2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Man, 22, Killed by Brother's Four Pit Bulls While Dog Sitting in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota

Dezmond Trawick, 22-years old, was killed by his brother's four pit bulls while dog sitting.

Pit Bulls Kill Man
Brooklyn Center, MN - On Thursday afternoon, a 22-year old man was killed by a pack of four pit bulls he was dog sitting, according to the Brooklyn Center Police Department. The violent attack occurred in the 5700 block of North Halifax Avenue. Upon arrival officers found the victim "had most of his clothing ripped off and had extensive bites on a majority of his body." The victim was "intubated at the scene" and transported to a local hospital. He did not survive his injuries.

Brooklyn Center Police Department - April 13, 2023

Earlier this afternoon Brooklyn Center Officers responded to a report of a dog attack in near the 5700 block of Halifax Ave N. Upon arrival officers found four (4) dogs attacking someone in a backyard, they then deployed a less lethal round, striking at least one of the dogs, which dispersed all of the dogs back into the residence. Officers were then able to secure a garage door and begin to render aid to the victim. The victim had most of his clothing ripped off and had extensive bites on a majority of his body. The victim was then intubated at the scene and transported to a local area hospital where he was immediately brought to surgery. The victim will likely be hospitalized for an extended period of time (possibly several weeks).

All of the dogs were transported to PUPS and are quarantined pending a dangerous dog evaluation process. There was a very large police presence in the area. We were assisted by Brooklyn Center Fire Department, City of Crystal Police and Community Service Officers, Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and North Memorial EMS Paramedics.

This concludes the information about this case that we are able to share with the public.

Police initially believed the man would be hospitalized for several weeks, but he died at the hospital overnight. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner identified the victim as Dezmond Thomas Trawick. A police news release said, "The four dogs were of American Pit Bull Terrier dog breed," reports KARE. Investigators are in contact with the dogs' owners and say criminal charges could be filed. Police said they are unaware of any additional incidents involving the dogs.

Brooklyn Center authorities said the four pit bulls did not live at the home where the attack occurred, but were staying there for the day. The man was dog sitting the animals for a family member at the time. The victim's mother posted on her Facebook page, "I CANNOT LIVE THIS LIFE WITHOUT MY SON Dezmond Trawick." She also states the attack was unexplainable. "YES, DEZMOND LOVED THOSE DOGS AND THEY LOVED HIM... UNEXPLAINABLE," she wrote.

Police confiscated all four pit bulls, which were transported to Pets Under Police Security (PUPS) for quarantine and are "pending a dangerous dog evaluation process," according to the police news release. The KARE news video states that neighbors told them the dogs "made them feel uncomfortable." One female neighbor told KARE, "She would keep her kids in the house whenever the dogs were outside." Indicating the pit bulls had a history of being at Trawick's home.

The Star Tribune reports that Trawick died due to "complications of dog attack," barely an hour after arriving at North Memorial Hospital Health, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office. The manner of death has preliminarily been classified as an accident. Brooklyn Center Police Cmdr. Tony Gruenig said the dogs lived elsewhere with a brother of Trawick, who was caring for the dogs that day. No one else was home at the time of the attack, Gruenig said.

KSPT reports the time of the attack, 12:45 pm, and audio dispatch logs from Broadcastify. "Dogs are attacking a person he is unconscious and bleeding," dispatch states. KSPT also spoke to a neighbor who heard Trawick screaming in the backyard. "He just kept screaming, and his voice kept getting lower and lower and I’m like are you okay but he couldn’t hear me,” said Lisa Yang, who lives next door. “I’m very shocked that the dog would attack the family, I’m really sorry."

KMSP-TV also spoke to a neighbor who witnessed the attack. Jerry Nelson, Trawick's neighbor, who is wearing U.S. Postal Service uniform during the interview, said that he saw Trawick tossing a tennis ball to the four pit bulls in his backyard. As we have heard witnesses say before, at first he believed the dogs were playing, "you know, jumping on him," Nelson said. As Trawick began fighting the dogs off, things became more serious. Trawick asked him, "Can you come help me?’"

Nelson called 911 then began throwing rocks and sticks at the dogs to try to stop the dogs from attacking Trawick. Nelson described the canines as, "big, giant, dogs and I couldn't get them off of him," indicating the dogs were likely a pit bull designer breed, such as the an XL bully. Nelson said the thought of Trawick dying never crossed his mind at that moment. "I knew that he was hurt," he said. But "death wasn't even on my mind." Trawick died one hour after arriving at the hospital.

Deaths Involving 20s Age Group Rising

Over the 15-year period of 2005 to 2019, dogs killed 522 Americans. 3% (17) of these victims were in the 20-29 year old age group. Pit bulls were responsible for 15 of these deaths, 88%. The majority of these attacks also involved multiple dogs, 65% (11/17). Over the 3-year period of 2020 to 2022, (known as the "Covid Years") our nonprofit recorded 153 dog bite fatalities. 7% of those victims (11/153) were in the 20-29 year old age group, a noticeable rise from the earlier period.

The watching category, which includes dog sitting, -- dog bite fatalities involving a babysitter or relative watching a child or the dog being "watched" by a person other than its owner when the dog fatally attacked -- did not see a doubling. From 2005 to 2019, 17% (89/522) of fatalities involved this scenario. During the Covid Years, 18% (27/153) involved this scenario. However, many deaths during the Covid Years, which we are still examining, lacked information in this area.

killed by four pit bull dog sitting

Scene outside the home where Dezmond Trawick, 22, was killed by his brother's four pit bulls

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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.

Woman, 36, Found Dead at Lansing Home; Police Initially Suspected a Fatal Dog Mauling then Cleared the Dogs

Lansing police a suspect fatal dog mauling
Lansing police initially suspected that a 36-year old woman was killed by two dogs.

Dogs Cleared in Attack
UPDATE 04/17/23: The Lansing State Journal reports that police have "cleared" the two dogs seized after a woman's death Friday that police initially termed a "possible attack." Ingham County Animal Control Deputy Director Dan Verhougstraete told the Journal on Monday the dogs were cleared to be returned to their owner and were not involved in the death. "We do not have an active role in their investigation," Verhougstraete said. "The dogs were just being housed."

A commenter on the Journal's Facebook post can't understand how a stabbing could be confused with dog bites. "Sharp force injuries," also termed "sharp force trauma," are terms used by some medical examiners when declaring the cause of death after a fatal dog mauling. Search results on this website returned about a dozen cases where the "sharp force injury" term is used by forensic officials. Additional news reports state the case is now being investigated as an accidental death.

04/15/23: Police Suspect Dogs Involved
Lansing, MI - On Friday night, a 36-year old woman was found dead, the Lansing Police Department said. Police suspect two dogs are the culprits. Police were dispatched to a home in the 3400 block of West Mount Hope Avenue around 8:00 pm for a possible stabbing, but “there is reason to believe this was a possible dog attack,” according to a statement from the agency. Both dogs were seized by Ingham County Animal Control. The victim's name was not released.

A commenter on the Lansing State Journal's Facebook post claims the victim is the ex-girlfriend of the dogs' owner, who "entered his home without notifying him." She "was mauled to death," Sheyenne Tinges states. "What he walked into when he got home from work is horrifying. The girl’s arm was by the door entrance while the rest of her body was across the room. Her flesh and blood scattered everywhere." Tinges states that police initially suspected the dogs' owner.

Police "let him go once CSI and animal control were done investigating the scene," she said. Tinges also claims the dogs "did not just attack for no reason nor were they outside of their territory." The dogs' owner "loved his dogs and he loved the girl who lost her life as well. This whole situation is a nightmare." The whole point of Tinges' comment (and the post on her own page) is to ask for a recommended "biohazard remediation/ crime scene clean up service."

The Lansing's Most Wanted Facebook page captured audio from dispatch stating, "sounds like a confirmed K, possibly from a dog bite." The video also shows that the attack occurred in the Riverview Estates Mobile Home Community. Tinges posted the same "biohazard" comment on that thread. The moderator of Lansing's Most Wanted replied to her, "Sheyenne Tinges killer dogs need to be killed plain and simple. There is no room in our society for that mess at all!"

found dead at lansing home

A commenter claims the victim is the ex-girlfriend of the dogs' owner and blames the victim.

Related articles:
04/06/23: 2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Killed by Two Pit Bulls in Vacant Detroit Building
07/30/22: Sebewaing Police Chief Takes Pit Bull 'Lucifer' into Custody; Issues Rare...

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.

2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman, 61, Killed by Pack of Neighborhood Dogs in Rural McCreary County, Kentucky

Wilma Ridner, 61-years old, was killed by a pack of neighborhood dogs in McCreary County.

Woman Killed by Dog Pack
McCreary County, KY - A 61-year old woman is dead after being mauled by up to six loose dogs. Yesterday, the McCreary County Sheriff's Office issued a public safety alert notice stating that two of the dogs were still at large. A report from WKYT states the attack occurred early Wednesday morning on Slab Vanover Road, which is a rural area off Highway 90 west of Cumberland Falls. The dogs attacked her as she walked down the road. The victim lived near the attack location.

Earlier today, McCreary County Coroner Tim Corder identified the woman as 61-year old Wilma Ridner. Corder was notified about her death around 2:00 am Wednesday. The state Medical Examiner's Office in Frankfort performed an autopsy on Thursday. Those results have not been released. McCreary County Sheriff David Sampson told the Lexington Herald Leader that four dogs were captured and euthanized. Sampson also described them as neighborhood dogs.

In 2017, 79-year old Vinson Tucker was killed by a pack of dogs in the same county. That attack occurred at Stephens Towing and Wrecker Service. The owner of the company, who was away at the time, said the dogs were strays. But one neighbor, Eric Branscum, disagreed. "It's hard to say you don't own a dog if you take care of it and it lives at your house, at your business," he told the media. The violent attack was captured on surveillance cameras. No charges were ever brought.

Ridner's death comes after four other pack attacks this year. All of those victims were male, ages 7 to 74-years old. Most of those fatal pack attacks occurred in rural areas, including the death of Kellan Boner, 7, who was killed by dogs on the Fort Hall Indian reservation in January. The most recent fatal pack attack occurred in McDonald Chaple, Alabama. 74-year old Joe Scott had been taking a morning walk when he was attacked by six dogs. Police said those dogs were strays.

Family Member Says Pit Bulls

Authorities did not release the breed of dogs involved. On the WKYT Facebook post, however, a family member said the dogs were pit bulls. Ridner's granddaughter, Samantha Maldonado, states in comments, "Look I’m not scared of pits but yes it was pit bulls that did this to her not all pit bulls are bad dog it’s how your raise them." Maldonado also said that seven dogs were involved. "This is correct. There was 7 in total that took her life just pray for her kids and the rest of the family."

killed by pack of neighborhood dogs

The granddaughter of the victim stated that Wilma Ridner was killed by a pack of pit bulls.

killed by pack of neighborhood dogs

The granddaughter also stated that seven dogs were involved in the deadly attack.

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

Related articles:
03/01/23: 2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Dog Pack Kills 74-Year Old Man in Jefferson County, Alabama
07/12/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Pack of Dogs Kill 79-Year Old Man in McCreary County

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.

2023 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Killed by Two Pit Bulls Habituating a Boarded-Up Vacant Detroit Building

Daniel Bonacorsi, 58, was killed by a pair of pit bulls inside a boarded-up vacant Detroit building.

Man Killed by Pit Bulls
Detroit, MI - A 58-year old man was discovered dead inside a boarded-up vacant building on Tuesday. Police believe the man was attacked and killed by two pit bulls being kept in the building. The man was found around 1:30 pm inside an expansive vacant building in the 5400 block of West Fourth Street. According to Detroit police Cpl. Dan Donakowski, the man had entered the building with another person. Both pit bulls were captured by Detroit Animal Care and Control Division.

Police later clarified the other man did not get attacked by the dogs. "There was another person along with him that did not get attacked," Donakowski said. Police are unsure "if he was actually at the scene at the time that the male was attacked, but he was near the location." Police also said that both men had been trying to help the dogs when the two pit bulls attacked one of the men. Surprisingly, both dogs were fully licensed and vaccinated indicating the dogs have an owner.

Detroit Free Press reports that the building was under renovation and confirmed the dogs were owned, licensed, vaccinated and secured by the property owner, according to John Roach, director of media relations for the city of Detroit. WDIV-TV interviewed Gordon Compton, who lives nearby. Compton said a woman escaped the same fate a few weeks earlier as she tried to feed the dogs. The dogs also ran loose in the area. Nearby residents want the building torn down.

Fox 2 Detroit reports that another suspicious death occurred at this building on September 7, 2022. Detroit police were dispatched to the same building after a man apparently broke in and was discovered dead. Police said the dogs had come in contact with the man, but his cause of death is still undetermined. The Wayne County Medical Examiner said "there are external findings that require further interpretation." The building's manager would not comment to the reporter.

There are several cases where the same dogs killed a human being, and for a variety of reasons -- such as police did not initially suspect the dogs as the culprits or authorities were forced to release the dogs back to their owner -- and the dogs killed a second person. The most recent case involves the 2018 conviction of Eric Hodges in Benton County, Mississippi. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison after his pack of pit bulls killed two different men over a 10-week period.

The Dog's Owner

On Wednesday, a Detroit man named Dustin Shepherd stated in a Facebook post that he owned the two pit bulls. "They got my dogs I will be getting them back the guy broke into the building and my dogs felt threatened and protected their home," he wrote. In the post, he links to the WXYZ report. Shepherd added in comments, "I got two lawyers on it they are going to save my dogs." That sounds more like the September 7 incident, when an intruder did break into the building.

On March 27 Shepherd posted that he licensed and vaccinated his dogs. According to Shepherd, his male pit bull weighed 66-pounds and the female weighed 65-pounds. On November 6, 2022 Shepherd took both of his dogs for a walk and passed by the same building (@ 5:14) at 5435 West Fort Street, known as, "The Works." One year earlier, Shepherd posted that I "got my boy out of jail," referring to his male pit bull, that he had retrieved from the Taylor Animal Shelter.

In the November video, as he walks by the building, Shepherd states, "We're not going home, we're going to keep walking. Don't worry..."

Finally, after his two pit bulls killed Daniel Bonacorsi on April 4, 2023, Shepherd posted to social media, "It happened again my boy DeNiro got another body two guys broke into the building today and my dogs felt threatened so one of the two guys did not make it out." That post has since been removed. Perhaps, that's not a good thing to brag about if Shepherd desperately wants his double man killing pit bulls returned to him (so the dogs can kill a third individual). Seriously. Detroit.

Killed by pit bulls vacant Detroit building

Dustin Shepherd said after his two pit bulls killed a man on April 4, "It happened again."

Killed by pit bulls vacant Detroit building

On March 27, Dustin Shepherd said that he licensed and vaccinated both of his pit bulls.

Killed by pit bulls vacant Detroit building

On November 1, 2021, Shepherd posted that he "got my boy out of jail," referring to his dog.

Graphic Medical study: Pitbull Mauling Deaths in Detroit, by Cheryl L. Loewe MD et al., The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, Vol 28, December 2007.

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

Related articles:
08/22/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: 9-Year Old Girl Killed by Three Pit Bulls on Detroit's West Side
03/08/18: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Mississippi, Second Human Fatality Inflicted by Same Pit Bulls

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.