Rosie Humphreys and her poodle were killed by a neighbor's loose pit bull.
Police Press Conference
UPDATE 12/04/09: Police Chief John Nicholson said the attacking dog was indeed a pit bull, an unaltered 3-year old male, with full registration papers. "The dog did not appear malnourished or abused and had no visible signs of mistreatment," he said. The dog did not slip its collar or break its chain either. According to Nicholson, the dog had gotten loose because the metal "D" ring on its collar failed. No criminal charges are expected to be filed against the owner, Brian Pennington.
Statement from Chief John Nicholson:
"The incident that occurred on November 30th at 235 Austin Avenue in Flora has devastated several families.
This was a very tragic event for not only the families involved, but the neighborhood a well.
Rosie L. Humphreys, 85, of 235 Austin Avenue Flora, Illinois was not only a citizen of Flora, but was so much more to so many.
After speaking to several neighbors and friends in this neighborhood, it became apparent that Rosie was everybody’s Grandmother within that area.
This is exactly why this case is so tragic, as Ms. Humphrey could have been anybody’s grandmother at any town USA.
Before I go into a timeline of the events of November 30th, I would like to clarify some misinformation, clear some disinformation and stop some on going rumors.
The particular breed of the dog involved in the attack was an American Pit Bull Terrier.
He was an unneutered 3 year old male, with full registration.
The dog was purchased from a registered breeder at 6 months of age by Brian Pennington of Flora.
There is no available information that it had ever been trained by its owner, Brian Pennington to attack or fight in any manner.
The dog was Pennington’s family pet.
The Flora Police Department or the Clay County Health Department Animal Control office have never received a single call as to this particular dog or the owners address at any time.
There has been no documented or reported cases, where this dog has displayed any aggression towards people or other dogs.
The dog did not appear malnourished or abused and had no visible signs of mistreatment.
The dog did not slip its collar, break the chain or dig its way out of the kennel..."
"...All available evidence indicates that the factory installed metal "D" ring on the leather collar broke, which released the dog.
The metal "D" ring was of normal size for this collar type.
The metal appeared normal in wear and condition.
On December 1, 2009 a forensic autopsy was conducted by Dr. John Heidingsfelder at the Clay County Hospital.
The preliminary results showed the cause of death was due to Exsanguination, due to transected Carotid Artery, due to bite mark lacerations to the face, neck and extremities.
The manner of death was ruled accident.
After careful review of the applicable criminal statutes that could apply to this case and all physical evidence, witness statements, and background investigations, it was determined by the Clay County State’s Attorney’s Office that there will be no criminal charges filed at this time against Mr. Pennington."
12/01/09: Police Say Family Pit Bull "Snapped"
According to police, the family pit bull that killed Rosie Humphreys and her poodle on Monday had no history of displaying aggression. Neighbor David Bohnman, who lives across the street from the victim, said he heard screams and saw something he will never forget: his lovely neighbor and friend being killed by a pit bull. Geb Borders with the Illinois Police Department said that Humphreys suffered fatal injuries to her "neck and facial area."
The victim reportedly had two poodles and often walked them up and down the street. Neighbors said the pit bull was quiet, "so quiet many didn't know he was there until now." Yet on Monday, the pet pit bull broke free from its collar and fatally attacked Humphreys and her dog. Police say they have "no idea why" the pit bull that lived two houses down and has for years suddenly snapped. No previous reports of aggression have been made to authorities about the pit bull.
11/30/09: Woman and Dog Killed by Pet Pit Bull
Flora, IL - In a fatal dog attack that appears to have begun with "pit bull dog-aggression," an 85-year old woman was mauled to death by a pit bull after the animal killed her small poodle. Police say Rosie Humphreys had taken her dog for a walk Monday afternoon. The pit bull had reportedly been secured with a log chain and a heavy collar, but broke the chain, freeing the dangerous animal to kill Humphreys and her dog. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.
Statement from Chief John Nicholson:
"On November 30, 2009, at approximately 2:18 p.m., Clay County 911 dispatch center received a 911 call of a pit bull attacking a woman at a residence on the 200 block of Austin Ave. here in Flora. The 911 telecommunicator dispatched Flora City Police Officers and Clay County Ambulance Paramedics to that location.
Upon officer’s arrival, neighbors had gained control of the pit bull which had attacked an elderly female. The pit bull had apparently also attacked and killed a smaller dog owned by the victim. Officers along with citizens rendered first aid to the victim until paramedics arrived. The efforts to save the elderly female were not successful.
Pronounced dead at the scene by Clay Co. Coroner Gary Bright was 85-year-old Rosie Humphreys of Flora. It appeared she died of injuries she received from the attack by the pit bull. The dog’s owner and police officers were able to contain the dog in a pet carrier until Clay County Animal Control personnel arrived. An autopsy has been scheduled for Dec. 1, 2009.
Nicholson would like to thank the assistance provided to his agency by the Clay County sheriff’s office, Clay County state’s attorney’s office, Flora/Clay Co. animal control/health department and by the crime scene services provided by the Illinois State Police."
View Related ZUPF video
12/20/09: Son of Rosie Humphreys Starts Campaign to Ban Pit Bulls in Flora
08/12/09: 2009 Fatality: Leesburg Man, 20, Killed by His Two Pit Bulls...
Can you imagine your own grandmother on the ground being dragged around like that Labrador in the video? How is this allowed to happen over and over and over again?
And what is the body count for this year?
What a horror. This is what Cheri Di Novo wants to bring back to Ontario?
I want to register in order to participate in the discussions but the registration has been down for several weeks – any help or ideas?
This is exactly the scenario that killed that elderly lady in Virginia and her beloved pet in their driveway a couple of years ago.
I believe that her family has posted here? I am sorry, I don't remember her name?
A neighbor's pit bulls had been savaging the Virginia neighborhood she lived in, and animal control and the county did NOTHING, and the obvious occurred- this dear lady was killed by the pit bulls.
The death toll is mounting. We are all at risk of being slaughtered on our own property by pit bulls.
And people like Ben Konop help the pit bull breeders kill some more.
It looks like the officials of Flora have not been taking their pit bull problem seriously.
From the comments there "He and his family members raise pitbulls to fight them, and they make them wear weights around their necks"
and "Neighbors of Rosie Humphreys have informed Disclosure that the dog has been allowed to run the neighborhood in the past and that they were afraid something bad was going to happen.
Another report has it that as recently as this summer, a pit bull (whether or not it was this one remains unclear) had been chained to a tree at Charley Brown Park in Flora and allowed to torment the campers at the site. Reportedly, nothing was done about this."
Piticide number 80 since 2005…Way to go Pit breeders!
Ironically, in the 70's "The Decade of the Dobermans", the Doberman community produced dogs that killed 5 Americans. The breed community then started pulling papers on the breeders who were producing biters. The Pit community seems unwilling to exert such selection pressures.
BSL comes after a total breakdown in breed stewardship and the community decides to pre-emptively defend itself.
Yet again, the oft repeated pitiot myth that dog aggression isn't dangerous to humans is proven terribly and horribly untrue. How many attacks by pit bulls have started on other animals only to turn deadly or nearly deadly for human beings? The pit community refuses to breed safer pits. It's time for the law to step in and force the issue by banning them all entirely.
There was also an attack on a 70 year old man on November 27th. It may prove a fatality as he is apparently still in critical condition.
And the pit nutters at Pit Bull Forum have this to say (I put the unsaid but understood in the brackets):
Just when pit bulls are finally getting some positive press (SOME STUPID OLD COW HAS TO GO AND GET HERSELF KILLED), tonight on local Fox news, a sad story (POOR LITTLE MISUNDERSTOOD WIGGLEBUT): an 85 year old woman was walking her poodle in front of her home (PROVOCATION!) around 2pm today in the small town of Flora, Illinois when a neighbor's pit bull (IT WAS PROBABLY A COCKER SPANIEL) broke free from his chain in his owner's backyard (IT'S NOT THE BREED, IT'S THE OWNER AND THE CHAIN AND THE YARD AND THE OLD COW AND HER DAMNABLE PROVOKING POODLE) and attacked and killed the small dog, and according to reports, also killed the woman. I'm wondering if she had a heart attack or if the pit bull really mauled her to death (BECAUSE ONLY COCKER SPANIELS AND DALMATIONS AND COONHOUNDS EVER MAUL ANYONE TO DEATH, RIGHT?), but whatever, it's terrible (FOR THAT POOR WITTLE PITBULL – MAYBE WE CAN REHABILITATE HIM?)
Blech. I hate them and their murdering damn dogs.
Classic Level 6(fatal, consumed flesh), after breaking containment and going off-property.
A Bully Breed hallmark!
Pit bulls ARE different from other breeds of dogs.
Pit bulls are SPECIFICALLY BRED to be aggressive, to kill, to maul, to do damage, to attack other animals. They are bred to be fighting dogs, not pets.
No matter how nicely a pit bull is treated, the chances for disaster are always much, much, much higher with a pit bull.
There is no overcoming genetics.
Killing and mauling are normal behavior for a pit bull, and all the liars in the world can't make up enough stories (try as they are) to cover up this fact.
Regulation would not only protect people and other pets, it would protect pit bulls from showing up in the media every day for killing and mauling.
But the dog fighters, breeders, and pit bull "advocates" don't care that pit bulls are killing.
The Ledy VanKavages of the world and her breeder friends only care about their donations, their incomes, their own selfish interests, their pit bull businesses. They think it is acceptable for people and pets to die like this.
And the ones in the media catering to these pit bull breeders and spreading their lies to cover up pit bull problems should be held accountable for every death.
How can they NOT file criminal charges????? How can this idiot pit bull owner just walk away? Why isn't he being charged with manslaughter for keeping a dangerous dog? I hope the family goes after him in civil court.
So WHO WAS THE BREEDER?
Who is breeding dogs that are aggressive killers and selling them, and STILL selling them?
And was Pennington breeding dogs himself? Is this another tax cheat breeder who was breeding and selling aggressive dogs?
Pit bulls are fighting dogs. Pennington knowingly owned an aggressive breed of fighting dog that is a danger to people and other animals.
The family of this poor woman still has to see this lady's murderer walking around, free as a bird.
Funny how all these pits that "suddenly snap" usually seem to be around the age of three and more often than not are unaltered. It's called sexual maturity. Pits reach it a little slower than some other breeds, and when they do, their personalities and proclivities for explosive aggression drastically change. You couldn't pay me enough money to own one of those dogs.
There are no criminal charges because of the "one free bite" (or death, dismemberment, whatever) rule. The owner was deemed to have acted responsibly in restraining the dog, and it's just bad luck for Granny (or anyone one else who gets in the way) that the equipment failed.
Illinois is not a "one free bite" state. In civil terms, "The State of Illinois has a statute that makes the owner of any animal (whether or not a dog) liable for injuries to people, whether or not caused by a bite, without negligence on the part of the owner."
It appears that for criminal charges, authorities must prove "known prior aggressive acts" (or negligence) in order to prosecute. By the announcement of the metal "D" ring collar "failure," this dog owner has escaped criminal penalties and potentially opened up a lawsuit to the collar manufacturers.
Gets tricky doesn't it? And every trick protects the owner of a vicious or murdering dog.
And that is the crux of the BSL issue, isn't it? This attack, with simple BSL in place labeling pit bulls as aggressive (never mind banning them), would mean that this creature could be held criminally responsible for his dog's act.
That is correct. If this dog proved to be a dog "known as a pit bull type dog" under Ohio state law, this would be a felony just for starters…
Congratulations goes out to Bledy Van Karnarge who helped craft this assinine law!
However, one could argue that the containment measures for this pit bull were reckless:
A. Pit Bulls currently dominate all classes in Canine Weight pulling competitions in the 40-100lb classes. Just like in dogfighting they have replaced other breeds.
B. Lockwood pointed out in his famous study that Pit Bulls were 14 times more likely to break containment and attack compared to other breeds.
They cannot be safely contained with measures that apply to other breeds. Those risk factors were on display here.
Heavily regulated Wolf hybrids have only had the opportunity to kill 2 Americans in the past five years…this was DBRF number 80 for
"The victim's son said he has hired a lawyer to explore the possibility of a lawsuit."
llinois is a strict liability state:
510 ILCS 5/16:Sec. 16.– "If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby."
If the higher court in Massachusetts recognizes pit bulls as a "known dangerous breed", thereby allowing a person to sue a landlord for injuries sustained by a tenants pit bull…doesn't this mean there are sufficient legal precedents for this to happen in other states as well?
I guess I don't understand…if I drive carelessly, and am texting while driving, and I hit a pedestrian without even slowing down…I can be charged with manslaughter. It doesn't matter that I "didn't mean to do it". It doesn't matter that "many people text and drive and nothing bad happens". Dog owners need to be held accountable.
I can't think of any other circumstance where you can actually kill someone and walk away like nothing happened. Its absolutely barbaric, and it needs to change.
Certainly there is sufficient legal precedent within the State of Massachusetts, but how this may transfer over to other states, I just don't know. Also, the State of Illinois has an anti-BSL measure, the State of Mass does not.
That's just it! YOU DID NOT DO THE KILLING YOUR DOG DID. United States courts are NOT set up to handle animal-on-human attacks, they are set up to handle human-on-human attacks and acts of human-on-human negligence. The other metaphor U.S. courts handle is "entity" liability (product liability lawsuits).
Only through BSL — which is designed to PREVENT these attacks, stopping them before they occur — can we hope to greatly lower the number of these attacks.
States with anti-BSL measures deliver a whopping slap in the face to victims of serious and fatal attacks.
While Texas passed Lillian's law, designed to criminally penalize owner of dogs that attack and kill off-property, right now that law is being tested by the Texas Supreme Court. It's unknown if Lillian's law is even constitutional under Texas state law.
The theory is, according to Jack Wayne Smith and Crystal Michelle Watson's attorney (Tanner Monk case) "Well, you can't punish a person for what his dog did."
That's like saying your gun is responsible if it kills someone, who cares who pulls the trigger.
Pit bulls are purpose-bred to be fighting dogs. They are inherently more dangerous than other breeds.
Those who choose to own fighting dogs choose to accept the greater danger that comes with them.
There must be lawsuits.
The breeder of this animal actually registered them with one of the Pit Registries….Hopefully the family includes the breeder and the registry in the lawsuit.
Time for them to indemnify thier defective product!
Another near-fatal attack in New Jersey:
Equipment and containment failures will happen sooner or later…That is why it is important that animals such as this do not exist.
Any moment Ledy Van Kavage will triumphantly return to Illinois and lead the state's Pit Bull fanciers in a "Punish the Deed" march.