Sally Rogers, 91, was killed by a pet rottweiler in Bloomfield Township, Michigan.
UPDATE 11/08/21: On September 2, a pet rottweiler savaged a 91-year old woman to death. The dog ripped off her entire scalp and tore gaping wounds in her upper arms. The destructive bites fractured her shoulder bones and damaged her face. The victim, Sally Rogers, lived with her daughter Susan, who was also her caregiver. Susan had acquired the rottweiler in March of 2021. Her other daughter, Ann Marie Rogers, has been featured on this website as a safety advocate.
On the day that a rottweiler named "Ben" detonated like a bomb inside a Bloomfield Township home, Susan had left her mother alone for a short period with Ben and "Wren," a female rottweiler that was also Ben's litter mate. Susan had acquired Wren at the age of 10-weeks old. She did not acquire Ben until he was 14-months old. Ben had initially been sold to a family, who started the dog in Schutzhund training. The family later determined they wanted a Belgian malinois instead.
The dog flunked Schutzhund training, according to the original owner. Ben was "too soft" after having had three lessons in the protection sport.
When Susan learned that a litter mate of Wren was available, she obtained Ben from the family. She remarked to Ann Marie then, "that he had a wonderful temperament, as the owner's children were crawling all over him, and he appeared to enjoy it." In April, a month after Susan acquired Ben, he snapped at Ann Marie when she tried to hold his collar. The dog stopped the behavior after being corrected. Ann Marie warned her sister this would happen again and it could be worse.
In May, Ann Marie was informed that her mother's small dog, a shih tzu named "Monkey," had been attacked. Though the attack was not witnessed, the puncture wounds were from large teeth. Ann Marie determined the attacker was Ben based on the size of the puncture wounds. Ben had also shown dominant behaviors towards the other male dog in the family's household, "Mattie," a miniature poodle, also belonging to her mother. Monkey had to be put down due to his injuries.
On September 2, when Susan returned home after picking up a friend from the hospital, she found her mother on the back deck still conscious after the vicious attack. She quickly called 911. "Even I am shocked that the dog detonated to the level he did," Ann Marie told us. Sally was transported to St. Joseph-Mercy Hospital in Pontiac, where she later died of her injuries. Both Ben and Wren were seized and euthanized. Because the attack was unwitnessed, Wren could not be excluded.
Ben was neutered and vaccinated shortly after Susan acquired him. Neutering did not prevent the ensuing animal or human aggression.
A Legacy of Rottweilers
Ben and Wren were the product of a Sire named "Bam Bam" from Kimm McDowell of Der Hagen Rottweilers in Wayland, Michigan and a Dam named "Lilly" from Rachel Wolters of Nightguard Rottweilers in Hudsonville, Michigan. These were not the first rottweilers Susan had owned. In June of 2018, Susan had also acquired a rottweiler named "Gunnar" from Wolters. Gunnar's Sire was "Jax" of Der Hagen Rottweilers, and his Dam was the same Lilly of Nightguard Rottweilers.1
"Gunnar was strange from the beginning, and I urged Susan to put him down or bring him back to the breeder," Ann Marie told us. "He would pull his head back when I went to pet him, he was shy, stand-offish and this indicated to me he could be a fear biter or have behavioral issues in the future." Eight months later, in February of 2019, 10-month old Gunnar attacked Sally, who was then 89-years old, nearly biting off her finger. At Ann Marie's urging, that rottwelier was euthanized.
It is unclear why Susan, who paid $2,000 for Gunnar, would return to these same breeders to obtain Wren two months later. Interestingly, all three dogs -- Gunnar, Wren and Ben -- shared the same Dam, belonging to Wolters. Three rottweilers from the same breeders, the same Dam, all euthanized for aggression, two euthanized for human killing aggression. That Dam, Lilly, should be sterilized -- stricken from ever reproducing again -- as should her entire collection of offspring.
From 1996 to 2006, Ann Marie was involved in rottweiler rescue. During that time, her sister Susan developed a love for rottweilers. Ann Marie gave Susan a male named "Sully" who had an ideal disposition and lived to be 11-years old. Their mother Sally, who suffered from dementia at the time of her mauling death, also loved the rottweiler breed. In 2017, Susan lost a 13-year old male rottweiler, also a rescue, due to age. That rottweiler did not have aggression issues either.
When Susan and Sally had rottweilers with good temperaments, they often remarked how "safe" they felt with a rottweiler in the house, Ann Marie told us. "My sister felt safer while walking with a rottweiler and my mother felt safer being alone in the home," she said. "Maybe when owners have a rottweiler with a good disposition, they mistakenly think all of them are that way," she said. "This is certainly a case that proves it is genetics, not abuse that makes a dog turn," Ann Marie said.
Lilly was bred from a Serbian line. Her Sire, Lucky of Kinders Royal Rott, has the Serbian snout. Her Dam, Froggy Dark Night, appears to be a German line. The breeders were Brian Beard of Black Onyx Rottweilers and Stephanie Lubbers of Quarterwoods Rottweilers. Serbian lines lack the strict breeding standards of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub (ADRK) that govern the German bred lines and are known to have poor temperaments due to indiscriminate breeding.
Lilly's show name was "Black Onyx Cowboy Take Me Away" of QuarterWoods. She was born on September 6, 2015. We found this fall 2015 breeding of the two dogs on the QuarterWoods Facebook page. QuarterWoods was "Excited about our Lucky and froggy puppies!! [sic]" That were "due in September." Notably, the German breeders have little tolerance for the myriad of American and Eastern Bloc rottweiler "mutt" breeders that fail to conform to ADRK standards.
Top Killing Dog Breeds
Since the 1990s, rottweilers have maintained the position of the second top killing dog breed in the U.S. In 2000, the CDC made the following statement: "The data indicate that rottweilers and pit bull-type dogs accounted for 67% of human DBRF in the United States between 1997 and 1998. It is extremely unlikely that they accounted for anywhere near 60% of dogs in the United States during that same period and, thus, there appears to be a breed-specific problem with fatalities."
In modern times -- 2005 through 2020 -- pit bulls accounted for 67% of dog bite fatalities. Rottweilers accounted for 9%. Combined, the two breeds accounted for 76% of human deaths inflicted by dogs. Statistically, pit bulls comprised about 5.5% of the total U.S. dog population over this 16-year period and rottweilers comprised about 1.6%. Thus, two dog breeds, which only make up about 7% of the total U.S. dog population, are carrying out the vast majority of killings.
In terms of dangerousness, these two dog breeds have been the topmost consistent killers for over 30 years. While pit bulls kill in every single age group, and kill more adults (>18 years) than children (59% vs. 41%), most rottweiler victims, 76%, are children 11-years and younger. Of those children, the majority, 72%, are ages 4-years and younger. Only 5% of rottweiler victims are ages 82-years and older in our data set of 121 rottweiler-inflicted deaths from 1978 through 2019.
Extreme Damaging Bite
Rottweilers have long been known to deliver gravely damaging bites. Some of the most predatory attacks our nonprofit has researched have been inflicted by rottweilers, like the death of Marcos Raya, Jr. and the mauling of a child by an alleged "service" rottweiler owned by a "dog whisperer." Multiple rottweiler-inflicted fatalities have also come from "championship" bloodlines, like the deaths of Dixie Jennings (Deep Creek Kennel) and Vanessa Husmann (Husmann Rottweilers).
Several rottweilers that have killed a person have also been trained in Schutzhund, bite and apprehension work. These dogs are regularly used for protection and for the purposes of guarding. At least 143 jurisdictions in the U.S. regulate rottweilers, as well. In countries around the world, rottweilers routinely appear on dangerous breed lists, right alongside pit bulls and other fighting breeds. This is true even in parts of Germany, where the rottweiler breed originated.
Guilt and Impossible Odds
Ann Marie said that her sister and mother adored each other. The two had a close relationship. Susan was her fulltime caretaker as well. That day, when Susan left her elderly mother briefly in her home with two adult rottweilers, she returned to find her mother dying with life-threatening injuries on the back deck. She called 911 then Ann Marie. The guilt Susan will now live with for owning this high-risk breed will be devastating and lifelong. No dog breed is worth this risk.
With 45 fatal dog maulings per year in the U.S., about 1 in 7.3 million Americans are killed by canines each year. The odds of any person knowing one of these victims is very small. Ann Marie isn't just any person either. She has dedicated most of her life to animal welfare, animal control and public safety advocacy. "We do victim advocacy work to educate and raise awareness in an effort to save lives," Ann Marie said, "but I couldn't save my own mother. I am devastated."
09/03/21: Woman Killed by Rottweiler
Bloomfield Township, MI - An elderly woman is dead after being attacked by a rottweiler. The attack occurred on September 2 at about 6:30 pm. Police and fire were dispatched to a home in the 2000 block of Berry Drive due to a dog attack. When they arrived, they found a 91-year old woman unresponsive and suffering from "significant injuries" by a rottweiler living in the home. She was transported to St. Joseph-Mercy Hospital in Pontiac, where she later died of her injuries.
Bloomfield Township Police Captain James Gallagher said the victim lived with her daughter's family. No other injuries were reported. The dog was confiscated and taken to the Bloomfield Township Animal Shelter. The investigation remains open. "We don't know the circumstances around" the attack yet, Gallagher said. "But the dog -- I don't know, male or female -- will be in our custody until this investigation is over. If it's determined and court ordered it will be put down."
Fatal Rottweiler Attacks
This elderly victim marks the fourth fatal dog attack inflicted by a rottweiler this year. All of the other victims have been children, ages 4-years old and younger, including: Elliot Sherwin, Malia Winberry, and Ryan Foster. There were no reported deaths inflicted by rottweilers in 2020. Of the 121 fatal rottweiler attacks recorded from 1978 through 2019, 76% (92) of victims were children ages 11-years old and younger. Of these children, 72% (66), were ages 4-years old and younger.
08/11/21: Fatal Rottweiler Attacks - The Archival Record - DogsBite.org
08/11/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Baby Boy Killed by Family Rottweiler with a Bite History
05/28/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Boy, 4, Killed by His Grandparents Two Rottweilers in Montana
05/26/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Pair of Family Rottweilers Kill Baby in North Carolina
12/16/20: Ann Marie Rogers: Animal Welfare Advocate, Animal Control Officer, Public Safety...
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.
She was killed by a dangerous breed canine on only one of her 33,215 days of her existence.
How about dangerous breed canines are banned out of existence, so that she and others can have a nice life on earth, instead of having to undergo gruesome, heart-wrenching, painful martyrdom from life on earth, to the perfect victims’ afterlife? Too much to ask.
Just put the damn dog down already.
What’s the point of an investigation? To help the doggie rescue angels feel good about themselves?
There are a lot of questions here. Was she left unattended with a vicious dog. My experience with Rottweilers is they are either nice dogs or they are vicious dogs.
What was this dog’s temperament.like? Just curious.
I recently spoke with a veterinarian who recalled a conference he attended. When a slide of a Rottweiler came up on the screen, almost 300 vets said out loud, “Never trust a Rottweiler.” They’re very deceptive. We don’t see as many attacks because they’re much more expensive than pit bulls. They grew in popularity after the “Carl” children’s book series. It was a travesty to see the author’s ignorance lead to a huge misconception about this breed. The first dog attack story I covered as a journalist was about a boy who was ripped to shreds by two of them as a bus load of children watched. I will never forget those parents and their beautiful boy.
Once again we see power breeds should not be mixed with children or the elderly.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.
Rottweillers are good for protection work until they get older and most are riddled with arthritis by age six. They *are not stable pets*.
They should never, ever be around the elderly, disabled or children without letter-perfect obedience with the person who is their primary handler controlling them because they are what used to be known as, “one man dogs”. This means giving them away only exacerbates any poor behaviours they exhibit.
Most of them now are bred out of puppy mills, making them even more dangerous.
I know, in this day and age when so many older people are forced by finances and health care concerns to double up with other family members that this is just going to keep happening because fools think their pitbulls, mastiffs Rotts, Malinois etc are somehow “safe” to be around they elderly. They aren’t.
If they aren’t going to get rid of the dog, then they need to take household management seriously. That doesn’t just mean granny is not alone with the dog–it means the dog has no physical access to granny *under any circumstances*.
Rottweilers show all kinds of signs usually that they are going “off”. This includes fence barking, protecting property or people, guarding food/toys, moving more slowly, exhibiting prey stalking etc. Ignore any protection behaviours at your own, or your elders/children’s peril.
It’s too often ends in tragedy when someone picks their dog over their aging parent.
Nah I think malinois are ok and fairly stable, at least the ones in Europe are. My mix is part tervuren (which is effectively the same breed as malinois here just a different coat type) and she’s fine with my family members, never showed any aggression whatsoever towards known people and loves my parents especially. Shes even good with my cats.
I wouldn’t trust her with strangers and she’s very distrustful of new people but that’s pretty normal for her breed mix and she’s never left unsupervised with or handled by strangers anyway.
I honestly don’t understand how so many dogs maul their owners, I’m thinking it’s the people who physically punish their dogs that must get mauled when the dog gets fed up with being abused. Even the dangerous breeds must have a good reason to bite the hand that feeds them, surely?
No, these dogs don’t have any justification for killing. They kill because they are killers. The owners didn’t abuse them.
You are so right about not trusting these dogs around people or pets, or mostly anyone! That’s why I have been trying to teach my children that they are unsafe so when I get old and need to go live with them, I can die from natural causes in my sleep instead of in the mouth of a vicious shark with legs! After seeing the years and years of data and stories about the victims of these dogs and its apparent lack of results the only logical thing to do is to start teaching the young women who seem to be targeted by the breed advocates before they are old enough to be influenced by these people who have no concern for their lives! Hopefully teaching them pit bulls are killers of other pets and children will make adults who aren’t fooled by the lies! I truly don’t think anything else will work because for 19 years or so this information has been available and I still read a post on Cesar Millan’s blog asking for help with a pit bull that a young woman had adopted acting aggressive toward her! I suggested she see a behavior specialist and then was attacked by a pit bull advocate! I guess even suggesting that the next victim seek professional help is more criticism than they can tolerate for their wonderful vicious pitties!
One of the male Rottweilers at doggy school years ago showed explosive aggression toward animals. The owner made minor corrections after the fact.
One of the male Rottweilers in doggy school now growls a lot but has good handlers. Their female Rottweiler is so physically unsound that she couldn’t attack.
She has knee problems and cannot sit at all. Her problem is apparently something unusual.
I heard that years ago a Rottweiler killed his owner in an animal behaviorist’s reception area.
Not surprised by any of that Rachel. I’m seeing more and more physically compromised Rotts. They’re genetic wrecks.
They’re now riddled with hip dyplasia, leg joint misalignments, breathing problems–basically many of the same overbred/inbred traits as their cousins, English Bulldogs.
A dog that’s in pain all the time struggles to learn and can be cranky and aggressive, just like people.
Why people keep breeding trashy dogs just to look a certain way instead of suited to purpose, is beyond my understanding.
I have had three personal encounters with Rottweilers in my life. One bit me as a young child (unprovoked). The second was a very aggressive female Rottweiler which during group obedience classes the handler was instructed to wallop it hard on the muzzle with a disposable aluminum pie tin to distract it and correct it (made a loud noise but didn’t hurt the dog). The third was a neighbor’s female bitch that was very nice; they were breeding it for income… 14 pups per litter. The third Rottie experience didn’t make up for the first two, and I’ve always given Rottweilers a wide berth.
My understanding is that they are mandatory to muzzle in public in Germany up to a certain age because of their known instability particularly during “adolescence”; muzzles can come off after a certain age as long as they first pass some sort of obedience test (else muzzle in public for life).
Why must there be an investigation?! Why must it be court ordered?! Put the beast down! It has killed before, what makes those people think it won’t kill again if given the opportunity? Just put it down already.
Shelters and animal agencies are always complaining about lack of resources and whatnot, yet they continue to keep dogs alive which they know are vicious and dangerous.
The new background information is perfect. It calls out the bad breeders by name, breeder name, and locale. And it was compassionate towards the victim’s family. A nice balance.
It’s so sad and relatable to believe that getting one of these breeds seems like it’s an ok thing to do. There are so many groups that say if you treat these dogs well and get them young, then they won’t attack. These animal rights groups are relentless about conveying this message. I don’t think people really understand until it’s too late that dangerous breeds are dangerous and volatile. It’s sad because these dogs are just doing what they were bred to do. They are not inherently bad dogs but they really should not be adopted. I wish so badly more could be done but people are blind and tend to see the best in these dogs until it’s too late. I was one of these blind people until my pit bull attacked someone. Despite the fact that the attack ended up being mild with no physical damage done, I cannot fully process and accept I made such a terrible decision and put so many people and animals at risk.
I would say that dogs that have been bred to be violent are inherently bad dogs. Thank you for recognizing that your dog was dangerous. I’m glad no one was hurt.
Putting a Rottweiler into a home with an elderly woman with dementia was murder; the daughter should be charged. I have zero sympathy in this case. I am currently the caregiver for my sister with dementia, and know that when I go to get a dog, I will not be able to chose my prefered breed type, the collie, because I know from experience that they are, while not dangerous, prone to being one-family dogs, with a tendency toward stranger-danger suspicion. I’m leaning toward a goldendoodle because in this situation, you need a dog that is very people-friendly, very stranger-friendly. Not just because of my sister, either, but also because people with this problem require visiting nurses, home health aides, etc. Remember the aide in NH that was almost killed by a pack of attack-trained Rottweilers a few years ago, as she visited their owner’s elderly live-in mother?
The male Rottweiler was trained to attack and had preyed on other family pets to the extent of killing one. So had the dogs in the NH case; other health aides and neighbors had witnessed attacks on other dogs. Insane decision to bring a stream of Rottweilers into the home.
I’m with you on this one, Sara. And the fact that this family was involved in Rottweiler *rescue* is beyond the pale.
Furthermore, my mother and father both had dementia. By the time they got to that point, I was very grateful that they no longer had ANY dogs. The risk was simply too great.
Is there a way to subscribe to new updates on old articles? I don’t want to miss the updates. This one was a doozy.
I feel for Ann Marie and her family. She obviously has a true heart for victim advocacy and I was impressed with her efforts previously recorded here. It must be devastating to not only lose her mother in a horrific way, but also to lose her in the very way she had been advocating to prevent.
My 3 very young children, small dog, and I were attacked by a male Rottweiler while on a designated hiking trail in a fancy NY suburb. I could describe how terrifying it was but I can’t without getting upset.
It turned out the owner was a vet who was walking her dog with an invisible electronic collar that had no impact on her dog whatsoever.
When she finally grabbed the dog and held it we escaped to our car. And never again went hiking–an activity we had shared after school on an almost daily basis.
Dog control in our town was almost useless. For our appearance before the town judge the vet brought several lawyers with her and lied saying our dog had started the fight. (Not true at all. Our dog was entirely under my control on a normal 4′ leash.)
The punishment for attacking three children under age 6 and our 7 lb dog? The Rotty had to stay in the vet’s yard and never enter public property.
As the vet was a liar, I doubt she obeyed the rather casual order. Indeed the judge was simply a local person known in town, and there was nothing filed with the county or state.
We have arrived at a point in our society where influence is not used to protect children and other vulnerable persons, but only to protect the rights of narcissists and their violently antisocial pets.
In 1990, a 6-Rottweiler attack on a 2 year old (and his 11 year old cousin who saved him) rocked western Pennsylvania. When the news broke and names were named, it turned out the grandmother and aunt are distant relatives of mine. I recall that the aunt was permitted to take all of her dogs and move right across the border into West Virginia in order to keep them, which she did immediately in the aftermath. She cared more about her national champion dog(s). It was pretty disturbing to the extended family. As far as the youngest victim, he did survive with (as expected) major disfigurement. A few years after, I read details about his medical case as published by The University of Pittsburgh. It was very sad to have all the blanks filled in about how severe his injuries were.
Someone feeling “safe” with a dog means they think the dog will maul others but not themselves. Time and time again a dog that allegedly provides “protection” goes off and maims or kills one of the people they were supposed to protect.
I feel so bad for the poor victim in this case. Dementia is a horrible disease. On top of that to be attacked twice by Rottenwielers, once fatally is beyond tragic.
Is anyone else repulsed by the pic of the rott next to the baby?
“She thinks she is the baby” sounds a lot like “she resents the attention the baby is getting and may move to eliminate her rival”