DogsBite Blog https://blog.dogsbite.org Some dogs don't let go Mon, 21 Sep 2020 19:00:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 Lafayette PD Video: We Are All in Trouble When Trained Police K-9s Attack the Head, Neck Regions of Unarmed Suspects https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/09/trained-police-k-9-attack-the-head-neck-unarmed-suspects.html https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/09/trained-police-k-9-attack-the-head-neck-unarmed-suspects.html#comments Fri, 18 Sep 2020 22:49:18 +0000 https://blog.dogsbite.org/?p=17825 Police K-9 Attacks also Show Dogs Ignoring "Out" Commands Richard Bailey Jr. was attacked in the neck by a Lafayette police K-9 on May 9. Lafayette, IN - In 2014, our nonprofit began collecting police K-9 attacks of innocent bystanders, … Continue reading

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Police K-9 Attacks also Show Dogs Ignoring "Out" Commands

Richard Bailey police K-9 neck injuries
Richard Bailey Jr. was attacked in the neck by a Lafayette police K-9 on May 9.

Lafayette, IN - In 2014, our nonprofit began collecting police K-9 attacks of innocent bystanders, non-threatening suspects and low-level offenders. We began doing so after reviewing lawsuits filed in the Pacific Northwest and how the "bite and hold" method of training was being tested in the courts. Later that year, Canadian-based Pivot Legal Society released a study that concluded police K-9s were the leading cause of injury by RCMP and municipal forces in British Columbia.

Collecting the volume of K-9 attacks on undeserving people, including attacks on their own handlers, quickly overwhelmed us. No state or federal agency is in charge of tracking police K-9 bite data either. As we collected more cases, it became difficult to ignore the many videos of police being unable to call their K-9s off people -- in one case the officer screamed "Off" 18 times to no avail -- as well as the dogs being used as a proxy for excessive force (see unblurred version).1

"If you can't control your dog, you're a liability. You are no longer an asset to your agency. You are a liability magnet. You are going to get sued. You're going to hurt people and your agency is going to write checks." - K-9 expert, Dr. Charlie Meloh

As we delve into this post, which contains violent and disturbing imagery, it is important to know three things. One, the use of police and military dogs -- the attack dog industry -- exploded after 9-11, which impacted the breeding and training of these dogs. Two, when it comes to police "brutality" in K-9 attacks, it is often a "mentality." Lastly, the "partnership relationship" between an officer and K-9 are rarely seen in videos today. This NPR video provides instructive background.

The best example we could find of an ideal "partnership relationship" between an officer and K-9 occurred in February. Montgomery County Officer D. Richardson and his partner, Axel, responded to a bank robbery. The dynamic partnership and Richardson's control over his K-9 is stunning. After Axel jumped through a broken window (while leashed), Axel waited for Richardson to follow. The two proceeded into a potentially highly confrontational scenario, where no bite event occurs.

The primary goals of a police K-9 are to decrease escalation (as the case of K-9 Axel shows), to assist officers in apprehension and to immobilize suspects who resist arrest by biting and holding one of the suspect's extremities. Remain mindful of these goals while examining the principal video in this post -- the Lafayette, Indiana police K-9 attack of Richard Bailey that was released in July -- along with the other videos that we link to, where these goals have been forgotten.

Workings Dogs & Fatalities

In 2014, a titled protection trained rottweiler (level 2 IPO) attacked a 7-year old boy in the head and neck, killing him. The dog belonged to the child's stepfather, who was the director of Vohne Liche Kennels Executive and Family Protection. Indiana-based Vohne Liche Kennels is a top provider of "social police dogs" to K-9 units across the country.2 Alexandra Semyonova wrote a special report for our post explaining bite work (Schutzhund), the basis of police K-9 training.

In 2015, Semyonova offered more insights into the attack dog industry, including the dark side of commercial sellers of "pre-trained" law enforcement dogs, of which Vohne Liche is one, who she believes are not producing reliable dogs. They participate in a "testosterone-driven culture and a hunt for cash markets," she said. Recently, Vohne Liche was forced to pay $1.35 million to the U.S. Department of Defense for fraudulently submitting claims for labor hours for trainers.3

“We will not tolerate dishonest contractors who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of federal taxpayers.” - United States Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II.

In 2016, another dog trained in apprehension and bite work, a retired police K-9, attacked two people, killing one in San Luis Obispo County, California. We also dedicated substantial time to that case, documenting the preliminary hearing and final trial, where former officer Alex Geiger was acquitted. "Due to this verdict, a 'retired' police K-9 can now breakout of its property and savagely attack and kill an innocent person without criminal culpability," we wrote after the trial.

Tracking Police K-9 Disasters

We continued tracking individual cases and regional investigations into police K-9 units often rifled with poor training, unstable dogs and excessive force.4 In North Port, Florida, "cowboy" handlers were commanding their dogs to attack unarmed citizens without sufficient evidence to charge a crime. In St. Paul, Minnesota, three high-profile police K-9 attacks were captured on video (2016, 2017 and 2018), including two innocent bystanders and two K-9s ignoring "Out" commands.

North Port paid out $1.4 million in claims and St. Paul $2.6 million. "A Star Tribune review of six years worth of St. Paul police dog bite reports showed that officers lost control of their K-9s on occasion, dogs regularly apprehended people with no instruction from handlers and that some bystanders were attacked while officers were following common practices." Prior to these settlements, North Port and St. Paul bragged about having "awarding winning" police K-9 units.

In 2018, Joseph Pettaway was killed by a police K-9 after the bites ruptured his femoral artery. Deaths are a rare event in K-9 maulings because police are present to call the dog off, stop bleeding, and call for an ambulance. Deaths are also rare because the dogs are trained to attack the arms and legs -- not the head and neck. In another rare fatality, in 2013, Hayward police shelled out $1.5 million for not warning the victim they had deployed the dog in his backyard.

Police K-9 Facial Attacks Rise

In 2019, we started seeing more facial attacks by police K-9s. In the case of Carlos Balli, he was unarmed, but not a low-level offender. The dog attacked his face for 32 seconds and destroyed it (see body cam video).5 The goal of a K-9's training is to render the subject immobile by targeting the arms and legs. Those can be significant injuries too, but are vastly different than a police K-9 targeting the head and neck region, an act of potentially killing, not an attempt to immobilize.

Then the case of Spencer Erickson, 26, in Lakewood, Colorado emerged. That lawsuit alleges police K-9 Finn bit his neck repeatedly leaving him with deep and potentially fatal cuts near his jugular vein.6 Erickson was not a perfect victim, but he was a low-level offender -- he had crawled into an attic and was consuming alcohol and smoking pot. Erickson also had outstanding warrants for a DUI and mischief cases. The K-9 attack resulted in these bites, which could have been fatal.

Two years earlier, K-9 Finn had attacked an officer during a training exercise, biting him on the face and neck. The dog remained on active duty afterward. If you start to follow these cases, you will find these K-9s are rarely taken off the force even when a previous bite has resulted in a lawsuit.

Evaluating Lafayette Video

Before we show you the 16-minute video released by the Lafayette Police Department in July that shows another insidious "neck attack" by a police K-9 to an unarmed suspect, watch how this K-9 immobilized this man. Watch where the dog is biting him. There is debate in the Prescott Valley case that officers did not follow protocol, but there is no debate about the dog's performance -- it did exactly as it was trained to. The dog appears to perform a clean "Out" too (see full video).

In the Prescott Valley video, police at the scene assess the man's bite injuries. The suspect has an upper left arm bite (3:52), where the dog immobilized him, and bites to his hip through his jeans. That dog's training performed an excellent outcome. What you will see in the Lafayette video is profoundly different and disturbing. We encourage you to watch the full 16-minutes to understand the whole context. Also know that the dog involved, K-9 Boyka, was a Vohne Liche Kennels dog.


The confrontation starts at 6:28. officer Saxton enters at 7:58. K-9 Boyka was released in a "door pop" at 8:24. "Here, here, here!" is heard, alerting the dog to its target. The attack begins at 8:28.


In the video, K-9 Boyka attacks Bailey's neck area for 30 seconds (see left side of screen), while an officer handcuffed him. Bailey's arms and a leg are exposed, but the dog targets his neck. Bailey's doctor described his wounds as a punctured trachea, cut carotid artery, damaged tissue in his neck, injuries to his shoulder and a broken finger. Bailey's injuries resulted in him being in a medically induced coma for six days and hospitalized for 11 days, according to his attorneys.

At 8:52, Saxton snaps a leash onto the dog. Officers say to Bailey, "Stop fighting the dog, stop moving," while the dog is still latched onto his neck. At 9:00, the K-9 breaks off, and at 9:04, the dog redirects onto Saxton. As Saxton leads the dog back to his cruiser, he continues to say, "Stop, stop" to the dog. By 9:38 the dog is inside the cruiser. By 9:49, officers are saying "We need medics now!" Though initially conscious, Bailey will later be placed into a medically induced coma.

On June 11, before the release of this video on July 25, the Tippecanoe County prosecutor requested a special prosecutor to investigate three Lafayette officers -- K-9 handler, Sgt. Josh Saxton, Officers Nicholas Klimek and Victor Sikorski for possible crimes. Indiana State Police confirmed they were investigating the officers for possible excessive force in the arrest of Richard Bailey Jr., during which Saxton's police K-9 mauled Bailey's neck, causing life-threatening injuries.

On June 30, and while he was under investigation, Officer Joshua Saxton was promoted to Sergeant and K-9 Boyka was retired under the auspices that a "supervisor" cannot also be a K-9 handler. Saxton was given sole ownership of this dog -- removing any future liability to the city.

On August 15, the members of the board of the Greater Lafayette ACLU penned an editorial and stated in part: "The body cam video shows that the officers permitted the dog to maul Mr. Bailey in the neck. It is not usual police or K-9 training to point a dog at anything but the extremities." They added that a "murder" while in police custody -- referring to George Floyd -- "very nearly did" happen here. As of September 18, the investigation by the special prosecutor remains pending.


In July, Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly denied a request from the Journal & Courier to inspect the bite records for Boyka during its nearly six years of service with the department. That is a very strong indicator this K-9 has a history of inappropriate bites, as we would expect a "neck biter" to have. Police will eventually be forced to hand over these records to Bailey's attorneys.


Working Dog Trainer Feed Back

We sent the video to a working dog trainer, who provided insight into eastern block K-9s. "Non NATO/UN countries sell these dogs the cheapest," she said. "There are no human rights in these countries, which could influence the training style to skew towards a high level of aggression/lethal bite targeting of head and neck." She also believes that a belligerent drunk on a moped "does not authorize a straight up door pop," when the dog flies out of the vehicle without a handler.

"CRAZY DOMINANT POSSESSIVE eastern block dog with no respect of his handler ... dog redirected on the cop. And that dog had access to arms and legs and targeted the neck. They crank the dogs way too high in training while not practicing any control whatsoever ... and this is how it all goes sideways.

That dog could have just as easily targeted the other officer. It is NOT OK to loose a dog like that unless it is truly life and death. A belligerent drunk man on a moped does not authorize a straight up door pop because you cannot influence the dog at all in such a scenario, dog just comes out teeth first and brains last. This dog clearly had very bad training, and I’d be willing to bet it’s like we discussed, cops get the dog and do "too hot" scenario training all the time, no control, choke off, no outs, no frustration tolerance, which is why the dog ate up the cop on the choke off. Macho boys playing with macho toys without having any idea what they are awakening.

I am seeing a connection between Schutzhund going down the tubes (internationally) and all these psycho, out of control malinois in police forces. Vohne Liche Kennels does not account for thin nerves, or dogs with extreme levels of dominance, or those “relationship” dogs that are held in balance by play and genuine affection in addition to respecting the strong dog ... knowing what hill you wish to die on, and what you don’t. These assholes will buy point and shoot dogs from people that don’t speak a word of English.

So that’s one fatality and one very close call from Vohne Liche Kennels. That we know of anyway! What are the odds? The last police dog importer that racked up that many serious mismatches (California K-9 Academy) went out of business after multiple lawsuits. I’m pretty sure Howie, the owner, did a LOT of scenario training as well. He did these big flashy demos before selling crap dogs to Brittney Spears for $50,000 a piece. Or a police dog for $20,000.

Vohne Liche is doing a huge business with some pretty huge disasters without any reflection on their overall reputation. How do they do it?"

[This trainer also pointed us to videos showing solid K-9 take downs and clean Outs. These dogs are assisting officers in apprehension and immobilizing suspects.]


In comments, we would like your feedback on the Lafayette Police Department K-9 neck attack involving Sgt. Josh Saxton, police K-9 Boyka and Richard Bailey Jr. The confrontation starts at 6:28. The attack begins at 8:28 and lasts until 9:00. Was this dog properly deployed on Bailey? Was this excessive force? Should the officer have been promoted two months after the attack?


Summary

Our nonprofit began investigating the issue of police K-9 attacks on undeserving people six years ago. These dogs are increasingly being used as a proxy for violence and being deployed on unarmed and low-level offenders, subjecting them to life-long debilitating injuries. The head and neck attacks are increasing as well, subjecting these suspects to potential death. That is not supposed to be the intent of police K-9s; the intent is to immobilize "dangerous" offenders.

The attacks in this report portray white, Black and Latino suspects -- some were never classified as a "defendant" since they were never charged with a crime after the mauling. The Lafayette police K-9 "neck attack" fell squarely within worldwide protests due to the disproportionate police violence inflicted on Black men. Even the ACLU emphasized in this case, referring to police, "Such conduct does not contribute to social peace; in fact, it only allows distrust of police to fester."

Failure to employ correct K-9 techniques and a lack of training in de-escalation techniques is already placing entire K-9 departments at risk.

As we were writing this post, a Salt Lake City K-9 officer was charged with second-degree felony aggravated assault after he deployed his K-9 on a Black man who was on his knees with his hands in the air. Watching the body cam video should make you weep. This dog is being used as a proxy for violence. The whole K-9 unit was suspended afterward.7 This is the extreme polar opposite of how Officer Richardson and his partner Axel responded to a dangerous bank robbery.

If excessive force cases involving police K-9s continue to escalate, taxpayers will grow angrier at funding the resulting lawsuits. With some of these dogs now targeting the head and neck regions, these lawsuits are one step away from wrongful death lawsuits as well. The training techniques and instability of some of these police K-9s, along with "baseless deployment" decisions and excessive force -- described as "barbaric" and "animalistic" by attorneys -- must be reined in.

Police K-9 neck attack - Spencer

Spencer Erickson, 26, was attacked in the neck by Lakewood Police Department K-9 Finn.

Police K-9 face attack - Carlos Balli

Carlos Balli, 29, seeks $2 million dollars after Arizona DPS K-9 Storm ripped off half his face.

1The man in the San Diego police K-9 video, 26-year old David Aceves, was never charged with a crime and was given a settlement for $385,000 by the city. The "large degloving injury" inflicted by the police K-9 cost the man the full use of his right leg for the rest of his life, according to his attorneys. It is unknown what became of the K-9.
2In 2013, Alpha Dogs aired on Nat Geo Wild, featuring the owner and staff of Vohne Liche Kennels (VLK). The series only ran for one year. In May 2019 (and possibly while VLKs was negotiating with the DOJ after fraudulently over-billing them), VLK urged its supporters to write to National Geographic asking for another season.
3After the August 14 announcement by the Department of Justice, Performance Kennels Inc., who imports dogs from Solvakia, called out Vohne Liche. "If Vohne Liche is bold enough to try to screw the DOD do you think they would hesitate to screw a law enforcement agency?" It is "high time companies like this were called out by others in the industry. Shame on them." One person who commented on a similar post, stated, "The dogs from VLK are shit."
4The man on the bicycle, Richard Schumacher, suffered a "degloving of the right axilla" injury due to the K-9 mauling in Punta Gorda, Florida (See full body cam video). Schumacher later sued the city and obtained $70,000. Punta Gorda then retired the attacker, K-9 Spirit, to its handler, officer Lee Coel, who had improperly used the dog in the first place. Fortunately, the city replaced K-9 Spirit with two Labrador retrievers for the purposes of drug detection and tracking. Officer Coel later mistakenly shot and killed a woman during a community safety workshop -- his gun was not supposed to be loaded. Coel was fired afterward and later pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter after killing retired librarian Mary Knowlton during the "Shoot Don’t Shoot" demonstration.
5Carlos Balli, 29, was driving a stolen car when he was spotted by an Arizona DPS officer. During the police pursuit, Balli got out of the vehicle and fled on foot through a residential neighborhood then hid behind bushes. His hands were in the air just before DPS Detective Brad Martin released, K-9 Storm on Balli. The dog attacked Balli in the face and arm for 32 seconds. Balli is screaming as the officer tells him to "get on his face" after the K-9 had ripped half of it off. An ambulance does not arrive until 13 minutes later. Two years earlier, K-9 Storm chewed off a portion of an unarmed man's leg, but was not retired afterward. Balli is suing the state for $2 million dollars.
6Erickson v. City of Lakewood, Colorado et al., (District of Colorado, 1:2019cv02613). "While the Individual Defendants [police] downplayed the severity of Mr. Erickson’s injuries in their reports and covered his lacerations and bite wounds in photographs taken on scene, photographs taken at the hospital illustrate the severity, lethality, and shocking unreasonableness of the police conduct that created Mr. Erickson’s injuries … If these wounds had been mere millimeters deeper, Mr. Erickson would be dead," states the complaint.
7The recent felony charge against Salt Lake K-9 Officer Nickolas Pearce marks the first time we have seen this after an active duty police K-9 mauling. Prosecutors said Jeffrey Ryans "wasn't resisting arrest" at the time. "He certainly wasn't posing an imminent threat of violence or harm to anyone and he certainly wasn't concealed." If massive civil lawsuits don't force some of these K-9 departments to change, maybe criminal charges will.

Related articles:
Police Dogs Should Be Trained as Officers, Not Equipment
Police K-9 Dog Bite Studies and Regional Investigations - DogsBite.org

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2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed, Two Daughters Injured by Family Pit Bulls in McCurtain County, Oklahoma https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/09/woman-killed-daughters-injured-by-pit-bulls-mccurtain-county.html https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/09/woman-killed-daughters-injured-by-pit-bulls-mccurtain-county.html#comments Tue, 15 Sep 2020 21:08:58 +0000 https://blog.dogsbite.org/?p=17796 A woman died Friday after being attacked by two pit bulls in McCurtain County, Oklahoma. Woman Killed by Pit Bulls McCurtain County, OK - On Friday evening, we learned on social media that a woman in her 70s was killed … Continue reading

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Karen Wilkerson died after pit bull mauling
A woman died Friday after being attacked by two pit bulls in McCurtain County, Oklahoma.

Woman Killed by Pit Bulls
McCurtain County, OK - On Friday evening, we learned on social media that a woman in her 70s was killed by a family pit bull near Broken Bow. Today, the McCurtain Gazette confirmed her death -- this newspaper does not have a website or a Facebook page. The unnamed victim suffered "extremely severe" facial lacerations, a "partially amputated left leg" and numerous bites. Her two daughters were bitten and injured while trying to help their mother, according to the Gazette.

The deadly attack occurred outside of Idabel on Friday afternoon after a woman dropped her mother off at her sister's home, reports the Gazette. After she dropped her off and was driving away, she saw in her rearview mirror that her mother was on the ground being attacked by two pit bulls. She turned around and ran to give her mother aid, as her sister ran from her home to help as well. All three injured women were transported to McCurtain Memorial Hospital in Idabel.

The 70-year old victim was being transferred to a regional hospital when "her vital signs crashed," reports the Gazette. The ambulance returned to McCurtain Memorial Hospital, where she died. The deceased woman's husband put both dogs down, officers said. Last December, just miles away, Cledith Davenport, 79, was killed by a pack of dogs in Broken Bow. He was discovered lying halfway in a ditch on his property with the "dogs chewing on him." No criminal charges were filed.


A family member confirmed the woman who died is 76-year old Karen Wilkerson of Broken Bow. Her age does not match the Gazette's age and some family members are asking that the Gazette article be taken down, "It’s not so much the article, it’s what people are posting saying about the article," Summer said. Less than 24 hours after Wilkerson died, the family suffered another death. The daughter (presumably) that owns the pit bulls is Karrie, her female pit bull is named "Squirt."

Mccurtain county woman killed by pit bulls

Family pit bulls killed a woman and injured her two daughters in McCurtain County, Oklahoma.

Mccurtain county pit bull attack

A female pit bull named "Squirt" seen on the Facebook page of one of the victim's daughters.

map iconView the DogsBite.org Google State Map: Oklahoma Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Related articles:
12/18/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Killed by Pack of Dogs in Broken Bow, Oklahoma
12/18/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Multiple Dogs Killed Teenage Boy Walking Home from School

Statewide attacks:
Vicious Dog Attacks in Oklahoma by Butch Bridges, a log of Oklahoma vicious dog attacks.


Baseline reporting requirements:
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.

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2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Recently Adopted Pit Bull-Mix Kills Woman, Severely Injures Owner in Margate, Florida https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/08/pit-bull-kills-woman-severely-injures-owner-margate.html https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/08/pit-bull-kills-woman-severely-injures-owner-margate.html#comments Sat, 29 Aug 2020 21:12:24 +0000 https://blog.dogsbite.org/?p=17726 Location where a pit bull-mix killed a woman and injured her son in Margate, Florida. Stray Pit Bulls as Pets UPDATE 09/06/20: On August 28, Carolyn Varanese was killed by Smokey, a dog her son Joseph had adopted several weeks … Continue reading

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Pit bull kills woman in Margate, Florida
Location where a pit bull-mix killed a woman and injured her son in Margate, Florida.

Stray Pit Bulls as Pets
UPDATE 09/06/20: On August 28, Carolyn Varanese was killed by Smokey, a dog her son Joseph had adopted several weeks earlier. Joseph was badly injured in the attack while trying to save her. Miami-Dade Animal Services picked up Smokey as an injured stray on June 16. The dog was covered in bite marks and tested positive for heartworm and Ehrlichia. The dog had a 52-day shelter stay and was advertised as "dog selective" with "free" heartworm treatment if adopted.

On August 7, Mastiff of Florida Rescue pulled the dog and placed it with the Varanese family shortly thereafter. The dog, formerly named Axon at Miami-Dade Animal Services, had not yet cleared heartworm, which compromises blood flow to major organs and decreases blood-oxygen levels. By late July, Smokey's appearance had greatly improved, but temperament displayed at that time was still impacted by the illness. Only a healthy dog shows its true temperament.

As demonstrated by Mastiff of Florida Rescue, very little time was spent by the rescue evaluating or "rehabilitating" this dog outside of the shelter environment. Smokey, a large muscular dog, was also placed into a home with an 84-year old woman who used a wheelchair and was on dialysis. This is the subject of the recent Sun-Sentinel article. Rescues wanting to "save" pit bulls like Smokey, who are picked up as strays with little-to-no history and placing them into new homes.

Smokey is a harrowing example of rescues wanting to see a mistreated pit bull succeed. Instead, once it became healthy, it acted out its genetics.

The Sentinel piece also highlights how some rescues go through a "'painstaking process for each adoption," while others do not. Some rescues keep dogs like Smokey -- abandoned, abused and being treated for illnesses -- for a reasonable amount of time, rather than giving it to the first willing family. Smokey might have been fully clear of heartworms after being with the Varanese family for several weeks. That is also when this dog violently attacked for reasons that are unknown.

A week before Carolyn was killed, another adopted pit bull in Broward County suddenly attacked three family members, requiring two pediatric trauma alerts (brothers, 11 and 12), one airlift and an ambulance for their mother. The father in the household, Carlos Aviles, is a dog trainer and the owner of Green to Alpha K9, which specializes in dogs with behavior issues and new pet owners. That pit bull, Kane, also had an unknown background when Aviles agreed to foster and train it.

So while there is an argument among rescuers -- incensed that Smokey was "set up to fail" by the rescue -- the same cannot be said for Kane, who went to the home of a professional dog trainer. With or without an unknown history, pit bulls have long been identified as a breed that will attack disproportionately to minor or no stimuli, including suddenly attacking their owners and family members. Single pit bulls are also consistently involved in attacks that result in multiple victims.

Listen to parts of the audio dispatch log files of the Coral Springs multi-victim attack (Kane).

For these reasons, we recommend against adopting pit bulls from shelters and rescues; the risks are too high. Some shelters and humane groups also remove breed labels -- specifically to adopt out more pit bulls -- use deceptive advertisements, fail to disclose bite histories and even drug dogs to mask aggression from adopters. We'd like to hear more from responsible shelters and rescues that measure a "successful adoption" as a "safe adoption" for the dog and the community.


08/31/20: Dog Came from Shelter
According to an unidentified spokesperson from Miami-Dade Animal Services (MDAS), the dog that killed Carolyn Varanese and badly injured her son came from that shelter. "Smokey" was picked up by MDAS as an injured stray on June 16, reports the Sun Sentinel. The dog had a 52-day shelter stay, where Smokey "did not display any aggression toward humans." On August 7, Mastiff Rescue of Florida pulled the dog and placed it with the Varanese family shortly thereafter.1

Late Monday, we submitted a detailed public information request to MDAS for the dog's shelter, behavior and medical records during its 52-day stay. Despite this dog eventually being placed outside of Miami-Dade County, we do not believe "Smokey" even remotely qualified as a "pit bull" under Miami-Dade County's pit bull ban, which requires the dog to be 70% pit bull or more. Our hypothesis is that MDAS identified the dog as an "American bulldog-mix" or a "mastiff-mix."2

Miami-Dade Animal Services now joins a growing number of taxpayer-funded shelters, in whole or part, since 2014 that have adopted out or transferred a dog to a rescue that killed a person shortly thereafter. Our list does not include dogs placed by "fosters" or "rehomings." It's still a damning track record, and Florida shelters top the list. Back in 2015 and 2016, the media had outrage over these attacks. Now, it's just "routine" that dangerous breeds adopted from county shelters kill.

Animal ID Found on Facebook

On Wednesday, the Animal ID of "Smokey" was sent in. The dog's previous name was "Axon." The dog arrived in bad shape with multiple bites wounds, an ocular condition, heartworms and more. Mastiff Rescue of Florida pulled Axon on August 7. "Happy new beginnings" and "never to be failed again," said one rescue. "He was 5 years old with no aggression!" said another. "He was a sweet dog per the volunteers at MDAS. The rescue took their links down for him. Why?"

"My rescue MASTIFF RESCUE OF FLORIDA, INC did not fight for me. What they did is delete all my posts as if I never existed." - Rescue Me Miami

"Why would a rescue place a dog like this in a home with an 84-year old woman?" Rescue Me Miami Shelter Dogs asked. That is the same question the readers of DogsBite.org would like to know. Of course the delirious "death row" dog rescuers now want to "save" Axon after the dog killed a woman and mauled her son. "I never meant to hurt anyone. Something happened in that home to make me do what I did," goes the ridiculous claim. There is no hope for Axon now.

Dog Owner Speaks to Media

Just before the Animal ID was sent in, we saw that Local 10 published a follow up. Joe Varanese, the victim's son, is quite shaken, saying, "It happened on my watch. It was something I brought into the house." Racked with grief and guilt, Varanese can't even enter back into his own home. Varanese had Smokey for three weeks (ample time to "decompress") before the fatal attack. He told Local 10 he was helping his mother from the bathroom when the dog "just went berserk."

"I flipped the dog over, slammed him on the ground -- that didn’t help, he came back stronger," Varanese said. "I hit him with the leg of the wheelchair -- it didn’t even faze him." During the struggle, his socks lost traction in a pool of blood. He fell down on the floor, but got up and "that’s when I started beating that dog to no avail," he said. There were no signs of aggression during the first three weeks, Varanese said, and stated it would now be hard to trust another pit bull breed.

Smokey Axon kills woman in Margate

"Smokey," AKA "Axon" (ID A2145086) seen in multiple Facebook posts prior to the fatal attack.


08/29/20: Dog Kills Elderly Woman
Margate, FL - An elderly woman is dead and her son was left severely injured after a violent dog attack Friday night, according to the Margate Police Department. Officers were dispatched about 9:40 pm to 6185 Southwest 1st Street. When responders arrived, they found 84-year-old Carolyn Varanese dead at the scene. Her son, 57-year-old Joseph Varanese, was transported to Northwest Medical Center with severe dog bite injuries. Both victims were the owner of the dog.

Local 10 News spoke to a family friend, who described the dog attack as vicious and brutal. The dog, a male pit bull-mix, had just started staying at the home on Southwest 1st Street a few days earlier, according to the friend. News footage from Local 10 and CBS Miami captured images of the tan pit bull as Broward County Animal Control officers removed the dog from the home. On Saturday, Joseph was released from the hospital and is now staying with this same family friend.

"The dog messed him up pretty good. His eye is all messed up. His nose," the unidentified family friend told Local 10, who is seen wearing a red Harley Davidson tee-shirt. "His whole arm is all messed up. Cause he was trying to save his mom, and the dog just kept going for her jugular," the man said. Margate police continue to investigate this multi-victim dog attack. It is unclear what, if anything, caused the deadly attack, and it is unclear how long the two had owned the dog.

A Saturday update identified the friend as "Jimmy," who said the dog was usually friendly with the wheelchair-bound woman, even sleeping in bed with her, reports Local 10. "The dog grabbed her ankles and [Joseph] started beating the dog with the wheelchair," he said. In March, a woman using a wheelchair was killed by a pit bull her roommate had taken in a week earlier. Authorities blamed the attack on the victim by "speculating" that she rolled over the dog or fell on the canine.

Jimmy told WSNV that after the dog grabbed her ankles, "she dropped to the floor, and he went for her throat." Jimmy added that Carolyn was "there for five days with the dog and had no problem," as if that is a measure of success for a pit bull in a household with an 84-year old woman using a wheelchair. Jimmy did not say where the dog came from. Carolyn's son, who is likely the only owner of the dog, is now being cast as doing "everything he could to protect her."

New Environments

In the 33 parameters that we track for each fatal dog mauling victim, there are three that relate to time and changing environmental factors: 1.) The dog or victim was new to the household in a 0-2 month period -- these fatal attacks often occur with 14 days; 2.) A babysitter was watching a child or the dog was being "watched" by a person other than its owner when it fatally attacked; and 3.) The victim was visiting or living temporarily with the dog's owner when the dog fatally attacked.

Over the 15-year period of 2005 to 2019, 19% (101 of 522) of fatal dog maulings fall under the first scenario, the dog or victim was new to the household in a 0-2 month period. This scenario includes all infant fatalities, 0-2 months old. Pit bulls carried out 56% (57) of these attacks. When only looking at adults 21 and older, pit bulls carried out 76% (19 of 25) of these attacks. The other dog breeds involved in these adult deaths are primarily rottweilers, bullmastiffs and mastiff-mixes.

By late Saturday afternoon, Jimmy said that Joseph had recently taken in the dog from an unidentified rescue group; police have not yet confirmed.

We question how long the two had owned the dog because many of the adult victims in the "new to a household in a 0-2 month period" scenario are often new owners of the dog through a recent adoption (Anthony Riggs, Susan Sweeney, Robin Conway, Margaret Colvin). We have no cases on record, except the death of Bethany Stephens that involved long-term ownership of the dog, a 0-2 month shift in the environment and the end result being an owner-directed fatal attack.

Victim was "Very Sick"

As more updates and clarifications came to light by late Saturday afternoon, we also learned that the 84-year old victim was "very sick," according to Rahem Menendez, who lives next door. "It’s very surprising that she died this way. She was very sick," he said. The Sun-Sentinel also talked to Menendez, along with neighbor Fabian Gonzalez, who lives across the street. Gonzalez stated that Carolyn was "kind of sick" and often had an ambulance take her to medical appointments.

That any rescue would place this type of dog -- a massive pit bull-type dog -- in a household with an 84-year woman in her condition is not only reckless, it should fall under a criminal statute for depraved indifference, reckless homicide, negligent homicide or endangering an elderly person. The same criminal charge should apply to her son Joseph. As noted in our comment section, this dog looks like a "rhino" or more aptly stated by using "shelter terminology," a "house hippo."

Pit bull kills woman in Margate

A male pit bull-mix killed an elderly woman and severely injured a man in Margate, Florida.

Pit bull kills woman in Margate

A male pit bull-mix seen being taken from a home after a multi-victim dog attack in Margate.

map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: Florida Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

Related articles:

1"Mastiff Rescue of Florida Inc" promises, "We make certain the mastiffs are fully vetted prior to going into homes." The dog is not even a mastiff, it is an American Bully flavor -- heavy on the "bully" (thickness). 
2In 2011, Miami-Dade County changed the percentage of pit bull required to meet the definition of the ban from 50% to 70%, raising the evidentiary standard to “clear and convincing” evidence. This attack did not occur in Miami-Dade County, it occurred in Broward County. So the strict standard of pit bull classification by Miami-Dade is moot.

04/14/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies After Pit Bull Attack in Fort Worth, Texas
11/15/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Adopted Dog Kills Baby While in Foster Care in Clearwater


Baseline reporting requirements:
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.

The post 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Recently Adopted Pit Bull-Mix Kills Woman, Severely Injures Owner in Margate, Florida appeared first on DogsBite Blog.

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2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Killed by His Stepson's Two Pit Bulls Near Belleville, Illinois https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/08/pit-bulls-kill-man-belleville-illinois.html https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/08/pit-bulls-kill-man-belleville-illinois.html#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2020 04:28:21 +0000 https://blog.dogsbite.org/?p=17700 Stephen Pemberton, 61, was killed by his stepson's two pit bulls near Belleville, Illinois. Man Killed by Pit Bulls Belleville, IL - A 61-year old man is dead after being attacked by his stepson's two pit bulls. Stephen F. Pemberton … Continue reading

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pit bulls kill man Belleville, Stephen Pemberton
Stephen Pemberton, 61, was killed by his stepson's two pit bulls near Belleville, Illinois.

Man Killed by Pit Bulls
Belleville, IL - A 61-year old man is dead after being attacked by his stepson's two pit bulls. Stephen F. Pemberton Sr. was killed Wednesday afternoon after the two pit bulls got out of the laundry room where they were being kept and attacked him, according to the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department. It is unknown if the dogs escaped the room or if the victim opened the door. The two pit bulls belonged to his stepson, 45-year old Kelly Knaup, who was away at the time.

At 1:40 pm, sheriff's deputies were dispatched to 309 Campus Drive, part of an unincorporated area near Belleville. They arrived to find Knaup, who told deputies his stepfather was dead inside the home after his dogs had attacked him. Knaup’s wife and a health care worker1 were also in the home during the attack, but in a separate room. They called Knaup and told him to return home; they could hear the attack happening, but could not leave the room they were in, police said.

"The investigation is continuing, but no one is in custody at this time, and charges are not expected to be filed," Capt. Bruce Fleshren said in a statement. “While precautions were taken to keep these dogs away from others in the home, obviously that did not work, and there was a very high price paid to keep these dogs." St. Clair County Animal Control took both adults dogs, a male and female, into custody. The dogs will be euthanized, reports the Belleview News-Democrat.

Illinois Fatal Dog Attacks

Pemberton's death marks the fifth fatal dog attack in Illinois this year. 80% of these attacks (4) involved pit bulls, 80% involved victims, ages 25 and older, and family dogs carried out 80% of these attacks. In the most recent death, Knaup knew his dogs were hazardous, which is why he typically kept them in the "laundry room" whenever he left the house. In every other "laundry room attack" we have seen, the pit bulls escaped and attacked; the victim never opened the door.

What is unclear is why Knaup did not have dog crates, which would have reliably secured the dogs and would not be dependent upon a person accidentally opening the laundry room door during his absence. The two below pit bulls are shown on Knaup's Facebook page in 2018 photographs, a third pit bull is seen in 2016 and "Mama Hawk" and her puppies are seen in a video from as recently as four months ago. Per usual, their bellies are fat and filled with worms.

pit bulls kill man Belleville, Illinois

Two pit bulls seen in 2018 Facebook images -- "Black" wearing a green collar on the right.

pit bulls kill man Belleville, Illinois

"Mama Hawk" seen with her puppy litter just a few months ago; she routinely had litters. Both Mama Hawk (pink collar) and "Black" (green collar) appear to be Knaup's primary pit bulls.

map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: Illinois Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.
1Some background into why the victim may have needed a home health worker.

Related articles:
07/06/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Kills Toddler During July 4th Party in Joliet, Illinois
06/05/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: 70-Year Old Woman Killed by Dogs in Country Club Hills, Illinois
02/11/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Attacks Four Family Members, Killing One, in Plainfield


Baseline reporting requirements:
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.

The post 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Killed by His Stepson's Two Pit Bulls Near Belleville, Illinois appeared first on DogsBite Blog.

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Unmasking a Con: How a Pit Bull Activist Rose to Fame in the No-Kill Community while Simultaneously Killing Dogs https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/08/unmasking-steffen-baldwin-pit-bull-activist.html https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/08/unmasking-steffen-baldwin-pit-bull-activist.html#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2020 23:57:00 +0000 https://blog.dogsbite.org/?p=16596 Steffen Baldwin, a Self-Appointed "Dog Whisperer" Steffen Baldwin, 39, faces 42 charges related to animal abuse and fraud in Ohio. Dog Whisperer Charged Union County, OH - On July 23, Steffen Evan Baldwin (aka Steffen Finkelstein), 39, was arrested in … Continue reading

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Steffen Baldwin, a Self-Appointed "Dog Whisperer"

steffen baldwin - dog whisperer
Steffen Baldwin, 39, faces 42 charges related to animal abuse and fraud in Ohio.

Dog Whisperer Charged
Union County, OH - On July 23, Steffen Evan Baldwin (aka Steffen Finkelstein), 39, was arrested in California and taken into custody. In the days that followed, a 42-count felony indictment was unsealed in Union County, Ohio that charged Baldwin with dozens of crimes related to animal cruelty and fraud. To his fans, Baldwin is known first as a "pit bull breed advocate," then as an expert animal trainer and rescuer. The indictment ties Baldwin to the deaths of 18 dogs.

Prosecutors say Baldwin carried out the 42 charges between November 2012 and February 2020 and include: engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a felony in the first-degree, bribery, 15 counts of felony telecommunication fraud, 13 counts of animal cruelty, six counts of felony tampering with records, three counts of felony grand theft -- including stealing a firearm from his own nonprofit organization1 -- two counts of falsification and one count of impersonating a Peace Officer.

Prosecutors say Baldwin's goal was "stardom." If convicted on all charges, Baldwin could face over eight decades in prison.

Baldwin was included in our 2019 expose of Luke Westerman, who currently faces 19 felonies for security law violations. Westerman's court case remains pending in Franklin County, Ohio. Both Westerman and Baldwin -- close friends and cut from the same cloth -- conned their way into the pit bull advocacy and no-kill spheres by creating false online personas, often with the help of professional photographers, peddling sham resumes, sham companies and sham websites.

In our expose of Westerman, we stated that Baldwin fled Ohio in 2018 -- we were right. Court filings show that in 2018, Baldwin "left the State of Ohio knowing that a criminal investigation was underway. The investigation of this case began in June 2017." By the latter part of 2017, several individuals had revealed to him they had been interviewed by officers, according to the filings. Baldwin fled to California in February 2018, hoping to leave his myriad of crimes in Ohio behind.

"In his social media accounts, the Defendant made threats to harm the investigating officer, describing how 'stressed out, nauseous and angry' he was about the investigation. The Defendant searched the Internet for information on including 'first time offender 3rd degree felony,' 'nonprofit fraud penalties in Ohio,' and 'theft by deception,' among other topics, which demonstrate his knowledge about the pending investigation." - Court of Common Pleas, Union County

Union County Prosecutor Dave Phillips told the Marysville Journal-Tribune that when it came time to serve the indictment and arrest Baldwin in California, police invited Baldwin to conduct an animal training for their department. When Baldwin arrived, U.S. Marshals arrested him. In early August, Baldwin was transported by U.S. Marshals to Ohio. On August 5, Baldwin was arraigned in the Union County Court of Common Pleas in Marysville, Ohio. His bail was set at $200,000.

Campbell police detective Jim Conroy said the initial police report was filed in June 2017. From there, the evidence kept stacking up. "Every rock I turned over, there was something there," he said. "Every hole I went into led to more holes." He said he examined a total of 450,000 social media posts for the case. The multi-agency investigation included agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ohio Department of Public Safety and Union County sheriff’s office.

Combined, the agencies spent more than 13,000 hours on the case, which resulted in the 42-count felony indictment. - Columbus Dispatch

Det. Conroy said Baldwin's motive was clear -- he sought stardom. Baldwin, just like Westerman, found a way to connect himself to as many animal organizations as he could, chiefly pit bull advocacy and no-kill groups, in order to build up his reputation as a pit bull breed advocate and an expert "animal behaviorist." Part of this included him seeking a cable TV show. At least four production companies signed Baldwin with the goal of pitching him to Animal Planet, Conroy said.

How the Scam Worked

Baldwin's scheme was to tell people he was taking in unredeemable dogs to rehabilitate and rehome them, Phillips said. "Then he would raise money for these dogs -- for their care, for their adoption, for their training --- but had allegedly euthanized them." Baldwin had "a pattern of lying to people to raise money," he said. Funds he raised for the dogs, even after they were dead, were used for personal expenses including, gifts for his girlfriend and strip clubs, Phillips said.

Recent fundraisers can be seen here and here -- both regard reactive pit bulls being sent to his California facility. A fundraiser is started for a high-risk dog to be sent to Baldwin's "last chance" rehab ranch. $4,000-$7,000 will get the dog into his 8-week intensive training program. In Ohio, when Baldwin's price point was as low as only $1,000, 18 of these dogs did not make it out alive, and Baldwin continued to raise funds for some of these dogs after he had them euthanized.

Baldwin took advantage of false hope -- there is no sustainable manner to rehabilitate dogs with extreme or impulsive aggression. The pit bull rescue and no-kill communities seized the illusionary belief that Baldwin had "mythical" abilities to "save" these reactive dogs. Police in Ohio tie Baldwin to the deaths of 18 dogs, which investigators characterized as "needless" in the indictment. However, Phillips believes the total number of deaths exceeds the number of indictments filed.

Why Should We Care?

Many of the reactive dogs Baldwin allegedly rehabilitated were recycled back into our communities after exiting his intensive "shelter diversion" program. We also care because Baldwin's fraud prolonged the false hope that these dogs could be "cured" of impulsive aggression, the same false hope that the "save them all" rescuers cling to. Responsible people would have put these types of dogs down for unstable behavior instead of sending the dog away to be magically rehabilitated.

The deaths of these irredeemable dogs were "needless" in the sense that these dogs had owners or interested parties, and the animals could have been returned to them with the admission that Baldwin was unable to rehabilitate them. Baldwin chose to lie instead. The reason why many of these dogs, if not all of them, were secretly killed was so that Baldwin could maintain his animal "behavior expert," reactive dog rehabilitator image and continue to use the dogs to fundraise.

In serving his own desire to be a superstar, Baldwin perpetuated and amplified the dangerously wrong idea that dogs with inherent impulsive aggression can be rehabilitated and turned into safe family pets.


steffen Baldwin arrested mug shot

A creepy Steffen Baldwin seen in December 2017 and the mug shot taken after his arrest.


Thwarted by "Remi's" Owner

While Baldwin started his life afresh in California, some of his victims in Ohio demanded justice. Litsa Kargakos, the owner of "Remi," is how the police investigation began. She paid Baldwin $1,000 to work with Remi. After months of Kargakos trying to check on the dog's progress, Baldwin fabricated a story that he euthanized the dog after Remi had attacked and killed another dog. Kargakos did not believe Baldwin's timeline of events and took her concerns to police.

For three years, Kargakos never gave up. The first post on her Justice 4 Remi Facebook page was May 6, 2017. The next month, she wrote: "We thought he went to the Dog Whisperer instead he went to the Dog Murderer." During this time, Kargakos also warned many pit bull-centric rescues and organizations, but none cut their ties to Baldwin. Not only did the pit bull community worship a fake "rehabilitator," when they were told he was fraudulent, they flat out ignored it.

"As many of you know, I posted, text messaged, emailed, and shared Remi’s story everywhere I could to alert others to what had happened to Remi. We didn't know the whole truth until much later when the police became involved. It was plain as day that the story that was being told by Steffen Baldwin did not add up. But, Steffen's network continued to grow and they all chose to ignore Remi’s story and not even attempt to ask questions about what really happened. Some of the bigger names that were aware of Remi and still continued to partner and do business: Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, Rebecca Corry from Stand up for Pits foundation, Austin Pets Alive, Summer Parker, Saskia Boisot, Bark Box, Huffington Post, Pima Animal Control ... Also, I know that people reached out to Gordon Shell as well (his "brother from another mother" as he would say). All these people who claim they fight for animals and are rescuers or stand behind rescue as a company. Not ONE of them cut ties with Steffen after they knew about Remi and some even sent him 'dangerous' or biting dogs to 'rehabilitate.' So, what does that tell you about them?" - Litsa Kargakos

Kargakos' post tells us there will be more Baldwins in the future. The pit bull rescue and no-kill communities are riddled with false hope. There is a primary reason for this. These groups refuse to have honest conversations and policies about behavioral euthanasia. The branded tagline of Best Friends, "Save them all," is not realistic, nor is it possible. Furthermore, the role of the "magical pit bull rehabilitator" is unsustainable. It's just a matter of time before the jig is up.

Like many who have come before him -- Leah Purcell of Spindletop and Steve Markwell of Olympic Animal Sanctuary just to name two -- with or without the 42-count felony indictment, Baldwin was already headed down a path of doom: a "sanctuary operation" of "reactive" dogs with bite histories. Baldwin knew this too. While we cannot confirm the number of dogs at his California property at the time of his arrest, comments on social media estimated there were 40 to 50 dogs.

The indictment states that Baldwin committed many serious crimes. Most notably, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony. Baldwin exploited people's trust and did so for financial gain. Our hope is that there is a trial by jury -- no plea deal. A trial will air Baldwin's dirty laundry, his deceptive schemes to achieve stardom, and with any luck, will show the public and donors that the "reactive dog rehabilitation" routine is a magnet for con artists and hoarders.

Our Examination

As we stated in our expose of Luke Westerman, "We have seen a number of pit bull advocates and rescuers rise and sink. The 'emotionally charged' pit bull advocacy and rescue spheres are easily exploitable. Thus, fraud and facades are commonplace." Our goal in examining Baldwin's background was to find out just how easy it is for an "anti-BSL campaigner" and "bull breed advocate" to become a rising star dog "behavior expert" all while simultaneously killing pit bulls.

Baldwin routinely hobnobbed with the upper echelon of no-kill, while he killed pit bulls he promised to rehabilitate. How did he get away with that?

Our examination also analyzes the "three amigos," Baldwin, Westerman and former MML fighter Gordon Shell, who starred in the 2013 documentary film, "The Dogs' Fighter." It was released to Vimeo On Demand and Amazon Prime. It was Shell that showed both how to achieve celebrity through "animal advocacy" (virtue-signaling tee-shirts, social media, protests, and more). Baldwin, apparently, wanted to be a "D-lister" just like Shell and latched onto him like a proverbial pit bull.2


The Early Years - Resume Lies

From 2008 to 2013, Steffen Baldwin served as the Executive Director of the Union County Humane Society. The indictment indicates that Baldwin lied on his resume to obtain this position. Though Baldwin removed his Linkedin page, it claimed he obtained a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy at West Point in a 3-year period, while simultaneously serving in the U.S. Army. Court filings from Union County prosecutors state that Steffen's "military record is not as he suggests."

In May 2013, Baldwin started the Animal Cruelty Task Force of Ohio (ACT Ohio). Within a year, he had started the Reactive Rover Rehab Program and began billing ACT Ohio as a "last chance" destination for death row dogs. This is also when Baldwin began to kill dogs. Between August and December 4, 2014, he euthanized at least two dogs, according to the indictment. A few months earlier, Baldwin was featured with a pit bull in the national campaign, "Show Your Soft Side."

The photo-shoot by Brian Batista with "Chesty" the pit bull essentially launched Baldwin into pit bull advocacy celebrity. At this point, he became a one-man show "rescuing" animals and "saving" reactive pit bulls in his self-created role as the "humane agent" of ACT Ohio. Though Baldwin had plans of raising $120,000 for 2014, it seems it never materialized. Just four years later, the IRS would revoke ACT Ohio's exempt status for failing to file a return for three consecutive years.


The Westerman Years (2015)

Between 2015 and 2017, Baldwin and Westerman were thick as thieves in Ohio. During this 3-year period, Baldwin racked up 34 charges, 23 of which are felonies, and was accused of killing at least seven dogs. This is also when Baldwin began a bromance with "D-lister" Gordon Shell to create one or more pilot TV episodes to shop around. Investigators said that Baldwin eventually signed with at least four production companies with the goal of pitching him to Animal Planet.

The indictment states that on April 23, 2015, Baldwin committed two counts of "unjustifiable" pain to an animal. Six days later, amidst fanfare, Baldwin and Westerman launched a PAC, Ohioians Against Breed Discrimination (OABD), in the hopes of raising $5 million dollars to end BSL in Ohio. They raised just $635 and never reported the earnings to Ohio. In June, Baldwin and Shell spoke at the 2015 Pibble March, while Westerman cooked up an anti-BSL promotional video.

Four days after filming the video with Westerman, Baldwin killed another dog, according to the indictment. A week later, photographer Brian Batista captured Steffen "showing Belle what love is supposed to be," followed by Baldwin's backside, and his now ill-famed cap, "ACT Ohio Humane Agent." Baldwin got significant publicity mileage out of "Belle," including a gush piece by Arin Greenwood, a pit bull zealot, whose brother works as an anti-BSL lobbyist for Best Friends.

At that time, Greenwood was the Animal Welfare editor of the Huffington Post, who chiefly wrote pit bull advocacy pieces. Toward the end of 2015, Baldwin contributed several posts to the blog, which he then leveraged in his dog safety seminars.3 In one piece he ironically wrote, "I have arrest powers in my state, and I have successfully thrown people in jail in my county for abusing animals." The Animal Welfare section, along with Greenwood's job, "went poof" in January 2016.

On November 23, in the midst of writing these posts, Baldwin killed another dog. Six days earlier, Baldwin appeared on a TV show with Shell.

During the 4-month period when Baldwin was submitting articles to the Huffington Post, he racked up 12 criminal counts, including seven counts of felony telecommunications fraud, two counts of felony tampering with records and one count of impersonating a Peace Officer. Moreover, during this same period, Baldwin was pursuing a TV pilot episode with his pal Shell, the former cage fighter. "Tons of amazing ... heart wrenching footage that will reach millions," Shell promised.

Litsa Kargakos, who owned Remi, wrote that she contacted the Huffington Post and informed them of Baldwin. All of his articles remain online, chock full of virtue-signaling. Kargakos also warned Bark Box, where Greenwood landed next to produce more pit bull advocacy pieces and further Baldwin's animal rescuer reputation. Jacqueline Johnson, who was later severely attacked by a pit bull named "Bosco" that Baldwin had helped rehab, also wrote a flowery piece about him.

Before 2015 was over, Baldwin also attended a rally organized by Shell, protesting Michael Vick's return to football. In a continuing bromance with Shell, Baldwin was seen standing behind a sign next to Shell that reads, "Murderers are not role models." A person wearing a No Fear Rescue tee-shirt is also seen. That is the rescue where Kargakos volunteered when she pulled Remi from the euthanasia list. About a year after this photograph, Baldwin has Remi "needlessly" killed.


Steffen Baldwin seen at 2015 rally

Steffen Baldwin seen at 2015 Michael Vick protest in Pittsburgh; Remi on the right.


The Dog Killing Year (2016)

2016 was another banner year for Baldwin and Westerman as they continued to make strides as anti-BSL crusaders and pit bull advocates. It was also Baldwin's top dog killing year, according to the indictment, racking up five more deaths. The first death occurred on March 25. A few days later, the Tortorella Foundation announced that it sponsored fencing for ACT Ohio. John Tortorella is the Columbus Blue Jackets coach and a "dedicated pit bull parent," according to Westerman.

Two months later, Baldwin bribed an official, count 1 of the indictment, and shortly thereafter, on June 9, he killed another dog. Later in the month, Baldwin was seen posing with Westerman, both wearing their virtue-signaling tee-shirts, "Saving Animals Like It's My Business." Westerman stated in the post, "If you discriminate against or mistreat pit bulls (or any dog), be prepared to deal with us…" This is ironic, given that the only dogs Steffen Baldwin is "needlessly" killing are pit bulls.

In early July, while working at Bark Post, Greenwood wrote another publicity piece about Baldwin. Police shot a pit bull named "King" on July 3, and Greenwood was pushing a fundraiser for King's medical costs. Prosecutors told WBNS that Baldwin raised money for an expensive leg surgery for one dog. Instead, he ended up having the dog's leg amputated and pocketed the money. This fraud appears to relate to King. Baldwin continued raising funds after the leg amputation too.

On July 9, the "three amigos," Baldwin, Westerman and Shell -- whom Steffen calls "my brothers from other mothers" -- spoke at the 2016 Pibble March. Not long after, on July 20, Baldwin killed another dog. In September, Baldwin and Westerman were photographed with other protesters outside of the Franklin County Animal Shelter. Baldwin hashtags, "shouldn't have euthanized them bro," but that is exactly what Baldwin keeps doing. He killed Gucci and Remi next.

In between killing Gucci and Remi, Baldwin presented, "Lifesaving on a Dime with ACT Ohio," at the 2016 American Pets Alive conference.4


During Baldwin's "dog killing year," he and Shell collaborated on another TV project. Shell stated he "assembled a power team of animal advocates and we're traveling across the country to rehab animal shelters." However, River Rouge, the featured shelter, was a 2013 recipient of Roverhaul, a partnership by the Michigan Humane Society and Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores. The shelter had already been renovated three years before Shell's "Animal Rescue Rehab" TV pitch.

The shelter rehabbing stunt was, "quickly met with offers from Lions Gate, Muse Entertainment, as well as many other production companies to have our efforts filmed for TV," according to Shell. "Steffen, Katy and I spent many days filming with Lions Gate, and Muse, having to decline the other companies due to exclusivity rights," Shell said. "Unfortunately, the networks were not able to fit our show into their mix." Currently, Shell uses the outdated video to collect 2020 donations.


Living on Borrowed Time (2017)

During the first part of 2017, Baldwin rode a wave of recognition after his conference presentation was featured by Maddie's Fund, the chief funding source for no-kill groups. Baldwin now claimed to be a "regular blogger" for the Huffington Post and Bark Post, which was largely untrue, as well as a member of an unspecified "Anti Dog Fighting Coalition." Baldwin also taught "dog safety" classes to children and had given "pit bull stunt" presentations to police with his amigo Shell.

Part of Baldwin's self-promotional presentation was the "Business of Philanthropy." Yet, Baldwin had failed to file 990s for ACT Ohio since 2015, and through some type of co-mingling scheme, had been stealing property or services from ACT Ohio since 2014 (count 41). In the presentation, his fundraising pitch was to give money through Paypal by sending to "Director@actoh.org." It is unclear if the account was a personal account for Baldwin or a business account for the nonprofit.

Not yet concerned about "nonprofit fraud penalties in Ohio," Baldwin marched into January 2017 with Westerman by co-founding then abandoning the Humane Coalition of Ohio and Animal People, the virtue-signaling tee-shirt company. Just a few days later, both were seen at a speaking event book-ending Kristen Hassen-Auerbach, a no-kill elite, who later came under media scrutiny for failing to disclose dogs’ bite histories to adopters at the Pima Animal Care Center.

On January 20, the two amigos filed state paperwork in Ohio to franchise Columbus Pets Alive, modeled after no-kill Austin Pets Alive. The two partnered with Diana Davidson, whose husband, John Davidson, is the president of hockey operations for the Columbus Blue Jackets (recall the Tortorella Foundation donated fencing to Baldwin's ACT Ohio). The nonprofit franchise was slated to begin in the spring of 2017, but it never panned out, and no federal filings can be located.

During the 3.5 month period of January 1 to April 13, Baldwin was accused of five counts of felony telecommunications fraud, four counts of felony tampering with records, and a single count of falsification. So, while Baldwin was a rising star due to Maddie's Fund, mingling with the upper echelon of the no-kill sphere (Hassen-Auerbach), and busy setting up hollow companies with Westerman, he managed to rack up nine felonies and post this photograph: I speak fluent pit bull.


Law Enforcement Closes In (2018)

By the latter part of 2017, however, things had turned sour for Baldwin.5 According to court filings, "the Defendant formed the plan to leave Ohio in late November 2017, ahead of the personal schedule he had described in his social media after learning of the police investigation." This and other factors indicate Baldwin "intended to flee the State of Ohio while the investigation was continuing." By early 2018, Baldwin had started packing his bags for Southern California.

After arriving in Southern California, Baldwin teamed up with Dr. Saskia Boisot and Summer Parker and co-founded a new nonprofit, Underdog Alliance. Saskia financed the operation and obtained the Acton property for Baldwin's "reactive" pit bull playground, which he soon began calling the "Steffen Baldwin Center." This is not to be confused with the other "dog whisperer," who operates the "Dog Psychology Center," nestled in 45 acres of rolling hills in Santa Clarita.

Saskia was informed by Remi's owner early on that Baldwin was under investigation in Ohio. Not only did Saskia not heed Kargakos' warning, she blocked her. "Saskia blocked me after I sent this message. I wanted to share because I think all her supporters should know she knew about Remi and his story from at least Dec. of 2018." Baldwin claimed that he and Saskia had begun their partnership two years before Baldwin fled to California, but court filings refute this claim.

By July 10, under the direction of Saskia, Underdog Alliance, had filed its proper state and federal paper work, and Baldwin -- possibly under the whip crack of Saskia -- had filed state paperwork for his LLC, Save Them Dog Training in California. During this same period, a fundraiser for an impulsive aggressive pit bull named "Goober" is carried out to traffick the dog to Steffen's "last chance" rehab ranch in Acton, where it would later terribly maul a visitor "shadowing" Baldwin.

In September, Saskia is seen with her "partners in crime," Baldwin and Parker, in front of Orange County Animal Care (OCAC). Notably, Saskia consistently chooses poor business partners. Her pick for the director of OCAC, Mike Kaviani, another no-kill elite, resigned a year after this "victory" photograph after a news investigation revealed that dogs at OCAC with undisclosed bite histories were adopted out and that some dogs were "drugged" to mask their behaviors from adopters.

In October, given the cozy relationship of the quartet, Underdog Alliance began procuring reactive pit bulls from OCAC under a contract. The total contract was $6,000 -- $750 per "stipend candidate" aggressive pit bull. Team Underdog Alliance tore through the 1-year contract period, soaking up all 8 dogs within 4 months (Oct 2018 to Jan 2019). OCAC used taxpayer money to offload reactive, biting pit bulls that otherwise would have increased their euthanasia numbers.

The House of Cards Flutters (2019)

On December 27, 2018, the 19-count felony indictment was filed against Luke Westerman, one of the "three amigos," in a Franklin County, Ohio court. Westerman's court case is pending. The charges against him occurred between January 1, 2013 and December 10, 2018, which closely mirrors the period of Baldwin's alleged crimes. Though the allegations against each are different, this "cut from the same cloth" duo were engaging in criminal activity during the same period.

On January 7, Westerman turned himself into Ohio authorities. The next day, he was terminated from his "dream job," the Executive Director of the Humane Society of El Paso. When Westerman drove from Texas to Ohio, he had a passenger until Little Rock. She told us that Baldwin called along the way. "Luke had it on speaker so I heard the whole conversation. Steffen was advising him on how to deal with the situation, and told him to deny everything no matter what."

Recall how Baldwin was "nauseous and angry" about the investigation into him by late 2017? We imagine that worsened when he learned about the charges against his fellow amigo. They say, when it rains it pours. During January 2019, two people at the Steffen Baldwin Center were attacked by aggressive pit bulls. Employee Jim Brakewood was attacked and a visitor from Britain, who was "shadowing" Baldwin, was badly mauled, including the dog breaking his leg.

Baldwin might have left killing dogs behind in Ohio, but now people were getting severely injured by the dangerous pit bulls at his Acton property.

In February 2019, Sharon Logan of Paw Protectors Rescue in Orange County began issuing warnings about Baldwin to local rescues. "There is currently an open active investigation against Steffen Baldwin in Ohio out of Union County Ohio, by the Bureau of Criminal Investigations." There is also an open active investigation into Steffen Baldwin by Los Angeles County Animal Control. The LA county investigation started after two dog bites occurred at his Acton location.

Meanwhile, rescues around the country continued to send unredeemable dogs to Baldwin's center, including Minnesota-based Fur-Ever Home Rescue, who sent the aforementioned Goober. Another dog they sent, Petunia, is seen mounting a pit bull pulling on a jimmy-rigged springpole in Baldwin's yard, the kind you would find in a dogfighter's yard. Is that what anyone would call "rehabilitation" or a sanctuary? No. But the rescuers do not mind, who giggle during the video.

In August, despite the escalating rumors about Baldwin, Austin Animal Center, which claims to be the "no kill leader" in the nation (frequently over capacity), also continued to send Baldwin chronically reactive, long stay dogs like Gabby, a pit bull with a shelter stay of 562 days before being shipped to his Acton facility. Gabby spent two months being "boarded" at Baldwin's center "learning how to be a dog again" -- there was no training -- along with 40 plus other reactive dogs.

In December, OCAC director Mike Kaviani resigned. "All of his lies finally caught up with him and his house of cards has come tumbling down," Logan wrote. "The shelter director was "drugging numerous large aggressive pit bull type dogs with Trazadone to make them appear more docile, relaxed, and adoptable to the general public, would not disclose prior histories to potential adopters and dumped cats for stats, 1,000's of healthy adoptable cats back into the streets."


steffen baldwin center

The Steffen Baldwin Center had dogs from Underdog Alliance and Save Them Dog Training.


Indictment Being Drawn Up

By February 2020, when our nation was just entering into Covid-19, prosecutors in Union County were writing the indictment for Steffen Baldwin. The charges end on February 8, 2020. In early March, despite being warned by Kargakos and Logan, Hassen-Auerbach (who was seen with the "two amigos" before the failed start of Columbus Pets Alive), and is the current director of Pima Animal Care Center, invited animal "behavior expert" Baldwin to give a dog safety seminar.

In early July, despite being warned by Kargakos and Logan, Best Friends Animal Society sent a pit bull named "Josh" to Baldwin's facility to be added to his collection of "throwaway dogs," as he called them. By then, Baldwin had at least 23 separate "yards" for his 40 plus reactive dogs and with "so many long-term residents; cohousing became the ultimate goal." It is unknown if Baldwin was euthanizing dogs and pocketing money for this in Acton, but he was on a path to hoarding.

The Arrest and Vindication

On July 23, Baldwin was arrested in Los Angeles County. In a ruse, police in California invited Baldwin to conduct an animal training for the department. When Baldwin arrived, U.S. Marshals arrested him. Baldwin was incarcerated at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic, which is about 35 miles from the now defunct Baldwin Center in Acton. On or about August 3, Baldwin was transported back to Ohio where he appeared for his first court appearance on August 5.

On August 17, Baldwin made bail and slipped somewhere into the landscape of Union County. His trial is slated for the end of October.

Kargakos was finally vindicated. Rescuers that sent Baldwin unredeemable "boomerang dogs" (dogs continuously returned to shelters due to impulsive aggression) refused to see their role in the problem. One rescuer, Barbara Monroe, admitted to sending Baldwin a "difficult" dog that became stranded at his facility after his arrest, but she failed to realize that false hope and the unwillingness to do the right thing -- euthanize for behavior -- is what fueled Baldwin's scheme.6

Other rescuers, like Emily Randolph Hanson, who brokered the Goober transfer, were also silent about their role in the problem and the felony charges. Hanson ignored all 42 charges and stated on August 7, "I stand with Steffen." Hanson quickly got busy trying to "save" the remaining dogs at Baldwin's ranch. She was thrilled to handoff serial biter "Duke," a dog that had "nowhere to go" after Baldwin was arrested, to a sanctuary crawling with over 200 dogs -- that should end well.

Baldwin's Possible Defense?

One possible defense is that Baldwin will claim he was making the "tough call" for behavioral euthanasia for his "throwaway dogs," when none of his fervent no-kill rescue angel clients would, the very people he scammed. Baldwin, so our theory goes, might claim that he was "stuck between a rock and a hard place" and made many mistakes, he even made bald-faced lies, but that he only put down dogs that could not be rehabbed by his magical rehabilitation powers.

We see two divisions already forming among his delirious "save them all" pit bull rescue fans. There is one type, who was willing to pay Baldwin for magical rehabilitation when there was no logical hope for it, and by doing so abdicated the responsibility in making the "tough call" for behavioral euthanasia. There are other types, like zealot pit bull advocate Arin Greenwood, who helped land Baldwin multiple writing gigs, and recently spelled out a possible defense strategy.

"I think if someone gets charged with animal cruelty for behavioral euthanasia, the consequence is going to be that fewer people will be willing to take on dogs who may be dangerous to give them the chance at rehabilitation and adoption. The risks will be too high. I think it's going to lead, paradoxically, to *more* behavioral euthanasia -- not less." - Arin Greenwood

Suggesting that these dog killings were motivated by the ethical, humane consideration of euthanasia for behavior cannot account for the fact that the killings were done in secret while Baldwin lied to the owners and used the dead dogs as fundraising tools. Ethical, humane euthanasia for behavior cannot account for the felony fraud, tampering, bribery, firearm theft and impersonating a Peace Officer charges -- 29 charges of the 42-count felony indictment.

Steffen Baldwin’s "Save Them Dog" enterprise was founded on the fantasy that he could magically rehabilitate long-stay, unadoptable, boomerang dogs that were unstable and aggressive. His admission to clients that he could not rehabilitate unstable dogs would undermine this fantasy, which was his path to fame and glory. The only theory that accounts for all the charges in the indictment is the one presented by prosecutors after they filed it -- Baldwin's goal was stardom.

Summary

How did Baldwin rise to fame in the pit bull rescue and no-kill spheres while he simultaneously killed up to 18 reactive dogs? He did it by hiding or falsifying these deaths, while pumping out social media posts with hashtags #nokillnation and #savethemall, while lying to dog owners and rescues and while committing over two dozen acts of felony fraud, according to the indictment. Baldwin also got away with it because some rescues allowed him to; they did not ask questions.

Many animal rescue groups were warned that Ohio officials were investigating Baldwin, but they ignored this and kept sending dogs to him, often on a "one-way ticket," leaving the outcome of the dog up to his discretion. While Baldwin secretly killed these dogs, he spoke at a national no-kill conference and wrote pit bull advocacy articles for the Huffington Post. While he secretly killed these dogs, he shopped a TV pilot that he hoped would land him a show on Animal Planet.

Det. Conroy summed up Baldwin's fraud the best. "Every rock I turned over, there was something there, he said. "Every hole I went into led to more holes." The same can be said about the racket of "saving" and trafficking reactive, biting dogs, instead of behavioral euthanasia. Due to the pressures of "save them all," fraud abounds in every area of alleged "reactive dog rehabilitation." Baldwin opted to secretly kill some of these doomed dogs. Purcell and Markwell hoarded them.

We hope that Baldwin is convicted on all charges and will serve sufficient prison time. We thank the owner of Remi and every rescue group named in the indictment for asking questions and demanding answers. The Ohio investigation into Baldwin, which accrued over 13,000 man-hours, proves that police are interested in fraudulent pit bull advocacy and "reactive dog rehabilitation." Steffen Baldwin and Underdog Alliance are now a national example of this cyclical fraud.


Various court filings steffen baldwin

Some items seen on the Supplemental Response to Request for Discovery (08/13/2020).


Epilogue: The Trail of Tears

While we were writing this post, new information came to light about the remaining dogs at Steffen's now defunct sanctuary of sorrow, which apparently worsened after his arrest. On Sunday, a dog that was picked up from the property by his former ranch manager, Carolina Woodson, died of heatstroke while being transported. Woodson claimed to not know how bad the situation was, despite having previously lived on the property for months. She also did not seek veterinary care.

Sharon Logan of Paw Protectors Rescue called Woodson out and was blocked by her. "We also got blocked by the former ranch manager at Steffen’s place for asking, after she stated she would be taking action now that she was aware of how bad the situation is," Logan said. "Perhaps if she had of spoken up when she left her position in Acton in November regarding the conditions at the ranch then, which are basically the same as today, the dog below would still be alive today."

Meanwhile, Saskia, who obtained the property and co-founded Underdog Alliance with Baldwin, is AWOL while rescues try to pick up their dogs.

Logan asked, "Who still thinks that a dog that sat in a kennel pretty much 24/7 for 2 plus years not getting the mental or physical stimulation this dog needed, plus being subjected to the elements of 110 degree heat and ultimately died of heatstroke was the better way to go than humane euthanasia at the shelter?" Los Angeles County Animal Control sent officers out to the property to "take any necessary action" and have been in communication with Ohio law enforcement.


1Court filings (Supplemental Response to Request for Discovery) also indicate that there was no agreement with Humane Agent Steffen Baldwin where he could carry a firearm. There were two police reports filed against Baldwin, one in Union County and one in Logan County, for wearing his weapon while wearing his ACT Ohio uniform.
2In 2015, Gordon Shell, who describes himself as himself as a "D-list celebrity," was charged for dog napping in Virginia along with two others. Shell pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft for taking the pit bull-mix. He was ordered to spend five days in jail and a pay a $1,000 fine. The original charge was felony theft, but was later reduced.
3Steffen Baldwin, "Why I Rescue Blocky-Headed Wigglebutts," Huffington Post, August 27, 2015.
Steffen Baldwin, "Why This Dude Rescues Dogs and Wears High Heels," Huffington Post, September 2, 2015.
Steffen Baldwin, "The Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics Behind Dog Bites," Huffington Post, September 10, 2015.
Steffen Baldwin, "Chill Out! Decompression Tips For New Foster Dogs," Huffington Post, October 20, 2015.
Steffen Baldwin, "The Real Solution to Protecting Pit Bulls," Huffington Post, October 29, 2015.
Steffen Baldwin, "Defining Adoptable-Confessions of a Shelter Director," Huffington Post, January 4, 2016.

4American Pets Alive Sixth Annual No-Kill Conference, November 5-7, 2016 in Austin, Texas.
5One bright light Baldwin had at the end of 2017 was the publication of a children's book collaboration that he authored, Belle and the Hot Dog Man. After his arrest, a person left a one star review and stated: "This should be removed now as Mr. Baldwin was arrested July 23 on 42 indictments including animal cruelty and killing dogs."
6On August 19, Monroe wrote in demanding that parts about her be removed because she falsely believed we accused her of knowing about the criminal charges in May. That would be impossible since Baldwin was arrested on July 23 and the indictment was unsealed on or about July 29. That section was intended -- and is still intended -- to address how rescuers "refused to see their role in the problem" after his arrest and the 42-count felony indictment was unsealed. Unsurprisingly, when Monroe wrote in, she still refused to see her role in the problem.

Related articles:
07/31/20: 2020 Edition: 125 Behavior Terms for Shelter Dogs Decoded that Mask Aggression...
02/10/19: Unmasking a Con: How a Sudden Pit Bull Activist Parleyed Role into Top Job...
09/20/16: What's Behind the Click Bait Web Advertisements of Aggressive Shelter Dogs...

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2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Three Relatives Indicted After Woman Killed by Unsecured Dogs in Memphis, Tennessee https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/08/3-indicted-after-doris-arrington-killed-by-dogs-memphis.html https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/08/3-indicted-after-doris-arrington-killed-by-dogs-memphis.html#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2020 19:17:59 +0000 https://blog.dogsbite.org/?p=16740 Doris Arrington, 59, was killed by four unsecured dogs on April 22, 2020 in Memphis. Woman Killed by Dogs Memphis, TN - A Shelby County grand jury indicted three people in connection to a fatal dog attack that occurred in … Continue reading

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Doris Arrington
Doris Arrington, 59, was killed by four unsecured dogs on April 22, 2020 in Memphis.

Woman Killed by Dogs
Memphis, TN - A Shelby County grand jury indicted three people in connection to a fatal dog attack that occurred in April. Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said that Phyllis Jones, 61, her daughter Kimberly Jordan, 40, and Jordan’s son Dedricz Perry, 22, were taken into custody Tuesday by U.S. Marshals. All three face reckless homicide charges for owning the dogs involved in the attack that left Doris Arrington, 59, dead. All three have since bonded out of jail.

The attack occurred about 8:00 am in the 1200 block of Capital Avenue in the New Chicago area. Police were dispatched to the area and found Arrington's body. Authorities said Arrington had severe trauma to her legs and arms. Her cause of death was "massive blood loss." A statement issued by U.S. Marshal Tyreece Miller states, "Unsecured dogs were deadly weapons in this horrible crime. I'm pleased that the Marshals Service had a hand in bringing the owners to justice."

After the fatal attack -- that lacked any media coverage in April -- Memphis police located four dogs with blood on their mouths and coats. Multiple complaints had been made to Memphis Animal Services and the Mayor's Action Center prior to the deadly mauling, Weirich's office said. Residents had complained the dogs were aggressive and could escape their enclosure. One man told WREG the dogs previously chased a man up a tree. No breed information was released.

Of the three-generation family member defendants, Jordan had four fairly recent photographs of dogs on her Facebook page. On February 22, 2019 she was selling several pit bull puppies; the sire and dam are seen in the comments. Jordan was selling each puppy for $200. The four dogs could equate to two adults and two puppies about 15 months old at the time of the fatal attack. Reckless homicide is a Class D felony in Tennessee with a prison sentence of 2 to 12 years.

Adult pit bulls fatal memphis dog mauling

Two adult pit bulls seen on Kimberly Jordan's Facebook page on February 22, 2019.

Dogs that killed Doris Arrington

Several pit bull puppies seen on Kimberly Jordan's Facebook page on February 22, 2019.

Three relatives indicted after the dogs killed Doris Arrington

Phyllis Jones, 61, Kimberly Jordan, 40, and Dedricz Perry, 22, face reckless homicide charges.

map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: Tennessee Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

Related articles:
07/23/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Mauled to Death by Pack of Dogs in Southwest Memphis
11/21/18: 2010 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Kill Man, Injure Four Others in Memphis


Baseline reporting requirements:
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.

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2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Baby Killed by Family Pit Bull While Under the Care of his Great-Grandmother in Akron, Ohio https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/08/baby-killed-by-family-pit-bull-in-akron-ohio.html https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/08/baby-killed-by-family-pit-bull-in-akron-ohio.html#comments Sat, 08 Aug 2020 17:13:19 +0000 https://blog.dogsbite.org/?p=16730 A 7-month old boy is dead after being mauled by a family pit bull in Akron, Ohio. No Charges Expected UPDATE 08/11/20: Authorities have still not identified the 7-month old boy mauled to death by a family pit bull last … Continue reading

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pit bull kills baby in akron
A 7-month old boy is dead after being mauled by a family pit bull in Akron, Ohio.

No Charges Expected
UPDATE 08/11/20: Authorities have still not identified the 7-month old boy mauled to death by a family pit bull last Friday. The child's great-grandmother, 77-years old, was holding the baby when the dog fatally attacked, Akron police said. An ambulance transported the boy to Akron Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The family dog, a 7-year old pit bull, was taken into custody by Summit County Animal Control. Police say that no criminal charges will be filed.

08/08/20: Baby Killed by Family Dog
Akron, OH - A baby boy is dead after being mauled by a pit bull, according to Akron police. At about 3:48 pm Friday, officers were dispatched to a home in the 1300 block of South Hawkins Avenue in West Akron to assist paramedics at the scene. Officers found the baby and the grandmother had been injured by the dog. The child was transported to Akron Children's Hospital, where he died. The grandmother's injuries were minor; she refused treatment at the scene.

The child was under the care of his grandmother when the dog attacked, police said. It is unclear if the child lived at the home or if he was visiting his grandmother's home. No details about the circumstances of the attack were available late Friday. Summit County Animal Control seized the animal. An autopsy will be conducted on the child Saturday, according to the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office. The boy will likely be identified when the cause of death is released.

This child's death by a family pit bull comes after a string of similar deaths this summer. Brice Sanders, 2-years old, was killed by a pit bull while visiting a home in California. Jonah Jellison, 1-year old, was killed by a loose pit bull in Texas. Marley Wilander, 1-year old, was killed by a pit bull during the night while her family attended a July 4th party in Illinois. Scarlett Pereira, 1-year old, was killed by a pit bull while under the care of her grandparents in Rhode Island on July 16.

The other fatal pit bull mauling that occurred in Ohio this year is the death of 4-month old McKenzie Terwell in Dayton, Ohio in January. We expect criminal charges in the coming months. At the time of the baby's death, the mother was asleep on the couch after taking three prescription medications. When the baby's father returned home, he found the infant dead on the floor. Before police arrived, the father told officers he had thrown a Marijuana bong into the kitchen trashcan.


pit bull kills akron

A neighbor took a photograph while Akron police were at the scene of the fatal pit bull mauling.

map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: Ohio Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

Related articles:
01/15/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Family Pit Bull Kills 4-Month Old Baby Girl in Dayton, Ohio


Baseline reporting requirements:
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.

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Teenager Suffers Critical Injuries, Crushed Trachea, in Violent Pit Bull Attack in Burrow's County, Georgia https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/08/teenager-suffers-crushed-trachea-violent-pit-bull-attack-georgia.html https://blog.dogsbite.org/2020/08/teenager-suffers-crushed-trachea-violent-pit-bull-attack-georgia.html#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2020 20:53:24 +0000 https://blog.dogsbite.org/?p=16684 Joslyn Stinchcomb, 15, suffered critical injuries and a crushed trachea in pit bull attack. Medical Condition Updates Winder, GA - Last Friday, Joslyn Stinchcomb, 15-years old, was walking in her neighborhood near Bowman Mill Road NE when two pit bulls … Continue reading

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joslyn stinchcomb crushed trachea
Joslyn Stinchcomb, 15, suffered critical injuries and a crushed trachea in pit bull attack.

Medical Condition Updates
Winder, GA - Last Friday, Joslyn Stinchcomb, 15-years old, was walking in her neighborhood near Bowman Mill Road NE when two pit bulls belonging to a neighbor escaped their owner's property and viciously attacked her. The dogs attacked her head, neck and body; they crushed her trachea, ripped off her scalp and an ear. Joslyn continues to undergo multiple reconstructive surgeries and has been transferred to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, where long-term treatment is planned.

Among the horrific injuries she endured, doctors continue to try to reconstruct her badly damaged trachea. Doctors placed a stint in her airway to keep it open, and hopefully allow her to breath through it. Currently, she is able to breath due to having a tracheotomy procedure. The girl's grandmother, Sandra Stinchcomb, who is her legal guardian, and her aunt, Charity Stinchcomb Montgomery, provide regular updates to a Facebook group that our nonprofit has joined.

On August 6, Sandra provided another update. "It has been just over 6 days since Joslyn was attacked. Since then she has been in surgery for nearly 24 hours. The majority of this time has been spent to reconstruct and restore her a viable airway," she said. Sandra also described Joslyn's injuries as being worse than a horror movie. "Nothing I have ever seen, in EMT school or on any horror movie is as disturbing and graphic as seeing what these demons did to Joslyn."

"Then came the pictures of the skull. Nothing could have prepared me for that and no words can describe just how horrific they are. With this, we are being told it could be several months before she will be ready to see if they can try to get skin grafts to take. Right now Paul and I are just broken." - Sandra Stinchcomb, 08/06/2020

The family was originally told the tracheotomy could come out in about a month. However, doctors are unsure now how long it could be. Doctors "are saying it could be months, years, or possibly not ever that her tracheotomy can be removed. They are not certain if she will ever talk again and even if she does, her voice won’t be the same." Sandra asks people to continue to pray for Joslyn’s recovery and pray for her medical teams. This "is so far from being over," she said.

In an earlier update, Charity said that Joslyn will never have hair again. "As we have previously shared, Joslyn’s trachea was crushed and lacerated. She had surgery to repair it but it will take weeks to heal." The dogs "also grabbed her hair hard enough to pull her entire scalp off. She only has a small portion of skin left on her head. At this moment she does not have any hair left. She will never have her hair again." It will be over a year before those discussions can even begin.

Joslyn’s family is accepting donations at the #StayStrongJoslyn PayPal page.

Classic City News is also following the family's private Facebook group and is providing regular updates. Please check there for additional updates about Joslyn's current medical condition.

joslyn stinchcomb pit bull attack

Joslyn Stinchcomb, 15, seen in hospital after being attacked by two pit bulls in Barrow County.


Owner of the Pit Bulls

Fox 5 Atlanta recently spoke to Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith, whose deputies responded to the horrific attack scene. "She's been in and out of induced commas, has a lot of damage to her spine and her throat and she's also got some plastic surgery issues as well. She's a fighter, but she's got a long road to recovery," Sheriff Smith said. "She had grit and asphalt under her fingernails where she was pulling away from these dogs and they were pulling back at her."

When deputies arrived at the scene, they found the teenager lying facedown against a cement curb, while one pit bull was grabbing her neck and the other was biting the girl's head, Classic City News reports. Deputies shot one dog in the head. That dog fled and the other released its grip and also fled. Deputies tracked the dogs back to the owner's home. Alexandria Torregrossa, 29-years old, was arrested for reckless conduct after she returned home, according to a police report.

"The reason she was charged with reckless conduct was it was determined the dogs were not properly secured and ran out the back door of the house and viciously attacked the victim," Sheriff Smith said. In the State of Georgia, reckless conduct is a misdemeanor that carries up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. In the State of Texas, this exact same off-property attack that nearly resulted in fatal injuries would be a felony and the owner would face up to 10 years in jail.

Barrow County Animal Control euthanized both dogs. The owner's Facebook page shows two large pit bulls, a male and female. Both were altered in 2016, according to the owner. The male, Capone, was altered first, because "he had been acting out more than ever," Torregrossa wrote. Sterilizing a dog does not alter breed-specific behavior and in this case, it did not reduce the need to roam either. The only benefit is that neither of these pit bulls can continue to reproduce.

Torregrossa is yet another exhausted cliché pit bull owner. Prior to her privatizing her Facebook photographs, we were able to capture several. In a January 2019 post, she states: "It's their world I'm just living in it." Torregrossa is admitting in this statement that she does not own her pit bulls -- her pit bulls own her. Torregrossa has little control over her dogs. In another exhausted cliché, Torregrossa had no clue why her puppies in 2015 were so fat. Folks, that's a belly full of worms.

pit bulls crush trachea, georgia teenager

The two pit bulls, a male and female, that violently attacked a teenager in Winder, Georgia.

Alexandria Torregrossa's pit bulls crushed a teenager's trachea

Alexandria Torregrossa's two "Gottiline" pit bulls inflicted catastrophic damage on Joslyn.


Related articles:
05/15/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Suspected Fatal Pit Bull Mauling in Crawford County, Georgia
05/10/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Doctor Killed by Suspected Roaming Dogs in Lyons, Georgia
04/28/20: Reward for Information Leading to Arrest and Indictment of Pit Bull Owner in Atlanta

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