Beneath the 'Headlines' of the DOT's Final Guidance of Enforcement Priorities Regarding Service Animals

What Does it Mean for Delta's Pit Bull Ban? - Discussion

dot enforcement priorities

On August 8, the DOT issued their final enforcement priorities regarding service animals. The DOT's guidance comes after airlines began tightening policies on service and support animals.
News headlines followed with claims like, "Delta can't ban pit bulls." Due to how the current rule is written, however, Delta may have legal basis; they would not have issued the ban otherwise.
Our special report dives into the areas of the current rule that are undefined. We also address the "gaping loophole" in the ACAA that has allowed fake ESA certification websites to flourish online.

Enforcement Priorities
On August 8, the Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a final statement of enforcement priorities regarding service animals. Later this year, the DOT is expected to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) which will address the "appropriate definition of a service animal" and "include safeguards to ensure safety and reduce the likelihood that passengers wishing to travel with their pets on aircraft will be able to falsely claim that their pets are service animals."

The enforcement priorities come after Delta and other airlines adopted new policies after the period of the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking comment on amending the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation of service animals ended on July 9, 2018. Delta had announced in June that starting on July 10, 2018 it would limit each passenger to one emotional support animal per flight and would prohibit pit bull-type dogs as service and support animals.

The DOT's enforcement priorities primarily address the new policies adopted by airlines since early 2018. These policies attempt to tackle the growing number of fake service and emotional support animals (ESAs), but primarily the growth of untrained ESAs flying in the cabin. The sole function of an ESA is to "provide comfort" for a person with disabilities. ESAs are not trained to perform a specific task and have no protection under the American Disabilities Act (ADA).

In June 2017, a Delta passenger was repeatedly attacked in the face by an untrained psychiatric service dog. In May 2019, the victim sued Delta and the dog's owner, intensifying this issue.

The DOT's enforcement priorities address airline policies containing breed restrictions, species restrictions, weight restrictions, age and number of service animal restrictions, flight-length restrictions, letter and form requirements for ESA and psychiatric services animals (PSA), form requirements for service animals (non ESA and PSA), as well as requirements for passengers with ESAs or PSAs to check into the ticket area (also called the "lobby") prior to their flight.

Airlines have until mid-September to adjust any policies that are out-of-step with the Enforcement Office's interpretation of the current rule, of which parts remain undefined and may continue to be undefined when the DOT issues its NPRM regarding the "appropriate definition of a service animal" later this year. The DOT guidance is "not legally binding in its own right" and conformity with the guidance (as distinct from existing statutes and regulations in Part 382) is voluntary only.

The Current Rule

The current rule (within the Foreign Carriers NPRM) was enacted in 2008, and is also called Part 382. It amended the Air Carrier Access Act in areas, including the transportation of service animals. However, of the total 1290 comments received for the Foreign Carriers NPRM, over 1100 (85%) regarded service animals. The DOT's final statement of enforcement priorities reflects the existing statutes and regulations in Part 382, as well as provides interpretations of them.

The goal of the DOT's final statement of enforcement priorities is to inform the public and airlines about policies that are in violation or are "inconsistent" with Part 382, and thus may be subject to potential enforcement. However, as the DOT admits in the guidance, there are still undefined areas in Part 382. Specifically, how airlines may (or may not) assess whether or not a service animal (including ESAs and PSAs) poses a "direct threat to the health or safety of others."1

Delta's Pit Bull Ban

On page 25, the DOT summarizes their enforcement priorities. The first item is Species and Breed Restrictions. As gathered from parts of the DOT's guidance statement, "the Department is not aware of and has not been presented with evidence supporting the assertion that an animal poses a direct threat simply because of its breed" and "The Enforcement Office continues to take the view that restrictions on specific dog breeds are inconsistent with the current regulation."

Delta's view is that "untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk." Delta also stated at that time, "We must err on the side of safety." That was their legal understanding of the ACAA in June of 2018. Not coincidentally, Section 382.117(f) of the current rule does not define how airlines can assess if a service or support animal presents a "direct threat to the health or safety of others" -- possibly an invitation to Delta's interpretation.

§ 382.117(f) "You are never required to accommodate certain unusual service animals (e.g., snakes, other reptiles, ferrets, rodents, and spiders) as service animals in the cabin. With respect to all other animals, including unusual or exotic animals that are presented as service animals (e.g., miniature horses, pigs, monkeys), as a carrier you must determine whether any factors preclude their traveling in the cabin as service animals (e.g., whether the animal is too large or heavy to be accommodated in the cabin, whether the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others, whether it would cause a significant disruption of cabin service, whether it would be prohibited from entering a foreign country that is the flight's destination).2 If no such factors preclude the animal from traveling in the cabin..." - 14 CFR § 382.117(f)

While many newspaper headlines stating, "Delta can't ban pit bulls" and the "DOT rejects Delta's pit bull ban" appeared after the DOT's enforcement priorities was published, the issue is not necessarily so black and white. The DOT simply stated, "The Enforcement Office intends to use available resources to ensure that dogs, cats, and miniature horses are accepted for transport," meaning all dog breeds. Below are areas in the DOT guidance that discuss a "direct threat."

"In the Interim Statement, we explained that airlines may refuse transportation to any service animal that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. We observed, however, that our service animal regulation does not explain how airlines may (or may not) make that assessment" ...

"As we explained in the documentation section above, Part 382 permits airlines to determine, in advance of flight, whether any service animal poses a direct threat, but the rule does not clearly indicate how airlines must make that assessment" ...

"In general, it is not clear whether airlines are violating Part 382 if they require additional documentation to determine whether a service animal poses a direct threat. Part 382 permits airlines to determine, in advance of flight, whether any service animal poses a direct threat. However, that section is not clear about how airlines would determine whether an animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others" - Guidance on Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel, U.S. Department of Transportation, August 8, 2019

On May 23, 2018 Delta authored their comments for the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). Delta stated within them: "Absent an approach that clearly demonstrates an animal can behave properly, airlines should be able to impose breed restrictions to ensure passenger safety."3 On June 20, Delta announced that starting on July 10, it would limit each passenger to one support animal per flight and prohibited pit bull-type dogs as service and support animals.

"To address operational issues, airlines should be permitted to require documentation of (a) the passenger's qualifying disability by a licensed medical professional, (b) behavioral training of the service animal, and (c) veterinary health records. Airlines should be permitted to require this documentation 48 hours in advance of a flight to provide opportunity to effectively evaluate the documentation. This approach is similar to the "Pet Passport" adopted by European Union countries. Absent an approach that clearly demonstrates an animal can behave properly, airlines should be able to impose breed restrictions to ensure passenger safety." - Delta Air Lines, May 23, 2018

In July, (prior to the DOT's new guidance), Delta defended their ban and threw some chilly water on a potential ruse.4 Delta denied a woman who tried to reserve a Delta flight to fly a pit bull-mix service dog to its client (the disabled client was not flying with the dog). When the woman protested and said, "that's discrimination, that's illegal," Delta allegedly replied, "No, we have lawyers on standby. We wouldn't do this if there were any legal issues that could arise."

The fact is, we don't know how Delta will respond policy-wise to the DOT's final enforcement priorities. It is also unknown if the "direct threat" issue will be addressed by the DOT later this year. We just know that policy adjustments are due in September. We also know that Part 382 does not explain how airlines may (or may not) make a direct threat assessment and that Delta believed when banning pit bull-type dogs as service and support animals, it was legally sound.

Learn why breed matters in service dogs and why pit bull service dogs are a bad idea. Primarily, pit bull "breed advocates," not advocates for the disabled, promote pit bulls as service dogs.

Military Breed Bans

A decade ago, the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force banned pit bulls and several other dog breeds from privatized housing. The Marine Corps order states, in part: "Pit bulls, rottweilers, canid/wolf hybrids, or any canine breed with dominant traits of aggression present an unreasonable risk to the health and safety of personnel in family housing." The DOT is misleading by stating there is no evidence that a dog "poses a direct threat simply because of its breed."

For federal precedent, the DOT needs to look no further than the United States Armed Forces for this evidence. Furthermore, at Camp Lejeune -- one of the largest U.S. Marine Corps bases in the country -- service dogs must be evaluated annually by the Department of Animal Control Office (DACO) and must pass an evaluation test in order "to be recognized as a service dog aboard the installation." Delta is not in the animal control or animal behavior business -- no airline is.

Developing Standards

Currently, the DOT is allowing airlines some tools to assess behavior in ESAs and PSAs, including a signed Veterinary Health Form (proof of rabies and distemper vaccinations), a signed Confirmation of Animal Training form and a signed letter from a licensed mental health professional stating the passenger has a mental health-related disability. But Delta wants more than this. Delta wants the DOT to "develop clear and consistent standards" that a dog is trained.

"Reduce abuse and fraud by clarifying and simplifying regulations to the greatest extent possible. The multiple categories with different standards and guidance do not serve passengers with disabilities or airlines well. The DOT should establish one category of service animals to accommodate any trained service animal providing assistance to a person with a qualifying disability. DOT must develop clear and consistent standards and processes for determining that a dog is trained and establishing that a person has a need for the service animal to prevent fraud and abuse. Reform should also limit the definition of service animals to dogs." - Delta Air Lines, May 23, 2018

Loophole in Current Rule

The ADA defines a disability as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment." Section 382.117(e) of the current rule, however, states that passengers with ESAs or PSAs must only have a "mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM IV)."

Airlines for America, a trade organization, states in their DOT comments: "Section 382.117(e)(1) refers to passengers that have a 'mental or emotional disability recognized in the [DSM],' but does not refer to 'any disorder (or condition) identified in the DSM.' However, a disorder is not synonymous with a disability; not all disorders manifest in a functional impairment that would be considered a legal disability, and the DSM lists many disorders that are not disabilities."

"This is not merely a technical distinction, on the contrary, it is a gaping loophole that all but invites tens of millions of non-disabled passengers to claim the need for an ESA accommodation," Airlines for America states. "DOT's conflation of medical 'disorders' and 'conditions' identified in the DSM with the legal concept of 'disability' has created confusion and facilitates fraud."5 The DOT's unwitting language is in part why fake ESA certification websites can legally flourish online.

"According to research published by the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 18.1% of Americans age 18 and older, suffered from a diagnosable mental disorder in 2014 ... with an average of 26.2% in any given year .... This begs the question as to whether an individual has a mental health-related disability listed in the DSM–5, and whether the animal in question alleviates the person's mental health symptoms in some way if accompanying the person while flying. One can argue that one in four adults could realistically qualify for an ESA. As illogical as it may seem, this would imply the ACAA would allow up to one fifth to one-quarter of passengers to potentially bring their pets on board the plane if needed."6 - Boness C. L., Younggren, J. N. & Frumkin I. B., 2017.


We do not know how Delta will respond policy-wise to the DOT's final guidance of enforcement priorities regarding their pit bull service and support dog ban. We do know that on June 22, 2018, two days after Delta announced their ban policy, the Enforcement Office issued a public statement indicating its view that "a limitation based exclusively on breed of the service animal is not allowed under the Air Carrier Access Act." Delta implemented their ban policy three weeks later anyway.

If the DOT were to develop "clear and consistent standards" for determining whether a dog is trained that the airlines could follow, along with revising the "gaping loophole" in the current rule that conflates medical "disorders" and "conditions" identified in the DSM with the legal concept of "disability" -- which ushered in an era of a massive number of non-disabled passengers claiming the need for an ESA accommodation -- perhaps Delta would not need the blunt tool of a ban.

1The DOT's definition of a "Direct Threat to the Health or Safety of Others" is as follows, "A significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices, or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services." This modified definition was established in 2008 (14 CFR Part 382, May 13, 2008). This area contains two parts as well, the service animal can be refused if it 1.) "poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others" or if it 2.) "causes a significant disruption in cabin service (i.e., a 'fundamental alteration' to passenger service)."
2"Too large or heavy to be accommodated in the cabin" is another area the DOT refuses to define and declared one airline's ban on ESAs and PSAs over 65-pounds as "inconsistent" (not the heavy language of a "direct violation") with Part 382.117. The airline was clearly trying to protect passengers from large untrained ESAs and PSAs. Their imposed "weight limit" did not affect real or "fake" service animals.
3Comments of Delta Air Lines, Submitted July 10, 2018 (DOT-OST-2018-0068-4141), Dated May 23, 2018 | Docket No. DOT-OST-2018-0068.
4A ruse "stresses an attempt to mislead by a false impression," according to Merriam-Webster. There are many "fake" scenarios invented by pit bull advocates to promote "fake" pit bull service and support dogs. This one fits the bill. Not that there was a fake disability, but it is likely people involved knew about Delta's ban and knew the dog would get rejected by Delta, thus producing a few news stories. On top of that, the rescue, Help a Dog Out Rescue in Mesa, was blasted by a pit bull lover for being "shady" for trying to pass this dog off as "not a pit."
5Comments of Airlines for America, Regional Airline Association, and
International Air Transport Association
, Submitted July 10, 2018 (DOT-OST-2018-0068-4288), Dated July 9, 2018 | Docket No. DOT-OST-2018-0068.

6Cassandra. L. Boness, Jeffrey.N. Younggren & I. Bruce Frumkin, The Certification of Emotional Support Animals: Differences Between Clinical and Forensic Mental Health Practitioners, Prof. Psychology: Research and Practice, 2017, Vol. 48, No. 3, 216–223.

Related articles:
06/04/19: Delta Passenger Attacked in the Face by a Large "Support" Dog Sues Airline...
03/04/19: Mother of Child Mauled by an 'Emotional Support' Pit Bull at Portland Airport Sues
07/05/18: Why Breed Matters in Service Dogs and Why Pit Bull Service Dogs are a Bad Idea
06/23/18: Delta Bans Pit Bull-Type Dogs as Service, Support Animals in the Cabin
01/25/18: Delta Tightens Reins on Untrained 'Support' Dogs in the Aircraft Cabin
07/14/17: Delta Passenger is Severely Attacked by an Unrestrained Emotional Support Dog

2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Texas Teen Dies After Brutal Attack by Three Pit Bulls in Irving

Texas Teen Dies, attacked by pit bulls Irving Texas
Nelson Bernardo Cabrera, 16, was killed by three pit bulls in Irving, Texas.

Dog Owner Knew Victim
UPDATE 08/13/19: On August 12, a Spanish speaking news outlet, Univision, added new dimensions to this boy's mauling death -- view the URL in Chrome to translate. According to the owner of the pit bulls, Guillermor Lorenzo, "the young man had stayed a few days in his house due to a favor he wanted to do to the minor. However, the owner of the house had canceled access to the property due to alleged problems that dragged the child," states the Google translation.

"In fact," the translation continues, "the owner of the property had changed the main locks to ensure that Cabrera would not enter the house again, Lorenzo explained to News 23 DFW." Notably, the subtitle is confusing and contradictory. This may be due to a poor Google translation: "Apparently the young man tried to enter the back of the house where he had stayed for a few days but where he never met the dogs that lived there," states the Google translation.

Lorenzo admits the boy had been staying at his home for a few days. English media outlets only stated that Lorenzo had seen the teenager a day earlier. This is a powerful difference relationship-wise. Despite the contradictory subtitle, certainly Nelson Cabrera, 16, would have known about Lorenzo's multiple pit bulls -- unless he was blind and mute -- since he had been living at his modest home for several days. There is no mention of Cabrera's parents or family members.

Multi-Pit Bull Household, Breeding

There were three adult pit bulls and at least four pit bull puppies in Lorenzo's home at the time of the deadly attack. Lorenzo admitted to his neighbor, Elizabeth Cantu, who feared the dogs, that his pit bulls could be aggressive. Lorenzo's daughter, Christina Lorena, who took to social media after Cabrera's death and stated, "That's what yo ass gets," referring to his death, also admitted that "Bella" is mean. "Bella the one the officer shot yes, she is mean really mean," Lorena wrote.

Lorena also wants the two adult pit bulls being held in quarantine returned to her family. A person impersonating the Facebook profile of John Nezat left a comment on a recent post by Lorena stating: "Hello we are pitbull lovers and trying to reach your father to help him get his dogs back! We are so sorry for the loss of pregnant bella we would hate to see the loss of the other 2 babies please reply to our message on messager. We do have connections so please reatch out [sic]."

Killed Before His 17th Birthday

The Daily Mail published photos of a younger Cabrera from a montage created by Rosy Cabrera, who is believed to be his grandmother. "The happiest days of my life with my beautiful child, thank God for giving me these beautiful moments," Rosy wrote. One mourner posted a photo of a Cabrera cutting a cake and stated: "Today would have been your 16th birthday. I'm still in shock you were taken yesterday." He was killed one day before his 17th birthday, reports CBS DFW.

It's hard to believe Cabrera "never met the dogs that lived there," as the Google translation states. On the day of the deadly mauling, Lorenzo was featured in multiple English speaking news videos, making the claim he only met the boy a day earlier. The Univision piece is in direct contrast to the "unknown intruder scenario" that was syndicated by English media from coast-to-coast after his horrific death. Unless his family speaks out, we may learn nothing else about his background.

pit bulls kill teen in Irving Texas

Nelson Cabrera, seen younger, was killed by three pit bulls one day before his 17th birthday.

08/11/19: Texas Teen Dies by Dog Mauling
Irving, TX - Early Saturday morning, three pit bulls secured in their fenced-in yard brutally attacked a 16-year old male. Irving police received reports of the attack about 4:45 am in the 800 block of East Third Street. Arriving officers jumped the fence and tried to stop the vicious attack by placing themselves between the teenager and the dogs, firing on the pit bulls in the process. One pit bull was shot in the jaw. The victim was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital with critical injuries.

Nelson Cabrera, 16, succumbed to his injuries late Saturday. Cabrera did not reside at the home and police do not know why he was there.

The dogs also bit one of the officers, who was treated and released. "I commend those officers for taking the initiative to jump over that fence and think about the victim before themselves," Irving police public information officer Robert Reeves said. The owner of the pit bulls, Guillermo Lorenzo, shed no sympathy for the teenager. "He has no right to be in [my] yard," Lorenzo said. "Nobody has a right to be in [my] yard." Lorenzo claimed his dogs were "doing their job" by protecting him.

Lorenzo is also a backyard breeder of pit bulls. On the day of the attack, Fox 4 News captured images of four pit bull puppies on Lorenzo's property. The female pit bull that was shot in the jaw, "Bella" was humanely euthanized due to "the severity of its injuries," police said. Lorenzo's other two adult pit bulls, "Bruce" and "Little Bit" (a longtime game-bred dog name), are being held in quarantine at the Irving Animal Shelter. Irving Police are still investigating the deadly dog attack.

Second Fatal Pit Bull Attack in Irving

In March, Johana Villafane, 33, was killed by her two pit bulls while visiting them at O’Connor Animal Hospital. Both pit bulls had been involved in a biting incident, but the Irving Animal Shelter's quarantine space "was at capacity," so Villafane took her dogs to O’Connor's instead. The staff told Villafane that her dogs were so aggressive they could not keep them unless she would walk them herself twice a day. During one of those visits, her pit bulls fatally attacked her.

The vicious attack lasted 31 minutes and was captured on the animal hospital's surveillance cameras. Police did not release any of the footage.

Cabrera's death also marks the second teenager killed by a dog this year -- the rarest of all age groups for victims of fatal dog maulings. Both attacks involved multiple dogs on the owner's property. In May, Ryan Hazel, 14, was killed by five protection trained dogs (Belgian malinois and Dutch shepherds) that he regularly cared for while their owner, elite dog trainer Scott Dunmore, was away. The 10 to 18-year old age group makes up 1.5% of all fatal dog attack victims.

Finally, less than two weeks ago, the Dallas-Fort Worth area (includes Arlington and Irving) made national headlines after an Arlington police officer shot a charging pit bull-mix and accidentally killed its owner, Margarita Brooks, 30, while performing a welfare check on her. The body cam footage was immediately released. The victims in the Irving dog mauling, Cabrera, and the police shooting, Brooks, were both homeless. The officer who fired on the dog was a new officer.

Evening Updates on Fatal Dog Attack

The Dallas Morning News reported that Elizabeth Cantu, Lorenzo's next-door neighbor, was awakened by the sounds of the dog attack at 4:30 am. "I heard yelling, I heard dogs," Cantu said. "I jumped out of bed and ran outside." I could tell those dogs were attacking someone, she said. Cantu tried to wake up Lorenzo by honking her truck's horn while her family called 911. She said Lorenzo had told her all three dogs could be aggressive. Cantu described them as "not nice."

Police do not know why Cabrera was in Lorenzo's backyard. "We don't want to speculate on what he might have been doing, but we definitely don't know why he was in that backyard," officer Reeves said. But that did not stop Lorenzo's daughter from voicing pathological vindictiveness. Christina Lorena posted to Facebook, "that motherfucker had no business jumping the fence while my dad was asleep! That's what yo ass gets," thus equating a "trespass" to the death penalty.

News flash to Lorena. In the United States of America, we do not met out a "death by dog mauling" penalty to any person, regardless of how grievous his or her crimes are because it is absolutely barbaric and unconstitutional. Criminal Trespass in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and a jail term up to 180 days. For all we know at this stage, Cabrera may have been running from something himself. Irving police continue to investigate.

Texas Teen Dies, attacked by pit bulls Irving Texas

Four pit bull puppies seen on Guillermo Lorenzo's property after his pit bulls killed a teenager.

texas teen dies

The pit bull owner's daughter stated on Facebook about Cabrera: "That's what yo ass gets."

Join Texas Dog Bite Victims' Advocacy - Join our Texas email list to stay informed

map iconView the Google State Map: Texas Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Related articles:
96/21/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Dighton Dog Attack Leaves a 14-Year Old Boy Dead...
03/27/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Attack, Kill Owner While She Visited Her Dogs...
02/10/16: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Port Huron Woman, 22, Fatally Attacked by a Pit Bull

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 Nearly Killed by a Pit Bull While Volunteering at a Rescue Shelter in 2017 Shares Where She Is Today

Kylie Welch - pit bull attack
Kylie Welch seen while hospitalized at a Pittsburgh trauma center after the dog attack.

The Vicious Attack
Meadowlands, PA - On April 9, 2017, Kylie Welch and her daughter survived a vicious dog attack while volunteering at Angel Ridge Animal Rescue, a no-kill rescue shelter that adopts out "special needs" and death row dogs. The male pit bull, "Dallas" had come to the rescue two days earlier and was placed in a pen labeled "friendly and playful." When Welch took the dog out for playtime, it unleashed a violent attack. Welch recently wrote into to share her story.

Several months after the attack, the Observer-Reporter featured Kylie Welch and the man who came to her rescue in ExtraO-Rrdinary People.

Welch said at the time, "[The dog] didn’t just get hold of my arm. It was like when a dog plays with a rope toy, he was shaking his head, then regripping." Justin Killion, who rented a house nearby, rushed over and tackled the dog. He kicked and punched the dog and threw himself over Welch's body to shield her from the blood drenched canine. “He was relentless. He kept coming back," Killion said. Welch was bleeding so badly, Killion used his belt and a dog leash as tourniquets.

Welch was airlifted to Allegheny General Hospital where she underwent multiple surgeries for her extensive injuries, including massive muscle, tissue and tendon damage to her arms. One year after the attack, Welch spoke to WPXI. She recounted parts of the attack and said that Killion kept telling her, "Stay awake, stay awake. Don't die." Presently, Welch says that her physical condition has not improved over the last year and at times, the PTSD she suffers has been unbearable.


I used to be a volunteer at an animal rescue, along with 3 of my 5 children. The rescue encouraged me to take photos of my children playing with the dogs, to show how friendly they were. On April 9, 2017, my daughters Emaly and Haylee (4 years and 8 years old) went with me to walk a couple of dogs in the evening. We chose to walk Dallas, a gray pit bull, and after playing with us for about 10-15 minutes, he jumped on Emaly, knocked her down, and opened his mouth on her face. He didn't get to bite down, because I was already pushing him off of her. So he latched onto my arm. The attack lasted approximately 20 minutes, until a neighbor saved my life. My daughters listened to my screams, and when I stopped screaming they thought Dallas had killed me.

That was just over 2 years ago. Emaly still has PTSD and issues stemming from that. She is absolutely terrified of dogs. Big or small, no matter the breed. She was terrified of a Teddy Bear PUPPY. Haylee puts on a brave face, but the second she's around a loose dog, you can see the horror and panic in her face. My PTSD has been unbearable at times. My friends and family have become frustrated with my lack of "improvement" since the attack, because I refuse to ever trust any dog, anywhere, ever.

Physically, I'm not doing any better today than I was last year. My arms feel tighter, like I have less mobility. I'm in pain 24/7 and it never gets better. I can barely bend my wrists forward or back, washing my kids hair in the bath is awkward and difficult, holding babies scares me because I never know when my left hand will stop working causing me to drop things. I work in a daycare, and had to give up working in the infant room because I refused to take chances. I have horrible scars, all over both arms, including a skin graft on my left arm. The children I care for ask me every single day what my scars are. They're only 18-24 months old, and have no idea what this kind of scarring is.

I am constantly ridiculed and made fun of. People who have pit bulls or love them call me evil, stupid, a terrible mother, a waste of human life, you name it and I've heard it. All because I never want to see anyone suffer through anything like this again. People with dogs try to convince me that I shouldn't be afraid of their dog because their dog would never hurt a fly. When I can't bring myself to be near their dogs, I get made fun of or people become angry and insulted. This attack has forever changed my life, and the lives of my daughters, and the lives of my entire family. No pit bull is worth that cost.

Thank you,
Kylie Welch

An unprovoked dog attack is life altering. The attack may only last a few seconds too. This was a relentless 20-minute mauling with the intention of mutilating and killing. Like Tina Pounds, who sacrificed herself to save her grandson from a brutal pit bull attack, Welch sacrificed herself to save her daughter, who was the dog's initial target. "Dallas" was later euthanized. The dog's "rescuers" also bear the responsibility of destroying the human-canine bond Welch once had.

The WPXI interview stated that Welch intended to file a lawsuit against Angel Ridge Animal Rescue. The dog should not have been in a pen labeled "friendly and playful." We hope the outcome of the lawsuit will provide Welch and her family with some degree of closure. Yet, no amount of money or passage of time can fully heal the destruction this savage attack caused: permanent disfiguring injuries, loss of limb use and enduring emotional and physical pain.

Kylie Welch - pit bull attack

Present day photo of Kylie Welch's left arm (left) and right arm injuries while hospitalized.

Kylie Welch and her daughter

Kylie Welch photographed with her young daughter who was also injured in the dog attack.

Related articles:
05/15/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Volunteer at Humane Society of St. Lucie County Dies...
03/27/19: Justice for Boomer: Family Shares Story After Two Unleashed Dogs Viciously...
11/19/18: Mother Shares Story After Rescue 'Lab-Mix' Bites Son in the Face During Visitation...
03/18/16: Thank You Letter: Experienced Dog Trainer Shares Attack Story & Professional Opinion

2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Mauled to Death by Pack of Dogs in Southwest Memphis

Pack of dogs Memphis - Dogs Kill Man
Mario Moore, 40, was killed by a pack of dogs early Thursday morning in Memphis.

Authorities Were Warned
UPDATE 07/23/19: On Friday, Nikita Fullilove described how four large dogs attacked her on Wednesday, the day before possibly the same roaming pack of dogs killed 40-year old Mario Moore. Fullilove pointed out the home where she believes the owner lives. “The owner, she know her dogs attack people,” Fullilove told Local Memphis. This week another resident, Sherry Pruitt, said loose dogs attacked her while she was walking in the same neighborhood back in May.

Pruitt said she emailed Memphis Animal Services (MAS) about the dogs three weeks ago. “I just feel it’s negligent, because I did my part and that’s why. I knew that those animals were going to kill someone,” she said. However, Pruitt did not reply to a follow up question from MAS, so her complaint could not be investigated. MAS released two photographs of the dogs involved in the fatal attack, a mixed breed, similar to the one seen in the Fullilove segment, and a pit bull-mix.

So far, MAS has captured 12 dogs in the area, though four are not suspected to be involved in the fatal attack. MAS continues to patrol the area and has traps set. It is unknown if Facebook commenter, Sharonica Palton, will speak to the media. After the dogs killed Moore early Thursday, she claimed the dogs had attacked 10 people within the last two months "and more before then." Palton also claimed that multiple people had called the pound, but nothing was ever done.

Fatal Pack Attacks and Men

From January 2005 to present, canines have killed 499 Americans. Only 1.6% (8) of these fatalities involved a pack of 4 or more dogs killing a man between the ages of 30 to 49 years old. Combined, pit bulls and American bulldogs were involved in at least 88% of these deaths. The 2009 death of Gordon Lykins, 48, who was killed by 11 dogs, including unknown breeds, is the only death under these criteria where pit bull-type dogs were not documented in news reports.

Moore's sister, Makisha Moore said her brother moved to Memphis a year ago. She said it was unimaginable that his life would end in a violent dog attack. “It’s unreal. I would’ve never imagine something like that happening to anyone, let alone my brother," she said. Mario also had children, who now have no father, she said. She wished that no one would ever have to suffer this way. "I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to suffer the way he did on that street by himself,” she said.

Pack of dogs Memphis - Dogs Kill Man

Two dogs involved in the fatal attack of a Memphis man, a mixed-breed and a pit bull-mix.

07/20/19: Pack of Dogs Kill Man
Memphis, TN - Late Friday, it was reported that a 40-year old man was killed by a pack of dogs near the intersection of Belle Haven and Meadowbrook in Memphis. The vicious attack occurred Thursday about 2:00 am. He was transported in critical condition to Regional Medical Center, where he later died. A family member identified the victim as Mario Moore. His death by a "pack of dogs" comes two weeks after a 45-year old man died a similar death in Lake Placid, Florida.

Kevin Woods was driving nearby when he saw a pack of dogs that he thought were fighting. Then he realized they were attacking a person. "I seen about seven, eight dogs," Woods said. "I thought they were fighting with each other. Then I seen legs rolling around and I said, they're jumping on a dude." Woods started honking his horn and dogs backed off him. Arriving police found “multiple aggressive dogs” across the street. Memphis Animal Services took custody of five dogs.

In October 2018, eight years after 71-year old William Parker was killed by two pit bulls near downtown Memphis (about 9 miles away), a lawsuit victory was announced for his family. The court awarded Gardenia Parker's family $2.5 million dollars. The Parkers sued the apartment's management, Epstein Enterprises, and the owner, Longview Heights Partners, who knew or should have known these same pit bulls had attacked or threatened other people too.

Earlier this year, there was a string of fatal pack attacks, all involving female victims, ages 50-years and older. The January mauling deaths of Dianne Reves, 70, in Grenada County, Mississippi and Lana Bergman, also 70, near Joshua Tree, California. In February, Angela Johnson, 54, died of injuries sustained by a pack of pit bulls in mid December. Also in February, Bessie "Jill" Peterson, 88, was killed by a pack of loose dogs in rural Pall Mall, Tennessee.

On February 27, one day after Peterson's death, Johnnie Garner, 88, was killed by a pack of pit bulls in Lubbock, Texas. Despite all of these dogs having owners guilty of their "pack of dogs" being at large and killing a person, only Garner's death resulted in criminal charges. Just two days before Courtney White's six pit bulls killed Garner, he tried to turn them over to Lubbock Animal Services, but was told he needed to "make an appointment." The earliest time slot was March 1.

Packs of dogs killing people is typically a problem in developing countries, primarily India, where there is little governmental control of the massive stray dog population, estimated to be 30 million, and it is illegal to cull dogs. Technically, our definition of a pack of dogs is four or more dogs. When three dogs are included in this category, and the attack was inflicted off the owner's property, nearly 30% (8 of 28) of fatal dog attacks in the U.S. this year involve this preventable scenario.

When a "Pack of Dogs" Kill

Everyone knows, including the courts, that a "pack of dogs" at large can be dangerous. Every single fatal attack involving this scenario, when the owner of the dogs is known, should result in felony criminal charges. The legal standard of having to prove that the owner "knew or should have known" of the dogs' vicious propensities (due to a previous attack) should be abolished in "pack attack" cases. It is adequate that the "pack of dogs" was at large and killed a person.

Pack of dogs Memphis - Dogs Kill Man

A commenter on the WREG Facebook post complains of longterm problems with these dogs.

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

Related articles:
07/05/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Killed by a Pack of Dogs in the Highway Park Community
04/24/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Elderly Woman Mauled by Pack of Dogs in Pickett County Dies
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.