2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies After Being Mauled by Family Pit Bull in Southeast D.C.

pit bull kills woman DC
Angela Smith, 55-years old, was killed by her family pit bull in Southeast D.C.

Longtime Family Pet
UPDATE 10/15/18: On Monday, the victim's husband spoke to the media outside of his home. Last night, the couple's pit bull of eight years fatally attacked Angela Smith. "I left the house," Rob Frazier said, holding back tears. "It was 15 minutes and I came back," he paused. "She was dead. That's all I know." The couple had been together for two decades, but only married two years ago. The male pit bull, named Kaine, had been given to Frazier by his nephew when it was a puppy.

About 6:30 pm Sunday, police were dispatched to Frazier and Smith's row home in the 1300 block of Dexter Terrace SE in Southeast D.C. They discovered Smith unconscious, suffering from "multiple trauma wounds." She was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Frazier said his mother was also in the home during the attack, but was asleep and did not hear anything. Authorities took the dog into custody; it has since been humanely euthanized.

Frazier said the dog was food aggressive, which may have triggered the attack. "I'm thinking she might have taken some food or something like that from him and he's real aggressive like that," Frazier said. Yet, a family dog attack resulting in human fatality is an absolutely disproportionate response to this. As animal behaviorist Alexandra Semyonova has explained in the past, selecting for impulsive aggression, as dogfighters did, created an utterly disproportionate response:

"It’s also not realistic to pretend that impulsive aggression is not pathological. The environments (the fighting pit, the baited bull, the escaping slave) for which these behaviors were selected as an adaptive response are so extreme that in fact there is no appropriate context for these behaviors in normal life." - Alexandra Semyonova, Heritability of Behavior in the Abnormally Aggressive Dog, November 2006.

It is also important to reemphasize that the agency contracting with the District of Columbia for animal control services, Humane Rescue Alliance, lied to the media and the American public after this horrific attack, calling this dog a "mixed-breed" instead of a pit bull. D.C. police later stepped in and confirmed this dog was a pit bull. The Alliance has pit bulls plastered all over their website and transport vans. Our nonprofit will address D.C. city officials about this deliberate deception.

10/14/18: Woman Killed by Pit Bull
District of Columbia - A 55-year old woman is dead after being mauled by a pit bull in Southeast D.C. Responders were dispatched just after 6:30 pm to the 1300 block of Dexter Terrace SE for a report of a woman mauled by a dog. Dexter Terrace is just one block long with rowhouses on both sides. The victim was transported to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, where she was pronounced dead. It is unclear who owns the dog, but the deadly attack occurred indoors.

NBC Washington reports the attacking dog could be seen resisting efforts when taken into custody and tried to bite one of the officers while being removed from the home. "Multiple workers" were eventually able to haul the dog into a Humane Rescue Alliance van "using a blanket to lift its hind legs," reports NBC Washington. Neighbors told the news outlet they had seen the victim walking the male dog in the past. None of them had witnessed the animal acting aggressively before.

So far in 2018, one quarter (7 of 28) of all recorded fatal dog maulings have been attacks upon their owners, the very hand that feeds and houses these dogs. This does not include this immediate woman who may or may not be the dog's owner. Five of these owner deaths involved pit bulls, one fatality involved a dogo argentino and another involved a mastiff-mix adopted out three days earlier. So far in 2018, at least 28 Americans have been mauled to death by a dog.

Monday Morning Updates

Fox 5 confirmed the woman was killed by her own pit bull, bringing the tally of owner inflicted canine deaths up to 29% this year. On Monday, D.C. police identified the woman as 55-year old Angela Smith. WTOP reported that the contracting animal control agency, Humane Rescue Alliance, refused to call the dog a pit bull and instead lied to the media and American public -- in an effort to falsify United States fatal dog attack statistics -- calling this dog a "mixed-breed."

pit bull kills woman DC

Male family pit bull named "Kaine" being taken into custody after killing Angela Smith, 55.

pit bull kills woman dc

Pit bull being hoisted into the animal control van after fatally attacking family member in D.C.

Related articles:
10/09/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Recently Adopted Mastiff Kills Owner in Las Vegas, Nevada
10/03/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Adopted Two Weeks Ago Kills Woman in Maryland
06/21/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Back-to-Back Dogo Argentino Attacks, One Fatal, Both...
05/09/09: Alexandra Semyonova: Heritability of Behavior in the Abnormally Aggressive Dog

2018 Dog Bite Fatality: 2-Year Old Girl Mauled to Death by Family Dog in Alvin, Texas

dog kills child alvin
Denali Gonzalez, 2-years old, was killed by her family's new dog in Alvin, Texas.

Child Identified
UPDATE 10/16/18: A 2-year old girl fatally mauled by a family dog Friday has been identified. Denali Gonzalez died of her injuries at the scene. Her mother and children were returning home from a shopping trip and carrying in bags when the dog suddenly attacked the girl in the yard, Lt. Varon Snelgrove said Saturday. The dog's jaw locked in around her upper torso and throat and it all happened very quickly. "There's nothing the family could have done," Snelgrove said then.

About 5:00 pm Friday, Brazoria County Sheriff’s deputies and Alvin Animal Control officers arrived at a home in the 3900 block of County Road 424B (also known as Morning Dove Street) and found the dog had severely attacked the young girl, reports the Alvin Sun. The child was unresponsive and could not be revived. The dog, described as a mix of varying breeds, was so aggressive when officials arrived they had to tranquilized it with a dart. The dog was euthanized at the scene.

On Saturday, the victim's brother told KHOU the dog was new to the household and had been aggressive since it was brought to the family's home -- the dog even bit him. He said they were in the process of having the dog removed, but they did not act soon enough. It is unknown if the dog was adopted from a shelter or rehomed through another means. The sheriff's office said the investigation is ongoing. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with funeral expenses.

10/13/18: New Family Dog Kills Toddler
Alvin, TX - The Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that a 2-year old girl was mauled to death by a family dog Friday afternoon. The deadly attack occurred in the 3900 block of Morning Dove Street, near Quail Drive, about 6:00 pm. The toddler was pronounced dead at the scene. She was transported to the Galveston County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy. The family dog, described as a mixed-breed, possibly a pit bull-mix, was taken into custody.

"It's a terrible incident where the family dog attacked a 2-year-old. We have no idea why. It's been a long time since we've had anything like this happen. It's a tragedy for all involved." - Brazoria Sheriff Charles Wagner

A separate report by the Houston Chronicle describes the dog as a leopard cur breed-mix, also known as an American leopard hound and possibly the Catahoula leopard dog. Catahoulas come in a variety of mixed-breed flavors, including mixed with American bulldogs and mixed with pit bull terriers. A merle coat often characterizes their appearance. The sheriff's office is not releasing the name of the family or the deceased child at this time. The dog has already been euthanized.

Evening Updates

Over the course of Saturday, the breed became a "mixed-breed" that appears to be a Leopard cur-mix, according to animal control. The Brazoria County Sheriff's Office told Click2Houston that DNA was taken from the dog, and its exact breed makeup will be determined at another time. When officials arrived at the scene, the dog was so aggressive it had to be tranquilized with a dart; the dog was euthanized at the scene. The KHOU evening update provides more information.

KHOU spoke to the victim's brother, who would not go on camera, but said the new dog was aggressive from the time it was brought to the family's home -- the dog even bit him. He said they were in the process of having the dog removed, but they did not act fast enough. It is unknown if the dog was adopted from a shelter or rehomed through another means. The brother's account is vastly different from earlier news reports, which stated the dog had no history of aggression.

Lt. Varon Snelgrove told the Houston Chronicle, the animal had no known history of violence or aggression. "The mother and children were returning home from a shopping trip and carrying in bags when the dog suddenly attacked the girl in the yard, he said. The dog's jaw locked in around her upper torso and throat and it all happened very quickly," reports the Chronicle. "There's nothing the family could have done," Snelgrove said. "It's just a horrific, horrific incident."

dog kills child alvin, tx

A 2-year old girl was killed by a family dog on Morning Dove Street Friday in Alvin, Texas


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Related articles:
03/27/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Family Pit Bull-Mix Kills 4-Year Old Boy in Bexar County, Texas
08/21/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: 2-Month Old Baby Killed by Family Dogs in North Houston


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: Pit Bull-Mix Attacks Two Family Members, Killing One Near Mount Shasta; No Media Reports

mount shasta pit bull killed family member
Teena Mawhorter, 74, died after being attacked by a family pit bull-mix in September.

Mount Shasta, CA - In mid September, we received a tip that a woman died after being attacked by a pit bull in the Mount Shasta area. By searching through dispatch logs on Webcastify, we obtained a September 6 recording of a 74-year old female "bitten by a dog in the head" in the 5000 block of Serrano Drive. We then learned that a resident of this home had died on September 6. We sent a public information request to the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office and the coroner.

On October 10, we received two reports from the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office, as well as a copy of the bite reports. Teena Carol Mawhorter, 74-years old, was viciously attacked by a family pit bull-mix about 10:30 am that morning. Doctors pronounced her dead at 11:58 am. The cause of death was determined to be "severe blunt facial and head trauma." A contributing factor was heart disease. The dog also attacked one of her daughters (Victim 2), who tried to stop the attack.

Victim 2 witnessed the violent mauling, which is briefly described in the sheriff's report. Victim 2 also said the dog was "usually friendly."

Mawhorter was in the kitchen seated in a chair when the attack occurred, states the report. Victim 2 was taking Mawhorter a glass of water when she saw her reach under the table to pet her dog. "The dog then started attacking Mawhorter causing her to fall out of the kitchen chair," states the report. "The dog viciously attacked Mawhorter and was biting her face and the area of the back of her head." When Victim 2 intervened to stop the attack the dog attacked her too, states the report.

Both Mawhorter and Victim 2 were on the kitchen floor being attacked by the pit bull-mix when a male roommate pulled the dog away. Victim 2 had a 4 inch laceration on the back of her head and blood covering the left side of her face and both arms, states the report. Victim 2's account was taken at the scene of the attack. After emergency medical responders performed CPR on Mawhorter for 35 minutes, both women were taken to Mercy Medical Center in Mount Shasta.

Mawhorter suffered severe injuries to her face and the back of her head. The dog also ripped off a portion of her scalp. The report also describes a large amount of blood at the scene. Mawhorter was declared dead at 11:58 am at Mercy. An autopsy was conducted five days later. The cause of death was determined to be "severe blunt facial and head trauma." A contributing factor of Atherosclerosis heart disease was also determined. The manner of death was accidental.

Victim 2 is one of two surviving daughters of Mawhorter. The other daughter, Paula Jones, is the owner of the pit bull-mix, and also resides at the home on Serrano Drive where the attack occurred, according to the animal bite report. The attacking dog is listed as a brown and white "pit bull, collie terrier." Since her mother's death, Jones continues to have a photo featured on her Facebook page of a brown and white pit bull-mix. Extended family members also own pit bulls.

After locating the dispatch recording from Siskiyou County Fire and learning the physical address of the attack, we were able to quickly locate more information prior to receiving confirmation from the sheriff's office. A Facebook Memorial page stated that Mawhorter died on September 6. Her family had also started a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs. There is no mention anywhere of a violent dog mauling. Nor was there any media coverage of this fatal dog attack.


mount shasta pit bull killed family member

2014 photograph of a brown and white pit bull-mix featured on the daughter's Facebook page.


In 2017, we uncovered two unreported fatal dog maulings, one in Illinois, the other in Florida. Two deaths by sepsis due to untreated severe dog bite injuries were discovered in 2017 involving previous years and two deaths involving aggressive non-bite injuries (struck by dog death) were discovered in Ohio and Arkansas. Cases involving sepsis and non-bite injuries are excluded from our statistics. Qualifying struck by dog deaths may be added to our data set at a future time.

Anonymous tips about fatal dog maulings are confidential and can be sent to us at any time.

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

Related articles:
07/02/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: 'Rampaging Attack,' Dog Attacks Two, Killing One, in Arcata
05/14/18: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: 21-Year Old Man Dies After Dog Attack in Quincy, Illinois
11/13/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies in Palm Beach County After Being Attacked...


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: Pit Bull-Mix Kills Baby Girl While in Foster Care in Clearwater, Florida

Foster Parent is Police Officer; Dog Adopted Out by County

pit mix kills baby in foster care
Khloe Ann Williams, 7-months old, was killed by a family dog while in foster care.

Previous Documented Bite
UPDATE 10/14/18: On Friday, during a press conference with Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter, new details were released. We already knew the attack was vicious when the attorney for the biological mother stated it would likely be a closed casket funeral, but Slaughter went even further in his remarks. It was also learned Friday that the dog bit it's owner just after being adopted in March -- the dog had a documented bite record, therefore criminal charges could be possibile.

"Something like this doesn't happen without someone making some kind of mistake." - Attorney Nioti Koulianos, representing the baby's biological mother

On October 5, a caseworker from Directions for Living dropped off 7-month old Khloe Willams to the home of Paul Maser, the former Clearwater Deputy Chief, and his wife Pamela. Maser's son, Clearwater Police Detective Jonathan Maser, was fostering the baby. Currently, Clearwater police are investigating the baby's death despite this conflict of interest. Also, Slaughter is a Board of Director for Directions for Living, the agency responsible for Khloe's case management.

According to Slaughter, Pamela was preparing a bottle for the baby, when the family dog -- which had been adopted from Pinellas County Animal Services in March -- became "a little energetic" in its crate. So Pamela opened the crate door. "The dog immediately goes after Khloe," Slaughter said. "Pamela Maser tried to intervene with this dog and get the dog separated from the child," he said. Khloe was rushed to Mease Countryside Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

"This was not a simple bite, this was an attack and the dog did serious traumatic injuries to Khloe." - Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter

Slaughter also revealed the female, spayed dog -- now being described as a mixed-breed of "multiple" variations -- had a previous documented bite. The bite occurred in March when the Masers were beginning the adoption process. The biological mother of the baby and her attorneys are calling for the Clearwater Police Department to hand the investigation over to the FDLE. But Chief Slaughter insists he has no intention of deferring the investigation to another agency.

10/09/18: County Adopted Out Dog
Major developments occurred Monday, after a family pit-bull-mix attacked and killed a baby while in foster care on Friday. Clearwater Police Detective Jonathan Maser was the licensed foster parent for Khloe Williams. At the time of the attack, Maser's parents were caring for the baby at their home. Maser's father is former Clearwater Deputy Chief Paul Maser, who now works in the city's records department. Clearwater police are investigating the baby's dog mauling death.

The foster parent currently is, and his father formerly was, employed by the very agency tasked with investigating this baby's mauling death.

As we suspected initially, the female, spayed pit bull-mix named "Lynnie" was a shelter system dog. Doug Brightwell, the Pinellas County director of animal services -- who withheld this information earlier -- confirmed this Monday. "We evaluate all animals that go through our adoption program for aggression toward food, for toys and treats, with people and with other animals and she did not show any signs of aggression through any of those assessments," Bright said.

Like other shelter pit bulls that have been temperament tested, but soon thereafter attacked and killed a child or an adult, Lynnie passed every test, according to Bright. The deception of shelter directors like Brightwell is they do not admit to the public or media that no temperament test can measure unpredictable aggression. The dog was adopted to the family in March. The dog belongs to the senior Masers. Paul Maser's wife was the only adult present during the fatal dog attack.

Though Clearwater Police are tight lipped about the circumstances of the attack, WFLA reports that an abuse hotline indicated Paul Maser's wife was present when the dog attacked and quickly intervened. The baby was transported to Mease Countryside Hospital were she was pronounced dead. The Clearwater Police Department homicide unit is conducting the investigation. Meanwhile, Khloe's biological mother has hired attorneys, who are conducting an investigation of their own.

Shavon Grossman, had been on a supervised visit with Khloe from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm Friday before a caseworker took her back to the senior Maser's home. Just one hour later, the dog attacked and mutilated the child. "The attack was severe to the point where we’re probably going to have a closed casket," said one of Grossman’s lawyers, Nioti Koulianos of the Law Office of Jocic and Koulianos. "The mother is not going to be able to see her baby’s face ever again."

So far in 2018, 20% of all fatally attacking dogs have come from shelters or rescues. In the last month, three of four fatal attacks were by "vetted" dogs from county shelters. These dogs are not just attacking people -- they are killing people. This is an "acceptable" risk to public shelters, which deceptively hide behind the "known fact" that all of these tests fail to measure unpredictable aggression, and frankly many aggression issues outside of the limited shelter environment.

Pinellas County Animal Services now joins a growing number of taxpayer funded shelters (some which contract with private humane organizations) that adopted out dogs that went on to kill babies, children and adults in their households, including, but not limited to, Clark County (NV), Logan County (WV), Kent County (MI), El Paso County (TX), San Diego County (CA), Jackson-Madison County (TN), Buncombe County (NC), New York City (NY) and Rochester (NY).

It truly is a "life or death" decision every adopter accepts -- knowingly or not -- when adopting a dangerous breed from a city or county shelter.


Animal behaviorist Alexandra Semyonova wrote an analysis of shelter dog assessments in September 2016: Behavior Testing Shelter Dogs -- A Summary of Where We Are Now


10/06/18: Baby Killed in Foster Care
In a shocking development late last night, it was learned that the baby was in foster care when she was mauled to death by the dog. Earlier, Clearwater Police had said the baby was under the care of her grandmother. The baby has been identified as Khloe Ann Williams. Eckerd Connects, the foster agency in Pinellas County, confirmed the baby was in a foster home. The child's mother, Shavon Grossman, told Fox 13 that two case workers informed her of her baby's death.

Grossman was in the process of rehabilitating herself and had plans to reunite with her child on Monday. She was never made aware the foster parent owned a dog. "She was just so smiley, and so happy. Why didn't they stop the dog from getting near my baby and killing my child?" Grossman asked. "She's not even big enough to walk or crawl or anything, to even be able to mess with a dog. I don't understand how she was even around a dog that could do this," Grossman said.

The Tampa Bay Times reports the fatal dog mauling occurred at the home of her foster father's parents on Fairwood Avenue. Baby Khloe had been placed in a foster home (location unknown) licensed by A Door of Hope on May 15, according to Eckerd Connects, which contracts with Pinellas and Pasco counties to provide foster care services. "Everyone at Eckerd Connects is heartbroken," Chris Card, Eckerd’s chief of community-based care said Saturday in a statement.

The dog remains in quarantine at Pinellas County Animal Services. Doug Brightwell, the Pinellas County director of animal services, said they had not yet contacted Williams' foster family about the dog. "This is the first fatality we’ve had in this county from an animal attack in quite a number of years," Brightwell said. DogsBite has no records of a fatal dog attack in Pinellas County since 2005, nor any record of a fatal pit bull or fatal rottweiler attack dating back decades earlier.

Police Officer was Foster Parent

Saturday afternoon, Fox 13 posted another shocking development. The foster parent caring for baby Khloe, who was mauled to death Friday, was Clearwater Police Department Detective Jonathan Maser. Predictably, "multiple agencies involved with the case have provided conflicting reports about who is conducting the investigation into the baby's death while in foster care," reports Fox 13. This is a disaster -- the foster parent is employed by the investigating agency.

Recall that Clearwater Police initially stated baby Khloe was under the care of her grandmother at the time of the fatal attack. Police later confirmed she was under the care of foster parents. Still later, we learned the attack occurred at the home of her foster father's parents on Fairwood Avenue. It's unclear if the baby lived at the Fairwood Avenue home or was just visiting. It is also unclear who owns the attacking pit bull-mix: the fostering adult(s) or the foster father's parents.

The attorneys representing Shavon Grossman sent a statement to ABC Action News Saturday:

"Khloe Ann Williams was a beautiful 7-month-old baby, who was viciously mauled by a dog, while under the apparent care of the State’s foster care system. There were multiple agencies that were tasked with the care of the child, including the Florida Department of Children and Families, Eckerd Connects, Directions of Living, and A Door of Hope. We are actively looking for answers to all the questions the family is left with at this time. To be clear, while there have been conflicting reports, neither the biological mother nor anyone in her family were caring for the child at the time of the child’s death. The parents and family of this child were failed by the child welfare system. Khloe’s tragic death could have and should have been avoided, and was the direct result of inexcusable neglect." - Law Office of Jocic & Koulianos, P.A.

10/05/18: Pit Bull-Mix Kills Baby Girl
Clearwater, FL - A baby girl is dead after being attacked by a family dog. Fire and Rescue medics responded to call at 2:12 pm Friday at 1125 Fairwood Avenue. The 7-month old baby girl was transported to Mease Countryside Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Few other details have been released. Clearwater police continue to investigate along with the Department of Children and Families. Pinellas County Animal Services took the attacking dog into custody.

FOX 13's Jordan Bowen confirmed Friday night the baby was under the care of her grandmother when the "mixed-breed" attacked. Neighbor Joshua Scott said he saw a gurney being taken out of the home, but he thought it was empty, reports the Tampa Bay Times. "We didn’t know at the time there was actually a child on the gurney," Scott said. "I’ve come to find out it was a terrible scene." Shemica Keese, another neighbor, was devastated, "That’s so sad. That’s horrific," Keese said.

WFLA reports more details and clarifies the dog breed. The attack occurred while the baby was visiting her grandmother's home. The family pet, a female, spayed pit bull-mix named "Lynnie" fatally attacked the baby. WFLA interviews neighbors Scott and Keese. Scott said that when Pinellas County Animal Services took the dog into custody, "the situation was real tense" and the dog "was not happy." Keese said she had never a seen a dog at the grandmother's home before.

It is unknown at this time if the spayed pit bull-mix had come from a shelter facility or rescue.

pit mix kills baby in foster care

We also remind readers what a "real" American pit bull terrier looks like -- see comparison.

Family pit bull-mix kills baby

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

Related articles:
07/19/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Child with Life-Threatening Injuries from Dog Attack Dies...
06/07/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Infant Killed by Pit Bull While Under Care of Grandmother...


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: Recently Adopted Mastiff Kills Owner in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Animal Foundation "Vetted" and Adopted Out the Dog

adopted mastiff kills owner las vegas
Susan Sweeney, 58, was killed by a mastiff-mix she adopted three days earlier.

Shelter Dog Kills Adopter
UPDATE 10/09/18: On October 1, around 11:40 pm, a Las Vegas man came home from work and discovered his wife of 26 years dead, mauled to death by the family's recently adopted dog. Susan Sweeney, 58, was alone with the mastiff-mix at her home in the 5000 block of River Splash Avenue when the animal fatally attacked her. Sweeney was declared dead at 1:05 am Tuesday. The coroner's office ruled the cause of death a mauling. The manner of death was an accident.

The 3-year old male mastiff-mix was adopted to the family three days earlier by The Animal Foundation, which claims to be the "highest volume single-site animal shelter in America," on their website. The dog was 83 pounds, not large enough to be a mastiff-presa canario mix, as stated by city officials. The Foundation released a statement saying, it "did not have any information regarding the dog’s prior circumstances that would have led us to believe that he was unsafe."

One day before the family adopted the mastiff-mix, her husband posted photographs of the dog on Facebook. He also asked about the breed, "Question is never had this breed before so anyone out there know anything about them please share." Certainly, it never occurred to him that his question held "life or death" consequences. Unfortunately, it truly is a "life or death" decision every adopter accepts -- knowingly or not -- when adopting a dangerous dog breed from a public shelter today.

The 911 call by Sweeney's husband after finding his wife is horrific and heartbreaking.

Notably, during the news coverage, a bright, colorful Best Friends Animal Society transport van was seen in The Animal Foundation's parking lot. Best Friends is the largest promoter of reckless no kill policies, which places "save rates" an order of magnitude higher than public safety.


10/05/18: Woman Killed by Own Dog
Las Vegas, NV - A 58-year old woman was killed on October 1 by a recently adopted dog. Today, the Clark County Coroner identified the victim as Susan Sweeney. The cause of death was ruled a dog mauling. On October 1, Las Vegas police were dispatched to a home in the 5000 block of River Splash Avenue around 11:40 pm after a family member called saying a woman appeared to be deceased. The family member told police they had only had the mastiff-mix for a few days.

The victim's family recently started a GoFundMe page. "This GoFundMe will cover the funeral expenses for our beloved Susie," states the page. Sweeney leaves behind two children and a husband of 26 years, states the page. According to her husband Patrick's Facebook page, the couple adopted a 3-year old male mastiff-mix on September 28 from an unspecified shelter. The dog literally attacked and killed her three days later. The shelter facility has not been identified.

The husband also posted on September 6, saying that his family dog had recently been laid to rest. "All those dog lovers know the emptiness after the fact and to say I miss him and love him so much doesn't say enough but I know he will always be with me," Patrick said. This may have been why the couple decided to adopt a dog a few weeks later. That should have never been a "life or death" decision, but it is today when you adopt certain dog breeds from a rescue or shelter.

Sweeney's mauling death marks the fourth deadly dog attack this year by a recently adopted or rehomed dog. Three of these fatalities involved rescue pit bulls. Sweeney's death also marks the seventh dog bite fatality in 2018, where the animal fatally attacked its owner. Five of these owner fatalities involved pit bulls, one fatality involved a dogo argentino and Sweeny's death involved a mastiff-mix. So far in 2018, at least 24 Americans have been mauled to death by a canine.

Afternoon Updates

An update by KTNV News around 4:15 pm Central time, states the dog is mastiff-presa canario mix. It was adopted from The Animal Foundation, which is the "highest volume single-site animal shelter in America," according to their website. Las Vegas Animal Control said the dog's behavior was assessed before it was adopted. For over a decade, The Animal Foundation operated the city's municipal shelter (Lied Animal Shelter). Apparently, the nonprofit still maintains this contract.

The Animal Foundation released a statement to KTNV News about Sweeney's mauling death:

"The Animal Foundation has recently learned that a woman who adopted a large dog from our shelter lost her life as the result of an apparent attack from the same dog. At the request of her husband, the dog was humanely euthanized after the conclusion of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s investigation. The Animal Foundation did not have any information regarding the dog’s prior circumstances that would have led us to believe that he was unsafe, and while this dog was in our care his behavior did not raise any concerns. There are no words that can appropriately convey the deep sadness felt by The Animal Foundation. Our sympathies, thoughts, and prayers are with this woman’s family in the wake of their heartbreaking loss."

The Animal Foundation now joins a growing number of shelters that adopted out a dog that killed a person. In September, the Logan County Pound (WV) allowed a rescue to "pull" a death row pit bull, which quickly killed its new owner. In 2017, the Kent County Animal Shelter (MI) and El Paso Animal Services (TX) were the origins of dogs that each killed a child. In late 2016, the New York City municipal shelter allowed a rescue to "pull" a death row pit bull, which killed its new adopter.

In April 2016, the San Diego Humane Society adopted out a pit bull-mix that struck down an infant. In 2015, the Jackson-Madison County Pound (TN) adopted out a rottweiler that instantly killed its new owner. Also in 2015, the Asheville Humane Society adopted out a pit bull that killed a 6-year old boy three weeks later. Asheville Humane used the "state-of-the-art" temperament test, SAFER, to test the dog, which cannot measure unpredictable aggression nor can any temperament test.


Animal behaviorist Alexandra Semyonova wrote an analysis of shelter dog assessments in September 2016: Behavior Testing Shelter Dogs -- A Summary of Where We Are Now


adopted mastiff kills owner las vegas

The newly adopted mastiff-mix as seen on the victim's husband's Facebook page September 27.

A Best Friends Animal Society's transport van seen in Animal Foundation's parking lot 10/5/18.

Related articles:
10/03/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Adopted Two Weeks Ago Kills Woman in Maryland
06/10/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: 6-Year Old Boy Killed by Rescued Pit Bull in Pennsylvania
01/15/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: New Family Pit Bull Kills 3-Year Old Girl in Oklahoma
09/20/16: Shelters Candy-Coat Dogs with Aggressive Behaviors to Increase 'Save Rate'


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: Pit Bull Kills Owner in Baker City Who Tried to Stop a Dog Fight Inside His Home

Pit bull kills owner baker city, orgeon
Mitchelle Dean Segerdahl, 53, died after one of his six pit bulls clamped onto his neck.

Letter to the Editor
UPDATE 09/20/18: On Wednesday, the Baker City Herald published a follow up article in their print version. We were able to gain a copy. Baker City Police did receive a complaint about one of Mitchelle Segerdahl's pit bulls on July 26. One of his dogs had reportedly nipped at someone's ankle and was growling and acting aggressively, Police Chief Dustin Newman told the Herald. Police met with Segerdahl at his home and the matter was resolved -- no citation was issued.

At some point (no date was listed), police cited Segerdahl for failing to have a kennel permit. All households harboring more than four dogs are required to have a kennel permit, according to a local ordinance. Segerdahl obtained a permit on January 3, 2018. "If you're having too much of a problem, we will revoke a kennel permit," Chief Newman said. Apparently, that was not the case with Segerdahl, who also had to undergo a background check in order to obtain the permit.

"We all knew about the dogs," Chief Newman said, adding that they were well cared for, reports the Herald.

The major issue with Segerdahl's six pit bulls is that they would fight each other, Newman said. When police discovered Segerdahl dead inside his home on September 9, two of his six pit bulls were also dead. The dogs literally fought to their death. A September 14 news release issued by District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff states, "Evidence at the scene indicated that Mr. Segerdahl may have been attempting to break up a fight between the dogs when he received a fatal dog bite."

The Herald also interviewed Kiashandra Zimmerman, who was a good friend of Segerdahl and owns a pit bull named Batman. Despite the dogs mauling their owner to death, Zimmerman believes his surviving four pit bulls could have been adoptable. Zimmerman, who has a 3-year old daughter, said she would have gladly taken in at least two of his pit bulls, if she did not already have three dogs. Segerdahl's four remaining pit bulls were impounded by officials and euthanized.

Finally, the Herald did publish a letter to the editor on their website. Steve Culley questioned why the September 14 front page of the paper was monopolized by the recent cougar attack in Oregon, but Segerdahl's death was allocated to page two. "We have had our second pit bull death in Baker City," Culley states (since 2013 and in a city of less than 10,000 people). "The odds of being killed by a pit bull far exceed any probability of being killed by a cougar or bear," Culley said.


09/14/18: Man Killed by His Own Pit Bull
Baker City, OR - A 53-year old man died after he was attacked by a pit bull in the neck, District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff said in a press release. Mitchelle Dean Segerdahl was found dead inside his home on September 9 along with six pit bulls, two of which were dead. The cause of death was determined to be a dog bite to his neck. All six pit bulls belonged to Segerdahl. Officials believe Segerdahl was trying to break up a fight between the pit bulls when he suffered a fatal bite.

"Evidence at the scene indicated that Mr. Segerdahl may have been attempting to break up a fight between the dogs when he received a fatal dog bite." - District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff

Shirtcliff said it appears the two dead pit bulls died as a result of the dog fight. "The four remaining dogs were impounded by the Baker City Police Department and have been euthanized," states the release. Police said it was unclear exactly when the fight happened, but friends had not seen Segerdahl since September 6. In 2013, in this same small city, Jordan Ryan, 5-years old, was mauled to death by a recently adopted "rescue" pit bull belonging to his babysitter, Mary Lane.


Ten days ago, Robin Conway, 64-years old, was killed by a pit bull she had rescued from death row two weeks earlier in Columbia, Maryland. In February, David Brown, 46, died after trying to break up a fight between his family pit bull and beagle in Owensboro, Kentucky. In March, Hong Saengsamly, 49, was violently attacked and killed by her own pit bull in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Finally, in August, Della Riley, 42, was brutally killed by her family pit bull in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Needless to say, 2018 will weigh in as a heavy year for pit bulls killing their owners, the very hands that house and feed them. On the Baker City Herald Facebook page, a woman named Nina Walker claims to be Segerdahl's neighbor. She claims his pit bulls killed her dog and that he was also trying to obtain a dog kennel license for his home at 2251 Mitchell Avenue to bring in more pit bulls. We hope the Baker City Herald can verify some of these claims in the next few days.

The Baker City animal ordinance does state that a kennel permit is required to harbor more than four dogs. All property owners within 600 feet of the proposed kennel property are sent written notice in advance and have 30 days to respond if they oppose the issuance of the permit. In May 2016, Segerdahl reported to police that five of his adult pit bulls were stolen from his van while parked on Broadway Street. Segerdahl was already in violation of the city ordinance back then.


pit bull kills owner baker city

Related articles:
10/17/13: 2013 Dog Bite Fatality: 5-Year Old Boy Killed by Pit Bull in Baker County, Oregon