Status Update: Heading Into Unknown Times, the 2020 Winter Months, Pit Bull Fraud Trials and National Legislation

Status update - Unknown times

A status update before heading into unknown times -- the election and Covid-19. We anticipate a decrease in dog bite fatality reports during the 2020 winter months compared to previous years.
Updates on pit bull con artists, including Luke Westerman, whose trial is approaching, Steffen Baldwin and a former peddler of police K9 detection pit bulls funded by a flank of the pit bull lobby.
Legislation updates on Denver's November ballot item that repeals the city's pit bull ban, and the National Defense Authorization Act, which repeals breed-specific policies in military housing.

Dog Bite Fatality Updates

DogsBite.org - Currently, we are heading into what is normally the worst season of dog bite fatalities (Nov and Dec). Yet, there is nothing normal about 2020. We knew last year that the election would be contentious, which can correlate to a lower number of media reports of fatal dog attacks. Covid-19, however, was not an expectation. Soon, both aspects will be occurring at once. We anticipate a decrease in dog bite fatality reports during this time compared to previous years.

Currently, we have nine public information requests out to various agencies pertaining to fatal dog maulings, some spanning a 15-year period. That number will grow to about 15, as we continue to contact medical examiner and coroner offices in high population counties in the South seeking the total number of people killed by dogs from 2005 through 2019. Our intention had been to get them all sent by April, until Covid-19 happened, which disrupted many of these very departments.

Record requests have also been delayed in some places. While we had anticipated releasing our 15-year report this fall, that is not an option under the ongoing circumstances. The goal of the 15-year report -- data uninterrupted by Covid-19 -- is to capture as many dog bite fatalities as possible. Though we do compare our death number data to CDC WONDER every few years, even CDC's database is known to undercount. All small number death data have reliability issues.

Since readers are now more familiar with "incident rate" due to Covid-19 data -- a disease, injury or death per 100,000 population -- consider that the incident rate for measuring dog bite fatalities is an incident per 100 million population (to avoid excessive zeros). A small number of deaths, however, are perfectly valid as a safety measure. We consistently see this in automobile recalls and recalls of child products and tip-over furniture that have resulted in statistically few deaths.

Between 2000 and 2011, 215 children died from injuries caused by a falling TV.

"This is a serious problem," said the study’s senior author, Dr. Gary Smith, a pediatrician at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told NBC News. "A child's dying once every three weeks from a TV tip-over. The numbers are going up. This is a call to action. These are 100 percent preventable injuries." - Today.com, July 21, 2013

Pit Bull Fraud Updates

Since 2019, we have been covering pit bull con artists, like Luke Westerman and Steffen Baldwin, both of them are cut from the same cloth. Westerman, assisted by the pandemic, has managed to keep delaying his upcoming criminal trial, where he faces 19 felony charges in security law violations and theft. His next scheduled appearance in court is October 20. December of this year will mark the two-year anniversary since the 19-count felony indictment was handed down.

Attorneys representing Baldwin recently filed their first continuance, stating, "Counsel for Defendant has received more than twenty-five thousand (25,000) pages of documents as well as about 24 media files from the State to review and analyze." Defense will "need sufficient time to sort through this information and interview witnesses." We anticipate that Baldwin, who faces a 42-count felony indictment related to animal abuse and fraud, will proceed to trial in 2021.

The other con artist of note is Bradley Croft, who continues to await sentencing from a federal judge after being convicted on all counts related to defrauding the GI Bill program out of nearly $1.5 million. Croft, who operated San Antonio-based Universal K9, "intentionally bamboozled the Texas Veterans Commission" to accept Universal K9 as a credentialed school (when it was not) so he could fraudulently collect nearly $1.5 million in tuition payments, according to reports.

"The federal authorities say Croft then laundered the money on a luxury motor home and by buying the property for the dog-training school. They also claim he used the money for two jet skis and a penile implant, and that he lied on his tax forms about his income." - San Antonio Express-News, November 6, 2019

Prior to his arrest in August 2018, Croft had been paid nearly $250,000 by Animal Farm Foundation (AFF) -- a flank of the pit bull lobby -- to train pit bulls as K9 detection dogs then give the dogs to police departments free of cost. From 2015 to 2017, AFF paid Croft a quarter of a million dollars to train about 30 pit bulls for this public relations stunt, according to 990 tax records. This pit bull K9 stunt funded by AFF continues today using a different K9 instruction school.

As Bradley Croft awaits his sentencing, which could result in 25 years behind bars, his family is begging President Donald Trump for a pardon. According to online records, Croft is expected to learn his fate in mid-October. It seems unlikely any president would pardon a man that defrauded the GI Bill and left some veteran students holding meaningless certificates in K9 dog handling. Croft was also known for using "hotdogs in order to make the dog search target areas."

Legislative Updates

Earlier this year, the mayor of Denver vetoed an attempt to repeal the city's 30-year old pit bull ban by replacing it with a "breed-restrict license" that requires a pit bull to be registered, micro-chipped and vaccinated (which responsible dog owners already do). As we wrote back in February, the bill's sponsor, Councilman Chris Herndon, was expected to try to place his proposal on the November ballot. In August, the city council agreed. Voters will see this language on the ballot:

"Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver adopt an ordinance authorizing the city to grant a provisional permit to owners or keepers of a pit bull, provided the owner microchips the animal and complies with additional requirements set by Denver Animal Protection?" - Denver's 2020 Ballot Item

We expect the ballot item to prevail due to how it is written. Voters will not be considering the following: The proposal does not require pit bull owners to carry liability insurance. Thus, after a damaging attack, a victim will be unable to recover medical bill costs, loss of income and rehabilitation costs. Some voters who approve this ballot measure will discover this the hard way. Herndon's proposal is so defective, it does not even require pit bull owners to sterilize their dogs.

Also in February, we examined Denver's bite statistics. Over the 3-year period of 2017 to 2019, pit bulls ranked third among the top biting breeds in the in the Level 4 bite category. In the Level 5 bite category, pit bulls tied with boxers for second. Both breeds inflicted 5 of these severe bites, surpassed only by the American bulldog, which accounted for 8 bites. If Denver's pit bull ban is repealed, we expect at least a 4-fold increase in pit bull bites across all injury levels in just 5 years.

National Defense Authorization Act

Currently, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has passed both chambers and is in conference, while both bill sponsors iron out the differences between the two bills. Each bill contains a clause drafted by the American Bar Association (ABA) that will prohibit military branches -- U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, etc -- from using breed-specific policies, the very policies that have been protecting families in military housing for over a decade.

Read our letters to the House and Senate Armed Services Committee chairmen.

Where did this clause come from? It began in 2011-2012 when Ledy VanKavage, a lobbyist for Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (BFAS), became the chair of the ABA's Animal Law Committee. VanKavage was the "national manager" of the BFAS "pit bull terrier initiative," and at that time also served on the board of AFF. One of VanKavage's primary roles is to draft and lobby for state preemption legislation that prohibits local government from passing breed-specific laws.

Recall that AFF, whose sole mission is, "Securing equal treatment and opportunity for 'pit bull' dogs," also owns the for-profit National Canine Research Council (NCRC) -- both are zealot, single-agenda pit bull groups financed by Jane Berkey. In a 2011 snapshot, they all graced the ABA's website. VanKavage is chair of the ABA committee at that time and spoke at an event about Ontario's "breed-specific legislation." VanKavage's cohort, NCRC, moderated the Toronto event.

Every year, our nonprofit fights these preemption bills. Since January 2012, state legislators have rejected 81% of these bills. Over the last 4.5 years, Jan. 2016 to June 2020, the rejection rate increased to 88%. In 2020, these bills were defeated (again) in Kentucky and Missouri. No one is surprised that VanKavage used her role as the chairperson of the ABA committee to advance this type of legislation nationally; the only relevant body that could be affected is the military.

In 2019, the ABA adopted a resolution to prohibit the Armed Forces from using breed safety policies. The ABA is a voluntary professional membership organization for lawyers. They have no mission to protect human lives, nor are they part of the federal government. They do have a concern for "due process protections" for the owners of dangerous dogs and for those charged in reckless dog owner incidents, but no concern for human beings viciously attacked by dogs.

That 2019 resolution made its way into the National Defense Authorization Act for 2021. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) takes credit for adding it to the Senate version of the bill. "A Duckworth-authored provision to require the DoD Veterinary Service Activity to standardize policy across DoD installations for dangerous dog regulations that are breed-neutral," states her website. At the ABA's urging, and by using a certifiably false argument, the House committee adopted it too.

Between 2009 and 2012, each major military division—U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force—adopted a uniform pet policy. It is a false argument that the Department of Defense (DoD) needs to supersede these military branch unified pet polices, whereby nullifying them and preempting each military branch from protecting personnel in family housing areas. The goal of a breed safety policy is to prevent “first attacks” by dog breeds that have well-identified risks.

“Breed-neutral” policies deliberately ignore the severity of first attacks by pit bulls and rottweilers, which can cause severe injury and disfigurement—mauling injuries—or death. Wolf-dog hybrids are so dangerous to young children that multiple states ban them outright.

It is reasonable for military branches to impose restrictions on classes of dogs that statistically cause more harm to humans, especially children, when they attack. - DogsBite.org, October 7, 2020

Leading up to these unified pet policies, several children were killed by pit bulls in military housing, and likely many more were seriously injured. The 2009 Marine Corps order specifically stated, "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 areas." Since that time, 14 peer-reviewed medical studies have further validated this "unreasonable risk."

National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day

Last year, Responsible Citizens for Public Safety (RC4PS) held the first-ever event on National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day at the Michigan state Capitol building in Lansing. The founder of this nonprofit was the keynote speaker. The year's national awareness day is on October 26. Ann Marie Rogers, the founder of RC4PS, brings together Mia Johnson of National Pit Bull Victim Awareness and Colleen Lynn of DogsBite.org for a discussion in a pre-taped Zoom Conference.

In the midst of this isolating pandemic filled with uncertainty, we all thought it was important to speak to our audiences. Johnson will discuss National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day that  was first established in 2015, the related organization, and why it was started. Rogers and Lynn will discuss legislative issues -- this post is a first look at those legislative issues. We are pre-recording so that we can edit and remove any technical issues should they occur (and they did occur!).

Summary and Call-to-Action

We strongly encourage our readers to contact congressional members about the NDAA "breed neutral" policy authored by special interest pit bull groups that will remove breed safety policies that have been protecting military personnel and their children for over a decade. Send snail mail letters to the chairmen and ranking members on both committees using the following contact information. The NPBVA page also has an alert set up that only takes a minute to fill out!

The Honorable James Inhofe
Chairman
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Adam Smith
Chairman
Committee on Armed Services
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Status Update - NDAA banned dog breeds

The three primary dog breeds restricted from military family housing by U.S. military branches.

15 years of U.S. fatal dog maulings

15 years of U.S. fatal dog maulings (2005-2019). Pit bulls inflicted 66.4% of these deaths.

Related articles:
08/18/20: Unmasking a Con: How a Pit Bull Activist Rose to Fame in the No-Kill Community
02/23/20: Denver Dog Bite Statistics by Breed and Injury Severity Over a Three Year Period
02/17/20: Mayor of Denver Vetoes Pit Bull Ban Repeal Legislation, Slowing the Hasty Repeal
02/10/19: Unmasking a Con: How a Sudden Pit Bull Activist Parleyed Role into Top Job

2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Infant Dies After Dog Attack in Schofield Barracks in Honolulu, Hawaii

Schofield Barracks dog attack
A infant died Wednesday after being mauled by a dog in a Schofield Barracks residence.

Infant Killed by Dog
Honolulu, HI - An infant died after being mauled by a dog in a Schofield Barracks residence. The infant was in a car seat when the attack occurred. Emergency personnel responded to a 911 call Wednesday evening about a child with serious injuries that had been bitten by a dog inside a home at Schofield, the Army said in an email to the Star-Advertiser. "Our hearts go out to the family during this difficult time," said Col. Dan Misigoy, commander, U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii.

The type of dog involved was not released. The Honolulu Police Department is leading the investigation, reports the Star-Advertiser. Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said this "tragic incident" has been classified as an "unattended death." Meaning, that a person was found dead and there were no witnesses. In some cases, the body is not found for days or weeks. All unattended deaths have to be investigated to determine if any criminal act was involved.

Hawaii News Now reports the infant was a 4-month old girl. The attack happened at her home on Hall Street just before 5:00 pm. The child suffered head injuries and was taken to Tripler Army Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. No other information was released. Dog bite fatalities on military installations typically have very few details. Since 2009, the Army has banned multiple breeds from privatized housing, including: pit bulls, rottweilers and several others.

Very likely due to each military branch adopting their own uniform breed-specific policies a decade ago, we have not reported a dog mauling death in military housing since 2012. That year, a 6-year old boy was killed by a PTSD "service dog" just outside of Fort Campbell. In 2010, a 2-year old boy was killed by a dog in Tierrasanta, a military housing area within the city of San Diego. His mother was later convicted of child endangerment. Both deaths involved German shepherds.

Multiple children have been killed by dogs while strapped into a child safety seat indoors. Most recently in 2019, when a babysitter left the baby in a car seat while she went to clear room in her car for the child. When she returned, her pit bull-mix had attacked the baby. In 2018, a babysitter placed an infant, who was in foster care, on a couch still in the car seat. When the family dog got "agitated" in its crate, the babysitter let the dog out. The dog immediately attacked the infant.

Related articles:
03/05/19: 2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Child Killed by Babysitter's Pit Bull-Mix in Salisbury
10/05/18: 2018 Dog Bite Fatality: Adopted Dog Kills Baby Girl While in Foster Care in Florida


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.

2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies While Hospitalized After Pit Bulls Attack Three Family Members; No Media Reports

rampage attack kills grandmother
Coco, 86-years old, died after a rampage attack carried out by two family pit bulls.

Corresponding Post
Oviedo, FL - On the morning of May 22, a Seminole County Sheriff deputy responded to a home in the 4600 block of Tiffany Woods Circle. Upon arrival, the deputy was met by individuals "yelling and screaming saying that the two dogs had gone crazy" and that "multiple people had been bitten," according to the sheriff's report. Three family members were transported to a hospital with severe dog bite injuries. The elderly family member died while still hospitalized on June 20.

Despite the dramatic nature of this multi-victim family pit bull attack, there were no media reports. We learned of it after requesting public records.

The deputy observed "an elderly female laying on her side on a futon," states the report. She was surrounded by a large amount of blood. "Her right arm was obviously broken with the bone sticking out of the skin near the wrist." There was a large amount of blood around her head area due to a facial bite, according to the report. This victim was 86-year old Modesta Socorro Portes Morilla, affectionately known by her family as "Coco," and the dog owner's grandmother.

The deputy then located another victim, the mother of the dogs' owner, Yessenia. The woman had a "curtain wrapped around her lower right arm" and blood on her feet, states the sheriff's report. She told the deputy the dogs had "bitten her repeatedly." She said for an "unknown reason" the two dogs attacked her mother. Both she and her husband (Nelson Sr.) were outside when she heard her mother screaming. When the couple tried to protect her, the dogs attacked them.

"Yesterday in tragic accident my dad Nelson, my mom Yessenia, and my grandma, Coco, were all viciously attacked by our two pit bull dogs, who they raise since there since little puppies so this was very unexpected. They have all suffered severe injuries from these painful bites, my dad losing part of his right ear. All three are currently hospitalized and unfortunately Coco is in intensive care, intubated and awaiting surgery to repair a broken wrist. My dad and mom are caregivers for Coco who suffers from Alzheimer’s, and are now unable to care for her, as they themselves need to recover from the sustained injuries to their arms. My dad will be not be able to return to work for a while so we ask that you please help with whatever you can assist with their medical bills. Every little bit helps. We would also appreciate much needed prayers. Thank you so much. The link to the Go-Fund me account will be in my bio." [sic] - Nelson Caamano Jr., May 24, 2020.

The owner of the dogs (Nelson Jr.) told the deputy that he and his brother had been asleep in their bedrooms when they heard their grandmother screaming. "Nelson reported that he used a frying pan on the dogs to try to get them to stop attacking," states the report. His father also received multiple bites while he attempted to save his grandmother. Nelson Jr.'s parents and Coco were taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center "due to the trauma of the injuries," states the report.

Seminole County Animal Services took both dogs into custody, states the report. We also received the "Event Report" from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, which is a written log file as the event unfolds. At 7:52 am, a 911 caller states, dog is "killing everyone." Two minutes later, a caller states, "There is blood everywhere" and dogs "attacking grandma" and "dog attacking husband" and "pit bull." The family was able to secure the dogs in the bathroom before responders arrived.

Rampage Attack

What happened in the Caamano home that day is characterized as a "rampage attack," when a pit bull attacks and seriously injures three or more people. This attack involved a pair of pit bulls, unlike the single male pit bull that attacked four family members, killing one, back in February. "The initial investigation indicates the dog, which was owned by the victims, was unprovoked and attacked for an unknown reason," stated a news release by the Plainfield Police Department.

The victim that died in Plainfield was the dog's owner, a 25-year old male. Rampage attacks carried out by pit bulls are not limited to the elderly.

The rampage attack at the Caamano home was described similarly. Yessenia told the deputy the pit bulls attacked her mother for an "unknown reason." It took two adults fighting off the dogs and a third adult, the dogs' owner, using a frying pan on the dogs to stop the violent attack. According to photos located on the family's Facebook pages, one of the pit bulls, named "Tony," is about 5-years old. It is unknown how old the second pit bull was or how long it had been with the family.

Coco died of "complications of multiple dog bites," according to the autopsy report. She suffered "multiple dog bites to face and neck," multiple bites to her arm with an open fracture to her right wrist, "dog bites to right leg" that developed into sepsis with complications, multiple contusions and abrasions. Dementia and chronic obstructing pulmonary disease were contributing factors in her death, states the medical examiner's report. The manner of death was ruled an accident.

The Dogs' Owner

What is striking is how open this 23-year old owner was after this rampage attack. We did not discover his post until after obtaining records from the District Nine Medical Examiner's Office. Nelson Jr., made an honest plea to help his parents and grandmother who had been severely injured by the family's two pit bulls. Nelson Jr., his parents, siblings and Coco all lived at the home with the dogs. The family raised $7,745 in a fundraiser after the attack that is no longer active.

What this family in Oviedo experienced is horrific. According to Nelson Sr., his wife had to be readmitted to the hospital due to "serious infections." One commenter stated the following in Spanish on his page (that we can only translate with Google): "Nelson, I feel in my soul what happened, to you, your wife and mother-in-law … I already contributed something to your portal. Let's see if they can count as a step, so that other people who have these dogs are more aware."

Awareness Indeed

Multiple female senior citizens were killed by pit bulls belonging to their children this year, including 76-year old Karen Wilkerson, killed by her daughter's two pit bulls in Oklahoma; 84-year old Carolyn Varanese, killed by her son's adopted pit bull in Florida; 72-year old Barbara Cook, killed by her daughter's two pit bulls in Louisiana; 70-year old Katie Amos, killed by her son's pit bulls in Illinois; and 64-year old Geraldine Hamlin, killed by her son's two pit bulls in Louisiana.

Multiple male citizens, 60-years and older, were killed by pit bulls belonging to younger relatives as well, including 61-year old Stephen Pemberton Sr., killed by his stepson's two pit bulls in Illinois and 76-year old Harvey Harmon Jr., killed by four dogs, including two pit bulls belonging to his nephew in Mississippi. At least two of these victims, Coco and Varanese, suffered health problems that required caregivers. These ages and medical conditions are highly incompatible with pit bulls.

Unreported Fatalities

There have been at least five unreported dog bite fatalities during this Covid-19 year, 14% of the total recorded deaths so far (5 of 37). Four deaths involved pit bulls and one death involved a bull terrier. Not all deaths have a dedicated blog post either, like this case we added to the 2020 Summary page on October 10. That death involved a spayed family pit bull killing an infant. Again, no media reports. It is also disconcerting when a full-fledged rampage attack goes unreported.

We had to contact three different agencies in Florida to obtain information for this report. Thus far, we have nine large records requests still outstanding -- some pertain to multiple years. We are sending more next week too. Six record requests have been completed since August. One uncovered another death in 2019, also inflicted by a family pit bull. With all of the different state privacy laws, it is unknown how many of our outstanding requests will actually be fulfilled.

Summary

The family pit bull rampage attack in Oviedo required three ambulances. The Event Report stated a fourth victim was transported to the hospital too. While looking on Broadcastify.com for the audio dispatch log files for the responding fire department, we noticed that all files correlating to the time of this rampage attack were missing -- a coincidence? Irregardless, emergency responders should develop a new protocol for multi-victim rampage attacks. A "dog bite" protocol does not suffice.

Rampage attack, pit bull owner confesses

After a family pit bull attack hospitalized three family members, a fundraiser was created.

Rampage attack, Oviedo Florida

One pit bull belonging to the family, a male named "Tony." No other dog photos were located.

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

Related articles:
07/22/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Unreported Fatal Pit Bull Mauling of 2-Year Old Boy in Stockton
05/15/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies After Suffering Life-Threatening Injuries...
04/07/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Dies Seven Days After Violent Pit Bull Mauling...


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.

2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Attacks Two Adults, Killing One, at Mobile Home Park in Moses Lake, Washington

Moses lake fatal pit bull attack
Zachary Willis, 27-years old, was killed in a violent pit bull mauling in Moses Lake, WA.

Died of Multiple Dog Bites
UPDATE 10/14/20: "Grant County Coroner Craig Morrison today ruled the cause of death of Zachary Willis of Moses Lake is multiple dog bites," the Grant County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) said in a statement posted to their Facebook page Wednesday. "The manner of death is accidental. The autopsy was completed Tuesday. No other injuries were discovered, said Coroner Morrison." GCSO added that, "Willis died Thursday after a dog attack inside his home on Airway Drive."

GCSO also replied to commenters on the post. In response to, "What caused the dog to attack," GCSO stated, "The fact is we may never fully know what caused the dog to attack." In response to, "So no stab wounds?" GCSO stated, "No other injuries were discovered, said Coroner Morrison." When asked if the fatally attacking pit bull would be rehomed, GCSO stated, "The dog will be humanely euthanized … because it killed a human and severely injured another."

In response to why the dog received veterinary care instead of being immediately euthanized after the attack, GCSO stated, "The dog was placed on the 10 day hold pending investigation of Willis's death and the coroner's report. The dog was treated for his injuries so he would not suffer. As far as costs, when investigating a death of a human, we accept and budget for costs associated with the investigations." Thus, taxpayers paid these veterinary costs, not the owner of the dog.

KXLY reports that Zachary Willis was killed by his own dog. It was previously reported that the female in the household owned the pit bull. Kyle Foreman with the GCSO told KXLY the female victim was hospitalized until this past weekend. Her latest medical condition is unknown. Foreman also stated that an autopsy by the coroner confirmed Willis did not suffer any stab wounds, only dog bites. No other information was given about the dog, such as if it was a "rescue" pit bull.


10/12/20: Conspiracy Theories
No new information has been released by the Grant County Sheriff's Office after a man was killed and a woman was severely injured by a family pit bull on Thursday. It is only known that an autopsy is being scheduled. The coroner's office identified the man as 27-year old Zachary Willis. That has not stopped conspiracy theories from circulating on social media, such as false claims his death was a "murder" or that his death was related to a domestic violence "stabbing" incident.

What is the definition of domestic violence? "Violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner." This case does involve "violent or aggressive behavior within the home," but it was carried out by a pit bull (AKA "domestic pit bull violence"). Why do some fatal pit bull maulings ignite conspiracy theories and others do not? Rumor mongering usually emerges after a pit bull advocate has been killed by his or her dog.

That is the case in Willis' death as well. A 2015 post shows him trying to find a home for pit bull that he saved "from a shotgun death" after the dog killed 12-15 chickens. "Yes I saved one I'll save many more," he states. He also believed the false myth, "It's all how you raise 'em." Willis wrote: "A dog is only as his owner raises him treat and raise a good dog he will be a good dog, teach him different and he becomes a bad dog this is why so many people misinterpret this breed."

Annually, domestic pit bull violence accounts for about 15 or so deaths. Over the last 15 years, over half of all fatal pit bull maulings (53%) are attacks inside the home, when the dog kills its owner or other household member, typically the owner's child, parent or grandparent. During this same period, only 17 people between the ages of 20-28, were killed by dogs. This rare age group only accounts for 3% of all dog bite fatalities. Pit bulls inflicted 88% of these deaths (15 of 17).


Moses lake pit bull attack

A 2015 post shows that Zachary Willis believed the false myth, "It's all how you raise 'em."


10/08/20: Multi-Victim Pit Bull Attack
Moses Lake, WA - A man is dead and a woman is severely injured after being attacked by their own dog. Earlier today, Kyle Foreman of the Grants County Sheriff's Office gave a quick news conference on Facebook Live. The attack occurred at about 11:20 am at a home in the Harvest Manor Mobile Home Park at 4815 Airway Drive Northeast. Sheriff's deputies, Moses Lake Police, firefighters and paramedics responded. The woman was transported to Samaritan Hospital.

Several hours later, Foreman posted an update video. "The details of what caused the dog to get worked up are still under investigation," he said. Detectives still need to interview the female victim. Foreman also stated that the male victim had died of his injuries from the dog attack. The dog, a pit bull or pit bull-mix, was being treated at a veterinary clinic for the injuries the dog sustained in the attack. The male victim actually died at the scene -- he could not be resuscitated.

On Friday, Coroner Craig Morrison identified the victim as 27-year-old Zachary S. Willis of Moses Lake. An autopsy is being scheduled.

The dog lived at the home with the victims, according to Foreman. The violent attack happened inside the couple's home. Footage from KREM shows blood on the outside railing of the home. That occurred when the woman was moved outside the home by emergency responders to be treated, reports KREM. The woman apparently was the owner of the dog. She is also the person who called 911. The name of the male victim is being withheld until next of kin can be notified.

Multi-Victim Attacks

There have been multiple multi-victim attacks inflicted by family pit bulls this year during a fatal attack. Most recently, Karen Wilkerson, 76, was killed by one of her daughter's two pit bulls. The two daughters that came to her aid were seriously injured and transported to a hospital. Two weeks earlier, Carolyn Varanese was killed by a recently adopted pit bull. Her son, Joseph Varanese, who tried to stop the attack, was seriously injured and rushed to a local hospital.

In February, a male family pit bull embarked on a "rampage attack," attacking four family members, killing one. Four ambulances were called the scene. 25-year old Devin White, who owned the dog, died two days later while hospitalized as a result of the injuries he sustained. In that case, police determined the dog was "unprovoked and attacked for an unknown reason." The Grants County Sheriff's Office detectives will likely reach a similar conclusion in this case.

Pit bull attacks two in Moses Lake

Blood seen on a Moses Lake home after a family pit bull attacked two people, killing one.

Related articles:
09/15/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed, Two Daughters Injured by Family Pit Bulls...
09/06/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Adopted Pit Bull-Mix Kills Woman, Severely Injures Owner


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.