Rampaging attack by pet dog leaves one adult dead, another injured in Arcata.
Shelter Updates Cover Photo
UPDATE 07/02/18: At 2:00 pm Central time today, we saw that the Humboldt County Animal Shelter updated their Facebook Cover photo to a pit bull mascot about 15 hours earlier. On June 27, Andre Hale, the shelter’s manager, "would only characterize [the attacking dog] as a “mixed-breed" to the Lost Coast Outpost. Since this time, Reporter Kym Kemp has been told the dog is a pit bull-mix and commenter Rusty at Words Worth wrote, "the grandson said it's a pit bull."
The actions of Hale, whether deliberate or not, remind us how some shelter directors in the past have deliberately interfered with national dog bite fatality statistics, while simultaneously promoting and owning the pit bull breed. The "mixed-breed" label combined with the timing of this photograph chosen as the shelter's new Cover image, celebrating their "longest canine resident," Rocky, is at best nauseating. Thus far, the Arcata Police Department has not released any breed information.
The last known fatal pit bull attack in Humboldt County was the 1989 death of Garrett East.
06/29/18: Man Dies After Rampaging Attack
Arcata, CA - The Humboldt County Coroner's Office issued a press release Friday stating that a man died of his injuries after being attacked by a dog earlier this week. The attack was inflicted on June 25, 2018 in Arcata. The coroner identified the victim as 91-year old Donald Steele. The cause of death was determined to be consistent with injuries from a dog attack. The manner of death was ruled accidental. The Arcata Police Department is investigating his mauling death.
Date: 6/29/2018 Prepared by: S. Karges
Case Number: APD 18-1744 / HCSO 201803181 Subject: Dog attack victim dies of injuries The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has identified the victim of a fatal dog attack on June 25, 2018 in Arcata as 91-year-old Donald Steele. Steele’s cause of death has been determined to be from injuries consistent with a dog attack. His manner of death has been determined as accidental.
Humboldt County Animal Control took possession of the dog following the incident. The dog was euthanized June 28 following orders from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services. The dog tested negative for rabies.
The Arcata Police Department is investigating this incident. All inquiries related to this case should be directed to the Arcata Police Department at (707) 822-2428.
The attack was first reported on June 27 by the Lost Coast Outpost, which described it as a "rampaging attack on two people Monday morning at the Town & Country Mobile Villa off Giuntoli Lane in Arcata." The violent attack occurred in the 4900 block of Sierra Way, inside the park, just before 11:00 am. The multiple mauling caused a large response from police and paramedics. The Outpost cites the dispatcher's log of the call, "someone needs medical, just kept screaming hurry."
The dog attacked two people. One of the victims suffered "critical" injuries and the other suffered "moderate" injuries, reports the Outpost. Both victims were adults and one of the victim's was the dog's owner, according to Lt. Bart Silvers of the Arcata Police Department. The animal was confiscated and taken to the Humboldt County Animal Shelter. At the local Redheaded Blackbelt website, reporter Kym Kemp states the dog's owner is the girlfriend of Donald Steele's son.
Guest: Why did people say earlier that it was the pit bull owner's girlfriend and a neighbor that tried to intervene?
Kym Kemp: I don’t know why they said that but I spoke to Arcata Police and my understanding is that the girlfriend of Mr. Steele’s son was bitten and then Mr. Steel was bitten.
Guest: So pretty close. Somehow I got the impression the girlfriend got the worst of it.
Sharon: Kym do we know the breed of the dog?...
Kym Kemp: I was told it was a pit bull mix.
Pat Passalaqua: Where does it say it was a pit bull?
Kym Kemp: It doesn’t. However, I spoke with people who told me this was a pit bull mix.
Law enforcement departments across the United States should release consistent "baseline" information to the media and the public after each fatal dog mauling, including these items.