Foster Parent is Police Officer; Dog Adopted Out by County
Khloe Ann Williams, 7-months old, was killed by a family dog while in foster care.
Delayed 911 Call
UPDATE 11/15/18: Another bombshell that was foreshadowed during a press conference last month was dropped Wednesday. After the dog severely attacked infant Khloe on October 5, Pamela Maser, the babysitter, delayed the 911 call. Pamela first called her son, Clearwater Police Detective Jonathan Maser, who is the foster father, but only reached voicemail. Next she called her husband, retired Clearwater Deputy Police Chief Paul Maser, asking him to come home.
The Department of Children and Families revealed the information in a newly released report. The Critical Incident Rapid Response Team (CIRRT) report found no fault with the qualifications or actions of infant Khloe's foster parents and caseworkers involved in the case. The report also did not place blame on anyone for Khloe’s death. However, the report indicates a delayed 911 call after critical injuries to an infant, up to 15 minutes, when Pamela opted to call family members first.
Pamela placed the calls to family members at 1:50 pm, according to the CIRRT report. After doing so, she took Khloe into the bathroom and washed the blood off of her face. By the time the foster parents arrived at the home, within 15 minutes, states the CIRRT report, Khloe was whimpering and soon became unresponsive. Dispatch logs at Broadcastify.com show that Engine 52 was first notified at 2:10 pm for "breathing problems" at the home, 20 minutes after the vicious dog attack.
Fire & Rescue responded to the Maser home just minutes later. Had they been called 15 minutes earlier, they could have arrived that much earlier.
Back in October, during the press conference with Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter, it became known through documents released by Eckerd Connects that foster mother Melissa Maser arrived at the scene before paramedics and began performing CPR on the infant -- which raised a red flag among victims' advocates. Now it is clear that there was a serious delay in the 911 call. Apparently, no call was placed until the severely injured infant became unresponsive.
Babysitter Never Even Called 911
A Friday news report by the Tampa Bay Times confirmed what we had already suspected. Pamela never called 911 at all. That call was made by foster father Jonathan after he arrived at Pamela's home, at least 15 minutes after the severe attack. The difference between Fire & Rescue arriving at 1:54 pm -- had Pamela called 911 just after speaking with Jonathan, as he had instructed her to do -- or 2:12 pm, might have been the difference between life and death for the injured infant.
Contrary to Pamela's defense attorney's claim, reasonable people do not call family members "instead" of 911 after a life-threatening crisis. People who are in "total" shock scream at the top of their lungs, "Help me! Call 911!" Natural human reflex is to alert anyone nearby to the emergency! Then, if that same person can, they call 911 themselves. Remember Triniti's mom who was alone during the attack? Criminals, of course, act differently because they are trying to conceal an act.
Lastly, we will address the complete bullshit presented in the CIRRT report. The report claimed that 72-year old Pamela Maser immediately "pried the dog's mouth open" after the attack, freeing the infant. Without a parting tool, rarely can a very strong adult male accomplish this (including police officers). The CIRRT report also left out the dog's previous biting incident. Why? The dog bit Paul, Pamela's husband, during the adoption process. The couple adopted the animal anyway.
10/22/18: Shelter Documentation
On October 15, we submitted a FOIA to Pinellas County requesting the shelter records of the dog that fatally attacked Khloe Williams on October 5. Clearwater Police Detective Jonathan Maser was the licensed foster parent for infant Khloe. Maser's parents were caring for Khloe at the time of the deadly dog attack. Maser's father is former Clearwater Deputy Chief Paul Maser and the owner of the dog, which he adopted from Pinellas County Animal Services in late March.
The attack was described by the police chief as causing, "serious traumatic injuries to Khloe." A closed casket funeral was expected.
On October 19, the county fulfilled our records request. The dog was picked up as a stray on February 23, 2018, and identified as a "pit bull mix type." On February 28, the dog, known as Lynnie, underwent a "canine evaluation" that records indicate was very brief. By March 14, Lynnie was relabeled a "Retriever/Hound" mix and available for adoption. The dog's first documented bite occurred during an interaction with the Masers on March 26 at the county adoption center.
Below the dog's adoption photograph is a more detailed analysis of the 15-page report we received from the county. We follow this with a brief discussion on purebred American pit bull terriers and fighting bloodlines that are less blocky in appearance. Regardless of your stance on pit bulls, there are two things we must all agree on 1.) There is no "Labrador retriever" present in Lynnie and 2.) She would qualify as a pit bull-mix for "any" free pit bull spay/neuter promotion.
Analysis of Shelter Documentation
- On February 23, 2018, a person in St. Petersburg called Pinellas County Animal Services "about a brown female pit bull that has been running loose for a few days now. I advised caller to confine the dog and call back," states the report. The person was able to leash the dog. About 30 minutes later, animal control arrived. "Made contact with complainant, impounded 1 female brown/white pit bull mix type dog." The intake weight of the female dog, later to be named Lynnie, was 40.2 pounds.
- On February 28, 2018, Lynnie was given an ultra brief behavior exam. The dog passed a "Tail/Ear Tug Reaction" test, was evaluated to be "high" energy level, was recommended for adoption and passed a "dog aggression" evaluation. The records indicate the "evaluation" lasted from 10:24 am to 10:25 am -- which could be the "input time" or the actual time. No re-testing for any part was required. By 10:27 am, Lynnie was in the veterinarian's office being administered deworming medication.
"We evaluate all animals that go through our adoption program for aggression toward food, for toys and treats, with people and with other animals," Director Doug Brightwell said. A resource-guarding test was not indicated in the records.
- On March 14, 2018, the dog's Petango listing read, "All Lynnie needs is a tennis ball. And a rope toy. And a big ball. And some sunshine and a water dish. And a little wading pool would be nice. But that scratch behind the ears? Priceless!" We could not locate the Petango listing in Internet Archives, which would have shown the breeds listed on the adoption listing. It is presumed that by March 14, Lynnie was relabeled a "Retriever/Hound" mix. A pit bull-mix label was never publicly shown.
- On March 26, 2018, Paul Maser and his wife Pamela visited the Pinellas County Animal Services adoption center. While interacting with Lynnie, the "dog scratched citizen while in play yard jumping for attention," states the report. "Dog nipped other citizen (husband of first citizen) while jumping for attention," states the report. "Citizen stated that the dog was hyper and they were able to leash and put back in kennel." The dog's first documented bite occurred while meeting the Masers.
- On the morning of March 27, 2018, Lynnie was quarantined for the bite to Paul Maser. The treatment required a "bandaid" on both his left and right wrists, states the report. Later that day, Maser called the shelter and said he wanted to adopt Lynnie after the quarantine period. Maser called the bite(s) an "accident." The shelter worker explained to Maser, "I will give his info to Casey who will work with Director to see if this can happen," indicating that some form of high-level approval was needed.
In retrospect, calling this dog's "hyper" behavior and bite an "accident" was the biggest mistake of Paul Maser's life. It does not look favorably upon Pinellas County Animal Services' documented evaluation of the dog's behavior either.
- On March 28, 2018, Maser returned to the shelter to pick up Lynnie and complete the adoption process. Maser was advised of the home quarantine rules and that it ended on April 5. Exactly six months later, on October 5, Lynnie suddenly and savagely attacked infant Khloe, killing her, inside the Maser home. Pinellas County Animal Services took the dog into custody. On October 10, the Maser family relinquished ownership of Lynnie (aka Josie) and two days later the animal was euthanized.1
- On October 20, 2018, we reviewed dogs available for adoption at Pinellas County Animal Services. A number of them did contain "pit bull" in their breed label. We pulled several dogs with questionable labels -- dogs that could be labeled as a pit bull-mix, but were not -- into a PDF file for readers. The file includes Chad, a Terrier/Mix, Kojack a Retriever/Mix, Sonja, a Terrier/Mix, Rocko, a Pharaoh Hound/Mix and Katrina, a Boxer/Mix. Common labels to mask pit bull-mixes.
Purebred and Fighting Bloodlines
Clearly Lynnie is a mixed-breed, the question is mixed with what, since no "Labrador retriever" is present in the images of her. Traditional lines of purebred American pit bull terriers are far less blocky in appearance than many people realize. Even various fighting bloodlines have longer and more slender muzzles. Again, Lynnie would easily be a candidate as a pit bull-mix for "any" free pit bull spay/neuter promotion being held by a shelter or humane group in any of our fifty states.
Lynnie was also initially identified as a "pit bull mix" when picked up as a stray on February 23. It's unknown who picked the final breeds, a "Retriever/Hound" mix, for the Petango adoption listing and all future paperwork. Even the bureau director of Pinellas County Animal Services, Doug Brightwell, stated that Lynnie was a year and seven months old, 45 to 50 pounds and likely a lab-hound-pit bull mix, according to an October 8 article published by the Tampa Bay Times.
10/14/18: Previous Documented Bite
On Friday, during a press conference with Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter, new details were released. We already knew the attack was vicious when the attorney for the biological mother stated it would likely be a closed casket funeral, but Slaughter went even further in his remarks. It was also learned Friday that the dog bit it's owner just after being adopted in March -- the dog had a documented bite record, therefore criminal charges could be possible.
"Something like this doesn't happen without someone making some kind of mistake." - Attorney Nioti Koulianos, representing the baby's biological mother
On October 5, a caseworker from Directions for Living dropped off 7-month old Khloe Willams to the home of Paul Maser, the former Clearwater Deputy Chief, and his wife Pamela. Maser's son, Clearwater Police Detective Jonathan Maser, was fostering the baby. Currently, Clearwater police are investigating the baby's death despite this conflict of interest. Also, Slaughter is a Board of Director for Directions for Living, the agency responsible for Khloe's case management.
According to Slaughter, Pamela was preparing a bottle for the baby, when the family dog -- which had been adopted from Pinellas County Animal Services in March -- became "a little energetic" in its crate. So Pamela opened the crate door. "The dog immediately goes after Khloe," Slaughter said. "Pamela Maser tried to intervene with this dog and get the dog separated from the child," he said. Khloe was rushed to Mease Countryside Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
"This was not a simple bite, this was an attack and the dog did serious traumatic injuries to Khloe." - Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter
Slaughter also revealed the female, spayed dog -- now being described as a mixed-breed of "multiple" variations -- had a previous documented bite. The bite occurred in March when the Masers were beginning the adoption process. The biological mother of the baby and her attorneys are calling for the Clearwater Police Department to hand the investigation over to the FDLE. But Chief Slaughter insists he has no intention of deferring the investigation to another agency.
10/09/18: County Adopted Out Dog
Major developments occurred Monday, after a family pit-bull-mix attacked and killed a baby while in foster care on Friday. Clearwater Police Detective Jonathan Maser was the licensed foster parent for Khloe Williams. At the time of the attack, Maser's parents were caring for the baby at their home. Maser's father is former Clearwater Deputy Chief Paul Maser, who now works in the city's records department. Clearwater police are investigating the baby's dog mauling death.
The foster parent currently is, and his father formerly was, employed by the very agency tasked with investigating this baby's mauling death.
As we suspected initially, the female, spayed pit bull-mix named "Lynnie" was a shelter system dog. Doug Brightwell, the Pinellas County director of animal services -- who withheld this information earlier -- confirmed this Monday. "We evaluate all animals that go through our adoption program for aggression toward food, for toys and treats, with people and with other animals and she did not show any signs of aggression through any of those assessments," Brightwell said.
Like other shelter pit bulls that have been temperament tested, but soon thereafter killed a child or an adult, Lynnie passed every test, according to Brightwell. The deception of shelter directors like Brightwell is they do not admit to the public or media that no temperament test can measure unpredictable aggression. The dog was adopted to the family in March. The dog belongs to the senior Masers. Paul Maser's wife was the only adult present during the fatal dog attack.
Though Clearwater Police are tight lipped about the circumstances of the attack, WFLA reports that an abuse hotline indicated Paul Maser's wife was present when the dog attacked and quickly intervened. The baby was transported to Mease Countryside Hospital were she was pronounced dead. The Clearwater Police Department homicide unit is conducting the investigation. Meanwhile, Khloe's biological mother has hired attorneys, who are conducting an investigation of their own.
Shavon Grossman, had been on a supervised visit with Khloe from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm Friday before a caseworker took her back to the senior Maser's home. Under one hour later, the dog attacked and mutilated the child. "The attack was severe to the point where we’re probably going to have a closed casket," said one of Grossman’s lawyers, Nioti Koulianos of the Law Office of Jocic and Koulianos. "The mother is not going to be able to see her baby’s face ever again."
So far in 2018, 20% of all fatally attacking dogs have come from shelters or rescues. In the last month, three of four fatal attacks were by "vetted" dogs from county shelters. These dogs are not just attacking people -- they are killing people. This is an "acceptable" risk to public shelters, which deceptively hide behind the "known fact" that all of these tests fail to measure unpredictable aggression, and frankly many aggression issues outside of the limited shelter environment.
Pinellas County Animal Services now joins a growing number of taxpayer funded shelters (some which contract with private humane organizations) that adopted out dogs that went on to kill babies, children and adults in their households, including, but not limited to, Clark County (NV), Logan County (WV), Kent County (MI), El Paso County (TX), San Diego County (CA), Jackson-Madison County (TN), Buncombe County (NC), New York City (NY) and Rochester (NY).
It truly is a "life or death" decision every adopter accepts -- knowingly or not -- when adopting a dangerous breed from a city or county shelter.
Animal behaviorist Alexandra Semyonova wrote an analysis of shelter dog assessments in September 2016: Behavior Testing Shelter Dogs -- A Summary of Where We Are Now
10/06/18: Baby Killed in Foster Care
In a shocking development late last night, it was learned that the baby was in foster care when she was mauled to death by the dog. Earlier, Clearwater Police had said the baby was under the care of her grandmother. The baby has been identified as Khloe Ann Williams. Eckerd Connects, the foster agency in Pinellas County, confirmed the baby was in a foster home. The child's mother, Shavon Grossman, told Fox 13 that two case workers informed her of her baby's death.
Grossman was in the process of rehabilitating herself and had plans to reunite with her child on Monday. She was never made aware the foster parent owned a dog. "She was just so smiley, and so happy. Why didn't they stop the dog from getting near my baby and killing my child?" Grossman asked. "She's not even big enough to walk or crawl or anything, to even be able to mess with a dog. I don't understand how she was even around a dog that could do this," Grossman said.
The Tampa Bay Times reports the fatal dog mauling occurred at the home of her foster father's parents on Fairwood Avenue. Baby Khloe had been placed in a foster home (location unknown) licensed by A Door of Hope on May 15, according to Eckerd Connects, which contracts with Pinellas and Pasco counties to provide foster care services. "Everyone at Eckerd Connects is heartbroken," Chris Card, Eckerd’s chief of community-based care said Saturday in a statement.
The dog remains in quarantine at Pinellas County Animal Services. Doug Brightwell, the Pinellas County director of animal services, said they had not yet contacted Williams' foster family about the dog. "This is the first fatality we’ve had in this county from an animal attack in quite a number of years," Brightwell said. DogsBite has no records of a fatal dog attack in Pinellas County since 2005, nor any record of a fatal pit bull or fatal rottweiler attack dating back decades earlier.2
Police Officer was Foster Parent
Saturday afternoon, Fox 13 posted another shocking development. The foster parent caring for baby Khloe, who was mauled to death Friday, was Clearwater Police Department Detective Jonathan Maser. Predictably, "multiple agencies involved with the case have provided conflicting reports about who is conducting the investigation into the baby's death while in foster care," reports Fox 13. This is a disaster -- the foster parent is employed by the investigating agency.
Recall that Clearwater Police initially stated baby Khloe was under the care of her grandmother at the time of the fatal attack. Police later confirmed she was under the care of foster parents. Still later, we learned the attack occurred at the home of her foster father's parents on Fairwood Avenue. It's unclear if the baby lived at the Fairwood Avenue home or was just visiting. It is also unclear who owns the attacking pit bull-mix: the fostering adult(s) or the foster father's parents.
The attorneys representing Shavon Grossman sent a statement to ABC Action News Saturday:
"Khloe Ann Williams was a beautiful 7-month-old baby, who was viciously mauled by a dog, while under the apparent care of the State’s foster care system. There were multiple agencies that were tasked with the care of the child, including the Florida Department of Children and Families, Eckerd Connects, Directions of Living, and A Door of Hope. We are actively looking for answers to all the questions the family is left with at this time. To be clear, while there have been conflicting reports, neither the biological mother nor anyone in her family were caring for the child at the time of the child’s death. The parents and family of this child were failed by the child welfare system. Khloe’s tragic death could have and should have been avoided, and was the direct result of inexcusable neglect." - Law Office of Jocic & Koulianos, P.A.
10/05/18: Pit Bull-Mix Kills Baby Girl
Clearwater, FL - A baby girl is dead after being attacked by a family dog. Fire and Rescue medics responded to call at 2:12 pm Friday at 1125 Fairwood Avenue. The 7-month old baby girl was transported to Mease Countryside Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Few other details have been released. Clearwater police continue to investigate along with the Department of Children and Families. Pinellas County Animal Services took the attacking dog into custody.
FOX 13's Jordan Bowen confirmed Friday night the baby was under the care of her grandmother when the "mixed-breed" attacked. Neighbor Joshua Scott said he saw a gurney being taken out of the home, but he thought it was empty, reports the Tampa Bay Times. "We didn’t know at the time there was actually a child on the gurney," Scott said. "I’ve come to find out it was a terrible scene." Shemica Keese, another neighbor, was devastated, "That’s so sad. That’s horrific," Keese said.
WFLA reports more details and clarifies the dog breed. The attack occurred while the baby was visiting her grandmother's home. The family pet, a female, spayed pit bull-mix named "Lynnie" fatally attacked the baby. WFLA interviews neighbors Scott and Keese. Scott said that when Pinellas County Animal Services took the dog into custody, "the situation was real tense" and the dog "was not happy." Keese said she had never a seen a dog at the grandmother's home before.
It is unknown at this time if the spayed pit bull-mix had come from a shelter facility or rescue.
2We reviewed Brightwell's statement on October 16 and discovered that the mauling death of infant Jasmine Dillashaw in June 2000 in St. Petersburg, may have involved a pit bull-mix. Jasmine was only 18 days old when one of two family dogs -- a pit bull-mix or a German shepherd-husky mix -- fatally bit the infant on the head. It could not be determine which of the dogs attacked.
07/19/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Child with Life-Threatening Injuries from Dog Attack Dies...
06/07/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Infant Killed by Pit Bull While Under Care of Grandmother...
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.