Lisa Urso, 52-years old, seen with her two Shorty bullies, Blue Bear (left) and Rocco.
Canine Mauling Death
UPDATE 05/12/20: The Lake County coroner confirmed Tuesday that a 52-year old woman "definitely died" due to injuries inflicted by one or more of her dogs. Lisa Urso was discovered mauled and mutilated outside her home in the 600 block of Knollwood Road. Dr. Howard Cooper, the Lake County Coroner, said it was difficult to determine which of her three dogs attacked her given the number of bites Urso sustained. Urso owned two Shorty bullies and another dog.
"It wasn’t the neck, most (bites) were on her legs and arms. Some on her torso as well. Just a lot of bites. A lot of scratching." - Dr. Howard Cooper
A Shorty bull is a short, squat, gargoyle variation of the American bully and is only recognized by the American Bully Kennel Club. One of Urso's Shorty bullies, named Blue Bear, attacked her boyfriend on April 13 and April 21. At least one of those bites was severe. The last bite resulted in Lake County Animal Care and Control placing the male Shorty bull into quarantine. Afterward, the dog was returned to Urso at her request. On May 9, Blue Bear likely initiated the fatal attack.
A Shorty bull is not a French bulldog. Many newspaper headlines are declaring that a "French bulldog" killed this able-bodied 52-year old female. These headlines are invalid. A Shorty bull is variation of the American bully, which "developed as a natural extension of the American pit bull terrier," according to the United Kennel Club. The Shorty bull "designer bull breed" was created by mixing 5 different types of bull breeds, including the French bulldog and American pit bull terrier.
The ridiculousness of a French bulldog perpetrating this attack could result in a Snopes article. Learn more about the Shorty bull standard, which the creator even calls a "working bulldog."
Late Wednesday afternoon, The Daily Herald published new details after speaking with Lake County Animal Care and Control (LCACC). "Blue," though Urso referred to her Shorty bull as "Blue Bear," was the main aggressor and had attacked Urso's boyfriend twice in April, causing serious injuries. The white Shorty bull had blood on its coat, but its level of participation in the attack is unknown. Urso's third dog, an elderly border collie-mix, was not involved in the deadly attack.
LCACC spokeswoman Hannah Goering also shut down the unfounded claims that Blue Bear had "been trained to fight" or endured any mistreatment. "Typically dogs which have been trained to fight, whether as the aggressor or the victim, have visible scars or chewed-up ears," Goering said. "This was a very healthy-looking dog; there were no signs of scarring. There is no reason to believe that." Blue Bear, now responsible for multiple attacks, will hopefully be euthanized.
A fatal dog mauling is not a "unique isolated incident," as Goering falsely claimed. These deaths occur about every 11 days in the United States.
Sadly, the breed of dog has not yet been corrected, but that soon may change. A Chicago-based French bulldog rescue group is trying to get the word out. To add to this confusion, Urso's older Facebook page shows that she did previously own a French bulldog. At some point in late 2018, Urso changed course and acquired two Shorty bulls, a brindle male, named Blue Bear, and a white male, named Rocco. The male border collie-mix, named Spike, was about 15-years old.
05/11/20: Woman Found Mauled and Dead
Lake County, IL - A 52-year old woman was discovered dead on her back patio after what police believe was a vicious attack by at least one of her three dogs. She was discovered Saturday at her home in the 600 block of Knollwood Road, according to Fox Lake Police Chief Jimmy Lee. Co-workers of Urso went to her home after Urso failed to meet them on Saturday as planned. When officers arrived at the residence, they encountered a "gruesome" scene, Chief Lee said.
Police believe Urso died on her back patio after she escaped from her home, fleeing the vicious attack. There were also signs of a struggle, police said. One of Urso's dog had a history of two recent separate biting incidents. It tore into Urso's boyfriend on April 13 and again on April 21. The latter bite resulted in Lake County Animal Care and Control housing the dog for quarantine. Urso requested the dog back from the agency afterward, which proved to be a "fatal mistake," Lee said.
An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday to determine cause of death. Until this determination is made, we cannot rule out a post-mortem mauling.
In 2016, in this very same county, there was a suspected fatal dog attack. Police initially believed family dogs killed their 71-year old owner. "The bites were very extensive, there were multiple bites all over the 71-year-old's body from her head to her toes," detective Christopher Covelli said. Also in 2016, two family English bulldogs were suspected in killing their 61-year old owner. The coroner described that scene as "horrific." Both cases turned out to be post-mortem maulings.
A friend of Urso posted to Facebook after learning about her death. The post contains three photographs, each showing Urso with a different dog. The lower right image appears to show the third dog, though its breed is unclear to us. What is clear is that her Frenchies are oversized. In a December 2018 post, Urso called them Shorty bullies, which is a miniature American bully variation. For "stylization" reasons, Shorties often have cropped ears, not Frenchie bat ears.1
"Shorty bulls were created by mixing 5 different types of bull dog breed, some of which were the French Bulldogs and the American Pit Bull Terrier. Shorty Bulls can be American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC) registered and are found at the majority of the American Bully Shows." - Vitamins for Pit Bulls
"The American Bully breed developed as a natural extension of the American Pit Bull Terrier. The APBT has maintained a characteristic appearance and temperament for over 100 years. As with any long-standing breed, several types evolved from the parent breed, with one in particular taking on a specific build and structure that is so unique it was wise to recognize it as a different breed altogether." - United Kennel Club
Returning the Biter
In February, we wrote about Maria Crawford. She was brutally killed by her pit bull-mix last June after it previously attacked her facial region twice. We argued that Ventura County Animal Services, who returned the dog to the family a third time after the dog's escalating owner-directed aggression targeting the owner's face and head region, was a bad policy. We also argued that shelters are now in the position of having to protect family members from their own vicious dogs.
In the case of Urso, we do not know the severity or location of the injuries the dog inflicted on her unlucky boyfriend in April. We do know that both Shorty bullies were puppies in December 2018, thus both have reached sexual maturity (1.5 to 2-years old), the age when aggression often first manifests in pit bulls. The pattern is clear: April 13 bite, April 21 bite and May 9 fatality. As Chief Lee bluntly stated, "The lady wanted her dog back and it attacked her viciously and killed her."
02/10/20: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Family Pit Bull-Mix Kills Owner After Attacking Her Two Times
05/17/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies After Fatal Pack Attack Near Ardmore, Oklahoma
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.
Friends of hers on fb mention that she had turned her life around and was newly happy. That’s what makes this even more tragic. But if you have biting dogs, you might be bitten too.
I have never heard of shorty bullies before. I’m deeply saddened that sick people are working to breed monsters out of cute little Frenchies. It will never stop will it?
I don’t think that people select dangerous canines as pets to be killed by them. I think that people select dangerous canines as pets because it is exciting to think that other people can be killed by them. No surprise: They really can kill people. Big surprise: It is the last person that they wanted to be killed by them.
This lady was just plain dumb. She clearly didn’t like her boyfriend too much since he was the target of the attacks twice and she twice had the dog returned. She must have been very surprised when her pet(s) went after her! My money is on the brindle one.
I’m sure she justified it both times, as many dog obsessed people do. “He provoked him by playing too rough” or “he was eating in front of him” or whatever other excuses they need to use in order to sleep at night.
Sometimes this is how stupid gets fixed.
The photo of her with the three dogs indicated one that resembled a typical pit bull not a shorty. Why people are attracted to these dogs and cannot see the potential danger continues to be baffling to me. I think the deeply ingrained propaganda from the Humane Society and from breed enthusiasts who do know the danger and know it well but perpetuate misinformation to keep them from being banned is a large factor.the propaganda of the pit bull advocate is constant, it’s everywhere, it employs images that are attractive and its support by organizations that sound trustworthy. The propaganda is so strong and has such great slogans that are short and easily remembered. I’ve been ready a lot lately about fighting propaganda. It’s a difficult endeavor. Facts don’t mean much and are hard to remember sometimes. I think the slogans like “I ❤️My Pit Bull,” “Pit Bulls, the most Misunderstood Dog,” Pit Bulls Its All How You Raise Them,” “Pit Bulls are the Nanny Dog “ and “The Pit Bull America’s Dog.” Are deeply ingrained.
It’s hard to fight propaganda with facts. Another child killed Falls into the 1 in a billion bucket. We need help with messaging. “All dogs bite , some dogs dont let go,” is a great message. We need more short memorable hashtags to circulate. Any thoughts?
It’s out-of-control dog worship. Nothing more, nothing less. And the pet industry and the humane industrial complex make a lot of money off it.
With a good dose of arrogance and ego thrown in.
“I can handle this viscious dog. He would never hurt ME.”
Amen. That’s exactly what is !
Or look at ME! I am a doggie RESCUER! Aren’t I special?
And somehow, every rescue dog has a sob story. The shelters fabricate false scenarios about how the darling dog has been abused. They’re all somehow abused! The truth is, that most of these rescues have abused their owners and they get dumped until the next chump comes along.
yeah- a special kind of idiot!
thats what they r
im near waco texas and this whole area is brainwashed by this stupid ‘rescue’ group called Fuzzy Friends-they dont resue regular dogs and heaven forbid they do anything for cats-pfff i think they consider cats pitbull treats to be honest-these days ppl get a holier than now attitude because they donate to a ‘rescue’ group-my parents thought they were doing a good deed by making monetary donations to this particular rescue group-and alot of other ppl donate to this same organization out of ignorance
Despite the anti-breeding slogans promoted by most animal welfare groups, pit bulls continue to be the most wantonly and irresponsibly bred dogs. Nobody is creating gargoyle versions of beagles. There isn’t a thriving market for labs in freakish sizes and unusual coat patterns.
This is because the pit community that the “humane” groups love so couldn’t actually care less about the welfare of the dogs they churn out.
Great comment. “Nobody is creating gargoyle versions of beagles.” There really is a huge amount of cognitive dissonance when it comes to this breed. Point out any facts about it and be prepared to get called a dog racist.
I didn’t even know the American Bully Kennel Club was a thing. Just typing that is so gross. As if those mutants desrve a club. I guess sane dog clubs don’t want to aknowldge pits, so they made their own? Either way, this is such a tragic story, because the signs were all there. The dog attacked the boyfriend multiple times yet owner still asked for it back. Only to have it then turn on her with fatal results. If she’d only had the dog put down after the first attack, this never would have happened. But maybe she thought smaller pits wouldn’t be able to end a life? We’ll never know. I pray for her family.
This was no small Frenchie! This was a rescue pet. No one knew the actual breed. The Humane Society guaranteed the dog was safe!
Sometimes once you get an animal it’s like getting a child you return the adopted child if it’s bad? I think that’s the way Lisa felt!
The boyfriend left the house when he found out she wanted the dogs back! He begged her not to get the dog back. She thought of the dog as her child.
I am just shaking my head here in disgust that this will only be remembered as the time a “French bulldog” killed a person. Just like I people always quote the “dachshund” fatality as their supposed proof that all dogs can kill. That was falsified reporting and so is this. I submitted a correction to one news outlet but have heard nothing back.
The thought of actually reclaiming a dog that had bitten your boyfriend not once but TWICE seems like something bordering on mental illness. A savior complex? “I can love him enough that he’ll change.” Denial of reality? “I love him so much that he’d never hurt ME.” A blatant misplacement of loyalty? “I love my dog so much that his life is more important than a human’s life.” Whatever it is, when will animal control become culpable for returning an animal that has bitten multiple times? If this dog had killed anyone besides the owner (that boyfriend, for instance), would the owner even be charged KNOWING the dog is dangerous?
These so-called designer bullies are getting completely out of hand. And the people that clamor for them are going to one day realize that they’ve gotten a dangerous dog, just in different packaging.
Yep, my local paper is reporting it as a French bulldog mauling death. They took away the comment section so no one can correct them.
Many online newspapers are turning off their comment sections in favor of allowing comments only on their Facebook pages. Check their FB page for the same article; you should be able to comment there. Or use the FB messaging option to contact them and point them to the evidence that the dog was not a French Bulldog.
I remember a few years ago when a woman got killed by some pit mixes. The local pit obsessed humane society said they were dachshunds. Newspapers were running headlines about a pack of killer wiener dogs. You will still see pitiots quote those articles as part of their “Any dog can savagely maul you to death” PR effort.
I guess they are banking on dog worship being so much a part of society that it will never change. If they are successful at spreading their message that any dog regardless of breed or temperament is a cough, sneeze or bad look away from savagely mauling someone I would like to think we would stop letting them on planes, in schools and libraries.
The dog that was the original “biter” of the boyfriend does, indeed, have ears that look like a French bull dog, but from the actions of the dog, he appears mostly pit bull. These two dogs were mixes of pit bulls and that is where the aggressiveness came into play. I had never heard of the “Shorty bully” before…but I have heard of people breeding extra large, extra fierce pit bulls…Xtreme pit bulls. Even the designer smaller ones can be killers……
Off-topic but I just wanted to leave a comment that i took my medium sized mixed breed to the veterinarian yesterday and there was a man with a pit bull that he could NOT control!
It struck me how there were so many people in that office sitting kindly, all with our small dogs and cats, a few responsible owners waiting outside with large breeds like German Shepherds and Retrievers. You add ONE guy with the pit bull into the mix and the whole place goes nutters! It was lunging, barking at everyone, at one point a vet tech even told him, “Control your dog!”
The highlight was when a woman waiting outside told him his OTHER pit bull (left in his truck) was lunging at every passerby and she says, “The glass on your truck is about to break!”
I overheard him talking to someone that people are “rude” and “it’s not the dog, it’s the owner.”
Yes exactly!!! It’s irresponsible owners like you who fail to notice that your dog is DANGEROUS!
I ended up having to return to the vet again this morning to pick up medicine. Same scene with all nice pets–until–GUESS WHO SHOWS UP!
A frail 60+ year old woman struggling to control a 60+ pound meathead! She ended up tying it to a fence and it LUNGED, snarling and barking at me and my dog. This is my issue: if your toy poodle snaps at me, yes that’s a problem, but if a dog with a jaw the size of a soccer ball BITES?!
I understand that another large breed like a Shepherd or Mastiff can also be dangerous but people who own those dogs at least seem aware of it and take precautions. What is with Pit Bull owners that they are so oblivious to reality?
Please carry Pepper Spray with you. It has saved my dog once from a pitbull attack. I got pepper sprayed a bit and so did my dog, but the bulk of it hit the pit bull, who quickly retreated. I use POM, as recommended by John Correira of the Active Self Protection youtube channel.
Three weeks ago, it took an entire 51 gram can of Ruger Sabre pepper gel to stop a barking/growling dog that charged at me from about three seconds/100 feet away from me on West Delano Avenue. It absorbed the entire can its final 17 feet from me, until it suddenly stopped three feet away from me and reversed course. The dogs’ owner posted on Nextdoor that it got a ton of it on its face. If it would have stopped any sooner, it would have gotten that much less on its face. Of course, the owner posted that the dog would never charge attack anyone. I was extremely frightened of immediate dog bite injury, even though it was “only” a fully aggressive barking/growling charging Collie. Pepper spray is ok for situations where only a Psychological Stop is effective. Pepper spray is utterly useless when a Physical Stop is required. wikipedia.org/wiki/Stopping_power#Psychological
in most cases pepper spray is a false sense of security-too many stories of windy conditions leading to the user being rendered defenseless against whatever the intended target was
i think pepper spray should be banned and and handguns issued to adult citizens on their 18th birthday with an extensive gun safety and tracked and yearly checks in of the firearm
also pepper spray might usually work on most dogs- if they dont have any pit bull in them -will NOT work on a charging pit bull- not ever-and thats just a fact
I wonder how she got into pit bulls. The comments on the FB page say Spikey was the oldest, and while the breed isn’t clear in the single photo, it looks like a large retriever or hound type, not a pit bull. The photo looks older too. Odd that she’d go from a long-legged bigger dog (which appears to be a mix) to a pair of shorter dogs of a specific rare breed. A lot of crossing of dog owner habits there – big to short, dog to bulldog, mix to purebred, normal body type to the squat type.
Easiest answer is the boyfriend. That would explain why he stuck around after at least 1 bite bad enough to involve the authorities.
I used to follow this blog online years ago where the family was mainly into Boxers and also some other large breeds. Then after one of their oldest dogs died, they got one pit and it started a trend and all of a sudden it’s like all of their dogs going forward were pits. After the first pit they got one of the smaller pit types, then another family member got their own pit. And I believe a fourth one came into the picture at some point (maybe a family friend), but long story short it’s like a disease. They get one and then that’s all they want in the future. I think the media is definitely to blame, people want to become “breed ambassadors” to prove that dangerous dogs are normal, so they go out and get 4 of them. It’s crazy.
I was just reading the “shorty bull” breed standard. Whew. Lots of errors in that particular piece of writing! This is not shocking from pit type people who say things like “this bread isn’t viscous” (sic) and who create their own special dog registry for their inbred mongrels.
The description says that these dogs shouldn’t display unwarranted aggression against people. I wonder how many breeders are following that particular standard?
I rescued a starving pit mix puppy from a field. He is old now and has lived his life without showing any human aggression ever. Strike one and I would have put him down. He was small animal aggressive, however. I always locked him up and away when children came to the
house just in case. His personality is quite sweet, but there is clearly a dullness there that I could imagine would result in a single mindedness to plow through an attack if provoked. I have been very careful he never got the chance. I won’t ever have another pit of any type. My next dog will be a King Charles Spaniel. I understand why people like these pit dogs. They truly can be sweet. Unfortunately, the pit breeding also means their attack focus is unparalleled. I do love this dog, but when he leaves, and it will be soon, there will be relief mixed with the pain. I also have beagles but have kept them separated for years. I sat in a vet office one time and found myself talking to a woman with bid fat tears running down her face because her husband signed the order to put down one of their pits. Understand I had read in the paper that week the story of that dog mauling this woman’s ten year old daughter! The child had hundreds of stitches in her head. All I could think is there would have been no intact dog parts left to put down if an animal did that to a child of mine or on my property. I was shocked to find out the family did not immediately shoot it.
YAY someone with some sense about the role of dogs in society.
I had Bouviers for *decades*. I loved them for protection work. However they weren’t pets, I didn’t treat them as pets and I didn’t put people at risk from them by treating them as pets. They were working partners. They were defense weapons, with fur. I had a deep bond with them, but it was not a pet bond.
For the past two dogs I had a border collie mix and an Alaskan husky because they are *pets*. Their job is to be sociable, well-behaved, companion dogs.
This is the dimwittedness of Pitbull owners. They are not pets. There’s always a far too big risk, like owning a protection dog, you have to be on guard, 24/7 and it’s freaking exhausting for the average pet owner who can’t even dedicate one full hour off their cell phone devoted directly to dog walking/training and household management–never mind the requirements of a high drive working dog.
I hope you find your perfect spaniel 😀
If anyone has ever seen the movie Goonies, shorty bulls appear to be the dog equivalent of Sloth. (I feel bad saying that because Sloth is my favorite character.)
Bully breed nutters, regardless of what hideous genetic conjugation they prefer, are all the same. THEIR breed is awesome. THEIR breed couldn’t possibly be responsible. It HAD to have been raised to be aggressive. The simple fact is, when you cross ANY breed with fighting genes, the thing is dangerous.
The next thing we’ll see is the great, family friendly pitoodle! Or maybe a pitolden retriever! The sweetest little dog to ever rip your face off.
Cross a pit bull with cotton candy and rainbows for all I care. They’re still gross and dangerous.
I can’t believe poor little Frenchies are being dragged through the mud.
I was just scrolling through online news and saw two headlines stating that a French bulldog had killed its owner. Whaaat? I skimmed one article; near the end it noted the dog was 55 pounds. “Well, that’s no Frenchie,” I said and immediately came here. Shorty bulls? Why, just why? And just like with the whole Sergeant Stubby myth (with the pit propagandists trying to claim the war hero dog who was in actuality an early version of a Boston terrier), we’ve now got them trying to blame French bulldogs for a fatal mauling. SICK!
Same. I knew there was no way it was a Frenchie. I was betting the farm there was some pit mixed in and sure enough there was. It sucks these news outlets are saying Frenchie. But then heaven forbid any news outlets allude to the fact that it’s a pit mix because then your racist against pits.
So much for the public’s insistence that “bullies” are laid back bull breed dogs, far removed from pit bulls with temperaments completely different. More deceptive marketing and naive buyers.
As the President of the French Bull Dog Club of America we are glad to see the dogs identified correctly. As a 500 member club our members including myself are outraged that French Bulldogs were named in this awful occurrence. We are extremely sorry this happened to the dogs owner. However, this was not done by French Bulldogs, it is not their temperament. They are known as “Clowns in the cloak of a Philosopher”…not vicious.
Becky, this is not the first time that other dogs have been blamed for human fatalities caused by pit bulls or pit bull mixes. A border collie were blamed in the press for Logan Braatz’ death in 2017, and dachshunds were blamed for Tracy Garcia’s death in 2018. https://blog.dogsbite.org/2017/01/dog-bite-fatality-pit-bulls-kill-child-atlanta.html. https://blog.dogsbite.org/2018/05/dog-bite-fatality-ardmore-woman-killed-by-dogs.html.
Thank you, Becky! I am a small responsible breeder of French Bulldogs. 1-2 litters/18 months. My pups are hand raised from birth & completely trained before they go to new homes. I love that new owners send me happy updates every few months w new photos. Now, I have ppl waiting for 2 yrs to get a puppy from me. Frenchie’s are awesome!
Did the media outlets that reported this was a French Bulldog not do their research? Or are they just propagandists? I’m guessing the latter.
Looks like they’re doubling down on the “French Bulldog mix” story.
Suggestion to all readers and victim advocates … save the screenshot of the two dogs in which the deceased herself labels them as “shorty bulls.” Keep it at hand. You’ll need it when pit pushers start saying, “But but but any dog can kill, there was that woman who was killed by her French Bulldogs!” Show them the screenshot. It seems like it’s always a pit until it does something wrong. Had one of these shorty bulls done something heroic (let’s say it stopped a home invasion), it would FOR SURE AND CERTAIN be called a pit bull. But kill the owner? “French bulldog!”
The boyfriend left the house when he found out she wanted the dog back!
He begged her not to get the dog back. He Loves Lisa she will always be the love of his life! Lisa thought of the dog as her child.
I knew her! She didn’t choose a certain type of dog! Rescue dogs that needed someone to finally be there forever home!!
That’s why Spike, Rocco and blue we’re all different breeds!
Lisa made a fatal mistake by bringing Blue home!
No one knows for sure but I think she thought that she could make him better.