Fatally attacking dog depicted with the victim, Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan.
Saving Killer Dogs?
UPDATE 05/13/12: The Las Vegas Review-Journal published a follow up piece about animal activists who intervene to "save dogs" that have bitten and killed. The article refers to the February death of a 2-day old baby who was killed by his family's adopted Husky, named Nikko.1 On April 27, a Pennsylvania judge allowed Nikko to be sent to an out-of-state "sanctuary" instead of being put down. This is the same day that Onion viciously attacked Jeremiah, notes the article.
Even though a Las Vegas judge frustrated an intervention attempt by the Lexus Project on Friday to save Onion -- offering a similar out-of-state "sanctuary" arrangement -- the group says it will appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court. Henderson officials have remained resolute throughout the Onion Ordeal calling it a public safety issue. Besides killing Jeremiah, officials said the dog attacked its kennel when a veterinarian tried to examine it at the city shelter.
05/11/12: Euthanization to Proceed
Clark County District Judge Joanna Kishner ruled on Friday that a New York-based group has no legal standing to intervene on behalf of a dog that killed a baby boy and stop Henderson animal control officials from putting the animal down. The scheduled euthanasia of Onion was halted earlier this week by a court challenge filed by the Lexus Project headed by attorney Richard Rosenthal, who claimed, among other things, "There is nothing vicious about the attack."2
04/30/12: Death Ruled Accidental
Having not seen the deceased boy's mother in any news stories, DogsBite.org was deeply concerned about yet another deadly "visiting child" scenario. Indeed, the two adults shared custody of the young boy. The particulars of this arrangement are unknown, but certainly the child was only living part-time with his father. In a devastating3 recent statement by the child's grandmother and owner of the dog, she sent "a message to Jeremiah's mother" in a news story:
"I am so sorry. If I had ever known that this would happen I would have gotten rid of Onion, even though I loved him very much," Keller said.
04/30/12: Insights from Behaviorists
Unenthusiastic, if not alarmed, by the imagery of the gentle giant coupled with an infant provided by the father, DogsBite.org reached out to animal behaviorists Gary Wilkes and Alexandra Semyonova about this fatal dog attack. As Semyonova highlights, this fatality is the result of a serious act of aggression. There are appropriate and inappropriate dog breeds to bring into a household with very young children. This child's parent and many others learn this the hard way.
The disparity in size and potential for damage is so great between a toddler and a large dog that it is plainly dangerous and ultimately a questionable decision. It is no different than having haphazardly stacked crates in your house that could fall and crush the child, uncovered electrical outlets or unfenced swimming pools. It is ironic that they show the child in a car seat designed to make the child's life safer. The dog was obviously the more serious threat.
Gary Wilkes is an internationally acclaimed animal behaviorist, trainer, author, columnist and lecturer. View additional posts by Gary.
Mastiff / Rhodesian Ridgeback mix kills one year old boy
Before the usual crowd gets into slandering the domestic dog as a species, let's be very clear about the truth on this: The behavior this Power Dog mix showed is completely and utterly abnormal in the domestic dog. Startled in its sleep, a normal dog might lash out. This might include a grab less inhibited than by full wakefulness. This might cause a more serious wound in an infant than it would in an adult – but that's not the same as a dog taking a child's head in its mouth, crushing the infant's face, shaking to kill, and not allowing its owner to make it release the child [see the video here].
What this incident does show is the result of breeding for both impulsive aggression and exaggerated body size. It shows the result of ignoring real information about the breed or type of dog you bring into your home. Some breeds / types of dogs do simply for real have much higher statistical records of mauling or killing than other breeds or types. Some have a statistical record of being particularly dangerous around infants (besides the pit-bull types, this includes the husky types).
Before the usual crowd starts quoting a certain dog hairdresser that appears often on television, let's be clear about the truth on this too: Dominance or some kind of imaginary ‘ranking order' has nothing to do with what happened. Dogs don't live in hierarchies, nor are relations influenced by who gets to sleep higher or share your spot. I often sit reading with three dogs on my lap, sleep with three or four on my bed. It would be sad if we allowed the weapon dog fashion to ruin this pleasure we share with our normal dogs.
What this incident does show is the result of allowing that kind of physical closeness with a dog that has an aggression problem. ‘Dogs with aggression problems' means not only dogs that have overtly shown touchiness, but also any dog of a breed or type that has impulsive aggression in its breed history. This means most of all the pit-bull types and the mastiff types, but also the others in which this trait has surfaced (even if it's a rare anomaly in those breeds).
When we talk about rational safety measures while guarding the interactions of dogs and children, we are – in normal cases – talking about preventing at most minor wounds, a child scared out of its wits but otherwise not damaged. We are also – in normal cases – talking about being on guard that a child doesn't inadvertently corner a dog such that the dog does feel like it needs to defend its very life and limb. But even then, a normal dog will use exactly as much aggression as it needs to open up a flight route, not a bit more, upon which it will flee.
It's a great tragedy that we are breeding dogs for impulsive aggression coupled with huge body mass, and at the same time hearing so much propaganda from pit fans, humane societies and various ‘experts' that love and a good upbringing will cure these. Neither love, dominance nor (thank you Jean Donaldson!) clicker training will cure the defective genes. They also won't reduce the body mass that makes a dog unstoppable when it – suddenly and impulsively – decides it's hell-bent on killing.
This doesn't mean we don't have to take rational safety measures everywhere children interact with dogs. It does mean that one of those safety measures is to reject the idea of bringing one of these ‘Power Breeds' into our homes.
Alexandra Semyonova is an internationally acclaimed animal behaviorist, behavioral biologist, anthropologist and author. View additional posts by Alexandra.
04/29/12: Baby's Father Speaks Out
Holding back tears, the boy's father describes the horrific scene. "He used the dog's fur to pull himself up on his feet because he wanted to walk," he said. "The dog turned around and grabbed his head ... it took me about 20 seconds to run downstairs and I got the dog off of the baby," he said. "The baby's face was torn off." The father added, "Now I don't have a baby and now I don't have a dog." The 120lb mastiff-Rhodesian mix, named Onion, is scheduled to be euthanized.
Red Flag Photos
The boy's family continues to provide disturbing red flag photos to the media to apparently show how gentle the dog was prior to killing the child. It seems the family is clueless to the fact that the images instead show: "What to never do with a baby and a dog." To make this very clear to our readers, we've marked the images as "100% unsafe." The person taking the boy's death the worst is the grandmother, seen in the photograph with the 120lb dog lying on top of her.
04/28/12: Birthday Ends in Tragedy
Henderson, NV - In a developing story, a 1-year old boy died early Saturday morning after being attacked by his family's dog while celebrating his first birthday. The boy was at his grandmother's home when he crawled over to pet the dog. The animal, described as a 120lb mastiff-Rhodesian mix, latched onto the boy's head and began shaking him, according to police. Henderson rescue workers rushed the boy to a local hospital where he was airlifted to UMC's Trauma Unit.
The young boy died from his injuries about 1:45 am. The boy's family, which owned the 6-year old dog since it was a puppy, voluntarily relinquished ownership to animal control officials. According to police, the boy had been around the dog since he was born. There were no signs of neglect and no previous calls reported about the dog in the past. Police continue to investigate why the dog attacked the boy. 8newsnow.com reports that the victim's name is Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan.
2During the contentious hearing, where Clark County District Court Judge Joanna Kishner sided with Henderson city attorneys who argued the attack proved Onion is vicious, there were protestors outside, primarily in favor of "saving" Onion. But one man held a sign stating, "Let's Make Dog Tacos!" Brad Keith, an electrician said, "I think most of the people feel the same as me. That, I mean, if this dog killed a one year old baby, he's a human being. He should be put down." Photo/KTNV.com.
3As in devastatingly inappropriate.
03/08/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Newborn Dies After Severe Dog Bites in McKeesport
11/08/10: Officials Must Stop Ordering Dogs Deemed 'Dangerous' to New Jurisdictions
12/03/08: 2008 Dog Bite Fatality: 2-Year Old Boy Killed in Clark County, Nevada
09/18/08: 2008 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Fatally Maul 4-Month Old in Las Vegas
Photos: Fox5 Vegas, KTNV.com
The couch photo really shows who "top dog" is in the family…
You see how this doesn't work? Dogs are not "children" or "people"! But hey, let's put costumes on both and by all means, have the 120lb dog piled on top of an adult for a "gentle giant" snapshot. You know the family said stuff like, "They're both my children," after the baby was born. And now they have one less child! (PS. If that dog is not wearing part of a matching costume and its a "service dog vest" well then, that just presents a whole new set of problems.)
Violent breeds, violent deaths.
The breeders still profit and refuse to take responsibility.
As a Mastiff owner, the couch photo was a huge red flag. Mastiff's are pushy dogs and need constantly to know their place in the pack. No large dog like that should be laying on the owner. There are no "gentle giants" anymore than there are "nanny dogs".
There are breeds that simply do not belong in homes with children, or in areas where children live and can be exposed to them.
There are some "experienced adults only" breeds that are suited only for specialized living situations, not a suburb, urban areas, or the family home.
Breeders have been very negligent for allowing these breeds to penetrate the family home.
Lying to people and calling these breeds "nanny dogs" or "gentle giants" just gets people killed and sets up the dogs for failure.
Children are not only killed by these breeds when allowed close contact.
These breeds have actually broken through windows to do things like attack children walking down the sidewalk to the bus stop or playing in their own yards.
Some breeds simply don't belong in family homes or neighborhoods.
The breeders and sellers of these breeds blame the parents, but these breeds kill children even when kids have not been near them, and are not doing anything inappropriate.
How horrendous! And I just can't wrap my head around the father's statement, talking about the loss of the dog in the same breath as the loss of his son. I just don't get that. And so many people comment on these horrible killings and attacks on children, "Poor dog has to pay with it's life for it's owner's stupidity." etc. "Poor dog" is the last thing that would ever come to my mind.
Very nice touch by reaching out to both David Wilkes and Alexandra Semyonova. Gotta love her "hairdresser" comment. lol.
Thanks for being the one of kind resource that you have become!
I was wondering about the mother. She must be having a mental breakdown. It seems they had shared custody:
"We were just about to put him to bed," around 10 p.m., when it happened, said his father, 29-year-old Christopher Shahan. He shares custody of Jeremiah with the boy's mother. The two aren't married.
At least if the mother had reported to the court that the father's family had a breed dangerous to children in the house, social workers could possibly have intervened.
Parents need to stick up for their children.
The hypocritical 'humane' societies and their lying animal shelters, as well as money-grubbing television executives and pseudo-experts (including most of what touts a PhD nowadays, they too have to pay off their student loans) — they are largely culpable in this kind of case.
They are the ones who tell parents they might as well get a Power Dog, since it ain't no different from any other dog and besides, Labradors 'bite' the most. Oops, I mean chihuahuas.
They are the ones who do 'dog bite prevention weeks', but omit to tell that learning dog body language, approaching a dog right, all that useful stuff, doesn't apply to these weapon dogs. They are the ones who omit to tell that even after years of seeming okay, these dogs can suddenly, arbitrarily, decide to berserk — and that no matter how close you are when it does, you won't be in time to stop a child being maimed or killed.
I hope the day comes when all of these liars are held accountable for the ravage they are committing among our children, and the grief they are causing for parents who believed them.
People and shelters are always begging others to adopt dogs from shelters, but the choice of breeds they have is nothing but pit and pit mixes, but the shelters always label them as "Lab Mixes" in an effort try to hide the fact that the dog is mostly pit, or full-blooded pit. If pits are my only choice of dog to rescue, I'll just go to a decent breeder for a breed I want, and pits are not on my list at all.
Nice to see the Humane Orgs who have turned on the American People get slammed.
It's almost as if they believe that if they can save mankillers from euthanization, there's no reason that Pit Bulls can't be berserking around America's neighborhoods.
I truly wish pits would be outlawed everywhere here in the USA. In my neighbourhood alone, within the past three months, pits have attacked and mauled four people and killed seven innocent pets. When is this country going to open its eyes and take notice of the menaces that they truly are? The pit advocates immediately resort to calling names and slinging insults at anyone who "picks" on their precious breed of monsters.
The Associated Press, USA Today and others picked up this story up today!
Clark County District Court Judge Joanna Kishner sided with Henderson city attorneys who argued the attack proved the 6-year-old mastiff-Rhodesian ridgeback mix is vicious, and that an uninvited third party with no ties to the family had no legal right to step in to try to save it.
Way to go Judge Joanna Kishner (who volunteers at a cat shelter and her family adopts rescue animals)!
It is not a coincident that all or nearly all dog breeds created not for a specific job requiring size but to be primarily companions are all relatively small and gentle.
It seems that our supposed mastery of nature has removed our common sense.
"the Lexus Project headed by attorney Richard Rosenthal"
What is to be done when someone who is supposed to represent victims is putting himself in the victimizer role?
Judges have already experimented with giving back these dogs that have killed. That has backfired on judges as the dogs attack again, end up caged and abused, or even in the hands of dog fighters or hoarders that pose as sanctuaries or rescues.
The towns that transfer these dogs also maintain liability, no matter what papers are signed.
There is a real question here of the viable professional status of an attorney, an officer of the court, attempting to endanger others and victimizing the victim with falsehoods.
There is also a question here about what this "project" represents. No honorable, knowledgeable dog handler would ever consider anything other than euthanansia for a dog that has killed. What is behind this Lexus project? What is the real aim? Where does the money come from?
The founders of this group includes not only Richard Rosenthal but his wife Robin Mittasch
Their Facebook page "likes" greyhound racing, one of the most abusive and cruel canine lobbying groups around. Not "greyhound rescue." Greyhound RACING, and the affiliated breeding lobby involved with that industry, who also opposes canine legislation.
Richard Rosenthal has also represented carriage horse DRIVERS.
There has been a lot of incidents involving accidents, people hurt, animals killed, public safety issues related to the carriage horse industry. The drivers and owners, of course, oppose regulation.
The carriage horse industry is a very anti humane type of lobby, also lobbying against regulation and affiliated with some of the same kinds of lobbies such as puppy mills, breeders, and the like that oppose regulation such as BSL, dangerous dog laws, etc.
These groups lobby together.
It is very important to research industry ties with all these groups. What may be claimed is not what may be going on behind the scenes.
Candormd, do you have a website? Because you sure do some amazing research into the underbelly of all this.
Good Lord Snack Sized! And I love it that Les Golden appears to be his own nuttery operation competing for funds with the Lexus Project! See May 9th post:
Les Golden is NOT connected to the Lexus Project in any way, nor is he involved in Onion's defense in the proceedings we commenced to save the dogs life … Les has refused to account for the money he has collected for Onion and, in fact, has repeatedly referred to the money as HIS money. We therefore advise anyone who wants to help Onion to be wary who they contribute their money to.
Thank you to Gary Wilkes and Alexandra Semyonova for your insights.
The photos show this was definitely a family out to "prove" their dog was a gentle giant, and presumably knew full well the dangerous reputation of their breed mixes, and were set to prove the rep was a bad rap.
The Lexus group is really terrifying. They are sending human killers to "sanctuaries" that have not been vetted, that fully believe that these dogs can be rehabilitated, and do in fact, also adopt out these dangerous dogs.
If you look at the Blue Lion Rescue the Lexus group has lined up to take Onion, you will see that the owner is a misanthropic lunatic that makes Tia Torres look sane and reasonable by comparison, and I don't say that lightly.
She appeals to people by saying get this dog that I have not trained and watch people pee in their pants when they see you together in obedience school. You'll bond with your dog over it. I'm not making this up.
She is now adopting out NINE untrained, unsocialized, 1/2 grown neopolitan mastiffs of unknown breeding. She hasn't done anything with them and she'll hand them out as is.
She makes up detailed stories of abuse that I don't think she could ever be in a position to know. This is the person whose judgment people are supposed to trust to handle dangerous dogs and keep them safe from the public.
Has anyone seen the "mobile home + land" that the owner of Blue Lion, Lisa Kavanaugh, calls a "ranch" besides Snack Sized? I love the notice at the bottom: The blizzards of last year almost ended this blessed ranch. — Oops, there goes 125 giant breed dogs. (http://www.bluelionrescue.org/doghouse.html)
The history of Blue Lion is sobering (assuming it's true). It isn't that Kavanaugh isn't dedicated, it's that she appears to be a lunatic, fool idiot. See the lower part of this page — only seeing is believing (http://www.bluelionrescue.org/history.html) That anyone could ever call this property a "sanctuary" is out of their minds.
I can appreciate areas like Yoder, Colorado (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoder,_Colorado), but just providing water to this amount of dogs per day — As it stands now, Lisa has to haul 300 feet of hose all around the 35 acre property to get everyone watered and that is hard even in the best weather. — is daunting, forget the reality of the harsh and often unpredictable weather of the region.
Lisa commented that with the especially brutal winter last year, she had to dig out the dog houses by hand by herself multiple times and nearly lost several dogs. She added that if we have another winter like the last one, she wouldn't be able to continue.(http://www.bluelionrescue.org/stories.html)
But, but, then where would Onion and the 125 other giant breed dogs go?
Oh and here we go, Lisa herself does not take very many Pit bulls, there is a Pit bull rescue on the neighboring property (they each have 35 acres) that is actually part of Blue Lion. Lisa loves to educate me about the true nature of Pit Bulls. Did you know that pit bulls used to be known as the “nanny” dog? It was because they took care of the children in the home — they were the nanny!
My guess is both 35-acre poverty stricken rescues will go down in a mighty animal neglect case! Gotta wonder how Henderson animal control felt upon reading the Blue Lion web page. Gotta wonder how many judges in those other states even bothered to look into the group. Kavanaugh is running a wholly unsound "giant breed dog zoo."
(And God only knows what she does with the horrendous amount of pooh these dogs produce on weekly and monthly basis! It's hard to believe Yoder can handle it!)
This case is an illustration of what the behavioral sciences show us: behavior you reward will occur more frequently in future.
First this Lexus project. Rosenthal shouldn't have been allowed to save that very first Greyhound, in particular considering his argument that it was the fault of the Pomerian's owner for not staying out of the way of the Grehound. He and the owner of the Greyhound were rewarded for *not* taking responsibility for the innate behaviors of the chosen dog; rewarded for stating that it was the victim's responsibility to avoid the dangers of someone else's conscious and voluntary consumer choices — not the responsibility of the consumer to control those dangers.
In the case of the husky, the same behavior was rewarded again.
So now, while Rosenthal admits it's innate (he calls it instinctive) in this Onion type of dog to suddenly execute sustained killing attacks, he and his clients are merely obeying the laws of behavior and doing what judges have rewarded before.
It's good that the present judge is withholding the reward. Irresponsible behavior (including the very choice of type of dog) won't be rewarded — the dog won't be excused or saved. Behavior like Rosenthal's and his clients' won't be rewarded — the victims and society will have a voice above theirs. It doesn't matter that in this case the victims (excepting the child) were also the perps in their choice of dog. The message needs to be sent — by our legal system — that choosing this type of dog won't be rewarded, but rather rewards withheld in the sense that at the very least the dog will (humanely) die.
If more judges follow, this law of behavior might start to operate re the whole screaming rescue-the-killer crowd, by no longer rewarding their histrionics; and by no longer rewarding their use of red-herring arguments (eg, whether the dog is to blame or deserves punishment) and of ever-shifting arguments (eg, not inherently dangerous, but then the next day inherent and instinctive).
Dog kills human, dog dies. Application to the human of this bit of P+ or P- (depends on the case which it is for the humans, not talking about the dog here) might go a long way in stopping a lot of this irresponsible human behavior and the loss of life and waste of resources it's causing.
P.S. I also mean to say: dog mauls human, dog dies. Unintentional omission there.
This is a fairly common pattern at this point.
Attention-getter and funds-beggar blames the innocent victim, makes threats on the court, engages other mentally ill people that live even in other countries to make threats on the court, wimpy judge caves in, and dog gets sent to A HOARDER OR ANIMAL ABUSER to torture and kill the long, slow way.
Then it's out of sight, out of mind for the attention-getter who supposedly was trying to "save" the dog, only to let it die in some no kill hoarder sewer and no one even inquires.
The attention-getter is on to a new marketing plan with a new dog, with new beggings for money, and new pretenses of "saving" dogs to actually kill in cruel ways later.
Naive, lemming-like followers give attention and money to the grandstander and attention-getter. Everyone but the grandstander, living in an expensive house with a wealthy lifestyle, suffers.
The dog dies forgotten by all, later, tortured to death.
This scam seems to particularly prey on 20s something girls and sheltered housewives, who seem to have no idea they are being used by the rich.
Set up a website, mouth off, tell lies, and cash in.
I have a real issue in this particular case with a lawyer, an officer of the court, with a history of persecuting victims and telling lies to concoct a completely spurious "blame the victim" scenario.
This is not appropriate behaviour for an attorney, particularly since there is personal fund raising attached to each attack on victims.
There is constant activity demanding funds from the public for a variety of uses, and it appears that the court system is being used to prop up this business.
That Blue Lion website is shocking. SHOCKING.
Let's just call it what it is: animal hoarding.
I would be very surprised if there was any meaningful oversight of the "unadoptable" dogs that were sent there by the Courts. If they were sent away, or got loose and ran away, who would know?
No single person can care for 125 dogs. A staff of ten couldn't do it. You couldn't feed them on a daily basis, much less clean up their crap.