Images of Attacking Dogs
UPDATE 07/25/09: We were able to take screenshots from the MonsterQuest episode that showed the four dogs involved in the deadly attacks that took the lives of Cheryl Harper and Edward Gierlach. The director of the Livingston County Animal Control department, Anne Burns, identified the dogs as American bulldogs and American bulldog-mixes. The pit bull underpinnings, however, particularly in the first image are obvious. We will explain why too.
On September 14, 2007, the day following the attacks, Burns oddly likened the offending dogs to an "English bulldog on stilts" to a Detroit Free Press reporter. She also said that American bulldogs are similar to pit bulls, but a "separate breed." In a different article, published on the same day, Burns said the dogs look like a "boxer on stilts," and have a face similar to a boxer's, with a strong jaw and muscular body. (See: English bulldog, boxer, pit bull and American bulldog).
There are two lines of the American bulldog, the Scott type and the Johnson type. The Scott type, and breed standard, is by definition a pit bull-mix as it was created by directly crossing the Johnson type to the pit bull terrier. The American bulldog was only recognized by the UKC in 1999 and remains unrecognized by the AKC today. It is a convenient distortion to call the two breeds "separate1" as the Scott type American bulldog is intrinsically based upon the pit bull terrier.
By failing to identify at least one of the offending dogs as a pit bull-mix, Burns successfully altered the 2007 fatal dog attack statistics by two, as two human beings were killed in this single, horrific attack.
From left: Cheryl Harper, Edward Gierlach, Diane Cockrell, Sign2 on Cockrell's fence.
MonsterQuest: The Real Cujo
Iosco Township, MI - On September 13, 2007, four loose dogs described as "American bulldogs" fatally attacked Cheryl Harper, 56, and Edward Gierlach, 91. The owner of the dogs, Diane Cockrell, was subsequently criminally charged3. One year later she pleaded no contest in a Livingston County court room and was sentenced to a minimum of 3.5 years and a maximum of 15 years in prison. She was also ordered to pay $30,726 in restitution to the victims' families.
On Wednesday, July 22, the History Channel is airing a show titled, "MonsterQuest: The Real Cujo." Both the Harper and Gierlach families will appear on the show and tell their stories of the brutal attack that struck down their loved ones. Photos of the dogs will be depicted as well. We have little other information regarding the show and have not seen a preview. Following the double fatal mauling, Livingston County enacted a No Adopt Out policy for all "bully" breeds.
Air Times (EST)
- History Channel, Wednesday, July 22, 9pm (EST)
- History Channel, Thursday, July 23, 1am (EST)
Please check your local listings for time zone accuracy.
2The sign on Cockrell's fence found after the fatal attacks reads: "This property is maintained for the comfort and security of our animals. If you don't like that please go away."
3During the 2007 press conference, prosecutor David Morse is questioned about pit bulls vs. American bulldogs. He said, "I don't think there's a whole lot of difference between this animal and a pit bull."