Jerry Yates' seen in his Celebration of Life photograph.
Pleads Not Guilty
UPDATE 09/17/10: Sheryl Sellers pleaded not guilty in a crowded courtroom on Tuesday, despite her dogs involvement in previous acts of aggression. Sellers lawyer, Ken Foley, also filed a motion to dismiss Judge Douglas Mewhinney declaring that he was prejudiced against the defendant. Yates' daughter, Jami Southard, had hoped Sellers would plead guilty and put the incident to rest. "She’s not going to take any responsibility for this. I don’t know how else to take it," she said.
Foley told the deputy manning the courtroom entrance that he did not want his clients hassled, and Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Tyson McMahon asked Yates’ family members to leave the entryway.
“This was supposed to be over,” Southard said. “Now she’s got a shyster lawyer.”
A man who identified himself only as Sellers’ stepfather tried to placate Yates’ family members. “She just feels awful,” he said.
“You know what?” Southard said. “Nobody is as sorry as my family. We have been financially ruined. That dog tore my dad to death and now she’s going to plead not guilty?” - Joel Metzger, Calaveras Enterprise
09/14/10: Sellers Dogs Had History
The Calaveras Enterprise reports that Sheryl Sellers is being arraigned in court today on felony charges in connection to the mauling death of Jerry Yates. His daughter, Jami Southard, now believes that Sellers pit bulls were "an accident waiting to happen." She described the failure of Sellers to confine her dogs as "criminal." Southard added, "She knew how aggressive those dogs were. You could ask anybody. Nobody could go near her truck when those dogs were in it."
Problems with Sellers dogs began in 2005 when she was living with Michael Richard off Swiss Ranch Road. The couple had about 10 dogs, seven or eight being pit bulls. After their dogs threatened neighbors and killed one dog, both were cited for multiple violations; fined over $1,000 and ordered to reduce their number of dogs to three, each being neutered. Sellers left Richard in March and began living on Yate's property with her pit bulls. Five months later, her dogs killed him.
What happened in Calaveras County is a perfect example of who commonly owns dangerous dogs -- grossly irresponsible types that should be subject to Depraved Indifference charges -- and how the county's current policy failed to prevent the death of Yates. Richard's neighbors continue to live in fear of his pit bulls. Arlene Azzarello, who suffers from cancer and congestive heart failure, said that a pair of pit bulls recently terrified her. Between the pit bulls marauding on her property and gunfire coming from Richard’s residence in the middle of the night, she's afraid.
08/26/10: Autopsy: Victim Bled to Death
Autopsy results confirm that Jerry Yates bled to death after being mauled by two pit bulls owned by Sheryl Sellers. According to sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo, the official cause of death was the severing of a brachial artery, the main blood vessel of the upper arm. Macedo said the autopsy also showed that the pit bulls continued biting Yates even after he had died. There were no underlying medical conditions that contributed to his death, according to Macedo.
Calaveras County sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo said that although Jerry Yates suffered dog bites all over his body, the autopsy determined the official cause of death was the severing of a brachial artery, the main blood vessel of the upper arm.
Macedo said Yates also suffered defensive wounds in his struggle with the dogs. "He was trying to protect himself," Macedo said.
Macedo said the autopsy also showed the dogs continued biting Yates even after he had died, and that there were no underlying medical conditions that contributed to his death. - News 10, August 26, 2010
08/24/10: Family and Friends Grieving
Sheryl Sellers was a friend, employee and tenant of Jerry Yates, a businessman, philanthropist and Vietnam Vet. Yates was killed by Sellers' two pit bulls on Sunday after the dogs escaped their pens. When Yates' son Jered went to look for his missing father, he came face-to-face with the vicious dogs, their muzzles were still bloody. Police said there was a lot of blood on the vehicles the victim was found lying between indicating obvious signs of a physical struggle.
Yates' daughter, Jami Southard, told Recordnet.com, "It was a horrible, horrible freak accident," repeating a distortion voiced by pit bull owners after their animal inflicts serious injury or death. A glance at the California Fatal Pit Bull Mauling map shows how frequent these attacks are. But the 27-year history of dog attacks, compiled by Animal People, is far more damning: Between 1982 and 2009, pit bulls inflicted grave bodily harm to 1,451 persons, maimed 777 and killed 153.
Sellers is now charged with a felony for having an animal that caused human death.
08/23/10: Pit Bulls Kill Mountain Ranch Man
Mountain Ranch, CA - In a developing story, a man was mauled to death by at least one pit bull Sunday afternoon in Calaveras County. Sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo said Jerry Yates, 69, was found by his son Jered a little after 5 pm after he went looking for him. Macedo said about a half hour earlier, Yates had gone outside to check on a woman who rented a trailer on his Doster Road property. The woman, Sheryl Sellers, 49, kept two pit bulls in a fenced area of the yard.
Sellers was arrested and booked into jail for allowing vicious animals to be at large.
04/04/11: Attorney Comments After Judge Throws Out Felony Charges in Fatal Dog Attack
How many gotta suffer this most prehistoric fear of being killed by an animal? 60 % or more than FATAL DOG ATTACKS are from 1 breed which constitute 3-5 % of total dog population. You do the analysis; you need not have a Ph. D!
here's an update.
the son fired a shot gun to ward the dogs off when they tried to attack him as he was looking for his father.
There are some stupid comments under the story. One comment (that overall defended pitbulls) noted, "you don't hear about other breeds doing this."
For one – yes you do. If an Akita or shepherd mix or whatever kills someone, it will be on the news. However, the reason that the dogs usually featured in stories about fatal dog maulings are pitbulls is that…pitbulls are the breed most likely to maul people! Maltese dogs or Beagles aren't mauling people to death and that's why you don't hear about them in the news. The media is not covering up maulings from other breeds. Pitbulls maul because they were bred to fight other dogs.
I feel horrid for the man who had to find his father like that. What a horrible thing 🙁
According to Sheryl's MySpace page, she has ZERO friends, except for the fatal mauler that is licking her face. And to think that the victim was going to "check on her," as if to see if she was okay…I'm surprised authorities acted so fast. The nutter and her dogs must have developed a reputation in the short time she was living on the property. Gotta wonder where she is from and if she moved out to RURAL property because of her dogs' aggressiveness!
Another article said that the victim was working in his shop
The dogs then attacked the son who found his father's body outside the shop between two cars, covered in bite wounds and with missing flesh
He fended them off only because he had a shotgun, or there would have been two fatalities
I'm glad to see felony charges being filed. I hope she is sentenced to the maximum time, although frankly, enough of these attacks have happened through the years that I think death by pit bull should be an automatic Murder 2 charge. If you own these dogs, you damned well know what could happen. It's no different than running down a street randomly firing off a gun.
Donnie Brasco has it right. This is a most gruesome and primitive way to die that brings up the most basic fears in people. It is disgusting that sick people are allowed to inflict the horror of mauling and death on us with impunity. And before that, we have to live with our ruthless and primitive destroyers being proudly paraded around as silly clowns.
This small community is not going to recover thanks to this idiot woman's pit bulls. Yates was a pillar in the community and now he is gone, not because of a tractor or other farm-related accident, but because of Seller's PIT BULLS! The killer PIT BULLS (seen dead in news videos) are different than the wiggle butt on Seller's MySpace page.
To read how neighbors had been terrorized on their own property for years by this woman is APPALLING.
my favorite part of the article was the city meeting regarding the squatters and their frankenmaulers:
"Both Blazej and Azzarello, who were at the meeting, said that immediately after Blazej told the board about the incident where he and his family were threatened by a group of pit bulls, Sellers shouted out from the back of the room that those pits couldn’t be hers, because if they were, “You wouldn’t be standing here.”
Another situation thanks to unregulated pit bull breeders.
And do you think that Richard and this Sellers ever paid a cent of taxes on the breeding income?
This is what happens when an industry is completely unregulated.
The communities must get these breeders licensed, and report illegal operations and problem operations. If they don't get these breeders under control, the death rate will continue to escalate.
And it is time we examine, as a society, the propensity for violence that a percentage of females have. They may not be killing people or attacking others themselves, but they are owning or breeding violent, aggressive fighting breeds. These women KNOW that pit bulls are violent and deadly.
The "pit bull advocates" are not sweet, loving girls and women. They are selfish, mentally disturbed people who enjoy controlling others with their violent dogs, and will excuse any kind of violent attack that pit bulls make.
This is sociopathy.
And these violent girls and women are out there right now attacking the victims of these dog attacks, and trying to get bullied authority figures to cave in to demands to even press charges against victims who tried to defend themselves.
This is a bloodthirstiness hidden under a female face.
craven desires, the even worse part is that that statement by Sellers was at a meeting in EARLY 2006!
There was still no enforcement even after all that, in the years after that meeting! And Sellers clearly went to the media to help her out. The people in that community were tortured and threatened for 5 years with the county's compliance. And where was the judge to ensure that his/her order was upheld?
Here is a fuller quote with additional information. I hope we all realize that we must be vigilant with full written formal complaints filed not only with animal control, but with every government authority that exists in the community, preferably by an attorney if possible, and even with the state, because there is an attempt at a coverup now because "When Animal Services was contacted to obtain its file on Richard and Sellers, Sgt. Laurie Murray said that the file had been misplaced or lost."
"An item discussed at the January 23, 2006, Calaveras County Board of Supervisors meeting focused on alleged code compliance violations involving Richard and Sellers. Richard was found to be illegally camping on his own property, as he and Sellers were living in a structure built without a building permit. During the meeting, Blazej and other neighbors testified to the board regarding their problems with the pit bulls.
Both Blazej and Azzarello, who were at the meeting, said that immediately after Blazej told the board about the incident where he and his family were threatened by a group of pit bulls, Sellers shouted out from the back of the room that those pits couldn’t be hers, because if they were, “You wouldn’t be standing here.”
“Your first article made Sheryl out to be a poor victim,” Blazej told the Enterprise. “The point is that she owned dangerous dogs. It was a major issue for the folks who live around Rim Rock Valley.”
This is absolutely appalling. I am so glad that Mr. Yate's daughter has changed her mind about this being a "freak accident" now that she knows the facts. Notice how Sellers and her stud tried to get around the "too many dogs – get rid of some" mandate by applying for a Kennel license? Thank heavens they were denied, but it doesn't seem to matter anyway — the problems persisted with these two and their pack of beasts and I blame Animal Control — it sure smells bad that Animal control has "lost" their files — thank God these jerks were criminally charged, or there wouldn't be any record of all their misdeeds, save the tales of their unfortunate neighbors.
There is miserable failure on many parts here, and this is how it really is out there (throughout the U.S.). What happened in Calaveras County paints such a disturbingly accurate picture of what is mirrored across the country that I could throw up.
I am sad to report that Sgt Laurie Murray of Animal Control appears to have a history as a pit bull protector and excuser.
There was another potentially deadly attack by a pit bull, complete with the owners and disturbed friends threatening and accusing the victims, the police officers who used their guns to survive the attack.
Murray first gives a lame description of "using their tasers" as being proper (which Murray knows does not work on pit bulls, and may get police officers killed if they must use useless tasers first before using the only thing that stops a pit bull mauling, a gun)
Then Murray gives ridiculous and childish excuses like "protecting a puppy" instead of stating the reality that pit bulls are bred to attack and bred to be fighting dogs.
When Animal Control tries to come up with excuses and obfuscation and catering to mobs to enable pit bull attacks and care more about an attacking pit bull's life than an attacked victim fighting for their lives, human lives will be lost.
She's succeeded at that now.
More failures from Animal Control Sgt Laurie Murray regarding pit bull attacks.
See the 3 week response time!
Calaveras County has been enabling these attacks for some time. Complete breakdown in public safety. Protection and enablement for vicious pit bulls.
Everyone involved with that situation ought to get together for a class action lawsuit against the county for failing to protect the public from these menaces and their criminal owners.
I fear that this is only the beginning of the victim and victim family smear.
I hope the family is suing Calaveras County.
A taste of the people that her Attorney Ken Foley represents
"RAIL ROAD FLAT – Dale Buller casts a long shadow in Rail Road Flat.
Thanks to him, buffalo graze where this town's children once played baseball and the state historic landmark – No. 286 – that marks the site of the town's founding is now fenced off from public access.
Many people here are afraid to speak his name and declined requests to be interviewed, but those who did speak were blunt.
"He's not a nice guy," said Mary Newell, 31, of Rail Road Flat.
County prosecutors and detectives agree.
"Every time we've gone to his property or dealt with him, he's always been real combative or verbally abusive," said Calaveras County sheriff's Detective Josh Crabtree. "He is kind of a hard man to deal with at times."
Buller, 79, is facing nine weapons charges over a collection of 610 guns that state investigators seized from his home compound in January. The charges include possessing a machine gun, dealing assault weapons across state lines and possessing weapons despite the fact he is barred from doing so because of a 2001 conviction for assault with a deadly weapon and a 2005 conviction for battery, both in Napa.
Buller did not respond to messages left on his answering machine. His criminal defense attorney, Ken Foley of San Andreas, said he has advised Buller not to grant media interviews.
Public records, media accounts and Buller's neighbors, tenants and employees paint a picture of a man of large economic might, who is prone to conflict. A buffalo rancher in Calaveras County and owner of prime winery property in Napa County, Buller has been either plaintiff or defendant in dozens of lawsuits in both counties."
I would like to know how a woman who accepted charity and lived in a trailer on someone else's property is paying an attorney to undertake a lengthy and expensive trial.
And why wasn't her stepfather, mentioned in the article approaching people and talking to people in her defense, allowing her pit bulls to live at his house?