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46 thoughts on “2019 Dog Bite Fatality: 3-Year Old Boy Killed by Two Family Rottweilers in Louisville, Kentucky

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  1. It’s not just pitbulls. It’s dogs. A dog is not just an animal. A dog is an unpredictably deadly animal. Dog owners fail to maintain constant, continuous control and supervision of their deadly animals. Dog owners allow their infants, toddlers and very young children to play with unpredictable deadly animals. There are warning labels on five-gallon buckets. There are warning labels on plastic wrap. I have never been attacked by a five gallon bucket or plastic wrap. I have never been ambush charge attacked by tobacco or alcohol. I have never been ambush charge attacked by heroin or methamphetamine. Just dogs. Dogs that were always friendly to owners. But not to pedestrians. I agree with a recent post/poster: “The streets are not safe.”

    Homes with dogs are not safe. People are successful in keeping the hostile surface of the earth away from self and family, then they force dangerous animals upon their infants, selves, visitors and passerby.

    Three reported killings in a few days. 35,000 reconstructive surgeries per year. Many maulings per state per day. Many, many, many leg/hand/ankle injuries per state per day. Sudden, unpredictable, bolt out of the blue. The most agonizing, painful death. The most painful, agonizing, disabling, disfiguring injuries. Extreme emotional anguish. From an unpredictable dangerous pet animal. Humans are the only species that forces another dangerous species upon itself.

    • Dear Richard, thank you for commenting. I have been trying to get a handle on the public safety side of this dangerous dog issue. I think the number of reconstructive surgeries you quote is compelling. Can you point me to a source for this number. Much appreciated.

      • Dear Diane, You’re welcome. Your best bet is to email Colleen and ask; I searched and did not find. I am still not done exploring this extensive website. I would like to have handy the following statistics: Annual USA total dog bites, total attack bites, total emergency room visits, total surgeries, total major surgeries, total trauma surgeries, and total reconstructive surgeries.

        @ Sara: I know that there are very many preventable serious injuries per day/year in the USA. They are all preventable via three ways at least, mprobably more:

        1. Breed Specific Legislation.

        2. Dangerous animal owner responsibility, and

        for me, twice in 8,000 pedestrian miles: 3. Always ready, willing and able to defend myself to the fullest extent allowable by law, when very few tenths of a second count, with very few tenths of a second notice, anywhere, any time.

    • This is not a realistic view of the known risks of dogs as a species. The reason the percentage of human deaths connected to specific breeds is so striking is that there are so few deaths – or even serious injuries – linked to dogs overall.

        • Nelly Boudreau: “… … It is specific types of dogs.”

          Francois : Do you know what kind of a bomb it was?
          Inspector Clouseau : The exploding kind.

          Police: Do you know what type of dog it was?
          Richard Buffalin: The ambush charge attacking type.

          • There are dozens of different dog breeds that have *never* killed a human in the US (and possibly never anywhere else either, but I don’t know records for other countries.) “Dogs” in general are not the problem, specific dangerous breeds are the problem.

  2. Meatball falling off the table = Dinner Bell … to pretty much any dog.

    Toddler falling out the window = Dinner Bell … to creatures that should not be inhabiting any space or enclosure near said toddler.

    BTW — if the 3-yo falling out a window detail is accurate, does this in and of itself constitute negligence on the parents’ part? What does the law say on small children & unsecured windows?

    • Good question! In a California case it was felony endangerment. It may be more about negligence (not watching the child) than any other law. For instance, if the parent had been up late partying then slept until 11 or noon … Meanwhile, the child arose at a normal time (8:00 am), wandered outside and met an untimely death. All parents make mistakes so the negligence is typically severe in the criminal cases. In this case, it’s just horrible the boy was in close proximity to two rottweilers (often purchased in pairs for breeding purposes) that were likely used for guarding purposes.

    • The parents will likely go free. I believe the law is under the assumption that parents don’t wish for something terrible to happen to their offspring, and so it must have been an accident. This is a lot like all of those ridiculous hot car deaths you see on the news. I can’t fathom forgetting one or more of my children, but apparently people do it, and it’s usually forgiven under the assumption that the parent “didn’t mean” for it to happen. In this situation, they’ll claim there was no way they could have predicted the dogs’ behavior.

      To the contrary, I believe there’s a difference between mistakes and purposeful negligence. My husband and I make a conscious decision not to act a certain way or participate in certain activities for the sake of our children. So I just can’t comprehend how this could have happened if the child was being properly supervised. Kids can be sneaky. I definitely get that, because I have kids and I’ve come downstairs to find my bathroom drawer open, scissors on the countertop, and little blonde curls all over the floor. But in a house that small, how could you not know what the child was doing?

      • Eh, even in a small house you can’t watch them every second. Our house when our babies were born was a little 2/1 bungalow, about 700 sq. ft., and I still once came out of the bathroom to find our toddler eating the Tums I kept next to the bed (for the terrible heartburn I was having with pregnancy #2). Toddler rarely ever went in our room, and we’d basically babyproofed the whole house (so we thought), so I never thought I needed to have eyes on her every second.

        FYI, there is basically no “lethal/dangerous dose” of Tums, according to Poison Control. The worst that will happen is the little one may get a bit constipated.

        She also once touched laundry detergent–it was on clothes in the basket, as I prepared to do laundry–and licked her finger, right in front of me, before I could reach her to stop her. (Poison Control informed me that time that a little taste like that was not likely to hurt her, but keep an eye on her. She was fine.)

        Worst of all, I once walked from the kitchen where I was prepping her lunch (and glancing at her regularly to check on her) to the living room–in an open plan house–to discover she’d found a dime and put it in her mouth. I had to do Baby Heimlich to get it out. It was terrifying. I still have no idea where the dime came from; I can only assume it has fallen between the couch cushions or something and when I’d vacuumed it was pulled up enough for her to see it and grab it.

        So even in a very small house, even right in front of you, some things can happen. Falling out a window and then being outside long enough for the dogs to attack isn’t what I’d consider one of them–I cannot fathom leaving an open window right by my toddler like that, whether it led to a yard with dangerous dogs in it or not–but small house doesn’t automatically equal being able to watch them every moment.

        Not to mention that we’ve heard stories of attacks, fatal and otherwise, that took place right in front of a number of adults, while the kid is just sitting there next to his or her mom or dad minding his or her own business.

        I don’t mean to argue with you or anything, I’m not telling you you’re wrong and I’m not saying these parents are blameless. I’m just saying that even in a small house things can happen. 🙂

        (Heh, I find it really amusing that the one thing neither of my girls DID get into were scissors for hair-cutting, which is something it seems like almost every kid does at some point–I know I did.)

        Hot car deaths are another story, IMO; I don’t get that one at all.

  3. What a shame. What many people don’t realize is that some breeds of dog have “zero margin of error.” We all see the obviously negligent who lay their children on dogs. But there is another type of owner who is not so blatantly foolish but who THINKS they are being cautious. Owners may think that they are taking proper precautions with their dangerous dogs, but then something fails… the gate latch doesn’t click shut, the dog breaks a tether, the child sneaks into the pen, the caregiver forgets to lock the dog up, the child falls out a window into the yard. And with that one mistake, it’s too late. There is no margin of error.

    If this child had fallen into a yard with two pugs, or beagles, or westies, or goldens, this child might be scratched or knocked over. He might even have been nipped. But only a handful of breeds exist that would kill that child.

    Parents need to understand that even the best plans can utterly fail. And because of this, certain breeds should be entirely avoided.

    • Sellis, Amen to that. People breed dogs to do jobs. Some dogs are soft-mouthed, bred to be docile, bred to guard or herd, etc.

      Choose the dog for the job. Nobody expects a beagle to pull a sled or a St. Bernard to dig out rats.

      Yet, it’s death headlines when a dog does, what its been bred for a hundred years, to do.

  4. I read in a comment on another source that these two dogs were “rescues” owned by a family member and that the child’s family had agreed to keep them at their home for a while. The source also added that the dogs had been fine with the child in the backyard with adults present. Not sure if this is true or where this information came from, but it would explain how the dogs had only been there for 3 weeks. If it is true, here’s another mark against the rescue mentality. Who “rescues” two large dogs but then has to ask family members to house them? Where were they “rescued” from? And if people really believe that it’s “all in how you raise them” then how could they ever justify bringing adult dogs of a powerful breed known to attack without provocation into a family setting?

    Some dogs don’t need to be saved, and being creatures without an understanding of their impending death, it is not inhumane in any way to simply euthanize such dogs and keep adoptions open for safe, stable breeds and mixes who also need homes.

    But, all that being said, we all know that these could just have easily been dogs raised from puppyhood with this very child and the same thing could have happened. Because it’s not all in how they’re raised. Breed choice matters, and in this case someone made a choice to bring two Rottweilers into a family setting with a young child. That choice of breed is why this little boy is dead today. Two hundred other breeds and countless harmless mixes could have been chosen and this child would still be alive.

  5. My heart goes out to this family. Would love to find out more about these dog’s history, too many unanswered question. I understand the shelter is not releasing photos of these dogs out of sensitivity for the family. I hope the refusal is not to hide any wrongdoing on their part.

  6. Dear Lord. I have a three year boy. I read horrific things like this and I have to go hug him and kiss his sweet little face. I think about the family that’s lost the ability to do that ever again with their child. It brings tears to my eyes. They’ll never get to hug and kiss their baby again. Never hear him giggle or say I love you again. And his final moments were probably filled with unfathomable fear and pain. It’s awful and heartbreaking.
    I never knew much about the stats of Rottweilers and the number of fatalities they are involved in, until I found this site. I have never trusted them since. My sister in law has a large male Rottweiler. I hate that dog. He’s in the top 5 of the most intimidating dogs I’ve ever met – and I’m not generally intimidated by dogs. The two times we’ve gone back to visit his sister, he’s had her put the dog in the back yard and he’s not allowed near our kids. Thankfully she respects that and doesn’t argue. I love my SIL, I just hate her dog.
    So, thank you Dogsbite, for helping protect my family. If it wasn’t for your site, I might not have been as vigilant about keeping the Rottweiler away from my kids.
    I am truly saddened that this family didn’t know what so many of us now know. Certain breeds of dogs are simply not safe to have around kids. Pits and Rottweilers top that list.
    My condolences to those mourning the loss of the innocent little boy who lost his life in such a horrific way.
    It makes me hold my own babies just a little bit longer and closer tonight.

  7. Agreed, Colleen is to be commended for this most valuable site. Colleen, you are saving lives by putting the facts out there. Thank you.

  8. Does anyone know if these two dogs are purebred Rottweilers, or could they be Rottweiler x pit bull crosses? Or are they just poorly bred Rottweilers? When looking at a picture of one of them, I question whether that dog is purebred.

    As far as Rottweilers are concerned, I’ve seen some with great temperament. I’ve seen others with horrible temperament.

    One man told me that when he had his son over for visitation, his Rottweiler circled the bed where his child was and wouldn’t let him off the bed.

    Another woman told me her husband and she could not be in the same room together with their twelve month old son and their Rottweiler, as their Rottweiler would attack the baby.

    Another experienced dog trainer with children at home could not keep his young Rottweiler male from snarling at me in obedience training class, and he had started training this dog while still a young puppy. His prior dog, a GSD, was extraordinarily well-trained.

    Another male Rottweiler had bitten ten dogs in training class over a period of months before being evicted.

    Yet, I have seen some very good tempered Rottweilers. I just wish people would be careful. This child didn’t need to die.

    Last year, a woman chose a female Rottweiler puppy as a playmate for her autistic child. This puppy seemed to have good temperament, but I considered her a poor choice for the disability. I hope she worked out well for the family. Is common sense gone now?

    • I noticed also that the one in the picture doesn’t have the big face of a purebred. But he just could be a bad example of the breed.

      • I read the article on the FCI vs AKC standard. I was especially impressed by the emphasis on a substantial dog. Too many AKC judges reward delicate looking specimens of any breed. Why, I don’t know. I just loathe it. I remember when I was young Rotties were sturdy dogs with delightfully full head and big bodies. Some of the dogs on grieving uncles site look like pitties. I would also like to thank you for this forum. Knowledge is important.

    • That one male definitely looks awfully leggy for a purebred.
      I think Rottweilers have been another victim of irresponsible breeding practices by BYBs and puppy mills. Real, passionate breeders take painstaking steps to ensure their puppies are excellent ambassadors of the breed. And they won’t put their dogs in the hands of an incapable owner.
      There was a gentleman near me who used to breed beautiful, award winning Rotts. He eventually got out of the business because people were unwilling to pay his prices when some other shmuck who bred their dog is only charging $300 for a “purebred” Rottweiler.
      It’s sad. Boxers are cancer stricken, GSDs have terrible hips and skin issues, even Golden Retrievers I’ve met have aggression issues. Greed has really corrupted the bloodlines of so many great breeds. If someone is looking for a family pet, paying the price for a properly bred dog is worth every penny, IMHO. At least if their are young children involved. I just don’t trust rescues anymore.

      • Dogs, before kennel clubs, were bred to purpose not for looks.

        Breeding for ring looks to make big money is what’s corrupted dog breeding practises. If you wanted a sheepdog you went down the lane, or the next county over, to the guy who used sheepdogs–and got a puppy. They didn’t have to *look* the same…they had to be able to *do the same job*. Fluffy sheepdogs and Bouviers? How are they supposed to herd? Siberian huskies that look pretty but aren’t food efficient and riddled with ulcers? Good luck with that in sub zero temperatures.

        The original breeders of these sickly mutants were the same ones who were into Eugenics.

        Something to think about.

      • If you look on the OFA website for hip status of German Shepherd Dogs compared to other breeds, you will find that the GSD is close to 40th on the list. Many people erroneously believe GSDs, as a breed, have awful hips. The two breeds with the worst hips are the English bulldog and the pug. Are you surprised? These two breeds have so much problem breathing that they cannot run anyway. So no one cares about their hips.

        As far as skin problems are concerned, the GSD has less skin problems than many breeds. It’s certainly far better than the English bulldog. Most dogs of all breeds are allergic to fleas.

        • Working line GSDs aren’t that hip-slopey. And yes, I think they have fabu temperaments when well bred. Problem is, like every other line, when bred for ring looks rather than working ability. And like every other breed, idiot owners. I’m quite fond of a them, actually.

          IMO dogs that can’t be breathe or are constantly genetically defective need to either be bred out or eliminated for the sake of the suffering dogs. I fail to understand why anyone breeds a dog that lives its entire life in the state of having an eternal asthma attack, crooked spine or eyes that pop out of its skull.

          Wasn’t aware GSDs had any major skin problems. I’ve never seen it. I have however, seen plenty of pitbulls with food allergies, skin lesions, etc.

          • I semi-regularly visit forums for pit bull owners to read their discussions; like keeping an eye on things, or whatever.

            It often seems like every single member of those forums has a pit bull, or multiple pit bulls, with terrible skin problems and allergies. They’re constantly talking about rashes, infections, food elimination programs, ointments and unguents, scratching and hot spots and scabs, and all the work they (the owners) have to do to try to fix said problems.

            And GSDs are fantastic, and I agree 100% re bred-for-looks–especially with the GSD. What show judges and breeders have done to the breed is criminal, IMO. The people who decided to breed for slanted backs, and kept pushing it and pushing it until the current crop of show dogs are horrible roachbacks who can barely walk…watching video of them, their beautiful GSD gait ruined by the fact that their feet have to splay out to the side as they walk because there’s no room under their abdomens…Then I look at my own fabulous GSD, bred to be a pet, and his gorgeous straight back as he pads like a lion across the back yard or leaps high into the air to catch a ball, and my heart just breaks for those poor sad show dogs and I want to shoot all those breeders and judges. (Of course I would not literally shoot anyone, I hasten to add.)

            My GSD is also not only incredibly smart, but incredibly sweet, loving, and loyal. He’s hilarious, he’s incredibly handsome–total strangers pull over their cars when I’m walking him to tell me how gorgeous he is–he’s affectionate, he’s protective, he’s intimidating enough that I, a 5’1 110lb. woman feel safe walking him after dark… All those things that pit bull owners seem to think are unique to their shit breed, but with the added bonus that he is *not* likely to suddenly decide one afternoon that I would make a good snack.

  9. Rottweilers aren’t a good choice with small children. Two rottweilers is doubly a poor choice. The one exception I might make with that is if they’re housed with a dog trainer or serious dog handler who is careful.

    Rotties also tend to have one-person loyalty, with others as secondary handlers that may not be able to count on the dogs’ controllability. That’s a major reason why they aren’t specifically, good family dogs. They tend to be particularly poor with younger children as small children are considered either puppies by them…or just nuisances.

    I may be the odd one out here, but to me, unless there’s more information about the background of these dogs, this was truly a tragic accident. The boy fell out the window (now that IS a problem) into the kennel area, below. That makes the child (a) a toy (b) prey (c) an unwelcome territorial intruder or (d) all of the previous.

    Children don’t have the capacity to control Rotts. In fact, too many adults with them can’t, either. They’re great for protection work but they are *working* dogs and if not handled as such–can be dangerous.

    Sadly, this family just learned that lesson, the hard way.

  10. Any large breed of dog that is considered a “guard” dog is nearly always a bad choice as a pet for a family with children. This also includes medium to large dogs that are known, as a breed, to be unpredictable and prone to attack other animals and/or children….the pit bull. Yet, people continue to assume the dog will somehow know the difference between a child, another pet, and prey. They don’t.

  11. Why, oh why, does the animal services agency not want to release a photo of the dogs? If there were human murder suspects in this case, the local police department would be sure that their mugshots would be broadcast far and wide.

    Why the doggie double standard?

    • I left a comment on the news story urging people to contact the local authorities and demand that they release a photo. These people are public servants; it’s time they start serving the public instead of serving breed advocates and their own pockets.

  12. So many people now persist in misunderstanding these big guard breeds as anything other than the very, very serious handling challenge that they are. And all the people who pretend they’re just ‘big babies’ are providing cover for the ones who revel in the dogs’ violent behaviors. It’s one hell of a partnership – people too tender-hearted to judge doggies are blocking realistic criticism of people who are gleefully breeding dogs that kill.

    It’s devastating to see what’s become of the animal rescue community. A denial technique they developed to sell shelter dogs is now being used to justify terrible, terrible dog ownership including careless breeding and the resulting attacks/mauling of dogs, cats, livestock and people, and not a peep out of the rescue community. They all shriek angrily over puppy mills – rabbit hutches filled with Chorkies – but not one word about the tsunami of backyard breeding of guard/fighting breeds they’ve accidentally unleashed.

    • Thanks Sara, for saying it better than I could.

      You’re absolutely on the money there, for saying “Serious handling challenge by the tender-hearted”.

      Exactly. People who work with, or breed protection-style breeds are well aware of their capacity to do harm. The other side of this is that protection dogs are *working dogs* and if they have no work–they are intelligent, so they’ll invent some. And it likely won’t be what a soft-hearted individual has in mind.

      And yes, I do think some people who are generally nervous, pick these dangerous dogs to do their fighting for them. That’s a combustible combination.

      Serious dogs require serious dog people to handle them. I used to–now I’m well aware I’m too old and slow to work with them.

    • This is excellently put.

      And to me, one of the tragic ironies of the Cult of Rescue is that thanks to the incessant commands/pressure to spay & neuter, spay & neuter (followed by everyone except pit owners), purebred dogs have become expensive rarities, and the only dogs available for people without thousands to spend are pit bulls–whether they buy one from a neighbor’s cousin for $250 or go to the shelter and walk out with either an identified pit bull or one of those “lab- or boxer-mixes.”

      I mean, I think puppy mills are bad, too, and I don’t want to see good dogs put to sleep for lack of homes. But IMO a big reason why we are seeing so many pits/pit mixes in homes these days is because people literally don’t have any choice. We got very lucky and only paid $600 for our GSD; we’d refinanced our home to do some extensive renovations, so we had the money and gladly paid it. But not everyone can afford $600 for a dog–and GSDs are usually a LOT more expensive, as are other purebreds. When we were puppy-hunting, most puppies we saw, across a range of breeds, hovered in the $1000-$2000 range. Even a mixed-breed puppy can run you between $300 – $500, as long as “pit bull” isn’t one of the breeds in the mix–because the owners of those dogs know people are desperate for non-pits.

      But the rescue lobby and the pit bull lobby are basically bedmates at this point, and they know that if they can convince good people that it’s a moral imperative to s/n their own dogs and not buy new dogs from breeders, they can eventually “choke out” the supply of non-pits so that people don’t have a choice. They convince people that there is a huge glut of dogs nobody wants, and therefore breeders are immoral, when in fact there’s only a glut of pit bulls and there are plenty of homes that would willingly take a nice, predictable purebred.

      Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I think this is an active conspiracy or something, and I do think that spay/neuter is a good thing. I’d rather there be too few dogs than too many. It’s just something that frustrates me and bothers me a little, and your comment was so well-put it brought my thoughts to mind and I thought I’d share them.

      • Having been out of the dog scene for many many years until last year, when I decided to adopt a dog, I was unpleasantly surprised at the glut of pits, pit mixes and related fighting breeds listed in my locality on Petfinder. As in about 35% of the listings.

        A whole lot of Chihuahuas, too. Another breed I was avoiding, for totally different reasons.

        I was looking for a shepherd-collie-spitz type dog, though not a purebred GSD as they are too much dog for me. And not a purebred Border Collie either as I was not prepared to train & entertain a dog as intense as that.

        I had to hang in there for about 5 to 6 weeks, checking the listings daily, and moving fast when I saw a dog that looked promising. No fewer than five dogs got adopted as soon as I inquired. Number six turned out to be the dog I ended up taking home with me. He’s a great dog, a 47-lb GSD-BC mix & was totally worth the search. The adoption cost $180. (But then I had to spring for heartworm treatment, not cheap. Long story but the dog is now fine.)

        I don’t think people who don’t want pits have no other choices. I do think their choices are limited due to the glut of pits. And unless they are *adamantly* anti-pit like I was, and very very vigilant about breed mislabeling and avoiding anything with a hint of blockface, then they could very well end up with a dog they wouldn’t have chosen given more options and better knowledge.

        Some friends of mine adopted what they were *told* was a “hound mix.” First visit to vet: “Oh, you have a pitty puppy!” Really? Their dog is now full-grown and 90 lbs. Blockface with hound ears. I am politely declining play dates with my dog … nope, not taking any chances.

        You’re right, purebreds are out of a lot of people’s budgets. Most people can’t/won’t spend $1000 or more just to add a dog to their household. You can get a dog at a rescue for $200-300 but it’s a crap shoot as to what you will get.

        I hate seeing space in rescues and shelters given over to so many pits, the supply of which greatly exceeds the demand. The rescue & humane orgs are trying to rectify this problem on the demand side, when it needs to be addressed on the supply side.

        Dogs from fighting bloodlines are not pets. It’s insane, cruel and wrong to try to propagandize them into that role.

  13. I used to work a vet hospital during the height of the rottie popularity craze. Most of the owners could not control their dogs or have then properly trained. They are for serious, thoughtful owners only. I was glad that the craze died down but now PB’s have replaced them.

  14. Ran a marathon the other day. Saw a lot of spectators with land sharks and it made me nervous going past them. I notice, in my city at least, it’s young women/mothers who weigh less than the dog, who own these beasts and who have little control over them. They are “family” dogs in this town. Saw an ad for the humane’s society on a bus the other day… guess what featured in the picture? I’m truly sick of it.

  15. I was at the little dog park today in our apartment complex. There was a lady there with a rottie pup, pure bred of course. The pup is 4 months old and weighs 45 lbs, and of course this is a point of pride with her.

    She had two daugthers there, 10 years old. It just kills me that she would bring that into her apartment with those girls. This dog is supposed to be over 100 lbs and was already growling at my dogs and barking aggressively. I have met some rotties that seem ok but I don’t trust them anymore than a pit.

    I just walked my dogs again and she was at the park, and we didn’t stop. She was training it. Yelling at it. I just don’t see the why. Why risk it?

  16. My wife was attacked at her sons home on nanz ave in st Mathews ky. Her daughter in law who let the pit bull out the front door on her. The pit bit her nose needed 5 stitches to close also knocked her down on the sidewalk causing a concussion and to be knocked out. So how the daughter-in-law said this was my wife’s fault. PS they have a 3 and 5 year old children in the house.

    • Anywhere we go or are is not safe, if there are uncontrolled dangerous animals. Anywhere we go or are, we never know when uncontrolled dangerous animals are going to instantly occur.
      How did she say it was the victims’ fault?

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