Blames "Wild Dogs"
UPDATE 08/15/09: Photographed above two "Beware of Dog" signs, the owner of the dogs seized by the county, Larry Alvin Stubel, says the dogs that attacked Lykins were not his. The 11 adult dogs and nine puppies Stubel kept in a pen surrounded by chicken wire had nothing to do with Lykins' death, according to Stubel. Though his own dogs were loose at the time of the attack, Stuble claims the culprits were a pack of wild dogs seen roaming the area.
The 11 adult dogs and nine puppies Stubel kept in a makeshift pen surrounded by chicken wire had nothing to do with Lykins’ brutal death, Stubel said. The attack occurred a distance from his Airstream trailer on the remote 12-acre Ross Road property on which Stubel lives.
County authorities euthanized Stubel’s adult dogs and some of the puppies on the grounds they were considered “dangerous” by animal control officials who concluded the dogs ran loose at the time they attacked Lykins, according to an April 3 letter the county’s Public Health Department sent Stubel. - Silvo Panta, Imperial Valley Press Online, August 15, 2009
04/22/09: Three Amputations Prior Death
The Imperial Valley Press provides many more details regarding this savage attack than the previous YumaSun articles. Writer Silvio J. Panta reports that Gordon Lykins suffered three amputations; both his legs and an arm were amputated, according to Sgt. Scott Sheppeard. The victim was found by the owner of the seized dogs after he heard sounds of barking. The man's name continues to be withheld while the investigation unfolds.
According to Sheppeard, Lykins was a handyman by trade and lived in a recreational vehicle near the All-American Canal. He was found in a drainage ditch in the 1700 block of Ross Road. The ditch lies between Imperial County and the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation, from where the dogs were initially believed to have come (thus complicating the investigation). It was not known if Lykins had any immediate family. Lykins was the only apparent witness to the attack.
Winterhaven fire authorities initially received a 6:30 p.m. call of a traffic accident at the location, but found Lykins instead, said Winterhaven Fire Chief Steve Taylor. Two separate calls were received but it was not immediately known if they were made by the same caller, according to Sheppeard. Moments after Lykins was loaded up into an ambulance, the dogs charged five firefighters who climbed atop a fire engine to avoid getting bitten, Taylor said.
Persons with information can call the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office at 572-0229.
04/14/09: Sparse Details About Attack
Winterhaven, CA - In a terrible "pack attack" that we have been watching for two weeks now, it was reported yesterday that the victim, Gordon Lykins, 48, died Friday in a Phoenix hospital. On March 28, Lykins was violently attacked by a pack of dogs. In addition to one of his legs being nearly chewed off, Lykins sustained numerous dog bites to his whole body. Shortly after arriving to the hospital, Lykins had to have one of his legs amputated from below the knee.
Since the first report of this attack, there has been little information provided. For instance, authorities quickly seized 11 suspected dogs from a neighbor. Yet 15 days after the attack, the dog owner remains unnamed and none of the dog breeds have been identified either. Sgt. Scott Sheppeard said in the first report: "We just don't have confirmation right now that these are the right dogs. Until he regains consciousness, we won't know whether we have the right dogs."
Of the three articles that have been published by the YumaSun about this attack, none have mentioned if blood was found on the dogs or the possibility of DNA tests. Each, however, has mentioned that the dogs continue to be held at the animal shelter until authorities determine whether or not they have the right dogs. As long as the dogs go unidentified, authorities cannot press charges (assuming there are any charges to press other than having loose dogs.)
Each article also reminds readers that due to the extent of Lykins' injuries he was kept under sedation after the attack and unable to identify the dogs. This constant reminder shows the horrific disparity between victim rights and the rights of the dog owner: the former has zip. Not only was the man terribly mauled, incurred a leg amputation and is now dead, he also pays the price of being too injured to identify the dogs, which may eliminate recourse for his family.
07/18/08: 2007 Fatality: Cora Lee Suehead Attacked by Pit Bulls
04/01/08: 2007 Fatality: Carshena Benjamin Case Closed, Unresolved