Mother Shares Story After Rescue 'Lab-Mix' Bites Son in the Face During Visitation with His Father

My son "is a victim of a vicious animal, poor judgment and political correctness. As a parent of a dog bite victim, I am left feeling helpless."

dog bite during visitation
A photo showing her son's facial injuries after multiple layers of sutures were placed.

DogsBite.org - A mother shares her story after her son was bitten in the face by a recently adopted "rescue" dog during a visitation with his father. Over the last decade, many mothers have shared similar accounts with our nonprofit, but only privately, as these cases involve difficult legal issues. We deeply thank this mother for sharing her son's powerful and heartbreaking story with our readers. It is a story of the legal injustices that are designed to "protect everyone but the victims."


Dear DogBite.org,

My son was visiting his Father's home in February 2015. His Father had recently replaced his long loved black lab that had passed away with a "rescue" from a no-kill shelter not-for-profit organization. The new dog, I will refer as "M," was described to me as a "lab-mix, mostly lab." Although the male dog did appear to have some features of the lab, the obvious "pit or bully type" characteristics were apparent to me on the single time I observed "M." I was never given any confirmation of "M's" breed other than a Lab-Mix. My son was 10 years old at the time.

"A towel was covering my son's mouth. I will never forget the smell of that towel. Dog breath saturated that towel as well as my son's face."

It was a Sunday afternoon when my son's Father phoned me. He stated that our son had been bitten by "M." When I asked how serious the bite was, he answered, "I mean, he's gonna need some stitches." Fearing the worst, but praying for the best, we met at the Hospital where my son's Father had transported him. I arrived while my son was in the triage department with his Father and a nurse. A towel was covering my son's mouth. I will never forget the smell of that towel. Dog breath saturated that towel as well as my son's face. I embraced my son and then removed the towel. To my horror, his lip was torn partially from his face. The entire section of lip was severed. He had a puncture wound on his cheek, and abrasions from "M's" mouth and teeth scraping my son's face as he bit down. The inside of my son's mouth had tears and ripped gums.

My beautiful child, his cherubic cheeks and baby doll lips, were now mangled and would never be the same. My heart sunk, the terror in my child's eyes overshadowed the heartbreak I was feeling. I asked what happened, but his Father answered swiftly that my son was keeping food away from "M" and that is how this happened. The typical answer of a vicious dog owner, blame the victim at all costs.

Together, we waited for the Doctor to return to my son, who was then sedated and sutured with multiple layers. During this tense wait, I controlled my tears, and questioned his Father as to his intentions now that his newly adopted vicious dog had attacked our child. Mere centimeters could have been the difference in life or death. His Father would not make any decision at that time. The next few weeks were difficult in our home. My son's physical and emotional pain endured for quite some time. Insecurity for his appearance slowly crept in. Although his scar healed beautifully, his face and lip have permanent nerve damage.

Ultimately, his Father refused to even consider rehoming "M." He took a stance claiming that our son somehow must have done something to deserve his injury. My son's Father had a "professional behavior specialist" deem "M" to be harmless and not food aggressive. I refused our son to be near this vicious animal. Despite difficult threats made in my direction, I chose to allow my child to visit ONLY if "M" was locked away and in no way able to have physical contact with my son. This was the arrangement I made with his Father.

"An attorney advised me that if I denied my son's Father's visitation, I could be held in contempt of court."

The sound of a dog barking, any dog, the sight of a dog on television caused panic in my son and inconsolable fear. The health department, who is responsible for filing these types of reports, did not after my son's bite. The animal control department in our county, who is responsible for the quarantine of an animal after an attack such as this, did not after my son's bite. An attorney advised me that if I denied my son's Father's visitation, I could be held in contempt of court.

This is when I began researching dog bites. I was inundated with information that opened my eyes to the epidemic of serious, fatal or near fatal dog bites in this country. I found Dogsbite.org and felt this was an organization that left no room for confusion or misleading propaganda when discussing dog bites. The fact that "M" is still in the home of my child's Father today is shocking. I learned later too, that despite the arrangement his Father promised, my child was burdened with the task of feeding and watering this vicious animal just a short time after he was attacked.

When my son's Father sued for lower child support a year later, my attorney felt this was an opportunity to force him to answer to his poor judgment regarding my son's bite, and the choice to further put our child at risk thereafter. We countersued and claimed that he should be held in contempt of court for negligence. A day of reckoning for my child's unnecessary trauma and continued forced contact with this animal would finally arrive.

A county court Judge would be shocked at my son's Father's conduct and negligence, right? This would be some measure of redemption for my son and I.

The trial came, and to my surprise, the Judge barely let me begin testimony regarding the bite incident -- he refused to listen to any part of it. He stopped me by asking, "And has there been, to your knowledge, any injury from a dog since then?"

"No," I answered.

"All right," the judge said. "Then, let's move on."

As fast as I could blink, it was over. So if a county judge, an appointed official doesn't see this situation as serious, and a Father doesn't see any need for concern, maybe I am overreacting right? Wrong. My poor child has been disfigured for life, was forced to have contact with the vicious dog that harmed him, and left to feel that no protection is warranted for him. Dogsbite.org is a wholly informational, up to date and factual website for anyone searching for accurate statistics, grieving a dog bite, or is curious as to what this legislative hype is all about.

"The trial came, and to my surprise, the Judge barely let me begin testimony regarding the bite incident … As fast as I could blink, it was over."

Although my son has recovered beautifully, and certainly more severe bites overwhelm this website, he is an absolute victim. He is a victim of a vicious animal, poor judgment and political correctness. As a parent of a dog bite victim, I am left feeling helpless. We as a family are in full support of your website and all of the positive it brings to the public at large. Keep up the good work.

This is our story. Please share this story. Post it to your site; post it wherever you can to inform those who need support or a better understanding of the impact of a vicious dog bite. I have tossed the idea of sharing our story for quite some time. I have chosen to share it with Dogsbite.org because I feel even a story with a less than tragic ending is one that many can relate to, when the fatal mauling cases are sometimes too difficult to comprehend. Thank you for your continuing crusade to protect against the many senseless dog maulings, deaths and legal injustices designed to protect everyone but the victims.

-Alabama Mother

dog bite during visitation broken promise


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2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Family Pit Bull Fatally Attacks Newborn in Crib in Citrus County, Florida

newborn killed crib pit bull, Citrus County
The Citrus County Sheriff's Office released a photo of the fatally attacking pit bull.

Pit Bull Kills Newborn
Dunnellon, FL - A 5-day old infant is dead after a family pit bull attacked the newborn while lying in her crib. The attack happened on West Ranchetta Street in Dunnellon at about 12:20 am Sunday. Citrus County Sheriff’s deputies arrived to a family member performing CPR on the newborn. A deputy proceeded to take over by performing chest compressions. The infant at that time was still slightly responsive, according to a report obtained by the Citrus County Chronicle Wednesday.

The newborn was airlifted to Bayfront Health Seven Rivers, where she was pronounced dead about 1:40 am Sunday, according to the report.

A female relative in the residence told deputies the pit bull leapt onto the bed, which was next to the bassinet where the infant was lying, and began attacking the infant while she was in a different room, states the report. Citrus County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Lindsay Blair said Wednesday that no criminal charges are expected to be filed in connection to her mauling death. Detectives are still waiting for the medical examiner to determine the official cause and manner of death of the baby.

This newborn's death marks the fourth death of a child due to a dog mauling in Florida this year. 75% of these victims were less than a year old. In May, Liana Valino, 9-months old, was killed by a family pit bull while under the care of her grandmother in Miramar. In July, Jaelah Smith, 6-years old, was killed by a pit bull her family had been dog sitting in Jacksonville. In October, foster baby Khloe Williams, 7-months old, was killed by her babysitter's recently adopted dog in Clearwater.

The last recorded fatal dog mauling in Citrus County occurred in 2014. Christopher Camejo Jr., 2-years old, was killed by his grandfather's rottweilers. The boy was alone when the attack occurred, and was dead when emergency medical responders arrived. The boy was bitten over 200 times by the rottweilers. The boy's family had been staying at the grandfather's home when the dogs attacked. Both parents were later charged with negligence and third-degree murder.

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

Related articles:
10/22/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Adopted Dog Kills Baby in Foster Care in Clearwater
07/18/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Child Dies of Injuries from Dog Attack in in Jacksonville
06/07/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Infant Killed by Family Pit Bull in Miramar, Florida

2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Wheelchair Bound Woman Mauled to Death by Family Pit Bull in Michigan

wheelchair bound woman pit bull kills
Sharon Lee Daniels, 77, was found dead after being mauled to death by a family pit bull.

Family Pit Bull Kills
Big Prairie Township, MI - A 77-year old woman is dead after being attacked by a family pit bull, according to Michigan State Police. State troopers discovered Sharon Lee Daniels unresponsive in her Big Prairie Township home about 7:00 pm Tuesday. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators say Daniels, who is disabled and confined to a wheelchair, was alone with three family pit bulls when one of them "inflicted fatal bites to her body," state news reports.

Daniels was repeatedly bitten, which investigators say led to her death, reports WZZM. An autopsy has been ordered for further investigation. Newaygo County Animal Control officers took all three pit bulls into custody. The dogs remain in quarantine at the Newaygo County Animal Shelter. No criminal activity is suspected, according to state police. The Newaygo County Sheriff's Department, Big Prairie Fire Department and Life EMS assisted the Michigan State Police.

"Apparently, there is blood everywhere," the dispatcher tells Newaygo County Fire. "They estimated two quarts of blood on the floor."

Dispatch log files at Broadcastify.com paint a grim picture of the scene that state police and emergency medical responders arrived to Tuesday. The attack occurred in the 7000 block of East Mary Avenue. "76-year old female, unresponsive, currently has a pulse," the dispatcher states. "Apparently, there is blood everywhere," the dispatcher emphasized. "They estimated two quarts of blood on the floor." CPR was in progress as this rescue team was en route to the location.

So far, no details have been provided about other persons living at the victim's home. No information has been provided about why investigators believe that only one of the family pit bulls participated in the deadly attack either. Since January 2018, canines have mauled to death 33 individuals. Pit bulls have inflicted 73% (24) of these deaths. Of the total number of fatal pit bull maulings, 71% (17 of 24) have been carried out by family pit bulls killing a household member.

Evening Updates

In the news video footage, but not in print, a family friend told Fox 17 the pit bull that mauled and killed Daniels had recently become aggressive. James Little and Daniels' grandson and gone out to get food supplies. When they returned, they discovered the gruesome scene inside the home. "There was just a pool of blood and not much we could do," Little said. There had been talk of giving the increasingly aggressive pit bull to a shelter, Little explained, but that never happened.

"Those dogs have been in the house and they're part of the family," Lt. Kanitz said. "She knew those dogs and those dogs knew her."

Little is apparently the nephew of Adi Huedepohl, who spoke to Wood TV. Huedepohl said that Daniels, who she had known for four decades, was like a mother to her. Huedepohl said the pit bulls were owned by one of Daniels' family members. Despite the irony, Huedepohl claimed, "It's not the animal. It's the owner." Indicating that it was either Daniels or a family member who taught the pit bull to attack Daniels. Police have ordered an autopsy to confirm the cause of death.

wheelchair bound woman killed by family pit bull

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

Related articles:
07/03/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Rescue Pit Bull Kills 3-Week Old Baby Girl in Grand Rapids
11/02/16: 2016 Dog Bite Fatality: New Dog Kills 4-Year Old Child, Injures Mother in Michigan


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: Family Dog Kills 19-Month Old Toddler in Pennsylvania

nora sharp york county dog attack
Nora Sharp, 19-months old, died after being mauled to death her family's bullmastiff.

Child Identified
UPDATE 11/06/18: The York County Coroner's Office identified the 19-month old child who was killed by a family dog Sunday night. Nora Sharp was declared dead at 11:03 pm on November 4. The attack occurred at her home in the 500 block of El Dorado Drive about 10:15 pm. She was transported to York Hospital for emergency treatment, but she did not survive. The child died of "multiple injuries due to dog attack," the coroner said. The manner of death is accidental.

The child's family told officials the dog is a "mixed-breed." The York County Fire ATR and EMA - South dispatch logs at Broadcastify.com, however, do not reflect this. At 22:19, dispatch states, "They are advising that the child is unresponsive and not breathing [undetermined]. Be advised the dog was a bullmastiff that attacked the child's head, face and leg injuries. He's going to be locked away." It's a real disservice to the public to distort breed information after a fatal attack.

There is quite a difference between a 15-pound "mixed-breed" and a 125-pound "mixed-breed." The weight of this dog was not provided by police, nor was the gender of this dog, its spay/neuter status, its age or its predominant breed. Presumably, it was a person in the child's home who made the 911 call and provided the breed information; a person who is familiar with the dog. Investigators are still looking into the breed of the dog, according to the York Daily Record.

11/05/18: Family Dog Kills Toddler
Windsor Township, PA - A 19-month old child is dead after being mauled by a family dog, according to a news release by the York County Coroner's Office. "The toddler had been in her family home in Windsor Township when she was reportedly attacked by a family dog at approximately 10:15 pm Sunday night," states the release. Emergency medical responders arrived at the home and the female toddler was transported to York Hospital for emergency treatment.

"Despite emergency medical intervention, the female toddler was pronounced dead at 11:03 pm Sunday night," states York County Coroner Pamela Gay in the release. York Area Regional Police is the agency investigating the child's death. An autopsy will be scheduled to determine cause and manner of death. The child's name and the location of the attack will be released pending additional family notification, states the release. No breed information was in the news release.

Chief Tim Damon of the York Area Regional Police force said Monday morning the toddler was being watched by her parents when the dog attacked her, reports the York Dispatch. Damon would not release the type of dog that attacked her -- the breed information -- but confirmed the animal has been euthanized. Damon did not know the age of the dog. Damon also confirmed that the little girl was the only one injured in the attack. Damon said the investigation is active an ongoing.

In an updated article by the York Daily Record, Chief Damon clarified that one parent was home at the time of the deadly attack. When first responders arrived at the home, the dog and child were separated. Damon also said that he has been told the breed information, but is working to confirm it. On Monday, Coroner Gay told the Daily Record that many of the first responders were impacted by the deadly mauling. "There's a lot of people affected, as far as first responders," Gay said.

York County Dog Attack child dies Windsor Township

The fatal dog attack occurred in the 500 block of El Dorado Drive in Red Lion, Pennsylvania.

Related articles:
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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.

2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Winchester Mother Dies After Pit Bull Mauling Inside Her Home

Winchester Mother Dies after pit bull mauling
April Collins, 45, died after being attacked by a pit bull inside her Winchester home.

Pit Bull Kills Woman
Winchester, KY - A Winchester mother is dead after being fatally attacked by a pit bull in Clark County. April Collins, 45-years old, died Friday morning, the Fayette County Coroner's Office said. Her husband found Collins unresponsive Thursday at 6:30 pm at their home on Verna Drive, Clark County Sheriff Berl Perdue said. Collins was taken to Clark Regional Medical Center then transferred to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, where she died Friday, Perdue said.

Collins "sustained fatal injuries after being attacked by a pit bull in Clark County," according to a news release by the coroner. - LEX 18 News

The woman was alone with the pit bull in the residence when the fatal attack occurred. Collins and her husband own the home, according to the sheriff. The dog was taken into custody and is being held at a local animal shelter, Perdue said. The Fayette County coroner referred all questions about the attack to the Clark County Sheriff’s Department. The sheriff's office continues to investigate the fatal dog mauling. The initial cause of death is "pending" the final autopsy report.

Afternoon Updates

The family pit bull that killed Collins had attacked her two times previously, reports the The Winchester Sun. The first attack occurred on September 29, Sheriff Berl Perdue said. Collins was treated at Clark Regional Medical Center for facial injuries. The dog bit her again on October 31, Perdue said, but that bite was not reported. The attack on Thursday inflicted multiple injuries to her arm, shoulder, face and neck, he said. Perdue noted she had older wounds on her legs too.

Perdue said the couple got the dog in July 2017 when it was nine weeks old. There was also a second pit bull in the home (multi-pit bull household). That dog was not involved in the attack, he said. "This will be a drawn-out investigation," Perdue said. There many people to interview, especially in the health care field, he said. Criminal charges are applicable for failure to notify authorities of an attack, Perdue said. The sheriff did not mention the role of the victim's husband.

Someone should also be on the hook for failing to tell Collins that aggressive behaviors in pit bulls are often first seen when they reach sexual maturity, the same age as this dog, about 18 months old. If that occurs, the behavior typically increases, as vividly demonstrated in this case. That Collins also had "older wounds" on her legs is similar to battered wife syndrome; just replacing an abusive husband with a known aggressive dog. Health care officials should indeed be interviewed.

Pit Bulls Killing Their Owners

Finally, we are again discussing pit bulls killing their owners. Since January, pit bulls have inflicted 7 of the 10 deadly "owner attacks." Nearly one-third of all deaths this year involve dogs killing their owner or primary caretaker. Of these 10 deaths, 2 involve an owner killed while trying to break up a dogfight between a pit bull and another dog. In 4 cases, the dog had previously attacked or shown human aggression, and in 2 cases, the dog had attacked animals before killing its owner.

In the evening update by LEX 18, we learn that before the death of Collins, the couple had a Beware of the Dog sign on their front door, apparently to warn visitors. Sheriff Perdue stated that in the October 31 attack, just one day before the dog inflicted the fatal attack, the pit bull had bitten both Collins and her husband. Neither sought medical attention at that time, Perdue said. He also said that his office has never dealt with an animal attack as severe as the one that killed Collins.

pit bull kills owner in Winchester

Winchester Mother Dies after pit bull attack

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

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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.

Footage Captures Daring Rescue by First Responders, After Dramatic 'Owner Attack' Inflicted by a Family Pit Bull

Dramatic owner attack by family pit bull in Mobile
First responders rescue a woman after she was attacked by her own pit bull.

Raw News Footage
Mobile, AL - In a dramatic "owner attack" inflicted by a family pit bull, raw news video shows Mobile Fire and Rescue pulling a 51-year old woman out of a window of her home in the 4300 block of Government Blvd. Both of her hands were paritally severed in the attack. The 38-minute footage by NBC 15 shows the woman being hoisted through a window onto a gurney (8:30). First responders quickly wrap yellow plastic over her body once she is placed onto the gurney.

Animal control appears on scene next to a haul off the animal. A male pit bull with blood on its coat is seen being taken from the home by a catchpole (19:00). WKRG footage captures police boarding up the window afterward -- first responders had to break the window to rescue the woman. A person close to the family said the pit bull belonged to the woman. The dog also had a history of dog aggression, the person said. There were three dogs in the victim's household.

In the news report released by NBC 15, they state that first responders first pried open the front door, but the attacking pit bull was still inside. So they yelled out to the woman and discovered which room she was in then quickly broke the nearest window to reach her. The "window rescue" was necessary because apparently shooting the dog was not an option and, of course, animal control could not arrive in time -- nor can any department respond as quickly as police and fire.

A commenter on the NBC 15 Facebook thread claims he lived "next-door to that dog for two years" and that the dog had previously attacked the victim. The dog "should've been put down eight months ago when it attacked her the first time when she needed 200 stitches." Ken Dombroski Jr., goes on to say the pit bull also charged his dog, a pit bull-mix named Rufus. The victim's sister told NBC 15 she got the dog two years ago and "has no clue what happened."


Dramatic owner attack by family pit bull in Mobile

A neutered family pit bull was taken into custody after attacking its owner in Mobile, Alabama.


Pit Bulls Attacking Their Owners

So far this year, pit bulls have inflicted six deadly "owner attacks." Of the 22 fatal pit bull attacks since January, 68% (15) involved a pit bull killing a family member. There have been many high profile nonfatal "owner attacks" by pit bulls involving dramatic rescues as well. In September, firefighters in Springfield, Ohio had to climb through a window to rescue Kathy Engle, 51, and a 4-year old child she was babysitting from Engle's own attacking pit bull, which had a bite history.

Also in September, a Des Moines police officer sped onto a woman's front lawn and shot the pit bull attacking her. Sandra Riggan, 49, was moving out of her home with the help of two movers, when her own pit bull suddenly attacked her. "I thought I was going to see her die in front of me today," said her friend Pamela Dishman, who witnessed the attack. "It was horrible. I mean, I'm watching my friend and she's being attacked, almost killed it seems like," Dishman said.

Riggan later posted graphic photographs of her injuries on her Facebook page and her GoFundMe page, where not a single donation was ever left. In a September 8 post -- one day after the violent attack -- Riggan stated in a Facebook post showing a photo of her three pit bulls, I "still love my dogs." In a September 22 post, Riggan claims the attack was redirected aggression. The male pit bull was actually after the movers, but attacked her instead because he could not reach them.

"He stopped attacking as long as I was letting him try to get in the house at those movers." - Sandra Riggan, Facebook, September 22, 2018

In August, firefighters in West Palm Beach had to climb through a second story window to rescue two people after their pit bull attacked them. Neighbors told CBS 12 the owners knew the dog was vicious. There was even a Beware of Dog sign on their door. The pit bull apparently "barricaded" its owners upstairs after the attack, forcing firefighters to enter through the window. That is your tax dollars at work, saving pit bull owners from their own dogs with a known history of aggression.

In July, police in Taylor Mill, Kentucky carried out the dramatic rescue of two pit bull owners. When police arrived the family pit bull was actively attacking one of its owners in the backyard, while its owner moaned, "Shoot it please." The officer open fired on the dog. "On more shot," the officer shouted. "He's still breathing, put him out of his misery." When police stepped into the home, it looked like the scene of a massacre with blood on the floor, furniture and up and down the walls.

Family members said the 4-year old pit bull, named Rocky, did not have a history of aggression. The injured owner lying in the backyard, who was "bleeding out everywhere" and required an ambulance, "ASAP," according to police officers at the scene, uttered to the officers, "That dog, he's been good forever. And thank you for killing him." All-in-all, Rocky the "good" family pit bull, viciously attacked two family members, sending both of them to the hospital with serious injuries.

Summary

Though details in the most recent dramatic "owner attack" by a pit bull in Mobile, Alabama remain light, there is evidence the pit bull was dog-aggressive, yet was living in a home with two other dogs. The victim's partially severed hand injuries are also indicative of trying to break up a dog fight involving a pit bull. The naïve saying, "It could never happen to me" or worse, "It could never happen to me again," routinely leads to severe and fatal bite injuries to owners of pit bulls.


Six days after the "owner attack" in Mobile, a neighbor started a GoFundMe page for the victim and identified her as Bambi Reynolds Morrow. At least one hand had to be amputated in the days following the attack. Both of her arms, hands and one leg were severely injured in the attack.


Dramatic owner attack by family pit bull in Mobile

Mobile Fire & Rescue pull a woman through a window after she was attacked by her pit bull.


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08/27/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: West Price Hill Woman Killed by Her Pit Bull; Police Call...