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58 thoughts on “2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Recently Adopted Pit Bull-Mix Kills Woman, Severely Injures Owner in Margate, Florida

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  1. Another owner of dangerous canines that experiences the logical consequences of their untreated spirituopathological disease. As far as furthering the effort toward eliminating this scourge from our society, this case will amount to next to nothing. People who love dangerous canines more than they like people will never contribute their voices toward the effort to remove this universal and constant threat from all other peoples’ lives. I am so very, very relieved that in this case, it was not an innocent pedestrian that had to excruciatingly suffer and be required to lay down his/her life at the hands of people who love dangerous animals.

  2. “Cause he was trying to save his mom, and the dog just kept going for her jugular”

    …was the part that stood out to me from when I discovered this mauling.

    Another breed, even guard breed, does not rip someone’s throat out because they accidentally rolled on top of it, or stepped on their tail, or inadvertently (or even deliberately) whacked it with their cane. They may snarl, or even bite and move on. They don’t try to *murder* someone.

    It seems to be pitbull open season on seniors and children lately.

  3. Geez, that “dog” looked more like a rhino. An 84 year old lady never stood a chance. I’m very curious in finding out how a 57 and 84 year old ended up with a pit bull in the home. This is not a dog for seniors (or anyone for that matter), and the fact that it had only recently entered the home a few days before the attack, makes me wonder if it was pushed onto them by another party.

    • I was thinking “pig”. Pigs and their relatives can be very dangerous. They are omnivorous and the larger of the species will eat what they kill.

      “Hippo” is also a better term, as they kill more people than lions do in Africa.

  4. We have been continuously updating this post. The dog came from a rescue — but that rescue has not been named. We will check in on 10pm news in Florida for any additional updates.

  5. Virtually any scenario which does not include an 8-week-old puppy being purchased from an AKC breeder is now described as a ‘rescue’. I wouldn’t put too much credence into that, especially as the friend seems eager to whitewash the son’s role in his mother’s violent death.

    I find it incredible that anyone would view a large pit bull lying in bed beside a sickly 84yo woman as anything other than scary. That this mental picture – a muscular, adult male pit bull – ‘sharing’ a bed with an elderly sick woman is offered as proof of the pit bull’s good nature is evidence instead of the speaker’s complete break with reality.

    • Regarding the term “rescue,” that is indeed bandied about in almost any situation these days besides the scenario you mentioned, Sara. It’s amazing how many people actually equate GETTING A DOG with a virtuous and selfless act. I’ve heard many people use “rescue” to simply mean getting a puppy. It’s like the term “adoption,” which used to have a specific meaning of getting a dog from a shelter but now just means “getting a dog.” The meaning of the term has been diluted beyond recognition. Now people ask if they can “adopt” one of the parrots I raise. Uh, no. But they can buy one.

        • Exactly! Then they are given a story or create their own about how abused, abandoned or misunderstood the poor (usually pit bull) was. It’s an attention grabbing, ego trip. I always tell people there’s often a good “reason” that particular dog was surrendered. Unfortunately, the self-aggrandizing rescuers find out the hard way. Sadly, a child or elderly person pays the price.

      • Puppy mills now advertise that people can ‘adopt’ a dog. Pups are posed next to a sign Adopted! and the date before shipping them out. As a dog trainer I now resign myself that all dogs are now ‘rescues’ while the owners coo about how ‘abused he was.’ If a purebred pup from a legit breeders shows up I am almost in tears to see that such a thing still exists.

        • Sue: I near upchuck when people ask if I “rescued” my Alaskan Husky.

          My answer is, “No, the authorities did that when they raided an illegal sled kennel. I *bought* him.”

          My dog before this was from a puppy mill purchased by a pet shop who was then, dumped into a local pound at 5 months when the owner couldn’t handle a border collie/sheltie mix.

          I didn’t “rescue” that one, either. I bought her.

          An owner is responsible for their dog’s behavior and has a responsibility to the public to see that dog is part of the common good for as long as they own it.

          An “adopter” is a parent who makes a choice to raise a child that is not theirs by birth and who makes a lifetime commitment to that child whether or not that child is able to conform to societal norms.

          I’ve *purchased* purebreds, as well.

          This cuddly wuddly dog language is doing a disfavour humans who bear responsibility for dog ownership as well as the dogs being confused as to their place in the world.

  6. It’s not entirely clear to me whose house this was/is. Did Joseph live there and then his 84-year-old mother came to stay with him? Is it the other way around in which Joseph showed up at his 84-year-old mother’s home years ago but only 5 days ago got a pit? If no charges are being filed, against the owner of the pit bull, how is this justified if this may be someone who becomes enriched by becoming the owner of the house after the killing? It doesn’t make sense that Joseph would allow a dog that muscular and large to climb into bed with his frail, 84-year-old mother. The fact that she uses ambulance transport for appointments, I suspect she was in a hospital bed and may have had healthcare workers coming to the home. Another scenario is that Joseph was getting paid on waiver through Medicaid to serve the role as a caretaker. This would essentially make him a paid healthcare worker to his mother. I would be interested in seeing if this is the case because it seems like this is a new trend, healthcare workers in the home during attacks. If he was being paid by the state’s Medicaid and he created this dangerous home situation, he absolutely should be charged. No healthcare worker should be at a job/work site with a pit bull in tow. I am also concerned that the whole 5 days of getting along and being in bed together is going to lead to claims that this dog was going to be trained to be a “therapy dog” for Caroline.

    Colleen, I don’t know what powers you have in getting information about family members of elderly victims possibly being paid by their state’s medical assistance to be caretakers.

    The use of pleurals in the ownership of the pitbull makes me think of vial Annie Hornish who made like the pit she “rescued” was also her mother’s dog.

    It’s kind of disgusting how Joseph’s friend Jimmy is out front of the cameras already making Joseph look like hero who did his best when in actuality he is responsible for the conditions created that resulted in the attack.

    • We only know what neighbors have told the media regarding the home situation. Police have confirmed nothing. “Menendez says the mother and son both lived together for many years.” Menendez has also only been a neighbor for two years. The son Joseph owns the home.

    • I totally agree with Christy’s analysis. Elder care and inheritance issues all come together in this situation, with possible murder, or at least manslaughter the result.

  7. You would think that this trend of “pet” pits killing the frail and elderly would get more attention. Tired of the responsibility of caring for an aged parent? Get a pit bull! Want to get an early inheritance, home or land? Get a pit bull! It’s the only acceptable method of murdering off seniors with absolutely no repercussions! Imagine the outcry if this son had a Burmese python sleeping in bed with his mother… and deaths by large snakes are much less common than death by dog.

    If this home had a corgi, a beagle, a cairn terrier or any of a couple hundred other breeds or mixes besides pit and a scant handful of other fighting breeds, this lady would still be alive. A pet can be a great comfort to someone who is homebound. But that pet must be one that won’t kill its owner. That’s really not too much to ask, is it?

    I’m thankful there’s a photo of the dog.

  8. MIx? Like when you breed a pit with another pit? If the test had a 2% margin of error it would come back 102% pit bull if it was accurate.

    I wonder if the “shelter” (that can mean anything from a government supported pound or that person you see selling dogs out of the back of a truck in the Walmart parking lot) told them it was a boxer mix?

    Why not? “Dexter” is a pointer mix right?

    It kills me to have to type “is”,the fact that serial killer of a beast is still sucking air is a disgrace. That is one they got the name half right. I never watched the show but I think the premise was that Dexter was a “good” serial killer. I think “Billy Chemirmir” would have been a better name.

    • I’d love to see what breed they called this dog on intake. Interesting to think that someone out there owned this dog at one time and either let it wander or deliberately dumped it (maybe even because it was aggressive). How would it feel to be watching the news and seeing that your dog has killed an elderly woman?

      The mastiff rescue must really be proud of themselves for pulling this particular dog and placing him in this home! Who in their right mind thought that it was reasonable to put this behemoth dog with an unknown history with a wheelchair bound frail woman? I mean, I know why the dog attacked… it’s been bred into its very nature for hundreds of generations. But don’t they believe that it’s “all in how they’re raised”? If they really believe that, then why do they think it’s okay to place strays with frail old women?

      • That mastiff rescue needs to be sued into the ground.

        Likewise, Miami-Dade Animal Services. Methinks that a big lawsuit might refocus MDAS on what should be its core mission, protecting the public health and safety.

    • I absolutely think that in the deaths of people who have had a “rescue” dog for less than a month there should be a full investigation into the rescue/shelter/pound that sold them the animal for both civil and criminal responsibility, purposes.

      If they have been found to lie or dissemble about the breed or background of the animal, charges and suits should be brought, accordingly.

      Nobody wants to euthanize a dog. Some dogs are salvageable, it’s true–but that takes an experienced trainer/handler and most don’t want the hassle. Putting difficult breeds/behaviours in the hands of the inexperienced is a mauling, waiting to happen *and shelters/rescues/pounds KNOW that and if they don’t–they’re criminally ignorant.

      • Astonishing comment on the Mastiffs Rescue of Florida website, a foster about fostering dogs:

        “Often times the fear bringing in a rescue animal is what are the hidden issues and when will they emerge? What did you bring into the household? Will the animal attack you, a pet, a neighbor, a child? Will this be the dog that bites completely through my arm? Or attacks one of my children’s friends when they come in the house? I can’t speak for anyone else but these are my fears every time we bring in a new dog to foster.”

        MRF is a Best Friends Network Partner
        https://bestfriends.org/our-work/supporting-network-partners/mastiff-rescue-florida

  9. This dog does does look like it may be part pit bull and part mastiff. I think the “mastiff” part may be a Cane Corso Mastiff or a Presa Canario. Neither of those should be considered family pets and they are often owned by people who want a dog that will give them a tough image. I can’t really come up with a more volatile mix of breeds than a pit bull and Cane Corso or Presa Canario.

    • After seeing the updated post with more pictures, I’d say that dog is mostly pit bull (or a pure pit bull).

      It’s absurd that people want to save this dog. A person using a wheel chair should not trigger that violent of a response.

  10. There is a saying…’don’t argue with Americans about God or guns’…we (outsiders) need to add ‘pitbull terriers’ to that ‘list’… do not argue with some (North) Americans about God, guns OR BSL 😞 it must be terrifying to live in some areas? My US allies, you have my true sympathy, it should never have come to this, you folks do not deserve this, at all!

    • Is that the same “Axon” featured on the shelter’s website? There’s multiple videos and cheers of joy when it’s learned he’s been “rescued” about 3 weeks ago. Then, there’s people asking where’s Axon’s “freedom link.” No one is chiming in to spoil the party by saying he killed someone.

      • We understand the Sun Sentinel will be publishing an update tomorrow that will hopefully sort out what is happening among the rescuers. A group of them are blaming the Mastiff rescue for sending the dog to a home with an elderly wheelchair user and for placing the dog before it cleared heartworms.

  11. We did make a significant update — posted below the list of people killed by shelter dogs. The dog’s previous adoption listings have been located and the dog’s owner went on camera with Local 10.

  12. These shelters need to lose their funding! Taxpayer’s money should not be going to organizations putting pit bull mastiffs into homes with the elderly. Too many shelters have literally gone to the pits. Their practices are not safe at all and they should not be getting funded to put killer dogs into peoples homes. They need to euthanize them!

  13. My favorite part of this piece was what Dahlia Cane said:

    “I want to express my condolences to the entire family — this was a tragic event to everyone involved,” Canes said. “Dogs don’t just simply snap like that. That dog was a rescue dog. Who knows what that dog went through [before being adopted], what that dog was trained to do. Something triggered it.”

    So many levels of wrong. She admits that a rescue dog can be unstable because of its unknown past. She wrongly expresses the possibility that it was trained to attack. Then, she adds a trigger, which we all know that these dogs are trigger happy and therefore unstable. By stating that dogs just don’t snap an mentioning a trigger, she is almost, just almost stating that this is what pit bulls are about, triggers and genetics (not going crazy and snapping).

    • Fighting dogs are purpose-bred to attack, period, no external trigger required. It is an advantage in the fighting pit to have a dog in which the impulse to attack has been highly internalized to the point of instinct. When there is no external cue to begin fighting, the dog’s opponent will not know the exact moment the dog will launch. Surprise is an advantage. Volatility is a feature, not a bug, in pit bulls.

      Normal dogs, of course, have been bred in just the opposite direction. Stability, not volatility, of temperament. Attacking behavior in companion dogs is an undesirable trait for obvious reasons. Attacking behavior in working dogs needs to be highly controllable, and therefore reliant on external triggers such as trainer commands and very specific situations such as an intruder entering the dog’s delineated territory, or an assailant attacking the dog’s owner.

      The number of people who try to assess pit bulls based on standards for normal dogs continues to dismay. Law enforcement officers who scratch their heads wondering “what triggered the pit” to attack. Media reports that mindlessly repeat these errors. Shelters that push unpredictable maulers (and even known attackers) on the public. Pit owners who insist that pits won’t attack unless trained to do so.
      All in denial of the basics of what dogmen have created and will candidly admit is a desired feature of their dogs — unprovoked, explosive, deadly aggression.

  14. This post has been updated to reflect the addition of the Sun-Sentinel piece that talks about the difficulties of adopting out pit bulls with unknown backgrounds.

  15. On a related note, I was browsing the FB page for Philly’s open-intake shelter and discovered a petition written by employees and volunteers, asking the city to fund a behavioral team. I know they’ve had a behaviorist in the past, but presumably they chose to cut the position for costs years ago, and now they’ve been experiencing escalating violent attacks on volunteers, fosters and employees.

    https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/animal-shelter-safety?fbclid=IwAR1eheP5qWVwEBVicPxjPlsgXgc1lzsoWqbldQKpiBjBQ-u9wrKgZBrPDBU

    One volunteer’s FB page claims the shelter has seen 10 serious attacks in the past year – and the petition includes gruesome photos.

    NOWHERE in the petition or in any of the comments is there any mention of the risk to adopters, or what happens when the shelter flips its worst-case dogs as ‘rescue only’ an event which occurs daily and which all the volunteers work feverishly to facilitate. Their concern is entirely for their own safety at the shelter or with fostered dogs.

    • Wow. You can see the dogs they have available here:

      http://www.acctphilly.org/available-dogs/#sl_embed&page=shelterluv_embed_134581594222184801%2Favailable_pets%2F13458%3Fsaved_query%3D6503

      It’s almost all pit bulls or pit bull mixes. The very first one I clicked on (“Hershey”) has killed several small animals. The next one (“Brick”) bit a child on the face. “Lil JJ” punctured someone’s wrist.

      Do they really need a behaviorist to tell them that a dog that bites children on the face is dangerous and should be euthanized?

      • Artica was a fun one:

        -Very friendly initially. Growled when examining his shoulder. After repeated attempts to mount nurse, patient began growling while attempting to mount and examination was discontinued.
        – Once outside he became frustrated that he could not go into the front parking lot and began mounting my leg. I used the fence as a tie out and was able to make some distance where he could not mount. He continued to attempt to mount for about 3 minutes until he was distracted…
        -Per the prior owner: affectionate great dog just randomly decides to “switch up and attack.”

        Yes, this shelter has the clearest write ups publicly available about behavior. I, like you can’t figure out why the need a behaviorist because it is all there. These dogs just need to be euthanized.

        • Dear Doggess, the mindless stupidity of these rescues/shelters. The reason I chose THIS dog? he
          d been dragged through 2 shelters with an *untreated* broken leg and tail yet never even growled or snapped at a single soul. Gentle temperament test, right there.

          The rescues/shelters KNOW these dogs are dangerous. When I fostered and trained for a shelter, if a dog so much as snarled or growled at a shelter worker, it was off to the gas chamber, straight away because the shelter was funded as a city pound and no city needs that liability.

          Rescues and shelters need to be under the same restrictions as the pounds. It’s abundantly clear they are unable to make the decisions necessary to be in the business of matching up dogs with families and seem to dodge all the legal ramifications of their negligence and obstinacy.

          They are in the business of soliciting donations NOT of rescuing and selling dogs.

          The whole mess is boiling with corruption. Whatever good ones might be left, their reputations are now all tarnished to the point where many people would rather unwittingly buy from a puppy mill than risk the lives of their family.

      • Colleen: Can’t wait for them to all go out of business when their employees start suing them for hazardous working conditions and endangering their lives.

        It’s the employees I feel sorry for. They’re just animal lovers who need a job. It’s the management at the top, scooping up fat salaries who keep this money train, running.

        They do that at the expense of their workers and the general public.

      • I would imagine that the worker’s compensation premiums would go up. Paid for by the taxpayers. The shelters should be logging the employee injuries and adapting their safety training and gear based on this. My guess is they don’t.

  16. We need immediate changes in the shelter system. No kill needs to END. Aggressive dogs need to be put down right when they walk through the doors. It is pure insanity that we are living in a world where known aggressive dogs that have already attacked and killed are allowed to be shuffled around the shelter system and placed into homes.

  17. Another interesting article for the records Colleen– (read the comment section too) for those mourning when one dog kills another in a household. Note how many of the murdering dogs are pitbulls.

    Since it’s clear we can’t get through the dog rescuer nutjobs on the dangers of granny and child slaughter–maybe we can get through to them on the basis of pitbulls committing carnage on other dogs. What do nice dogs do to deserve this?

    Pitbull owners. If your dog slaughters your other dog it is YOUR fault no matter how “nice” your pitbull/mix appeared before that day. You brought home a dog bred to murder other dogs and demmed skippy–it is YOUR fault that your nice dog/s were murdered by it.

    No reliable dog trainer would leave a pitbull outside of a completely secured cage for one minute with other dogs, unsupervised.

    https://thedogueshop.com/blogs/dogue-s-blog/posts/my-dog-killed-my-other-dog-part-1

    • Wow, this guy apparently believes it is “common” and to normal for 1 dog in a household to kill another dog. Ridiculous! I have never heard of that happening, outside of hearing stories on the internet involving a pitbull in the household. He apparently wrote that blog post to assuage his own guilty conscience.

      • Libertarian:

        I trained dogs for a few years, including doing some of my handling with protection dogs and retiring them as well as for a local shelter and private clients.

        While there were a few bloody dog fights in some clients’ homes that they called for help, with…the worst injury was a torn off ear–I can’t think of one where one dog *murdered* another, never mind it being commonplace.

        Oh and one loose pitbull that some dimwit up the street decided to fight train that was young that escaped–who my most aggressive protection dog tore to shreds when we were leaving the house on the way to work… (I don’t know the outcome as it ran off in the dark but my dog was fine due to wearing a spiked collar for this exact reason but blood-drenched). That incident was when the light dawned for me, with pitbulls.

        The people who had retired guard dogs knew enough household management to not have dog fights (working dog always crated when handler is not around) and knew enough of how to stop them if things got out of hand. All people rescuing *difficult* dogs should at least have this bare minimum of training.

        The fellow writing the blog was not crating his dogs. Rarely do fights come out of nowhere unless one was a pitbull. He doesn’t believe in pack order, therefore he cannot support a peaceful pack order then he wonders why one of his dogs ripped another, apart? Yes, it was horrid and sad but he learned *nothing* from it.

        The problem is that if an experienced protection dog handler can’t get a pitbull to let go short of shooting or strangling it–what chance does anyone else, have?

  18. Another heartbreaking story. This is all so unnecessary. Not all dogs are suitable for a family home (or anywhere there are neighbors.) Shelters should be held liable when they hide the truth about an animals 1) breed 2) past history 3) shelter experience.

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