2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Child Dies After Deputies Arrive to Family Pit Bull 'Slinging the Child Around' in its Mouth

Triniti Harrell, slinging the child around pit bull mix kills
Triniti Harrell, 1-year old, died of her injuries after being attacked by a family pit bull.

Child Dies of Injuries
Rocky Mount, NC - The Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office confirmed today that Triniti Harrell has died. Last Monday, deputies arrived to the scene of a family dog slinging the 1-year old child around in its mouth. A fast-acting deputy shot and killed the dog. Triniti was airlifted to a trauma center with life-threatening injuries. On Friday, family friends reported on Facebook that she had no blood flow to her brain. On Sunday, a post stated that she had been removed from life support.

During the frantic 911 call, the child's mother can be heard screaming repeatedly, "Kilo STOP!" The dog's name was not stated in media reports last week, which transcribed parts of the call. The mother's boyfriend, who lives at the home where the attack occurred, owns a pit bull named Kilo that is about 8-years old, according to his Facebook posts. In a 2014 photograph of Kilo, he wrote, "hate he like to kill shit but o well I love him either way (haha those poor lil bunnies" [sic].

Case Background

On October 22, Edgecombe County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call of a family dog actively attacking a 1-year old child in the 12000 block of NC 43 North in Rocky Mount. The mother was trying to stab the dog to get it to release her child. "Detective Whitaker was one of the first officers on scene and observed the dog slinging the child around in its mouth. Detective Whitaker acted quickly and shot and killed the dog," states a release issued by the sheriff's office on the 24th.

The child was airlifted to Vidant Medical Center with life-threatening injuries then transferred to UNC Children's Hospital in Chapel Hill.

On Wednesday, Sheriff Clee Atkinson gave a press conference. The family dog was a 6-year old pit bull-mix. Officers described the attack "as the pit bull shaking a baby doll," Atkinson said. "That’s how aggressive it was." Atkinson said the deputy "saved that baby's life," and commended his precise shooting. "A lot of law enforcement officers would have been hesitant to take that shot," Atkinson said. "We're looking at inches." The child was later identified as Triniti Harrell.

We may never know why the dog attacked, Atkinson said. "I just want to say that I have not slept and my deputies have not slept since the injuries, the incident." The attack and injuries were so traumatic, Atkinson called it "character building." He asked for prayers from the public. "One of the things that hit home for us," Atkinson said, "is a lot of my deputies have small children. I want the public and the citizens to continue to pray for us. Because it's a character building moment."

On Thursday, text from the chilling 911 call was released. The dispatcher suggested ways for the child's mother, Miranda Harrell, to get the pit bull to release the child. First, by shoving a stick into the dog's mouth to pry its jaws open. Next, by hitting the dog with a pan or a shovel to halt the attack. Next, the dispatcher asks Harrell, "Can you run in the house and grab a steak knife or something? If you will run in the house and get a knife, I will tell you how to get him off her."

"Ma'am, yelling at him is not going to change anything. I need you to find something sharp, and I'll explain to you how to get the dog off of her," the dispatcher tells her.

After a couple minutes, she runs into her house and grabs a knife, and the dispatcher instructs her how to slit the dog's throat.

"Cut him across the bottom of his neck. It's going to release his jaw muscles. He won't have a choice but to let go," he says.

"I'm trying. The blade isn't sharp enough," Harrell says. - WRAL.com

What is remarkable about the dispatcher is that he or she appears trained in methods to stop a pit bull attack, given the reality of the objects the mother might have within her reach. After the dispatcher states, "I've got everybody I can get en route to you," the first suggestion is a break stick. The problem is, not many pit bull owners know how to use one. The next instruction is to try to "knock the dog out" by hitting it extremely hard on the top if its head with a pan or shovel.

Then the suggestion moves to a sharp object -- lethal intervention. As each minute passes, the pit bull goes deeper into the zone, where "they don’t feel the pain anymore," according to Cesar Millan. The only option left is lethal intervention. "I need you to do anything you can do with that to make that dog let go. The dog's life is not a concern to me at this point," states the dispatcher, who knows this is a potential fatal dog mauling. We've never seen this level of training before!

Throughout the harrowing 10 minute call, Harrell pleaded, "I can't get him off" and "She's dying please help." As the mother struggles with a knife too dull to fulfill its lethal task, the deputy arrived. He shot the dog once, which did not stop the dog, then shot it again, killing it. Triniti was clinging to life when she was flown to Vidant Medical Center. News reports later stated she was in stable condition, but that is not what family and friends have been saying on Facebook.

This pit bull-mix was described as a family pet for six years prior to unleashing an explosive, unpredictable attack while interacting with the small child. During the press conference, one reporter asked if the deputy was wearing a bodycam. Understandably, Sheriff Atkinson did not initially answer the question, but later said, "No, no, no." This horrific and deadly attack by a family pit bull follows another family pit bull killing a man in Rocky Mount, North Carolina in August.

Listen to the 911 call released in full by News Channel 12 that we first heard on October 28.

On 10/22/18, The Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a dog actively attacking a one year old child at 12039 NC 43 North, Rocky Mount. The dog was the family’s dog. The mother of the child was trying to stab the dog to get it off of the child. Deputies responded. Detective Whitaker was one of the first officers on scene and observed the dog slinging the child around in its mouth. Detective Whitaker acted quickly and shot and killed the dog.

Edgecombe County Rescue Squad and deputies on scene performed emergency first aid on the child to try to stabilize her as she was clinging to life at this point. She was transported to the hospital and then flown to Vidant Pitt for treatment. At this time, her status is believed to be stable.

Out of respect for the family, we are not releasing any names or identifying information at this time. We ask that everyone keep the little girl and her family in their thoughts and prayers. We hope for a full recovery for the little girl. No charges are expected in this matter. - Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office 10/24/18


Triniti Harrell, slinging child around pit bull mix kills

In the 911 call, the mother repeatedly screams "Kilo STOP!" Her boyfriend owns a pit bull named Kilo that is about 8-years old. Initially, we had thought a different family pit bull, named Major, was the only pit bull in the household. Kilo is not a pit bull "mix." View a PDF of both dogs.

Triniti Harrell, slinging the child around pit bull

A Beware of the Dog sign hung on the front of the family's home near Rocky Mount, NC.

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

Related articles:
08/21/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Rocky Mount Man Found Dead Inside Home with Pit Bull Injuries
08/10/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman, 66, Killed by Pit Bulls in Lake Tillery Development

2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies After Being Mauled by Family Pit Bull in Southeast D.C.

pit bull kills woman DC
Angela Smith, 55-years old, was killed by her family pit bull in Southeast D.C.

Longtime Family Pet
UPDATE 10/15/18: On Monday, the victim's husband spoke to the media outside of his home. Last night, the couple's pit bull of eight years fatally attacked Angela Smith. "I left the house," Rob Frazier said, holding back tears. "It was 15 minutes and I came back," he paused. "She was dead. That's all I know." The couple had been together for two decades, but only married two years ago. The male pit bull, named Kaine, had been given to Frazier by his nephew when it was a puppy.

About 6:30 pm Sunday, police were dispatched to Frazier and Smith's row home in the 1300 block of Dexter Terrace SE in Southeast D.C. They discovered Smith unconscious, suffering from "multiple trauma wounds." She was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Frazier said his mother was also in the home during the attack, but was asleep and did not hear anything. Authorities took the dog into custody; it has since been humanely euthanized.

Frazier said the dog was food aggressive, which may have triggered the attack. "I'm thinking she might have taken some food or something like that from him and he's real aggressive like that," Frazier said. Yet, a family dog attack resulting in human fatality is an absolutely disproportionate response to this. As animal behaviorist Alexandra Semyonova has explained in the past, selecting for impulsive aggression, as dogfighters did, created an utterly disproportionate response:

"It’s also not realistic to pretend that impulsive aggression is not pathological. The environments (the fighting pit, the baited bull, the escaping slave) for which these behaviors were selected as an adaptive response are so extreme that in fact there is no appropriate context for these behaviors in normal life." - Alexandra Semyonova, Heritability of Behavior in the Abnormally Aggressive Dog, November 2006.

It is also important to reemphasize that the agency contracting with the District of Columbia for animal control services, Humane Rescue Alliance, lied to the media and the American public after this horrific attack, calling this dog a "mixed-breed" instead of a pit bull. D.C. police later stepped in and confirmed this dog was a pit bull. The Alliance has pit bulls plastered all over their website and transport vans. Our nonprofit will address D.C. city officials about this deliberate deception.

10/14/18: Woman Killed by Pit Bull
District of Columbia - A 55-year old woman is dead after being mauled by a pit bull in Southeast D.C. Responders were dispatched just after 6:30 pm to the 1300 block of Dexter Terrace SE for a report of a woman mauled by a dog. Dexter Terrace is just one block long with rowhouses on both sides. The victim was transported to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, where she was pronounced dead. It is unclear who owns the dog, but the deadly attack occurred indoors.

NBC Washington reports the attacking dog could be seen resisting efforts when taken into custody and tried to bite one of the officers while being removed from the home. "Multiple workers" were eventually able to haul the dog into a Humane Rescue Alliance van "using a blanket to lift its hind legs," reports NBC Washington. Neighbors told the news outlet they had seen the victim walking the male dog in the past. None of them had witnessed the animal acting aggressively before.

So far in 2018, one quarter (7 of 28) of all recorded fatal dog maulings have been attacks upon their owners, the very hand that feeds and houses these dogs. This does not include this immediate woman who may or may not be the dog's owner. Five of these owner deaths involved pit bulls, one fatality involved a dogo argentino and another involved a mastiff-mix adopted out three days earlier. So far in 2018, at least 28 Americans have been mauled to death by a dog.

Monday Morning Updates

Fox 5 confirmed the woman was killed by her own pit bull, bringing the tally of owner inflicted canine deaths up to 29% this year. On Monday, D.C. police identified the woman as 55-year old Angela Smith. WTOP reported that the contracting animal control agency, Humane Rescue Alliance, refused to call the dog a pit bull and instead lied to the media and American public -- in an effort to falsify United States fatal dog attack statistics -- calling this dog a "mixed-breed."

pit bull kills woman DC

Male family pit bull named "Kaine" being taken into custody after killing Angela Smith, 55.

pit bull kills woman dc

Pit bull being hoisted into the animal control van after fatally attacking family member in D.C.

map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: Maryland and D.C. Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.

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10/09/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Recently Adopted Mastiff Kills Owner in Las Vegas, Nevada
10/03/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Adopted Two Weeks Ago Kills Woman in Maryland
06/21/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Back-to-Back Dogo Argentino Attacks, One Fatal, Both...
05/09/09: Alexandra Semyonova: Heritability of Behavior in the Abnormally Aggressive Dog

2018 Dog Bite Fatality: 2-Year Old Girl Mauled to Death by Family Dog in Alvin, Texas

dog kills child alvin
Denali Gonzalez, 2-years old, was killed by her family's new dog in Alvin, Texas.

Child Identified
UPDATE 10/16/18: A 2-year old girl fatally mauled by a family dog Friday has been identified. Denali Gonzalez died of her injuries at the scene. Her mother and children were returning home from a shopping trip and carrying in bags when the dog suddenly attacked the girl in the yard, Lt. Varon Snelgrove said Saturday. The dog's jaw locked in around her upper torso and throat and it all happened very quickly. "There's nothing the family could have done," Snelgrove said then.

About 5:00 pm Friday, Brazoria County Sheriff’s deputies and Alvin Animal Control officers arrived at a home in the 3900 block of County Road 424B (also known as Morning Dove Street) and found the dog had severely attacked the young girl, reports the Alvin Sun. The child was unresponsive and could not be revived. The dog, described as a mix of varying breeds, was so aggressive when officials arrived they had to tranquilized it with a dart. The dog was euthanized at the scene.

On Saturday, the victim's brother told KHOU the dog was new to the household and had been aggressive since it was brought to the family's home -- the dog even bit him. He said they were in the process of having the dog removed, but they did not act soon enough. It is unknown if the dog was adopted from a shelter or rehomed through another means. The sheriff's office said the investigation is ongoing. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with funeral expenses.

10/13/18: New Family Dog Kills Toddler
Alvin, TX - The Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that a 2-year old girl was mauled to death by a family dog Friday afternoon. The deadly attack occurred in the 3900 block of Morning Dove Street, near Quail Drive, about 6:00 pm. The toddler was pronounced dead at the scene. She was transported to the Galveston County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy. The family dog, described as a mixed-breed, possibly a pit bull-mix, was taken into custody.

"It's a terrible incident where the family dog attacked a 2-year-old. We have no idea why. It's been a long time since we've had anything like this happen. It's a tragedy for all involved." - Brazoria Sheriff Charles Wagner

A separate report by the Houston Chronicle describes the dog as a leopard cur breed-mix, also known as an American leopard hound and possibly the Catahoula leopard dog. Catahoulas come in a variety of mixed-breed flavors, including mixed with American bulldogs and mixed with pit bull terriers. A merle coat often characterizes their appearance. The sheriff's office is not releasing the name of the family or the deceased child at this time. The dog has already been euthanized.

Evening Updates

Over the course of Saturday, the breed became a "mixed-breed" that appears to be a Leopard cur-mix, according to animal control. The Brazoria County Sheriff's Office told Click2Houston that DNA was taken from the dog, and its exact breed makeup will be determined at another time. When officials arrived at the scene, the dog was so aggressive it had to be tranquilized with a dart; the dog was euthanized at the scene. The KHOU evening update provides more information.

KHOU spoke to the victim's brother, who would not go on camera, but said the new dog was aggressive from the time it was brought to the family's home -- the dog even bit him. He said they were in the process of having the dog removed, but they did not act fast enough. It is unknown if the dog was adopted from a shelter or rehomed through another means. The brother's account is vastly different from earlier news reports, which stated the dog had no history of aggression.

Lt. Varon Snelgrove told the Houston Chronicle, the animal had no known history of violence or aggression. "The mother and children were returning home from a shopping trip and carrying in bags when the dog suddenly attacked the girl in the yard, he said. The dog's jaw locked in around her upper torso and throat and it all happened very quickly," reports the Chronicle. "There's nothing the family could have done," Snelgrove said. "It's just a horrific, horrific incident."

dog kills child alvin, tx

A 2-year old girl was killed by a family dog on Morning Dove Street Friday in Alvin, Texas


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Related articles:
03/27/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Family Pit Bull-Mix Kills 4-Year Old Boy in Bexar County, Texas
08/21/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: 2-Month Old Baby Killed by Family Dogs in North Houston


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.

2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull-Mix Attacks Two Family Members, Killing One Near Mount Shasta; No Media Reports

mount shasta pit bull killed family member
Teena Mawhorter, 74, died after being attacked by a family pit bull-mix in September.

Mount Shasta, CA - In mid September, we received a tip that a woman died after being attacked by a pit bull in the Mount Shasta area. By searching through dispatch logs on Webcastify, we obtained a September 6 recording of a 74-year old female "bitten by a dog in the head" in the 5000 block of Serrano Drive. We then learned that a resident of this home had died on September 6. We sent a public information request to the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office and the coroner.

On October 10, we received two reports from the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office, as well as a copy of the bite reports. Teena Carol Mawhorter, 74-years old, was viciously attacked by a family pit bull-mix about 10:30 am that morning. Doctors pronounced her dead at 11:58 am. The cause of death was determined to be "severe blunt facial and head trauma." A contributing factor was heart disease. The dog also attacked one of her daughters (Victim 2), who tried to stop the attack.

Victim 2 witnessed the violent mauling, which is briefly described in the sheriff's report. Victim 2 also said the dog was "usually friendly."

Mawhorter was in the kitchen seated in a chair when the attack occurred, states the report. Victim 2 was taking Mawhorter a glass of water when she saw her reach under the table to pet her dog. "The dog then started attacking Mawhorter causing her to fall out of the kitchen chair," states the report. "The dog viciously attacked Mawhorter and was biting her face and the area of the back of her head." When Victim 2 intervened to stop the attack the dog attacked her too, states the report.

Both Mawhorter and Victim 2 were on the kitchen floor being attacked by the pit bull-mix when a male roommate pulled the dog away. Victim 2 had a 4 inch laceration on the back of her head and blood covering the left side of her face and both arms, states the report. Victim 2's account was taken at the scene of the attack. After emergency medical responders performed CPR on Mawhorter for 35 minutes, both women were taken to Mercy Medical Center in Mount Shasta.

Mawhorter suffered severe injuries to her face and the back of her head. The dog also ripped off a portion of her scalp. The report also describes a large amount of blood at the scene. Mawhorter was declared dead at 11:58 am at Mercy. An autopsy was conducted five days later. The cause of death was determined to be "severe blunt facial and head trauma." A contributing factor of Atherosclerosis heart disease was also determined. The manner of death was accidental.

Victim 2 is one of two surviving daughters of Mawhorter. The other daughter, Paula Jones, is the owner of the pit bull-mix, and also resides at the home on Serrano Drive where the attack occurred, according to the animal bite report. The attacking dog is listed as a brown and white "pit bull, collie terrier." Since her mother's death, Jones continues to have a photo featured on her Facebook page of a brown and white pit bull-mix. Extended family members also own pit bulls.

After locating the dispatch recording from Siskiyou County Fire and learning the physical address of the attack, we were able to quickly locate more information prior to receiving confirmation from the sheriff's office. A Facebook Memorial page stated that Mawhorter died on September 6. Her family had also started a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs. There is no mention anywhere of a violent dog mauling. Nor was there any media coverage of this fatal dog attack.


mount shasta pit bull killed family member

2014 photograph of a brown and white pit bull-mix featured on the daughter's Facebook page.


In 2017, we uncovered two unreported fatal dog maulings, one in Illinois, the other in Florida. Two deaths by sepsis due to untreated severe dog bite injuries were discovered in 2017 involving previous years and two deaths involving aggressive non-bite injuries (struck by dog death) were discovered in Ohio and Arkansas. Cases involving sepsis and non-bite injuries are excluded from our statistics. Qualifying struck by dog deaths may be added to our data set at a future time.

Anonymous tips about fatal dog maulings are confidential and can be sent to us at any time.

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

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07/02/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: 'Rampaging Attack,' Dog Attacks Two, Killing One, in Arcata
05/14/18: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: 21-Year Old Man Dies After Dog Attack in Quincy, Illinois
11/13/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies in Palm Beach County After Being Attacked...


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.

2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Adopted Dog Kills Baby Girl While in Foster Care in Clearwater, Florida

Foster Parent is Police Officer; Dog Adopted Out by County

adopted dog kills baby in foster care
Khloe Ann Williams, 7-months old, was killed by a family dog while in foster care.

Delayed 911 Call
UPDATE 11/15/18: Another bombshell that was foreshadowed during a press conference last month was dropped Wednesday. After the dog severely attacked infant Khloe on October 5, Pamela Maser, the babysitter, delayed the 911 call. Pamela first called her son, Clearwater Police Detective Jonathan Maser, who is the foster father, but only reached voicemail. Next she called her husband, retired Clearwater Deputy Police Chief Paul Maser, asking him to come home.

The Department of Children and Families revealed the information in a newly released report. The Critical Incident Rapid Response Team (CIRRT) report found no fault with the qualifications or actions of infant Khloe's foster parents and caseworkers involved in the case. The report also did not place blame on anyone for Khloe’s death. However, the report indicates a delayed 911 call after critical injuries to an infant, up to 15 minutes, when Pamela opted to call family members first.

Pamela placed the calls to family members at 1:50 pm, according to the CIRRT report. After doing so, she took Khloe into the bathroom and washed the blood off of her face. By the time the foster parents arrived at the home, within 15 minutes, states the CIRRT report, Khloe was whimpering and soon became unresponsive. Dispatch logs at Broadcastify.com show that Engine 52 was first notified at 2:10 pm for "breathing problems" at the home, 20 minutes after the vicious dog attack.

Fire & Rescue responded to the Maser home just minutes later. Had they been called 15 minutes earlier, they could have arrived that much earlier.

Back in October, during the press conference with Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter, it became known through documents released by Eckerd Connects that foster mother Melissa Maser arrived at the scene before paramedics and began performing CPR on the infant -- which raised a red flag among victims' advocates. Now it is clear that there was a serious delay in the 911 call. Apparently, no call was placed until the severely injured infant became unresponsive.

Babysitter Never Even Called 911

A Friday news report by the Tampa Bay Times confirmed what we had already suspected. Pamela never called 911 at all. That call was made by foster father Jonathan after he arrived at Pamela's home, at least 15 minutes after the severe attack. The difference between Fire & Rescue arriving at 1:54 pm -- had Pamela called 911 just after speaking with Jonathan, as he had instructed her to do -- or 2:12 pm, might have been the difference between life and death for the injured infant.

Contrary to Pamela's defense attorney's claim, reasonable people do not call family members "instead" of 911 after a life-threatening crisis. People who are in "total" shock scream at the top of their lungs, "Help me! Call 911!" Natural human reflex is to alert anyone nearby to the emergency! Then, if that same person can, they call 911 themselves. Remember Triniti's mom who was alone during the attack? Criminals, of course, act differently because they are trying to conceal an act.

Lastly, we will address the complete bullshit presented in the CIRRT report. The report claimed that 72-year old Pamela Maser immediately "pried the dog's mouth open" after the attack, freeing the infant. Without a parting tool, rarely can a very strong adult male accomplish this (including police officers). The CIRRT report also left out the dog's previous biting incident. Why? The dog bit Paul, Pamela's husband, during the adoption process. The couple adopted the animal anyway.


10/22/18: Shelter Documentation
On October 15, we submitted a FOIA to Pinellas County requesting the shelter records of the dog that fatally attacked Khloe Williams on October 5. Clearwater Police Detective Jonathan Maser was the licensed foster parent for infant Khloe. Maser's parents were caring for Khloe at the time of the deadly dog attack. Maser's father is former Clearwater Deputy Chief Paul Maser and the owner of the dog, which he adopted from Pinellas County Animal Services in late March.

The attack was described by the police chief as causing, "serious traumatic injuries to Khloe." A closed casket funeral was expected.

On October 19, the county fulfilled our records request. The dog was picked up as a stray on February 23, 2018, and identified as a "pit bull mix type." On February 28, the dog, known as Lynnie, underwent a "canine evaluation" that records indicate was very brief. By March 14, Lynnie was relabeled a "Retriever/Hound" mix and available for adoption. The dog's first documented bite occurred during an interaction with the Masers on March 26 at the county adoption center.

Below the dog's adoption photograph is a more detailed analysis of the 15-page report we received from the county. We follow this with a brief discussion on purebred American pit bull terriers and fighting bloodlines that are less blocky in appearance. Regardless of your stance on pit bulls, there are two things we must all agree on 1.) There is no "Labrador retriever" present in Lynnie and 2.) She would qualify as a pit bull-mix for "any" free pit bull spay/neuter promotion.


adopted dog kills baby in foster care adoption photo

©Pinellas County | The adoption photos of Lynnie. There's no "Labrador retriever" present.

Analysis of Shelter Documentation

  • On February 23, 2018, a person in St. Petersburg called Pinellas County Animal Services "about a brown female pit bull that has been running loose for a few days now. I advised caller to confine the dog and call back," states the report. The person was able to leash the dog. About 30 minutes later, animal control arrived. "Made contact with complainant, impounded 1 female brown/white pit bull mix type dog." The intake weight of the female dog, later to be named Lynnie, was 40.2 pounds.
  • On February 28, 2018, Lynnie was given an ultra brief behavior exam. The dog passed a "Tail/Ear Tug Reaction" test, was evaluated to be "high" energy level, was recommended for adoption and passed a "dog aggression" evaluation. The records indicate the "evaluation" lasted from 10:24 am to 10:25 am -- which could be the "input time" or the actual time. No re-testing for any part was required. By 10:27 am, Lynnie was in the veterinarian's office being administered deworming medication.
    "We evaluate all animals that go through our adoption program for aggression toward food, for toys and treats, with people and with other animals," Director Doug Brightwell said. A resource-guarding test was not indicated in the records.
  • On March 14, 2018, the dog's Petango listing read, "All Lynnie needs is a tennis ball. And a rope toy. And a big ball. And some sunshine and a water dish. And a little wading pool would be nice. But that scratch behind the ears? Priceless!" We could not locate the Petango listing in Internet Archives, which would have shown the breeds listed on the adoption listing. It is presumed that by March 14, Lynnie was relabeled a "Retriever/Hound" mix. A pit bull-mix label was never publicly shown.
  • On March 26, 2018, Paul Maser and his wife Pamela visited the Pinellas County Animal Services adoption center. While interacting with Lynnie, the "dog scratched citizen while in play yard jumping for attention," states the report. "Dog nipped other citizen (husband of first citizen) while jumping for attention," states the report. "Citizen stated that the dog was hyper and they were able to leash and put back in kennel." The dog's first documented bite occurred while meeting the Masers.
  • On the morning of March 27, 2018, Lynnie was quarantined for the bite to Paul Maser. The treatment required a "bandaid" on both his left and right wrists, states the report. Later that day, Maser called the shelter and said he wanted to adopt Lynnie after the quarantine period. Maser called the bite(s) an "accident." The shelter worker explained to Maser, "I will give his info to Casey who will work with Director to see if this can happen," indicating that some form of high-level approval was needed.
    In retrospect, calling this dog's "hyper" behavior and bite an "accident" was the biggest mistake of Paul Maser's life. It does not look favorably upon Pinellas County Animal Services' documented evaluation of the dog's behavior either.
  • On March 28, 2018, Maser returned to the shelter to pick up Lynnie and complete the adoption process. Maser was advised of the home quarantine rules and that it ended on April 5. Exactly six months later, on October 5, Lynnie suddenly and savagely attacked infant Khloe, killing her, inside the Maser home. Pinellas County Animal Services took the dog into custody. On October 10, the Maser family relinquished ownership of Lynnie (aka Josie) and two days later the animal was euthanized.1
  • On October 20, 2018, we reviewed dogs available for adoption at Pinellas County Animal Services. A number of them did contain "pit bull" in their breed label. We pulled several dogs with questionable labels -- dogs that could be labeled as a pit bull-mix, but were not -- into a PDF file for readers. The file includes Chad, a Terrier/Mix, Kojack a Retriever/Mix, Sonja, a Terrier/Mix, Rocko, a Pharaoh Hound/Mix and Katrina, a Boxer/Mix. Common labels to mask pit bull-mixes.

Purebred and Fighting Bloodlines

Clearly Lynnie is a mixed-breed, the question is mixed with what, since no "Labrador retriever" is present in the images of her. Traditional lines of purebred American pit bull terriers are far less blocky in appearance than many people realize. Even various fighting bloodlines have longer and more slender muzzles. Again, Lynnie would easily be a candidate as a pit bull-mix for "any" free pit bull spay/neuter promotion being held by a shelter or humane group in any of our fifty states.

Lynnie was also initially identified as a "pit bull mix" when picked up as a stray on February 23. It's unknown who picked the final breeds, a "Retriever/Hound" mix, for the Petango adoption listing and all future paperwork. Even the bureau director of Pinellas County Animal Services, Doug Brightwell, stated that Lynnie was a year and seven months old, 45 to 50 pounds and likely a lab-hound-pit bull mix, according to an October 8 article published by the Tampa Bay Times.


Editorial note added October 24: We updated this section to clarify that the one minute timestamp on the behavior "canine evaluation" may have reflected the "input time" rather than the actual test time.

10/14/18: Previous Documented Bite
On Friday, during a press conference with Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter, new details were released. We already knew the attack was vicious when the attorney for the biological mother stated it would likely be a closed casket funeral, but Slaughter went even further in his remarks. It was also learned Friday that the dog bit it's owner just after being adopted in March -- the dog had a documented bite record, therefore criminal charges could be possible.

"Something like this doesn't happen without someone making some kind of mistake." - Attorney Nioti Koulianos, representing the baby's biological mother

On October 5, a caseworker from Directions for Living dropped off 7-month old Khloe Willams to the home of Paul Maser, the former Clearwater Deputy Chief, and his wife Pamela. Maser's son, Clearwater Police Detective Jonathan Maser, was fostering the baby. Currently, Clearwater police are investigating the baby's death despite this conflict of interest. Also, Slaughter is a Board of Director for Directions for Living, the agency responsible for Khloe's case management.

According to Slaughter, Pamela was preparing a bottle for the baby, when the family dog -- which had been adopted from Pinellas County Animal Services in March -- became "a little energetic" in its crate. So Pamela opened the crate door. "The dog immediately goes after Khloe," Slaughter said. "Pamela Maser tried to intervene with this dog and get the dog separated from the child," he said. Khloe was rushed to Mease Countryside Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

"This was not a simple bite, this was an attack and the dog did serious traumatic injuries to Khloe." - Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter

Slaughter also revealed the female, spayed dog -- now being described as a mixed-breed of "multiple" variations -- had a previous documented bite. The bite occurred in March when the Masers were beginning the adoption process. The biological mother of the baby and her attorneys are calling for the Clearwater Police Department to hand the investigation over to the FDLE. But Chief Slaughter insists he has no intention of deferring the investigation to another agency.

10/09/18: County Adopted Out Dog
Major developments occurred Monday, after a family pit-bull-mix attacked and killed a baby while in foster care on Friday. Clearwater Police Detective Jonathan Maser was the licensed foster parent for Khloe Williams. At the time of the attack, Maser's parents were caring for the baby at their home. Maser's father is former Clearwater Deputy Chief Paul Maser, who now works in the city's records department. Clearwater police are investigating the baby's dog mauling death.

The foster parent currently is, and his father formerly was, employed by the very agency tasked with investigating this baby's mauling death.

As we suspected initially, the female, spayed pit bull-mix named "Lynnie" was a shelter system dog. Doug Brightwell, the Pinellas County director of animal services -- who withheld this information earlier -- confirmed this Monday. "We evaluate all animals that go through our adoption program for aggression toward food, for toys and treats, with people and with other animals and she did not show any signs of aggression through any of those assessments," Brightwell said.

Like other shelter pit bulls that have been temperament tested, but soon thereafter killed a child or an adult, Lynnie passed every test, according to Brightwell. The deception of shelter directors like Brightwell is they do not admit to the public or media that no temperament test can measure unpredictable aggression. The dog was adopted to the family in March. The dog belongs to the senior Masers. Paul Maser's wife was the only adult present during the fatal dog attack.

Though Clearwater Police are tight lipped about the circumstances of the attack, WFLA reports that an abuse hotline indicated Paul Maser's wife was present when the dog attacked and quickly intervened. The baby was transported to Mease Countryside Hospital were she was pronounced dead. The Clearwater Police Department homicide unit is conducting the investigation. Meanwhile, Khloe's biological mother has hired attorneys, who are conducting an investigation of their own.

Shavon Grossman, had been on a supervised visit with Khloe from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm Friday before a caseworker took her back to the senior Maser's home. Under one hour later, the dog attacked and mutilated the child. "The attack was severe to the point where we’re probably going to have a closed casket," said one of Grossman’s lawyers, Nioti Koulianos of the Law Office of Jocic and Koulianos. "The mother is not going to be able to see her baby’s face ever again."

So far in 2018, 20% of all fatally attacking dogs have come from shelters or rescues. In the last month, three of four fatal attacks were by "vetted" dogs from county shelters. These dogs are not just attacking people -- they are killing people. This is an "acceptable" risk to public shelters, which deceptively hide behind the "known fact" that all of these tests fail to measure unpredictable aggression, and frankly many aggression issues outside of the limited shelter environment.

Pinellas County Animal Services now joins a growing number of taxpayer funded shelters (some which contract with private humane organizations) that adopted out dogs that went on to kill babies, children and adults in their households, including, but not limited to, Clark County (NV), Logan County (WV), Kent County (MI), El Paso County (TX), San Diego County (CA), Jackson-Madison County (TN), Buncombe County (NC), New York City (NY) and Rochester (NY).

It truly is a "life or death" decision every adopter accepts -- knowingly or not -- when adopting a dangerous breed from a city or county shelter.


Animal behaviorist Alexandra Semyonova wrote an analysis of shelter dog assessments in September 2016: Behavior Testing Shelter Dogs -- A Summary of Where We Are Now


10/06/18: Baby Killed in Foster Care
In a shocking development late last night, it was learned that the baby was in foster care when she was mauled to death by the dog. Earlier, Clearwater Police had said the baby was under the care of her grandmother. The baby has been identified as Khloe Ann Williams. Eckerd Connects, the foster agency in Pinellas County, confirmed the baby was in a foster home. The child's mother, Shavon Grossman, told Fox 13 that two case workers informed her of her baby's death.

Grossman was in the process of rehabilitating herself and had plans to reunite with her child on Monday. She was never made aware the foster parent owned a dog. "She was just so smiley, and so happy. Why didn't they stop the dog from getting near my baby and killing my child?" Grossman asked. "She's not even big enough to walk or crawl or anything, to even be able to mess with a dog. I don't understand how she was even around a dog that could do this," Grossman said.

The Tampa Bay Times reports the fatal dog mauling occurred at the home of her foster father's parents on Fairwood Avenue. Baby Khloe had been placed in a foster home (location unknown) licensed by A Door of Hope on May 15, according to Eckerd Connects, which contracts with Pinellas and Pasco counties to provide foster care services. "Everyone at Eckerd Connects is heartbroken," Chris Card, Eckerd’s chief of community-based care said Saturday in a statement.

The dog remains in quarantine at Pinellas County Animal Services. Doug Brightwell, the Pinellas County director of animal services, said they had not yet contacted Williams' foster family about the dog. "This is the first fatality we’ve had in this county from an animal attack in quite a number of years," Brightwell said. DogsBite has no records of a fatal dog attack in Pinellas County since 2005, nor any record of a fatal pit bull or fatal rottweiler attack dating back decades earlier.2

Police Officer was Foster Parent

Saturday afternoon, Fox 13 posted another shocking development. The foster parent caring for baby Khloe, who was mauled to death Friday, was Clearwater Police Department Detective Jonathan Maser. Predictably, "multiple agencies involved with the case have provided conflicting reports about who is conducting the investigation into the baby's death while in foster care," reports Fox 13. This is a disaster -- the foster parent is employed by the investigating agency.

Recall that Clearwater Police initially stated baby Khloe was under the care of her grandmother at the time of the fatal attack. Police later confirmed she was under the care of foster parents. Still later, we learned the attack occurred at the home of her foster father's parents on Fairwood Avenue. It's unclear if the baby lived at the Fairwood Avenue home or was just visiting. It is also unclear who owns the attacking pit bull-mix: the fostering adult(s) or the foster father's parents.

The attorneys representing Shavon Grossman sent a statement to ABC Action News Saturday:

"Khloe Ann Williams was a beautiful 7-month-old baby, who was viciously mauled by a dog, while under the apparent care of the State’s foster care system. There were multiple agencies that were tasked with the care of the child, including the Florida Department of Children and Families, Eckerd Connects, Directions of Living, and A Door of Hope. We are actively looking for answers to all the questions the family is left with at this time. To be clear, while there have been conflicting reports, neither the biological mother nor anyone in her family were caring for the child at the time of the child’s death. The parents and family of this child were failed by the child welfare system. Khloe’s tragic death could have and should have been avoided, and was the direct result of inexcusable neglect." - Law Office of Jocic & Koulianos, P.A.

10/05/18: Pit Bull-Mix Kills Baby Girl
Clearwater, FL - A baby girl is dead after being attacked by a family dog. Fire and Rescue medics responded to call at 2:12 pm Friday at 1125 Fairwood Avenue. The 7-month old baby girl was transported to Mease Countryside Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Few other details have been released. Clearwater police continue to investigate along with the Department of Children and Families. Pinellas County Animal Services took the attacking dog into custody.

FOX 13's Jordan Bowen confirmed Friday night the baby was under the care of her grandmother when the "mixed-breed" attacked. Neighbor Joshua Scott said he saw a gurney being taken out of the home, but he thought it was empty, reports the Tampa Bay Times. "We didn’t know at the time there was actually a child on the gurney," Scott said. "I’ve come to find out it was a terrible scene." Shemica Keese, another neighbor, was devastated, "That’s so sad. That’s horrific," Keese said.

WFLA reports more details and clarifies the dog breed. The attack occurred while the baby was visiting her grandmother's home. The family pet, a female, spayed pit bull-mix named "Lynnie" fatally attacked the baby. WFLA interviews neighbors Scott and Keese. Scott said that when Pinellas County Animal Services took the dog into custody, "the situation was real tense" and the dog "was not happy." Keese said she had never a seen a dog at the grandmother's home before.

It is unknown at this time if the spayed pit bull-mix had come from a shelter facility or rescue.

adopted dog kills baby in foster care

We also remind readers what a "real" American pit bull terrier looks like -- see comparison.

Adopted dog kills baby

map iconView the DogsBite.org Google Map: Florida Fatal Pit Bull Maulings.
1The other damning evidence we found was the fatal bite report itself that lists the savage attack on infant Khloe as "Motivation: provoked." At the time of her death, she was in a car seat on a sofa. Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter stated the dog became "a little energetic" in its crate, so Pamela opened the crate door. "The dog immediately goes after Khloe," Slaughter told the media on October 12. Some of the documents returned through our FOIA were printed on October 8, seven days before we submitted our FOIA. The same is true for the fatal bite report. Thus, "Motivation: provoked" may have since been changed. This designation may also be a "default" of the software system itself. Whatever the case, it's horrible to call this attack on a defenseless infant "provoked."
2We reviewed Brightwell's statement on October 16 and discovered that the mauling death of infant Jasmine Dillashaw in June 2000 in St. Petersburg, may have involved a pit bull-mix. Jasmine was only 18 days old when one of two family dogs -- a pit bull-mix or a German shepherd-husky mix -- fatally bit the infant on the head. It could not be determine which of the dogs attacked.

Related articles:
07/19/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Child with Life-Threatening Injuries from Dog Attack Dies...
06/07/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Infant Killed by Pit Bull While Under Care of Grandmother...


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.

2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Recently Adopted Mastiff Kills Owner in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Animal Foundation "Vetted" and Adopted Out the Dog

adopted mastiff kills owner las vegas
Susan Sweeney, 58, was killed by a mastiff-mix she adopted three days earlier.

Shelter Dog Kills Adopter
UPDATE 10/09/18: On October 1, around 11:40 pm, a Las Vegas man came home from work and discovered his wife of 26 years dead, mauled to death by the family's recently adopted dog. Susan Sweeney, 58, was alone with the mastiff-mix at her home in the 5000 block of River Splash Avenue when the animal fatally attacked her. Sweeney was declared dead at 1:05 am Tuesday. The coroner's office ruled the cause of death a mauling. The manner of death was an accident.

The 3-year old male mastiff-mix was adopted to the family three days earlier by The Animal Foundation, which claims to be the "highest volume single-site animal shelter in America," on their website. The dog was 83 pounds, not large enough to be a mastiff-presa canario mix, as stated by city officials. The Foundation released a statement saying, it "did not have any information regarding the dog’s prior circumstances that would have led us to believe that he was unsafe."

One day before the family adopted the mastiff-mix, her husband posted photographs of the dog on Facebook. He also asked about the breed, "Question is never had this breed before so anyone out there know anything about them please share." Certainly, it never occurred to him that his question held "life or death" consequences. Unfortunately, it truly is a "life or death" decision every adopter accepts -- knowingly or not -- when adopting a dangerous dog breed from a public shelter today.

The 911 call by Sweeney's husband after finding his wife is horrific and heartbreaking.

Notably, during the news coverage, a bright, colorful Best Friends Animal Society transport van was seen in The Animal Foundation's parking lot. Best Friends is the largest promoter of reckless no kill policies, which places "save rates" an order of magnitude higher than public safety.


10/05/18: Woman Killed by Own Dog
Las Vegas, NV - A 58-year old woman was killed on October 1 by a recently adopted dog. Today, the Clark County Coroner identified the victim as Susan Sweeney. The cause of death was ruled a dog mauling. On October 1, Las Vegas police were dispatched to a home in the 5000 block of River Splash Avenue around 11:40 pm after a family member called saying a woman appeared to be deceased. The family member told police they had only had the mastiff-mix for a few days.

The victim's family recently started a GoFundMe page. "This GoFundMe will cover the funeral expenses for our beloved Susie," states the page. Sweeney leaves behind two children and a husband of 26 years, states the page. According to her husband Patrick's Facebook page, the couple adopted a 3-year old male mastiff-mix on September 28 from an unspecified shelter. The dog literally attacked and killed her three days later. The shelter facility has not been identified.

The husband also posted on September 6, saying that his family dog had recently been laid to rest. "All those dog lovers know the emptiness after the fact and to say I miss him and love him so much doesn't say enough but I know he will always be with me," Patrick said. This may have been why the couple decided to adopt a dog a few weeks later. That should have never been a "life or death" decision, but it is today when you adopt certain dog breeds from a rescue or shelter.

Sweeney's mauling death marks the fourth deadly dog attack this year by a recently adopted or rehomed dog. Three of these fatalities involved rescue pit bulls. Sweeney's death also marks the seventh dog bite fatality in 2018, where the animal fatally attacked its owner. Five of these owner fatalities involved pit bulls, one fatality involved a dogo argentino and Sweeny's death involved a mastiff-mix. So far in 2018, at least 24 Americans have been mauled to death by a canine.

Afternoon Updates

An update by KTNV News around 4:15 pm Central time, states the dog is mastiff-presa canario mix. It was adopted from The Animal Foundation, which is the "highest volume single-site animal shelter in America," according to their website. Las Vegas Animal Control said the dog's behavior was assessed before it was adopted. For over a decade, The Animal Foundation operated the city's municipal shelter (Lied Animal Shelter). Apparently, the nonprofit still maintains this contract.

The Animal Foundation released a statement to KTNV News about Sweeney's mauling death:

"The Animal Foundation has recently learned that a woman who adopted a large dog from our shelter lost her life as the result of an apparent attack from the same dog. At the request of her husband, the dog was humanely euthanized after the conclusion of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s investigation. The Animal Foundation did not have any information regarding the dog’s prior circumstances that would have led us to believe that he was unsafe, and while this dog was in our care his behavior did not raise any concerns. There are no words that can appropriately convey the deep sadness felt by The Animal Foundation. Our sympathies, thoughts, and prayers are with this woman’s family in the wake of their heartbreaking loss."

The Animal Foundation now joins a growing number of shelters that adopted out a dog that killed a person. In September, the Logan County Pound (WV) allowed a rescue to "pull" a death row pit bull, which quickly killed its new owner. In 2017, the Kent County Animal Shelter (MI) and El Paso Animal Services (TX) were the origins of dogs that each killed a child. In late 2016, the New York City municipal shelter allowed a rescue to "pull" a death row pit bull, which killed its new adopter.

In April 2016, the San Diego Humane Society adopted out a pit bull-mix that struck down an infant. In 2015, the Jackson-Madison County Pound (TN) adopted out a rottweiler that instantly killed its new owner. Also in 2015, the Asheville Humane Society adopted out a pit bull that killed a 6-year old boy three weeks later. Asheville Humane used the "state-of-the-art" temperament test, SAFER, to test the dog, which cannot measure unpredictable aggression nor can any temperament test.


Animal behaviorist Alexandra Semyonova wrote an analysis of shelter dog assessments in September 2016: Behavior Testing Shelter Dogs -- A Summary of Where We Are Now


adopted mastiff kills owner las vegas

The newly adopted mastiff-mix as seen on the victim's husband's Facebook page September 27.

A Best Friends Animal Society's transport van seen in Animal Foundation's parking lot 10/5/18.

Related articles:
10/03/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Adopted Two Weeks Ago Kills Woman in Maryland
06/10/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: 6-Year Old Boy Killed by Rescued Pit Bull in Pennsylvania
01/15/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: New Family Pit Bull Kills 3-Year Old Girl in Oklahoma
09/20/16: Shelters Candy-Coat Dogs with Aggressive Behaviors to Increase 'Save Rate'


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.