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18 thoughts on “2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman, 38, Killed by a Pair of Great Danes She Agreed to Feed in Perry County, Pennsylvania

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  1. I cannot think of how miserable a death being killed by Great Danes. A fairly average weight of these dogs is 140 pounds. I wonder if these dogs had a history of aggression. How old were they? Why don’t people board their dogs instead of asking someone to feed them?
    I’ve seen a number of dogs turned loose by pet sitters and hit by cars.

  2. I find myself reacting defensively about Kristen’s last post – I’m afraid people will use it to blame her somehow, imply that she didn’t really want to live. It seems I don’t look upon these killings with cool rationality. Meanwhile the victim will never be able to explain what she meant. In the comments of the Daily Voice article, her eldest son says her post was about her sister.

    In another article, multiple people recounted times those great danes behaved menacingly towards them.

    Punishing the owner won’t save the next victim (though I’d like to see it happen anyway). It would be nice if we could change the culture so people would stop harbouring dangerous animals. I suspect the owner enjoyed the security she felt keeping these killers for her own personal protection. She still has one great dane left, so she can go on feeling safe as she sleeps at night.

    • Colleen, might that growing scandal be indifference and lack of accountability by both the police and animal control services of Perry County?

  3. Rebecca, I’m thinking Kristen posted that when she was exhausted from dealing for 2 years w an intractable neighbor whose farm animals were creating problems. She helped out, giving it her all apparently, while the neighbor treated her as a farmhand.

    Her sister was experiencing severe medical problems. And then Kristen, sounding to me like everyone’s great neighbor, agreed to help yet another neighbor, Sabathne, feeding her jumbo dogs. This after several years of the pandemic. I believe she was simply weary. I agree w you that it would be an error to think Kristen wanted her life to be over.

    I have to wonder whether part of the problem w the first neighbor might have included pitbulls on that farm. She sounds like someone who wanted to keep from naming the specifics to keep from offending that neighbor in a local area online forum.

    • It appears that the intractable neighbor is likely the owner/breeder of the great danes.

      Taking on the never-ending project of unfenced roaming farm animals for her community, Kristen was finished off by the great danes, this time inside the house. Poor soul!

  4. In my area loose farm animals are not acceptable. Years ago I was driving down an unlit country road at midnight and saw two horses in the ditch next to the road. I immediately called 911, stayed with the horses, advised emergency personnel where the horses had gone to, and where I thought they lived. Hitting a 1000 pound animal with a car destroys the car, the animal, and quite possibly the occupants. I was raised knowing farm animals could never be on the road. Maybe the
    first responders there need a crash course about how to handle loose farm animals.

  5. *”Keefer also said the same dogs had bitten Potter two or three years ago.”*

    So, the owner knew that the dogs not only had bitten, they’d bitten the same woman, a few years back.

    100% charge the owner. She knew the dogs were 140lb biters, she knew they had no respect for the dogsitter and she asked Potter to dogsit anyway.

    Just because this lovely woman’s friendships meant more to her than her own life, does not give the dog owner license to put her at risk.

    If your dog can’t be safely dogsat or kennel-boarded in an emergency you are an irresponsible owner. No two ways about it. Part of dog ownership is preparing for such contingencies.

    • Yes — that is information from the Penn Live article that is behind a paywall, but eligible to be published in full outside of that state. It is quite critical information that I did not see in other local news reports.

    • There is no reason to disbelieve the attackers were not Great danes. Also, there were five Great dane puppies at the scene. It wasn’t just a “third Great dane” that was not involved.

      “The Perry County Animal Rescue says the owner has surrendered this Great Dane and five puppies after two other Great Danes on her property mauled and killed neighbor, Kristen Potter, who was helping to feed them. Kristen may have tried to separate them last evening when they were “going at each other.” The Rescue Director says: “Please be sure people know this was very unfortunate and no one was to blame. Our heart goes out to both families.” It is certainly a tragic story.” — Susan Shapiro – WGAL News 8

  6. Colleen, yes I read the news report. The reason I asked is because the one pic I saw of the dog that was turned in looked like a pit mix to me, and smaller than a Great Dane. So was just looking for clarification. Either way, a person is now deceased, Very sad.

  7. This attack is surprising. Until now I have heard nothing but positive commentary about the “gentle giant” character of the Great Dane breed. Something seems very wrong if attacks from this breed are on the rise…

    • I was surprised too! Back in the late 90s I worked for a show Dane breeder, a very successful one in fact, and I regularly fed, bathed, walked, and sometimes slept over with her Danes. I helped her raise a couple litters, which was amazing to my young self. I never had the slightest problem, and ended up buying my own Dane from her that I had for over 10 years. He was 160 pounds, but truly gentle and a bit timid, even. With how it sounds more recently, I might hesitate before getting another. (I can’t handle another large breed at this point in my life anyway I’ve got two Frenchies.)

  8. I want you guys to know that what you are doing is making a difference. I know this organization gets a lot of hate, I used to be one of those people. Seeing and hearing about these cases, especially through your extremely well investigated articles, has made me realize there are inherent problems with specific breeds and it’s not just a result of them being mistreated. Most of these situations happen with dogs that are in loving homes. I’ve donated to the go fund me for Kristen’s family. Please keep doing what you are doing, the victims need a voice too.

    • Leanne, that’s awesome. This website showed me the truth, too, after having a neutral / positive view of pitbulls for years – I believed the lies they were like any other dog and it’s just “how you raise them”. I hope stories like ours are encouraging to Colleen, who works hard to maintain this site. Minds CAN be changed.

  9. This is a terrible tragedy caused by one of my favorite breeds. Danes have become trendy and people are making a lot of money off of them. Bad breeder are everywhere today. These dogs should have not been passing off their genes if they were that aggressive. Lots of red flags on this one.

    I just lost a dane at 11. He was sweet to us and my extended family, but I would have never asked someone outside the family to care for him, especially someone he was aggressive towards previously. I don’t get why people make excuses for their dogs. I new my dane was not of the most friendly sort, and I warned people. I wish more dog owners were not in denial like pretty much every pit owner I know.

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