
INCIDENT: Vicious Animal Attack
LOCATION: 59000 Block of Sunflower Drive, Joshua Tree
VICTIM: Lana Bergman, 70 years old, resident of Joshua Tree

On Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at approximately 10:11 p.m., deputies from the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station responded to a report of a vicious animal attack at the 59000 block of Sunflower Drive, in Joshua Tree. The victim and her husband live at the residence with an adult male friend. The victim allowed her friend to keep his four pit bull dogs at her home. The dogs were considered family pets, which the victim helped care for over the past year. On Wednesday, while the victim was home alone with the dogs, she was mauled by all four of the animals. She succumbed to her injuries a short time later.

Animal Control Officers responded and took custody of the dogs without incident. There is no indication the dogs were neglected, as they appeared well cared for. The reason for the attack is currently unknown.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Morongo Basin Station, at (760) 366-4175. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may contact We-Tip at 800-78-CRIME or www.wetip.com.

pit bulls kill joshua tree woman

Lana Bergman, 70, was mauled to death by four pit bulls in the 59000 Block of Sunflower Drive.

map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: California Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.
1A notable coincidence since Joshua Tree only has a population of 7.4 thousand. A female rescuer with Facebook friends in common with Bergman owns four problematic pit bulls. On November 15, she was desperately trying to rehome them. She had been fostering them for about a year and kept her own animals "in a separate trailer" on her property. All four male pit bulls "do not get along with other dogs or each other," she wrote. She specifically bought a separate trailer to house the pit bulls. Combine "park their trailer on her property for a weekend," which turned into a longer stint, with the fact that this female rescuer specifically bought a trailer to house those pit bulls.

Related articles:
12/19/18: Woman in Anza Pit Bull Attack on Life Support; Vicious Attack Occurred Saturday...
10/12/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull-Mix Attacks Two Family Members, Killing One...
02/26/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Elderly Woman Mauled to Death by Pit Bulls in Motel Room

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.

2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Pack of Dogs in Grenada County, Mississippi

fatal pack attack grenada county - Dianne Reves
Dianne Reves, 70, was mauled to death by a pack of loose dogs in her backyard.

Fatal Pack Attack
Grenada County, MS - A woman is dead after being attacked by a pack of dogs, the Grenada County Sheriff’s Department said Friday. Sheriff Alton Strider identified the victim as 70-year old Dianne Reves, who was discovered Thursday afternoon by a neighbor in the 1600 block of Carpenter Road. Sheriff's deputies responded to the area at 3:30 pm. Investigators described her injuries as "several hundred dog bites." Seven mixed-breed dogs were seized from the scene.

"We’re talking about several hundred dog bites here ... we believe that the attack happened sometime Wednesday." - Investigator Josh Dale

"We believe that we have all of the dogs involved," Investigator Josh Dale told the Grenada Star. "We are having them all tested to get a better look at their involvement in the attack," Dale said. Investigators did not release the name of the dog' owner, who presumably lives nearby, or the specific location of the deadly attack (on the victim's own property or not). Reves was a mother and a grandmother. She worked as a nurse for many years in Grenada, reports the Star.

An evening update by WJTV said that locals are saying the dogs' owner is Phillip Sr Cross, the victim's neighbor on Carpenter Road, who is a long time dog hoarder and backyard breeder. Sheriff Strider told WTVA that Reves died in her backyard when the dogs attacked her. The dogs are currently being held at the pound. The dogs' owner has not been cited as the investigation continues, Strider said. A veterinarian is being brought in to analyze the dogs, Strider said.

According to a Monday update by the Grenada Star, the seven fatally attacking dogs, which weighed an estimated 80 pounds each, have since been euthanized, Sheriff Strider said.

fatal pack attack grenada county

The home of Dianne Reves, where she was killed by a pack of loose dogs in her backyard.

Related articles:
12/08/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Elderly Woman Killed by Two Pit Bulls in Gulfport
06/04/18: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Mississippi Man Attacked by Pack of Pit Bulls Dies...

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 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs

Nonprofit Obtained 50% of all Breed ID Photographs in 2018

2018 breed identification
Photographs of six fatally attacking dogs in 2018 obtained from multiple sources.

Jump down to view all 2018 breed identification photographs or read our analysis first.

DogsBite.org - In 2013, we began the tradition of publishing breed identification photographs of fatally attacking dogs when available through news reports, social media websites and law enforcement agencies. Of the 36 recorded U.S. dog bite-related fatalities in 2018, 50% (18) had identification photographs, down from 56% in 2017 and 72% in 2016. Pit bulls and their mixes represent 83% (15) of all breed identification images collected in 2018, similar to last year.

Of the 18 cases with identification photographs, 56% (10) were captured by news media, down from 73% last year, and 56% (10) were located on social media pages of the dog's owner or family members. Half of all identification images in 2018, 50% (9), were the result of DogsBite.org research and otherwise may have gone unpublished. Police/shelter agencies only released photographs in 2 cases, yet 67% (24 of 36) of all deaths involved dogs taken into quarantine.

42% (15 of 36) of all dog bite fatalities in 2018 involved one or more fatally attacking dog shot to death at the scene by police or its owner.1

In 2018, nearly a quarter of the breed identification photographs, 22% (4), involved rescued or rehomed dogs that killed a person, of which 75% (3) had been vetted by an animal agency prior to being adopted out. 75% of these same fatal attacks occurred within 3 to 14 days after being adopted. In 2018, 78% (14) of all identification photographs collected involved family dogs that killed a household member. Of this subset, 43% (6 of 14) involved the dog killing its owner.

28% (5) of dogs with breed identification photographs in 2018 had a known history of human aggression before killing a person. Another 28% involved dogs with a known history of animal aggression (some cases involved both). 28% of cases with photographs involved the dog or victim living in the home for less than 60 days prior to the lethal attack. Two of these deaths involved infants, just 6 and 8 days old, carried out by a pet pit bull and wolf-dog hybrid, respectively.

Breed Misidentification Conflicts

In 2018, there were three breed misidentification conflicts; taxpayer-funded animal shelter officials perpetuated all three. The alleged "sausage dog attack" of Tracy Garcia in Oklahoma, can only be seen as fraud carried out by two employees of the Ardmore Animal Shelter. The cheeky media reports went viral, despite a statement by a veterinarian disputing them, the only professional who had examined these dogs while they were alive. The largest dog in the pack is clearly a pit bull.

It was not only the breed that Dr. Aldridge disputed, it was the weight of the largest dog too, which Aldridge estimated to be 55-60 pounds.

The second misidentification conflict involved a dog that was picked up as a stray on February 23, 2018 by Pinellas County Animal Services and identified as a "pit bull mix type." By March 14, the dog was relabeled a "Retriever/Hound" mix and available for adoption. The dog's first documented bite occurred at the adoption center on March 26 when the dog first met and bit its adopter, Paul Maser. Five months later, the dog fatally attacked an infant while under the care of Maser's wife.

The third breed misidentification conflict occurred in October after a family pit bull of eight years brutally killed its female owner in The District. Chris Schindler of Humane Rescue Alliance, the taxpayer-funded animal control contracting agency in D.C., deliberately distorted the truth about this "obvious" pit bull, calling it a "very large breed mix dog—mixed-breed dog" on television while standing in front of an Alliance transport van covered with large, vivid photographs of pit bulls.


With four public information requests still out at the time of writing this post, we believe that more breed identification photographs for 2018 will eventually be obtained. What stands out the most this year, as in the past, is the number of cases involving dogs taken into quarantine after a fatal attack (over 65% in 2018), but few police/shelter agencies released an identification photograph. We then can only rely on the news media being at the scene or images located on social media.

That 50% of all breed identification photographs in 2018 were the result of our research speaks volumes as well. Since "breed" is nearly always an issue after a fatal pit bull attack, and since a portion of taxpayer-funded animal shelter officials will lie to the media and the public to protect the pit bull breed, it seems fair that more law enforcement agencies should be releasing a breed ID photograph after a deadly attack, like the Citrus County Sheriff's Office did after a baby's death.

2018 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs

Rylee Dodge fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Rylee Dodge, 3-years old, was killed by a pit bull in Duncan, Oklahoma that her father had acquired from a friend five days earlier. Rylee was under the care of her grandmother when the dog attacked. Her father raced home after getting an urgent call. He found his mother lying on top of the dog and Rylee lifeless.

Aurora Little fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Aurora Little, 8-days old, was mauled to death by her family's wolf-dog hybrid on March 7, 2018 in Lee County, Virginia. The dog fatally attacked the infant while she was in a bassinet. The family was also fostering two young children that had been approved by social services to live in their wolf-dog hybrid household.

Noah Trevino fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Noah Trevino, 4-years old, was killed by a family pit bull-mix on March 25, 2018 in Converse, Texas. Noah had been playing alone in the backyard where the dog named Bam Bam was tied to a fence. When Noah entered into the "death radius" of its chain, the dog snatched him by the neck and shook him, killing him.

Hong Saengsamly fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Hong Saengsamly, 49-years old, was killed by up to three family dogs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 25, 2018. Her son Jack conducted a well-being check after not being able to reach her. He found her dead on the kitchen floor and her black and white pit bull guarding her. He shot the hostile pit bull twice, killing it.

Tracy Garcia fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | All images | Tracy Garcia, 52 years old, was killed by a pack of dogs in Ardmore, Oklahoma on May 10, 2018. The breed(s) of dogs involved in her death became a national debate. Veterinarian Dr. Douglas Aldridge, the only professional who examined the dogs while they were alive, said at least one appeared to be a pit bull.

Georgia Morgan fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Georgia Morgan, 75-years old, was killed by two pit bulls after entering into the dog owner's yard in Gulfport, Mississippi on May 16, 2018. The owner of the pit bulls, Emily Craft, 32, was arrested after the attack on a 2017 warrant for two misdemeanor charges -- having a dog at large and a vicious animal charge.

Liana Valino fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Liana Valino, 9-months old, was killed by a family pit bull while under the care of her grandmother in Miramar, Florida on May 30, 2018. 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."

Jenna Sutphin fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Jenna Sutphin, 28-years old, was brutally killed by a dogo argentino that she and her fiancé, Jason Hammer, who is a Prince George's County Correctional Center K-9 handler, had been breeding at their home in Huntingtown, Maryland on June 21, 2018. The fatally attacking dogo was an adult male named Rocky.

Jaevon Torres fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Jaevon Torres, 2-years old, was killed by three pit bulls belonging to his babysitter while under her care in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 1, 2018. Officers open fired through the doorway to reach the boy, who was "bleeding from his head, face, body, both arms and legs," Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

Della Riley fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Della Riley, 42-years old, was brutally killed by her own pit bull in Cincinnati, Ohio on August 22, 2018. In 2014, Riley was also attacked by a family pit bull and told friends afterward, "The dog is gone. I'm not going to get another dog." Riley had two dogs in her home when she died -- a pit bull and a rottweiler.

Robin Conway fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Robin Conway, 64-years old, was killed by a pit bull she had rescued from death row two weeks earlier. The pit bull, named "Snowball" (previously named "Bullet"), was pulled from the Logan County Pound in West Virginia by a rescue, transported to another location then given to Conway in Columbia, Maryland.

Teena Mawhorter fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Teena Mawhorter, 74-years old, was killed by a family pit bull-mix in Siskiyou County, California on September 6, 2018. The brown and white pit bull-mix also attacked one of her daughters, who intervened to help save Mawhorter. An autopsy determined the cause of death was "severe blunt facial and head trauma."

Susan Sweeney fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Susan Sweeney, 58-years old, was fatally attacked by a dog her husband had adopted several days earlier from The Animal Foundation in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her husband of 26 years returned from work about 11:40 pm and found his wife dead. He told the 911 dispatcher, "she's chewed up bud" and beyond help.

Khloe Williams fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Khloe Williams, 7-months old, was killed by a dog while in foster care on October 5, 2018. Clearwater Police Detective Jonathan Maser was her foster parent. Maser's mother was babysitting Khloe when her dog attacked the baby. The dog had been adopted from Pinellas County Animal Services in late March.

Angela Smith fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Angela Smith, 55-years old, was attacked and killed by a family pit bull inside her D.C. home on October 14, 2018. Smith and her husband, Rob Frazier, had owned the dog for 8-years and raised it since it was a puppy. "I just left out the house. It was 15 minutes, and I come back, she was dead," Frazier said.

Triniti Harrell fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Triniti Harrell, 1-year old, was killed by a family pit bull that was "slinging the child around in its mouth." A deputy shot the dog once, which did not stop the dog, then shot it again, killing it. The 911 dispatcher had instructed the mother to, "Cut [the dog] across the bottom of his neck. It's going to release his jaw muscles."

Cecileigh Garris fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Cecileigh Garris, 6-days old, was mauled to death a pit bull while under the care of her grandparents. A pit bull at her grandparent's home climbed into the baby's crib and attacked the infant while Pamela Garris, the infant's grandmother, was in another room, according to a Citrus County Sheriff's Office report.

Sharon Daniels fatal dog attack - pit bull, breed identification photograph

See: Summary | Full blog post | Larger image | Sharon Daniels, 77-years old, was killed by up to three family pit bulls in Big Prairie Township, Michigan on November 13, 2018. She was pronounced dead at the scene. "Multiple dog bites coupled with some underlying health issues" contributed to this being a fatal accident, MSP Lt. Matthew Kanitz said at the time.

How We Track Photograph Sources

We track the identification photograph's original source. There also may be multiple images in one case, so multiple sources may be attributed to a single case. For instance, after the death of infant Khloe, the news media shot original images and through a FOIA, DogsBite obtained the original adoption listing images. Also, the news media can be an overlapping (dual) category because they often republish images provided by law enforcement that the public otherwise would not see.

What is easy to see in our tracking and analysis is the rising number of identification photographs located on social media, from only 16% (3) of all collected images in 2013 to 56% (10) in 2018. It is also easy to see the remarkably low number of law enforcement and shelters that release identification photographs after a fatal dog attack. They supplied just 11% (2) of the 15 cases with identification images and just 8% (2) of the 24 quarantine cases after a dog bite fatality in 2018.

Photograph Tracking Categories

  • News media supplied photograph and/or an important republished photograph
  • Social media website supplied identification photograph
  • Law enforcement or animal control department supplied photograph
  • Animal control allowed news media to take photographs inside shelter
  • Canines shot to death at the scene of a fatal dog attack
  • Canines taken into quarantine after a fatal dog attack

breed identification Human Rescue Alliance

Humane Rescue Alliance falsely labeled a pit bull that killed its owner a "mixed-breed dog."

1The number of cases involving dogs quarantined (67%) and dogs shot to death at the scene (42%) is greater than 100% because in some cases both occurred due to the attack involving multiple dogs.

Related articles:
01/11/18: 2017 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org
01/09/17: 2016 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org
01/14/16: 2015 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org
08/31/15: Who Can Identify a Pit Bull? A Dog Owner of 'Ordinary Intelligence'...
01/07/15: 2014 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org
01/03/14: 2013 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs - DogsBite.org

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.

Photographs of the Year: Stadium Employee Refuses 'Emotional Support' Dog at Minor League Baseball Game

Omaha Police Lieutenant Responds to Acute Family Pit Bull Mauling

Employee Refuses Emotional Support Dog - Photo of the Year

Tulsa Drillers employee refuses entry to emotional support dog. Click photo for the full image.

Watch Full Video
DogsBite.org - Our first Photo of the Year for 2018 is a Tulsa Drillers employee who enforced the stadium's no pets policy -- service dogs are welcome. The employee questions a woman at the gated entrance, who claims her small dog provides "emotional support" and is therefore a service animal.1 "She's a service animal, I have her card," Natalia Duran says, as she starts filming the man. However, the employee has a copy of the ADA in his hands, and he does not back down!

"That is not a service dog by the letter of the law," states the employee. "I am not allowing an emotional support dog." - Hero Tulsa Drillers stadium employee

"A service dog," explains the employee, "is trained to do a specific task." Just "being there" is not a task, he said. Outraged, Duran continues on, claiming over one hundred hours of training and that her dog is registered at USSDR, one of the many websites that sell fake service dog kits. The employee then explains to her, while reading the ADA, that a dog that only provides "emotional support" is not a service animal. Duran is argumentative and continues to interrupt the employee.

Duran refuses to answer the employee's basic question, "What specific tasks does your dog perform?" and continues to insist instead, "What she is trained for is emotional support, because I have PTSD." The conversation gets more heated when Duran claims, "You are breaking the law." Our hero Tulsa Drillers employee answers, "No, I am not." Then he continues to stand his ground in front of the entrance gate. Duran is not allowed inside and she is given a refund for her ticket.

Rising Tide of Public Anger

Over the last two years, there has been a rising tide of public anger over the number of people abusing loopholes in the ADA, particularly in airplane cabins. After an "emotional support" dog viciously attacked a passenger in the face on board a Delta flight in June 2017, Delta tightened the reins on untrained "support" dogs in the cabin. Six months later, Delta tightened the reins even further, banning pit bull-type dogs as service and support animals due to safety concerns.

As you can see in the video, Duran has the common accessories of a Faker (USSDR card, etc), but when she does not get her way, she becomes belligerent and even threatens to sue the Tulsa Drillers employee. Duran is so used to her Faker accessories and bullying approach working -- silencing any questions about her dog -- that she becomes indignant. While we are sympathetic to her past, which she did not need to share, Duran clearly had no understanding of the ADA.2

It seems the whole reason why Duran began filming the stadium employee, and causing a public scene, was for intimidation purposes.

The Tulsa Drillers employee is patient and professional throughout the confrontation. He asks Duran multiple times the legal question that the ADA allows, but is never sufficiently answered. He also endures a berating by Duran, but her tactics do not work. "That is not a service dog by the letter of the law," he states. This video went viral in late August with many commenters giving accolades to the employee, "My hero ❤️ ❤️," because he was objectively enforcing the ADA.

Tulsa Drillers Statement:

A situation occurred Sunday night at the Tulsa Drillers game where a person who was accompanied by a dog was denied entrance into the stadium. In the situation, which was recorded by the person, a team staff member followed proper protocol in determining whether the animal should be admitted to the stadium as a service dog. The protocol that was used comes from the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines for public facilities. Those guidelines provide the ADA definition of what constitutes a service dog. The guidelines are available through the ADA website at:


Frequently asked Questions 1, 2, 3 and 17 provide information that the staff member used in this instance to allow or deny entry.

We encourage members of the media to review the ADA guidelines prior to reporting on this situation. In addition, we have been given the Justice Department Press Office’s Phone Number of 202-514-2004. The Department has offered to field questions at this number from anyone regarding ADA service dogs.


Police Lieutenant Can't Hide His Distress After Seeing Child's Injuries

Omaha Police Lieutenant - Photo of the Year

Omaha Police Lieutenant's expression after talking about the child's horrific facial injuries.

In July, we reported on a family pit bull attack in Omaha (Another Beautiful Face Destroyed by a Family Pit Bull), a city that adopted a pit bull ordinance in 2008. This is the subject of our second Photo of the Year. Police Lt. Jake Ritonya told WOWT News, "In 20-years of law enforcement, I've seen lots of stuff. This one was rather difficult to see her in the hospital. I haven't seen anything quite like that in my career." He then looked away from the reporter and gave this expression.

The 9-year old girl suffered severe facial injuries in the attack. As police carried the girl from the home, the family pit bull continued to try to attack her. "There were three pit bulls running around. It was kind of a crazy, chaotic scene," Lt. Jake Ritonya said. Ritonya was at the scene of the violent attack and the emergency room, where he said that doctors and nurses appeared to be shaken by the extent of the girl's bite injuries, "The looks on their faces said it all," Ritonya said.

The look on Ritonya's face says it all too. Consider the first responders who rescue these mangled children from acute family pit bull violence?

Every year in the 11 year history of DogsBite.org we see law enforcement officers like Lt. Jake Ritonya distressed after a devastating pit bull mauling. They often describe the victim's injuries as the "worst thing" they have ever seen in their career, and hope to never see again. These are professionals who investigate violent crimes like homicides and horrific fatal car accidents. This severe family pit bull attack erupted when the child went to "pick up a knocked over trash can."


Our 2018 Photos of the Year lie in stark contrast to images selected for 2017. This year, we chose two people whose role is enforcement and public safety. They are often not in the spotlight, like the Drillers employee, who enforced the ADA and a veteran police officer, who could not hide his distress after seeing the child's horrific facial injuries. That "in heat" family pit bull was still latched onto the girl's face when firefighters arrived. They had to use a catch pole to separate the dog.

In 2017, our Photos of the Year highlighted young female self-appointed canine "experts," who drew attention to themselves due to their lack of understanding canine behavior. Both cases involved extremely violent fatal pit bull attacks. Instead of the media ignoring these self-appointed "experts," they handed them a bullhorn. Our 2018 photographs celebrate the selfless defenders of laws and public safety, who are often not in the spotlight and do not seek to be either.

1What if the dog had been a pit bull or presa canario? Wouldn't you want this same level of enforcement?
2While writing this post, we noticed the original video Duran posted to her Facebook page, in the hopes of garnering public support, had been removed. ViralHog -- for the purposes of paid licensing -- made a copy. To learn more, you can read the Reddit thread: "She's trained for emotional support, but she's not an emotional support dog!"

Related articles:
11/05/18: Why Breed Matters in Service Dogs and Why Pit Bull Service Dogs are a Bad Idea
01/31/18: Photographs of the Year 2017: Self-Appointed Canine 'Experts' After Vicious Maulings
01/25/18: Delta's Policy Response After a Passenger was Attacked by Emotional Support Dog
07/13/17: The Friendly Skies Fade After a Delta Passenger is Severely Attacked by Emotional...

Annual Update: Estimated U.S. Cities, Counties, States and Military Housing with Breed-Specific Laws (2018-2019)

breed specific laws - US estimated
The top three regulated dog breeds: pit bulls, rottweilers and wolf-dog hybrids.

BSL Estimate 2018-2019
DogsBite.org - Since 2011, we have maintained an estimate of breed-specific laws across the United States, including breed-specific policies governing military privatized housing. By 2009, all three major military divisions -- U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force -- banned a small group of dangerous dog breeds because they present an "unreasonable risk to the health and safety of personnel in family housing areas," states the 2009 Marine Corps Order.

Though the banned breeds differ slightly among the major military divisions, all three ban pit bulls, rottweilers and wolf-dog hybrids.

Our estimate is updated each December. Currently, over 1,100 cities, towns and villages regulate specific dog breeds for safety purposes and 38 counties have enacted countywide breed safety laws too. Municipalities in 37 different states have enacted breed-specific ordinances. Our estimate also tracks international breed-specific laws. Currently there are jurisdictions in at least 52 countries with breed-specific laws. In 41 of those countries, the regulation is a nation-level law.

Many U.S. municipalities with breed-specific laws are concentrated in the Midwest. Other states, primarily preemption states, have virtually no breed-specific laws. In the early 1980s, cities began enacting breed safety laws to prevent horrific pit bull maulings. By 1992, dogfighting and dog breeder interests had pushed through preemption laws in ten states, including three of the most populous, California, Florida and Texas, barring local governments from adopting pit bull laws.

Learn about the two waves of state preemption laws (1988 to 1992) and 2012 to present day.

A substantial source of breed-specific policies, which our estimate does not track, is the likelihood of a million private rental properties governed by breed-specific leases in all 50 states.1 Despite ongoing efforts since 2012 by Utah-based fighting dog advocates, Best Friends Animal Society, to draft, lobby and pass new state preemption laws that prohibit local governments from enacting breed safety laws, private rental properties and HOAs are unaffected by state preemption laws.

In 2018, legislatures in six states faced this type of state preemption bill (AKA an "Act for Pit Bulls"). All six states rejected the legislation.

When you combine the many types of breed-specific laws -- municipal ordinances, Indian reservation ordinances, military family housing policies, public housing authority policies, the tens of millions of Americans living in private multifamily rental properties and airline breed-specific policies -- one gains a clearer picture of these safety laws. They are designed to prevent serious attacks by dog breeds that have a well-documented history of inflicting severe and fatal injuries.

Our estimated summary of breed-specific laws is just one source of this prevention. When or if another state passes a preemption law peddled by an out-of-state special interest group, a source of this protection will be removed from that state, but other sources will remain, such as rental leases. Finally, the significance of breed-specific laws worldwide shows that the basic genetics of a dog breed remain the same, whether the dog lives in the U.S., Germany, Spain or Australia.

breed specific laws - US estimated

1We could find no estimate for the vast number of rental properties governed by breed-specific leases, but breed restrictions are quite common. Nearly 20 million Americans live in multifamily rental properties, composed of 5 of more units, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council (nmhc.org). A 2013 survey sponsored by HUD and conducted by the Census Bureau states there are at least 2.25 million multifamily rental properties.

Related articles:
12/12/18: Fatal Rottweiler Attacks - The Archival Record - DogsBite.org
11/14/18: Fatal Pit Bull Attacks - The Archival Record - DogsBite.org
04/23/18: Fatal Wolf-Dog Hybrid Attacks - The Archival Record - DogsBite.org

See also: Breed-Specific Legislation FAQ - DogsBite.org

Woman in Anza Pit Bull Attack on Life Support; Vicious Attack Occurred Saturday in Riverside County

Family Members in Conflict About How Best to Proceed

anza pit bull attack angela johnson
Angela Johnson was brutally attacked by three pit bulls on December 15 in Anza.

Victim on Life Support
Anza, CA - A woman is on life support after a vicious attack by three pit bulls. The attack occurred Saturday in Anza, a rural community in Riverside County about 45 miles south of Palm Springs. According to a GoFundMe page created by her son, Tim Platt, Angela (Platt) Johnson remains on life support. "The dogs basically ate my mom alive, ripping out a main artery in her throat, causing a severe stroke to the left side of her brain, leaving her half brain dead," Platt states on the page.1

Platt now has to make the difficult decision of whether or not to leave his severely injured mother on life support or to allow doctors to remove her from the machines, reports Trevor Montgomery of the Riverside County News Source. Photographs on the GoFundMe page show Johnson heavily bandaged and connected to the machines that are keeping her alive. Family members are now in disagreement over how best to proceed and a competing GoFundMe page has been created.

Case Background

On December 15, a woman was savagely attacked by three pit bulls while hanging laundry in her yard in the rural community of Anza. The attack occurred in the 55000 block of Mitchell Road about 9:40 am, Riverside County Fire Department said. She suffered severe bite injuries and was airlifted to a trauma center. "All three [dogs] were pit bulls or pit bull mixes and there is a known owner," John Welsh, a spokesman for Riverside County Department of Animal Services said.

Due to the severity of the attack, Welsh said that Riverside County Animal Services will seek a destruction order. "This is another preventable attack on an innocent person and one we find very upsetting," Director Robert Miller said in a statement. "It's imperative that owners of these types of dogs do everything in their power to prevent such horrific attacks." Miller urged owners of dogs with "high prey drives" to secure their yards to protect neighboring people and their pets.

Deputies arrested the dogs' owner on an outstanding felony warrant for vehicle theft and possession of stolen property, reports Riverside County News Source. "Jail records indicate Jesse Leon Miranda, 61, of Anza, was subsequently booked into Cois Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta for his warrant. He remains in custody in lieu of $20,000 bail, and is scheduled to be seen at Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, Dec. 19," News Source reported on December 15.

anza pit bull attack riverside county

Three pit bulls were confiscated after the vicious attack in Southwest Riverside County.

1Since we originally posted, the language on the GoFundMe has changed -- written by someone other than Platt. This is extremely tragic and heartbreaking. Both versions of the fund (pre today and the recent update) mention a secondary GoFundMe by a relative that we are not linking to. Our hearts go out to Angela and her family.

Related articles:
06/26/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Brain Dead After Pit Bull Mauling Near Bozeman
09/10/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Kill Man, Injure Woman in North Shore, California
10/15/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Neighbor's Pack of Pit Bulls Kill Modesto Man, Injure...