From left: Rebbecca Mobbs and Dodge, the "pit bulldog"(?)
UPDATE 04/22/09: It was reported today that Dodge, the "pit bulldog," was put to sleep. Back in March, 2-year old Valencia Newton was seriously attacked by Dodge while being baby sat. Valencia is currently back at home recovering. Kayla Nowlin, Valenica's babysitter at the time of the attack, was arrested and is facing a felony count of child neglect causing great bodily harm. The article did not provide information about Rebbecca Mobbs.
04/08/09: Rebbecca Mobbs Lying Spree?
Rebbecca Mobbs recently told reporters that Valencia had been back under the care of Kayla as recently as Monday. Valencia’s mother, Lisa Newton, spoke with reporters today to clear the matter up: The statement is absolutely untrue. Newton said that she and Valencia are currently out of town and have been for several days. She says Valencia has not been watched by Kayla since the attack. We expect more information soon.
04/08/09: Felony and Misdemeanor Charges
It was reported late yesterday that the State Attorney’s Office notified the Sheriff’s Office with the decision to arrest the babysitter, Kayla Diane Nowlin ( W/F, DOB 10/06/1991) on charges of Child Neglect/Causing Great Bodily Harm which is a felony charge. The owner of the dogs, Rebecca Sue Mobbs (W/F, DOB 07/19/1976) was issued a notice to appear on charges of Disregard with Dog Known to Bite which is a misdemeanor charge.
Dodge will undoubtedly be euthanized on April 21.
04/07/09: Clock Ticks for the "Pit Bulldog"
Special Magistrate Michael Farley has ruled in favor of the City of Callaway in the case of a pit bull type dog that mauled a toddler last month. The city had deemed the dog, named Dodge, "vicious" and by law, the city would have to euthanize the animal. Co-owner Rebecca Mobbs said the magistrate is "not a judge, he's a hearing officer." She has ten days to appeal the case to the local courts. If not, Dodge will be destroyed on April 21.
At the hearing, Director James Crosby said the unprovoked attack was more than enough reason to put the dog down. He said, "These were quite serious injuries that, in all honesty, I was expecting this to be a fatality." During the 45 minutes of Farley coming to his decision, Mobbs loudly discussed the toddler's injuries in the hallway (she doubted their seriousness) and said to a friend, "What about me? What about the traumatic stuff I've been through?"
Note: Director Crosby initially referred to the dog as a bulldog and a pit bull. The name "pit bull" is often interchanged with the name "bulldog" by experts, such as Diane Jessup. In the context of Jessup's website, the "original working bulldog" is the pit bull. The pit bull was formerly called the "pit bulldog" as well. It was not until the 1970's that the modern "American bulldog" was established, which shares a common gene pool with the pit bull.
Today, however, for fatality and bite statistics, when a dog is labeled a "bulldog" the attack is often tracked in the American bulldog category and not the pit bull category. Given the long standing history of confusion around the pit bull's name, one always needs to question when a pit bull is initially identified in an attack, then shortly thereafter called a bulldog. The other potential breed "cover up" we see is the labeling of a pit bull-mix as a "mixed-breed."
To alleviate this confusion, more and more municipalities are including the American bulldog in their "pit bull type dog" definition.
03/26/09: Culprit: Mother, Rebecca Mobbs
The second dog owner is Rebecca Mobbs, the mother of the babysitter and the daughter of the grandmother. Rebecca is appealing the city's "vicious" designation of Dodge, which requires the dog to be euthanized. This new information is hardly surprising. After all, it was Rebecca that blamed the attack on the "neighbor's pit bull" which had entered onto the property just "moments" prior to Dodge clamping down on Valencia's head.
Lisa Newton, Valencia's mother and neighbor to the Mobbs, is less than thrilled about the news. If the dog is not euthanized, she said, "I'm moving."
03/21/09: One Dog Owner Changes Mind
After two-year old Valencia was severely mauled by a pit bull that belonged to her babysitter's grandmother, Elizabeth Roache, family members told reporters that "she [Elizabeth] had already determined the dog would be put down." Yet, she [Elizabeth] has changed her mind (or the recently announced second owner of the dog has). Now it's up to a special magistrate. The owners can either put the dog down by March 24, or appeal.
03/1/09: Declared "Dangerous" After 3 Bites
Two-year-old Valencia Newton remains in serious condition a day after being savaged by a pit bull-mix owned by Elizabeth Dian Roache. At the time of the attack, Newton was being baby-sat by Roache's 17-year old granddaughter. Valencia's father, Yasin Galbreith, said, "She's being stitched up real good. She's doing fine right now, we think." Valencia was transported to a Gainesville hospital and underwent surgery Tuesday morning.
James Crosby, the director of Bay County Animal Control, said the offending male pit bull has not yet been "tested for triggers" that may have set him off because he wanted to give the dog a chance to "calm down," but did report that the dog has been declared "dangerous." Despite having bitten two children and at least one severely -- the first attack occurred in November but was only recently confirmed -- Crosby said Roache is allowed to keep the animal.
Only after the dog is declared "dangerous" is the owner required to have liability insurance. The first two victims are out of luck.
There is no doubt that Newton's medical bills will stretch far beyond $50,000. Furthermore, most insurance companies do not insure pit bulls under homeowners insurance plans. Better than anyone else, insurance companies understand the high medical costs associated to pit bull injury. One can only hope that Roache has a good $100,000 stashed away to pay for the many surgeries Newton may require immediately and as she ages into an adolescent and beyond.
03/10/09: Grandmother's Pit Bull Attacks Child
Callaway, FL - It was reported on Monday that Bay County, Florida suffered a devastating pit bull attack. Law enforcement officials said two-year-old Valencia Newton was taken to a Pensacola hospital with neck, throat, torso and ear injuries after she was "suddenly" attacked by a pit bull-mix while being baby-sat. The dog belonged to the babysitter's grandmother. Last month in Newport News, an infant was also nearly killed by her babysitter's pit bull-mix.
There are several reasons why this story carries considerable weight. The first part involves serious incidences with "watchers." After reviewing the 88 fatal dog attacks recorded between January 1, 2006 - December 31, 2008, DogsBite.org found that 14% (12) of the fatal attacks involved a "watcher," a person such as a grandparent or babysitter watching the child between the ages of 0-4. Of these attacks, 75% (9) involved a grandparent type.
The second part involves James Crosby, who is the Director of Bay County Animal Control and holds the task of investigating Newton's attack. As reported in previous blog posts, Crosby is a pit bull owner and an expert witness for the American Canine Foundation (ACF), a pit bull lobbying group. Last year Crosby testified on behalf of the ACF in opposition to Aurora's Fighting Breed ban. The judge rejected the ACF's case and presumably Crosby's testimony.
Crosby's department seized two pit bulls from the home: the one involved in the attack and a female pit bull that also lives at the house but was not involved. Animal Control reportedly picked up a third pit bull that lives two houses down as well. Sheriff Frank McKeithen said, "Statements taken in the course of the investigation indicate that both dogs have been involved in previous attacks - the male dog on another child and the female on an elderly person."
It is unknown if either of these attacks was reported to animal control.
Rebecca Mobbs, the mother of the 17-year old babysitter Kayla Mobbs, said the dog and Valencia had always played well together and there was no reason to suspect it would lose control. She also blamed the attack on the neighbor's pit bull, which had gotten loose and entered onto her mother's property just "moments" before the attack. It's unclear, however, why this dog's entrance would cause her mother's dog to violently clamp down on the child's head.
02/05/09: Babysitter's Pit Bull Attacks Infant in Newport News; Critical Condition
12/08/08: Expert, James Crosby, Testifies in Aurora Fighting Breed Ban
12/01/08: Zupf Comments on Aurora's Recent Federal Ruling
11/20/08: Aurora, Colorado Fighting Breed Ban Goes to District Court
07/14/08: Comment: The Anatomy of a Whitewash, James Crosby