2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Owner Charged with Manslaughter After Multiple Attacks in Oklahoma

State of Oklahoma v. Morrow, Rise Jo (CF-2022-131)

Rise Morrow charged with manslaughter
Rise Morrow is charged with manslaughter in the 2nd degree, "Owner of a Dog that Kills."

Man Died After Bite Injuries
Claremore, OK - On May 9, reporter Lori Fullbright of Tulsa-based KOTV, published part of a charging document on her Facebook page. Otherwise, we have seen no other news reports about these charges or the multiple victims involved. Rise Jo Morrow (also known as Risa), who is in her 60s, was charged with second-degree manslaughter, "Owner of a Dog that Kills," on March 25, 2022. She was ordered to return to court on April 25th, but instead, Morrow failed to appear.

The date of the offense is November 26, 2020, when her pit bull with an excessive bite history, attacked three adults. One of them later died.

Since 2016, her male pit bull, named "Hurley," has attacked a half dozen people. At least three victims suffered serious injuries, requiring hospitalization and surgical procedures. Most of the attacks occurred when the victim was visiting Morrow's home. Predictably, the dog's vicious attacks escalate over the years, culminating in the November 2020 attack involving three victims. One of those victims, an adult male, died in 2021. Sepsis and wounds contributed to his death.

In June 2016, Hurley attacked a man's face, a friend, who had been coming to her home. His injuries required surgery. In November 2016, the dog attacked another man who was visiting Morrow's home. "Those injuries were disfiguring." Morrow was issued a ticket for harboring a vicious dog. Between 2017 and 2018, the dog knocked a woman down who had come to Morrow's home to report a water leak. The dog stayed on top of the victim until Morrow called off the dog.

In November 2020, Hurley attacked three people in a multi-victim attack. The first victim, a woman, was bitten so badly, she required long-term hospitalization. Another woman, who tried to help the first victim, suffered multiple bites to her thigh and breast. The first victim's husband also intervened to help his wife; he suffered multiple bite wounds to his stomach and thighs. In 2021, the husband returned to the hospital for his dog bite injuries that became septic and he died.

-June 2016: her pit bull named Hurley bit a man's face who was a friend who was coming to the Morrow home. His injuries required surgery.

-November 2016: the dog bit a man who was visiting. Those injuries were disfiguring and Morrow was issued a ticket for harboring a vicious dog.

-2017 or 2018: the dog knocked down a woman who was coming to the Morrow home to report a water leak and the dog stayed on top of the victim until Morrow called off the dog.

-November 2020: the dog bit several people.

-When a woman tried to help the victims, she was bitten on the thigh and breast.

-Another woman was bitten and her injuries required long term hospitalization.

-When that woman's husband tried to help her, he was bitten several times in the stomach and thighs.

-2021: That man went back to the hospital for his dog bite injuries that became septic and he died.

-The autopsy says sepsis and wounds contributed to his death. - Lori Fullbright

Morrow is being charged under Section § 21-717, which infers the 2020 attack was off-property. "Owner of mischievous animal which kills person. If the owner of a mischievous animal, knowing its propensities, wilfully suffers it to go at large, or keeps it without ordinary care, and such animal, while so at large or not confined, kills any human being who has taken all the precautions … to avoid such animal, the owner is deemed guilty of manslaughter in the second degree."

During the dog's last vicious attack, Hurley mauled a married couple and a woman who tried to intervene. The wife in the married couple required long-term hospitalization. She was likely still hospitalized when her husband "returned" to the hospital because his bite wounds became infected. Sepsis and wounds were contributing factors to his death, according to the autopsy. The amount of misery this couple has suffered due to this known vicious dog cannot be calculated.

On April 26, 2022, a $40,000 bench warrant was issued for Morrow for failure to appear in court. On May 10, a judge issued a forfeiture for Morrow's initial bail amount of $20,000. The bondsman was ordered to deposit the $20,000 to the court within 91 days. However, Morrow was located that very day and held in custody at the Rogers County Jail, according to court filings. Her next scheduled court date is an arraignment on May 16. The court appointed OIDS as her counsel.1

Infection-Related Deaths

Our nonprofit certainly includes sepsis and infection-related dog bite injury deaths involving vicious dog attacks that result in severe injuries that received medical treatment. Currently, we exclude "untreated severe dog bites (sepsis)" cases, but these "may be added to our data at a future time," we state on multiple pages. Furthermore, this dog owner is facing manslaughter charges due to this man's death. "Sepsis and wounds" contributed to his death, according to charging documents.

We do not know the date of this man's death, but we presume it was January or February 2021.

map iconView the DogsBite.org Google State Map: Oklahoma Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.
1Oklahoma Indigent Defense System.

Related articles:
05/12/22: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Dies After Violent Pit Bull Mauling in Tulsa; Owner Charged
04/27/22: 2022 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Fatally Mauled by Multiple Dogs in Oklahoma County

Baseline reporting requirements:
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.

2022 Dog Bite Fatality: Public Health Employee Killed by Pack of Dogs in Alabama; Second Attack by Same Dog Pack

Pack of dogs kill public health employee
Jacqueline Beard, an Alabama public health employee, was killed by a pack of dogs.

More Details Released
UPDATE 05/08/22: On April 29, an Alabama public health employee went to a dog owner's home on Crumpton Road at about 10:00 am to investigate a dog attack that occurred a day earlier involving at least six dogs. She was mauled and killed by these same dogs, likely just after getting out of her vehicle. Authorities found Jacqueline Summer Beard's body after receiving reports of a suspicious vehicle at the home at 6:00 pm. Beard had been lying dead near her car for hours.

The owner of the dogs, Brandy Dowdy, 39, was arrested and charged with manslaughter and offenses under the state's dangerous dog law.

Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver stated that a person living at the dog owner's residence is who called in the suspicious vehicle. "Around 6:00 pm we received a call from a person that lives in the house that there was a suspicious vehicle in the yard," Oliver said. "She was on the property of the people where the dogs belonged to," Sheriff Oliver said. "We're not able to confirm if they heard anything, the people at the house, or if they were even there [at the time]," Oliver said.

One day earlier, the same pack of dogs bolted off the Crumpton Road property and attacked a woman walking down nearby Highway 11 South. Michele Sheeks was airlifted to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo for treatment and then transferred to University Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. WAAY-TV reports that Sheeks is still hospitalized and will be for some time. Her husband, Wesley Sheeks, said the dogs jumped her all at once then drug her off the road.

"She had no idea they were there until they were on top of her," Wesley said. "They didn't come at her one at a time and just sort of tag team. They all jumped on her at once. They took her down and basically drug her probably about ten yards off the road, through a fire patch and barbed wire fence down in the edge of the pasture," he said. A neighbor first came to her aid that day, Wesley said. If the neighbor had not acted quickly, his wife might not be alive today, Wesley said.

The Red Bay News (who has since placed this article behind a pay wall), reports that Sheriff Oliver said it is believed Beard arrived at the home on Crumpton Road that morning at 10:00 am. "She went there to talk to the owners about putting the dogs up because they didn’t have their shots or signing them over to be euthanized," Sheriff Oliver said. Dowdy, who neighbors described as a "dog advocate" who "owned about 27 dogs," apparently was not home when Summer arrived.

After Sheeks was attacked by the dogs on April 28, Sheriff Oliver told The Red Bay News that when deputies and animal control went to the scene afterward, "the dogs that were there were friendly, and they petted them. There wasn't any problem." No information was provided about why the dogs remained on Dowdy's property after the first attack or what officials communicated to Dowdy, who not only possessed a pack of vicious dogs, but was potentially animal hoarding.

"ADPH investigates animal bites as part of its Environmental Health Program, due to potential risks for human rabies exposure. The safety of ADPH team members is paramount in day to day public health activities. Employees may, as part of their duties, carry out investigations or other visits individually. Employees may request and receive assistance with law enforcement, as needed." - Alabama Department of Public Health

Owner & Breeds Involved

Seven dogs believed to be involved in both attacks were euthanized, Sheriff Oliver said. The breeds of dogs involved have not been released. What is known is that Dowdy owns or has owned a pit bull in the past and that she is a pit bull advocate. In 2015, Dowdy and her then husband David acquired Rowdy, according to his Facebook page. The couple is no longer involved. It's unclear what became of Rowdy, or which partner took that dog after the two called it quits.

Dowdy's most recent public post about pit bulls was published on December 5, 2021, saying that pit bulls "have the biggest hearts and get treated the worst." On October 28, 2018 she posted a pit bull propaganda video by The Dodo -- "Pittie vs. very scary pineapple." On October 1, 2017, she posted a Pit Bull Awareness month meme. On May 19, 2017, Dowdy published a post, "If only people gave them a chance!! They are the most loving babies!! Stop breed discrimination!!"

Brandy Dowdy pit bull owner and advocate

Brandy Dowdy is a longtime pit bull owner and advocate, according to her Facebook posts.

Alabama public health employee killed by dogs

Brandy Dowdy previously owned a family pit bull named "Rowdy" that was acquired in 2015.

04/30/22: Multiple Victims; One Dead
Franklin County, AL - On Thursday, April 28, 2022, a woman walking along Highway 11 South near Crumpton Road, close to the Mississippi border, was attacked by six dogs that bolted out of a nearby yard. She was transported to the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo then transferred to the University Medical Center in Jackson. The following day, the same dogs killed a state public health employee who had been trying to follow up with the owner of the dogs.

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a woman after a pack of dangerous dogs attacked her earlier today. Alabama Department of Public Health employee was following up on the dog attack from earlier this week when she was attacked by the same pack of dogs. The employee, Jacqueline Summer Beard, was located after someone called about a suspicious vehicle on Crumpton Road outside of Red Bay. When deputies arrived, they were met by residents on Crumpton road. Several dogs started attacking the residents when deputies were there, and one person received minor injuries. Some of the dogs had to be euthanized immediately. When the deputies started investigating the suspicious vehicle, they located the body of Jacqueline Beard. Franklin County Coroner Charlie Adcox was summoned and pronounced Beard deceased. Beard was following up on an incident that had been reported to Franklin County Animal Control where a lady was attacked by a pack of dogs earlier this week. It is believed that Beard was attacked as she was attempting to contact the dog’s owner when she was killed by the dogs. Investigators have arrested Brandy Dowdy for Manslaughter and Dangerous Dog law, (Emily’s Law). - Franklin County Sheriff's Office

The investigation into the second victim's attack began after someone called in a suspicious vehicle on Crumpton Road south of Red Bay. Arriving deputies were met by residents. As they were gathered on the roadside, several dogs started attacking the residents. Multiple dogs were dispatched at the scene. When deputies began investigating the suspicious vehicle, they located the body of Jacqueline Summer Beard, 58, an Alabama Department of Public Health employee.

The owner of the dogs, Brandy Lee Dowdy, 39, was arrested and charged with manslaughter and violations of the state's Dangerous Dog law named after Emily Colvin. If a canine "attacks and causes serious physical injury or death to a person, and the owner of the dog had prior knowledge of the dangerous propensities of the dog, yet demonstrated a reckless disregard of the propensities under the circumstances, the owner of the dog shall be guilty of a Class C felony."

Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said the first victim, who has yet to be identified, remains hospitalized in Mississippi and was in "pretty serious condition." Seven dogs were involved in the attacks, according to Oliver, some were euthanized at the scene Friday. No dogs were seized by authorities after the first attack. No breed descriptions were released by authorities. Depending upon what investigators learn, Dowdy could be charged under Emily's Law for both victims.

first dog attack victim

People are saying prayers for the first victim who remains hospitalized with serious injuries.

Brandy Lee Dowdy arrested dog attack

Brandy Lee Dowdy, 39, was charged with manslaughter after her pack of dogs killed a woman.

April 10 to April 29

Since April 10, at least eight people in the U.S. have been killed by dogs. All of these victims were adults, 38-years and older. At least five of the attacks involved multiple dogs and six of the deaths, 75%, involved females 42-years and older. In most of the attacks, 5 of 8, breed data was not released by police because the attacks were unwitnessed and the data was likely unknown, or in the cases of the Kewanee and Wichita male deaths, the breed data was apparently just withheld.

Related articles:
04/05/18: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Kill 24-Year Old Woman in Jackson County, Alabama
10/20/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by a Pack of Dogs in Walker 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.

2022 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Dies After Breaking Up Dogfight in Kewanee; Did not Seek Treatment After Severe Bite Injuries

Man dies breaking up dog fight Kewanee pit bull
Juan Ruiz, 66, died after breaking up a dog fight at his home in Kewanee, Illinois.

Victim, Dog Breed Identified
UPDATE 05/02/22: One week after a man died after breaking up a dog fight, the victim has been identified, as has the breed of dog involved. Kewanee Police Chief Nicholas Welgat confirmed Henry County Coroner's office information that the victim was Juan Ruiz, 66 of 819 North Vine Street. The breed of the attacking dog was a pit bull. County Coroner Melissa Watkins said that no autopsy was performed because it was clear the man died from wounds sustained in the attack.

In the nearly 15 year history of this nonprofit, we have only heard a coroner make a similar reference one other time. That was after the death of 40-year old Edward Cahill of Indiana, who was killed by his pet pit bull on Christmas Day in 2014. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris listed his cause of death as exsanguination, massive blood loss. "This is so clear cut," Harris explained. "There’s no reason for me to spend $2,500 of the taxpayers’ money on something so obvious."

04/30/22: Man Dies After Dog Bites
Kewanee, IL - On April 25, at approximately 12:30 am, Kewanee police and fire were dispatched to the 800 block of North Vine Street after receiving a 911 call of an unresponsive male. "Upon arrival, emergency personnel located a 66-year old male in the residence not breathing and suffering from multiple bite wounds," states a release from Kewanee Police. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The release was issued five days after the man's dog bite death.

Investigators say that earlier that day -- April 24 at about 6:00 pm -- the man tried to break up a fight between two dogs in the home. One the dogs attacked him, inflicting severe injuries. The man called family members, who were out of town, and advised what happened. They told him to "call for an ambulance or go to the hospital" for treatment. Instead, he self-treated by bandaging his wounds. When family members returned to the home that night, they found him unresponsive.

Both dogs were taken into custody by police and impounded at the Kewanee Animal Control facility. "The aggressive dog that caused the fatal wounds was surrendered to the City of Kewanee," states the release. "The dog was then euthanized as it was deemed too vicious and a danger to the community." Kewanee police did not identify the breed of the aggressive dog. The second dog is currently being treated for "multiple injuries" inflicted by the aggressive dog.

The cause and manner of death from a medical examiner's office was not released in the statement by Police Chief Nicholas Welgat, but the nature of the victim's injuries were. One of the dogs "bit the victim multiple times causing severe injuries," states the release. Police did not identify the male victim. Emergency medical treatment is exceptionally expensive in the United States. But the risk of "self-treating" damaging dog bite injuries can come at a very high cost too.

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

Related articles:
03/12/21: Peer-Reviewed Study Examines Dog-on-Dog Attacks in the UK by Analyzing News...
09/20/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Kills Owner in Baker City Who Tried to Stop a Dog Fight

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.

2022 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Multiple Dogs in Her Own Front Yard in Oklahoma County; Dogs Still At Large

Woman killed by dogs in Newalla Oklahoma dogs still at large
Anita Mears, 61, was killed by multiple dogs in her front yard near Newalla.

Woman Killed by Dogs
Newalla, OK - After Oklahoma County Sheriff’s deputies found a woman dead in the front yard of her property on Sunday near Newalla, they thought the woman had been stabbed to death and began a homicide investigation. The coroner's office later announced the woman died of dog bites -- thus the police investigation had been bungled irrevocably from the start. Investigators were not searching for the culprit dogs or any dog attack evidence until days after the fatal dog mauling.

By then that window of evidence gathering had disappeared, and unsurprisingly, so had the dogs. They will likely never be identified.

To make matters worse, the victim's own dog was "standing over her," guarding her body, when deputies arrived and was also injured in the incident. "We believe the dog was trying to protect her," said Sheriff Tommie Johnson III, of the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office. This is common behavior for certain dog breeds, largely pit bull-types and rottweilers, after they have fatally attacked their owner or family member. Police did not release the breed of dog that Mears owned.

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office and the County Medical Examiners Office have determined the death of a woman near Newalla this weekend is NOT a homicide. Sunday April 24 at approximately 12:23 pm, deputies were called to the 4300 block of South Catfish Drive on a report that a woman was dead.

When deputies arrived, they found the body of 61 year old Anita Mears in her front yard.

Ms. Mears had injuries consistent with being stabbed multiple times.

The Oklahoma County Medical Examiners Office responded and determined this is not a homicide, but that Ms. Mears was attacked by multiple dogs.

Ms. Mears' dog was also injured in the attack. Her dog was standing guard over Ms. Mears' body when Deputies arrived.

As for the dogs that attacked Ms. Mears, we don't know whether they are wild dogs or neighborhood dogs, and because there were no witnesses, we may never know. We are warning folks to stay away from any packs of dogs that may be roaming the area.

We are releasing a picture of Ms. Mears that her family provided. Our prayers are with Ms. Mears family as they work to cope with this tragedy. - Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office, April 26, 2022

Deputies responded to a property in the 4300 block of South Catfish Drive on Sunday shortly before 12:30 pm after reports that a woman was found dead. When they arrived, they found her body in the front yard of her home with injuries consistent with stab wounds. The Oklahoma County Coroner's Office responded and determined -- the date of the coroner's determination is not identified1 -- that Mears' death was not a homicide; she had been attacked by multiple dogs.

“We don’t really know what kind of dogs they were, and that’s part of the problem,” said Aaron Brilbeck, public information officer for the sheriff’s office. “The reality is we may never be able to identify these dogs. We don’t know if they’re wild dogs or if they’re neighborhood dogs. There were no witnesses to this, so being able to identify the dogs responsible? We probably never will.” - Oklahoman, April 26, 2022

The sheriff's office also added the unsubstantiated claim that the dogs could be "wild" too. "Wild dogs" are not involved in fatal dog attacks in the United States. Family dogs, loose owned dogs and formerly owned dogs -- abandoned dogs that become strays -- are by far the chief offenders in fatal dog maulings. True feral dogs -- dogs born in the wild, having no reliance on humans at all -- are involved in less than 2% of all U.S. fatal dog attacks, according to our 16-year data set.

Finally, Sheriff Johnson was asked during the press conference if the county has any type of animal control officers. Johnson said they do not and that they "work with other municipalities out east" that do have these officers. Johnson cautioned residents about the dogs. "If you see a pack of dogs, stay away and please call the police," he said. "Obviously, they travel in packs so they can be dangerous when they do that. So, please stay away, protect yourself and call the police."

Woman killed by dogs in Newalla Oklahoma dogs still at large

Anita Mears, 61, was killed by one or more dogs in her own yard near Newalla, Oklahoma.

1On Tuesday, April 26, KOCO News reported, "On Tuesday, investigators determined a pack of dogs was responsible for a woman’s death." The coroner's office likely did not determine her cause of death at the scene Sunday. They did so after a full autopsy was completed several days later.

Related articles:
09/10/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Elderly Woman Mauled by Pack of Dogs in Pickett County Dies
01/11/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Pack of Dogs in Grenada County, Mississippi
03/08/18: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Mississippi Man Killed by Pit Bulls; Second Death by Dogs...

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.