Deann Stephenson, 59, was killed by a pack dogs on February 15 in Porter, Texas.
Woman Killed by Dogs
Porter, TX - On February 15, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office responded to a reported animal bite on Cunningham Drive at about 1:00 pm. Deputies "immediately called for EMS as they had a 59-year old female who was attacked by a pack of five dogs. The deputies attempted to stop the massive bleeding by applying tourniquets to the extremities," reports the Montgomery County Police Reporter. The victim was transported to Kingwood Medical Center in critical condition.
The victim suffered bites to her face, legs, arms, back, and neck. She died sometime after reaching the hospital. She had been walking to a corner store when the dogs ran through an open gate and attacked her. Montgomery County Animal Services took possession of the dogs. Five days later, the victim's sister, Holly Jorgensen, began a fundraiser and identified the victim as Deann Stephenson. The funds will be used to help pay for her funeral and memorial services.
We first became aware of this fatal attack on March 1, when KPRC-TV aired a segment about her death. Recall that on February 15, millions of Texan residents were without power, including this nonprofit. The high temperature in Porter that day was 25 degrees and roads were snowy and icy. Fire and EMS were severely taxed out due to fires, numerous car accidents and trying to clear roads. In the midst of this statewide catastrophe, Deann was fatally attacked by loose dogs.
After her death, family members hired attorney Patrick O'Hara, who has represented many dog attack victims in Montgomery County, reports KPRC-TV. Family members said these same dogs, or at least one of them, had previously attacked other neighbors, including a child. “And still, no criminal charges have been filed against the dog owner. This is horrific, these dogs should have been put down years ago,” O’Hara said. A lawsuit is expected to be filed later this week.
The dogs' owner appears to be a business located in the 24800 block of Cunningham Drive. Hanging on the chain link fence were "Beware of Dog" signs, as well as Chlorine Gas notices. Hauling trucks were seen behind the fencing. We have certainly seen fatal attacks inflicted by junkyard-guard dogs before. In those cases, the auto repair and wrecking companies were likely required to carry insurance. It is unsurprising there will be a civil lawsuit filed in short order.
In January of this year, Montgomery County had another high profile dog attack involving a long-term reckless dog owner. Jennifer Romano, 46, was charged with two felonies -- injury to a child, a 2nd degree felony, and tampering with evidence, a 3rd degree felony -- after her fake service pit bull bit a child in the face unprovoked. Romano fled the scene after the attack. A Montgomery County judge ordered her pit bull, which had previously bitten two people, to be euthanized.
In the afternoon, the Houston Chronicle reported more information. Deann died the same day as the attack. Four dogs were involved in the February 15 attack. Montgomery County Animal Services (MCAS) identified them as a mixture of hound, shepherd and black mouth cur breeds. The animals were euthanized. Their owner, who has not been named, was issued citations for failure to provide proof of rabies vaccination and failure to properly confine the dogs, MCAS said.
A neighbor witnessed part of the attack and told MCAS that he tried to help the woman, while his wife called 911. Detectives and the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office are investigating whether any charges will be filed against the dogs' owner, reports the Chronicle. The attorney for Deann's family said that multiple people had been attacked by the dogs in the past. Unverified claims on social media said that dogs belonging to this same owner had killed a man years ago.
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This is horrific. I hope the owner of those dogs faces jail time and all dogs are euthanized!
This is the kind of tragic story that is so excruciatingly heart wrenching. I’m willing to bet big bucks that the dog owner will blame his children for leaving the gate open.
The dog owner is going to use the “somehow they got out” claim. This be clarified as “because the storm that caused the power outage, the gate malfunctioned/had to be left open” and this will pass the buck to an act of God which means they are their insurance can shoulder shrug and not hold any culpability. Yes, that is how this will go and this will be a crap attempt to avoid going back to the root cause of it all: you the business owner chose to purchase/breed/keep dangerous dogs (dare I say pits?).
Good call! “Oh no! I have five dogs chosen for their aggression guarding my lot and someone forgot the gate needed to be closed by hand!”
It must have been a terrifying way to die. )*:
This made me recall when my moronic and often drunk stepfather for some reason told me about his talk with the owner of an auto junkyard. He said the guy complained about his guard dogs being shot all the time by robbers. That was before the days when Pit Bulls became common in urban areas. It’s easy to see why owners of junkyards and the like would prefer dogs that go directly to the attack and skip the warning barks of the sheep guardian-type breeds. Of course I’m not excusing the practice.
This is why some people need to be banned from dog ownership. Once your irresponsibility has resulted in someone’s death or severe injury that is a good reason. There should be large RED signs in the yard saying “Dogs not permitted on premises. Call 911 if you see dog here.”
It should be a FELONY offense to have dogs or to remove the sign.
One of my Tucson attorney-friends practices personal injury law. A few years ago, his firm won a $500k judgment against the landlord of a pit bull owner.
In my friend’s words, the pit bull “ripped the face off” of a three-year-old neighbor. The tenants didn’t have insurance, so he went after the landlord’s policy.
Of course it’s cheaper to feed a bunch of horridly aggressive, untrained “watch dogs” than to invest is a surveillance system or buy or invest in properly training yard-protection dogs.
Then stand around after their bored dogs have jumped, dug through, escaped the fence or enclosure and mauled someone and have the gall to claim it’s an “accident”.
Also, as if Texans didn’t have enough to worry about, dimwits with aggressive dogs didn’t have the good sense to realise that if everyone was acting strangely and panicking and there was cold white stuff around–that it would constitute ground zero for a dog attack and perhaps, extra caution would be needed.
Horrible tragedy. But the one “good” thing (not the right word but I can’t come up with something more appropriate), is that the family is suing and hired a competent lawyer that has a history (a successful history) of handling such litigation.
It’s all too often negligent dog owners skate off scot-free. I believe only 20% of owners involved in a human fatality dog attack, are even prosecuted! The conviction rate is far less.
Hopefully we’re turning the proverbial corner and REAL culpability is applied to owners of these murder beasts.
Read an article from a few days ago where a cat was killed. The jurisdiction immediately entered a dangerous dog designation upon the two offending animals as well as a negligent owner designation upon their owner (it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s an important step in prosecuting the owner should his dogs strike again, or heaven forbid attack a human)
I don’t understand when I read all these reports of dog attacks why the owners do not face criminal charges each and every time? Can somebody knowledgeable about the law explain this???? I really want to understand what it will take to start having the dog owners criminally prosecuted. (And also the dog shelters which are pushing these dogs out in to communities?)
I know it probably won’t happen, but this guy should be charged with manslaughter. And since this wasn’t the first time he let his dogs kill someone, he should get the maximum possible sentencing. Owners of these dangerous animals are no different from someone who drinks and drives, and the penalty for their behavior should be just as harsh.
This is just awful!! I am a dog owner and I carefully trained my dog and I exercise her daily so that she is healthy and isn’t aggressive. I agree – it is no different then a DUI accident.