Meet Polar, the deaf pit bull-American bulldog mix baby killer.1
UPDATE 07/13/11: Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that charges will not be sought following the death of Salvador Cotto. Chesterfield County Police Department issued a news release today stating that a "thorough police investigation" and discussions with prosecutors led to the decision. After the Medical Examiner's Office confirmed the cause of the boy's death, "cerebral edema due to a dog bite to the head," the dog was euthanized, according to the release.
Salvador Miguel Cotto was born January 10, 2011.
Separately, Polar fan club members along with some media members are still having trouble understanding the examiner's ruling. For instance, Donna Solinger writes: "Did they purposely leave out the part that the bite was ruled "accidental?" and Richmond.com writes: "Polar has been euthanized, on July 13, despite the medical examiner's office ruling the death of an infant as accidental." The ruling pertained only to the criminal culpability of a human being.
07/12/11: Cause of Death Announced
Richmond.com reports that a forensic pathologist announced today that the toddler's death was accidental, meaning that there was no human criminal responsibility.2 Chesterfield County Police continue to investigate the case. Police spokesperson Elizabeth Caroon, who provided no new updates, said only that the investigation is "still ongoing." The infant died of cerebral edema due to a dog bite to the head. Polar remains at the Chesterfield County Animal Shelter.
07/08/11: Sources: Cerebral Edema
Unnamed sources tell WTVR.com that the baby died from cerebral edema as a result of a dog bite to the head. Cerebral edema is the swelling of the brain and in this case was likely caused by traumatic brain injury. Donna Armstrong, who organized Friday's dozen person denialist event televised by WTVR.com, said that Polar was acting like any animal when it picked the child up "by the neck [scruff]."3 The so-called "vigil" greatly marginalized the toddler's death.
WTVR.com was also quick to point out via unnamed sources that the child's death was ruled an accident, "not a vicious attack." Readers should note the definition of Traumatic Brain Injury and the genetic bite style of pit bulls and other gripper breeds: hold and shake (Shaken Baby Syndrome may be a possibility here too). At the very least, the new information provides clues into why the police investigation continues. Death by cerebral edema is not always immediate.
Causes of brain swelling:
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A TBI is also called a head injury, brain injury, or acquired brain injury. In TBI, a sudden event damages the brain. Both the physical contact itself and the quick acceleration and deceleration of the head can cause the injury. The most common causes of TBI include falls, vehicle crashes, being hit with or crashing into an object, and assaults. The initial injury can cause brain tissue to swell. In addition, broken pieces of bone can rupture blood vessels in any part of the head. The body's response to the injury may also increase swelling. Too much swelling may prevent fluids from leaving the brain.
07/08/11: "Save Polar" Cause Begins
It comes as no surprise that pit bull and animal rights activists have begun an effort to "Save Polar" from being euthanized. On June 29, Polar, a pit bull-American bulldog mix, killed a baby in Chesterfield. On the Save Polar Facebook page, Arlene Esan writes, "I was told there was nothing the governor could do when I called." In contrast to the story's headline, "Hundreds pray for dog that killed a child," only a dozen bizarre persons turned out for the actual event.
07/07/11: Breed Mislabeling Effort
While it is unclear who conceived the "dogo" story, news reports now say that the offending dog is a pit bull-American bulldog mix, not a dogo Argentino, which weighs up to 100 pounds and more. The dogo story might have stemmed from neighbor Geoff Rundless, who told the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "[The dog owners] are a loving family, and Polar is a loving dog." Or, neighbor J.C. Thompson who said, "Something must have triggered the dog."
The dogo story also might have originated from the dog's owners, Charles and Erin Teets, who left their home as soon as media members began appearing in the neighborhood. Chesterfield Animal Control might have been the culprit as well. According to Thompson, the "loving dog" was deaf, but was quick to obey commands and hand signals from family members. This same "loving dog" was also quick to kill a visiting baby, a human life now forever gone.
Surprisingly, Sochitl Rodriquez, the animal rescue worker who provided Polar to the Teets family, stepped forward yesterday and corrected the false dogo story. She said the animal is not a dogo Argentino as described by neighbors, but far smaller, weighing only 50 pounds. Rodriquez confirmed that the dog is deaf and was originally from Atlanta. Its previous owners used rubber bands to cut off circulation to the dog's ears to crop them (aka Poor Man's Crop).
Rodriquez added that Polar was "always a sweet dog no matter what situation you put her in." She too wonders if Polar was trying to help the child in some way (by killing it). Rodriquez does not want the dog euthanized, she might even want it back. Prior to placing Polar with the Teets, she fostered the dog for 6-months. If readers have not come to this conclusion already, this is a clear case of persons who value the life of a rescued dog over the life of a human being.
06/30/11: Dog Kills Visiting Infant
Chesterfield County, VA - In a developing story, Chesterfield County police say that a baby is dead after suffering a dog bite Wednesday afternoon from a relative's dog. The mother and her infant had been visiting relatives at a home on Overridge Drive at the time of the incident. The animal, a dogo Argentino4 -- a fighting and hunting dog breed and cousin to the pit bull -- apparently did not have a history of being aggressive, according to Lt. Randy Horowitz.5
2It is important to point out that the cause of death ruling does not mean that the dog did not kill the baby on purpose. Polar's fan club, including WTVR.com, however, would have you believe otherwise.
3Even the unnamed source said this baby died due to a bite injury inflicted on the head, not to the neck [scruff].
4The dog is also being called a pit bull-American bulldog mix and an American bulldog-mix.
5To say that a dogo Argentino doesn't have a history of being aggressive is somewhat like saying a tank hasn't been deployed yet. It may not have ever seen combat, but it is still a tank, not a passenger car or delivery truck.
06/03/11: 2011 Fatality: Kalamazoo Infant Mauled to Death by Family Pit Bull
10/25/10: 2010 Fatality: "Very Loving" Pit Bull Kills Baby in Jacksonville Home
04/15/10: 2010 Fatality: Pit Bull Kills 7-Day Old New Port Richey Boy