2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Avoca Woman, a Dog Rescuer, Killed in Dog Attack Six Weeks Ago in Northwest Arkansas

avoca woman killed by dog
Patti Webb, 65, was killed in a dog attack in September at her home near Avoca.

Suspected Attackers
UPDATE 11/12/21: Yesterday, we began examining the local rescuers and transports that began trying to find homes for the animals that were left on the property belonging to Patti Webb. She was discovered dead on her property on September 24 after being attacked by one or more dogs. The Benton County Sheriff's Office believe Webb was breaking up a fight between two dogs when at least one of them attacked her. There were at least 17 dogs on her property, authorities said.

We know that by October 6, rescuer Ken Garner was trying to find homes for four of Webb's dogs. We also know that by October 16, "more than a dozen" of Webb's dogs were sent to the "Ozark Freedom Drivers" for transport to Illinois. That equates to about 17 dogs. These facts conflict what the sheriff's office told the NWA Democrat-Gazette on November 11. That "the dogs will remain in quarantine until reports are back from the laboratory" regarding the results of the DNA tests.

We also know that two dogs belonging to a neighbor may have also been involved in the attack, according to Captain Thomas See. Presumably, their DNA is also being tested. Those two dogs, which are still in the owner's custody, are being home-quarantined. An October 31 post by Garner, sheds more light on the neighbor, who is actually a renter on Webb's property. Both dogs are pit bulls. The dogs "knew her," Garner states, and she had taken both pit bulls to get neutered.

Garner does not believe Webb's dogs were involved in the attack. "I'm sure [it] wasn't Patti's dogs," Garner wrote. "Her renters had pits. But she took the pits and had [them] neutered. They knew her. But maybe trying to break up a fight. Don't know. Upsetting," he wrote. Given that all, or nearly all,1 of Webb's dogs have been rehomed already, it doesn't make sense from a police perspective that her dogs were involved either. The only suspects are two neutered pit bulls.

avoca woman killed by dog

Garner states Webb's renters had pit bulls and that Webb had gotten both dogs neutered.

11/11/21: Avoca Woman Killed by Dogs
Benton County, AR - Patti Webb, 65-years old, was discovered dead at her home on September 24, according to Captain Thomas See, who leads the criminal investigation division for the Benton County Sheriff's Office. Detectives believe Webb was breaking up a fight between two dogs when at least one of the dogs attacked her. 17 dogs were removed from Webb's home near Avoca, See said. Two dogs belonging to a neighbor might have also been involved in the attack, See said.

The dogs seized from Webb's home were taken to the Humane Society for Animals in Rogers. See said her dogs needed to be held in quarantine due to the mauling. However, social media posts indicate that over a dozen of these dogs were sent to the "Ozark Freedom Drivers" for transport to Illinois on October 16. The two dogs belonging to the neighbor are still in the owner's custody. But the owner understands the dogs must be home-quarantined, according to See.

DNA samples were taken from each of the dogs and sent to the Arkansas Crime Laboratory, reports the NWA Democrat-Gazette. See said the dogs will remain in quarantine until reports are back from the lab to see if it can be determined which dog or dogs were involved in the attack. See made no mention of the over one dozen dogs belonging to Webb that have already been transported out of state. Webb fostered animals and took in stray dogs, according to authorities.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office did not issue a press release after her death in September and did not release the breeds of dogs that belonged to Webb or her neighbor. See did confirm that the medical examiner determined Webb's death was due to being mauled to death by dogs. Online voter registration websites show that Webb lived in the 12000 block of Cavewood Road near Avoca. Her closest neighbor owns at least one female pit bull, according to his Facebook page.

The Disconnect

What the "quarantined dogs" disconnect by See could indicate is that it became clear early on that over a dozen of Webb's dogs were not suspects and were cut loose by the sheriff's office -- freed for transport -- in October. Thus, leaving the neighbor's two dogs as the primary suspects and possibly one or only a few dogs owned by Webb. DNA lab results could take months to be returned, and there is no guarantee that there will be any follow up by news outlets at that time.

"Cut loose" may be the wrong choice of wording as well. A Facebook friend of Webb, Ken Garner, who tried to rehome Webb's pets stated on October 6, "We are trying to place animals that are left at Pattie Webb place in Avoca," indicating that some animals were never even seized, at least not by that date. Webb had a number of different kinds of animals, including adult dogs -- at least one was a great pyranees -- pyranees puppies, several overweight pot bellie pigs and a donkey.

Avoca woman and her pets

Rescuer Ken Garner scurried to find homes for Webb's animals left outside on her property.

avoca woman killed by dog

The great pyranees, named "Valerie," did have aggression issues. Comments about her puppies from Garner include, "They are big pyranees pups. So shy. Only patti could pet them."

1We are trying to determine where Valerie and her two offspring are currently being held.

Related articles:
01/15/21: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: 9-Year Old Boy Killed by Two Pit Bulls in Central Arkansas
04/17/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Man Dies After Violent Pit Bull Mauling in Southwest Arkansas

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.

2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Newborn Killed by Family Pit Bull in Johnston County, North Carolina

newborn killed by pit bull - Johnston county
A newborn baby boy was killed by a family pit bull in Johnston County, North Carolina.

Family Dog Kills Infant
Kenly, NC - A newborn baby boy is dead after being attacked by a pit bull. Just after 5:00 am, Kenly Police and emergency responders were dispatched to a residence in the 200 block of South Church Street. Arriving officers discovered that a male infant had been attacked inside the home by a female pit bull. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and Johnston County Medical Examiner’s Office will be assisting Kenly Police with the infant's death investigation.

Police Chief Josh Gibson said the death is being treated as accidental. “First and foremost, we offer our sincere condolences to the family and their friends during this difficult time,” Chief Gibson said in a prepared statement. The pit bull was taken into custody by Johnston County Animal Services. Officials said the dog was surrendered to them. After a 72 hour hold, the dog will be euthanized. Counseling will be offered to all of the first responders who were at the scene.

Audio dispatch logs from Johnston County Public Safety at Broadcastify.com state it was a family dog. "Family dog, code blue, code blue," states the dispatcher. "Respond to a 1-month old male," states the dispatcher. The infant's death comes after 10-month old Malia Winberry was fatally attacked by a pair of family rottweilers in the same county back in May. The father of Malia was a law enforcement officer in Wake County and her mother worked for Johnston County's EMS.

In late April, 7-year old Jayden Henderson was killed by her neighbor's two pit bulls in the adjacent county of Wake County. After months of court proceedings, those pit bulls were finally euthanized. The death of Jayden, and the subsequent legal actions by the dogs' owners to have the dogs returned to them, received enormous press coverage in this area. Why "any" parent or caretaker would have a newborn baby in the same household as a pit bull is simply unimaginable to us.

On Thursday, WRAL News provided new information about the 8-day old baby boy's mauling death. Initially, Chief Gibson said the family had taken in the pit bull as a stray just a few days prior to the fatal attack. On Friday, Detective Rayne Biggs clarified that the dog was rehomed and familiar to the family. "The dog was rehomed, and the family was familiar with the dog from previous encounters," Biggs said. The identity of the infant boy was not released by police.

Infant Dog Bite Fatalities

Despite the fact that all dog breeds are "capable" of killing infants (< 1 year old), most dog breeds do not. Over the 16-year period of 2005 through 2020, canines killed 72 infants in the U.S. Pit bulls accounted for 49% of these killings, followed by huskies, 13%, rottweilers, 10%, and German shepherds, 8%. 16 different dog breeds inflicted these infant deaths, the majority of these breeds having only 1 death attribution. The AKC currently recognizes 197 different dog breeds in U.S.

Dog breeds "capable" of killing infants in no way reflects the breeds that actually do kill infants. Pit bulls alone accounted for half of these deaths.

newborn killed by pit bull johnston county

Area of the fatal pit bull attack, the 200 block of South Church Street in Kenly, North Carolina.

newborn killed by pit bull johnston county

Home on South Church Street where a newly taken in stray pit bull fatally mauled an infant.

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

Related articles:
09/10/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Child Killed, Mother Hospitalized While Caring for Neighbor's...
09/09/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dies in Hospital After Being Attacked by Three Pit Bulls
05/26/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Pair of Family Rottweilers Kill Baby in Johnston 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.

Pit Bull Suspected in Death of 41-Year Old Man in McKeesport, Pennsylvania; Police Continue to Investigate

Mckeesport fatal pit bull attack
A 41-year old man was found dead in a home, and a pit bull was the initial suspect.1

Few Details Released
McKeesport, PA - On Friday afternoon, just after 4:30 pm, Allegheny County Police were dispatched to the 2900 block of Grover Street, for an "individual possibly injured by a dog. Unknown the severity of injuries," according to audio dispatch logs from Allegheny County Public Safety. Allegheny County Homicide is investigating the death of a man believed to be the result of a dog attack, McKeesport Police Captain Christopher Halaszynski told KDKA Friday night.

Multiple neighbors told KDKA that they heard about four gunshots and believe the dog had been shot once they came out and saw this. "There was blood and vomit on the street. There were four shell casings on the street," one neighbor told KDKA. The dog involved was a brindle-colored pit bull, who neighbors believed to be about 4-years old. McKeesport police said the dog was alive and was taken into custody by animal control officials. It's unclear if the dog had been shot.

The man was identified as Stephen Rucinski, 41, by the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office. By Saturday, Halaszynski said that police no longer believe that the dog was involved. He requested that Allegheny County Homicide detectives "sort out what happened," WPXI reported. That department is now overseeing the investigation. At 6:50 pm Friday, Allegheny County Fire was asked to do a "spray down" on Grover Street, according to audio dispatch log files.

Rucinski was found wounded and dead inside by a family member, according to emergency personnel, reports Tube City Almanac. The extent of Rucinski’s injuries was not publicly released and it was not clear who owned the dog. The pit bull bolted from the home too. McKeesport police and animal control officers had to search the neighborhood for an hour after the "incident" to locate the animal. The investigation is continuing, but further information will not be released.

Pennsylvania Undercount

Back in 2017, we commented on three fatal or near fatal pit bull maulings in Philadelphia, none of which are included in our dog bite fatality statistics due to lack of confirmation by Philadelphia police, an agency that has never responded to our FOIA requests. Now, another victim may be added in the Pittsburg area. We know from CDC Wonder database that we have undercounted dog bite fatalities in Pennsylvania with the most obvious areas being Philadelphia and Pittsburg.

Since 2005, we have recorded three fatal dog maulings in Philadelphia (population 1.6 million), but none in Pittsburg (population 302,000), the second largest city in Pennsylvania. Suburbs of Pittsburg, however, have reported fatal dog maulings during the period, including one fatal attack in McKeesport (population 19,000) in 2012 and another in West Mifflin (population 20,000) in 2015. It is unknown if we will learn anything else about the death of Stephen Rucinski.

1Notably, in the 2013 Google Street View photograph of the home on Grover Street, there is a lighter colored, non-brindle pit bull curled up behind the fence sleeping, where a sign reads, "Guard Dog on Duty." Ambiance.

Related articles:
11/24/17: Man Dies in North Philadelphia After Being Attacked by Four Pit Bulls on Thanksgiving

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.

2021 Dog Bite Fatality: 7-Year Old Boy Found Dead in Creek County, Oklahoma was Killed by a Family Dog

Boy killed by dog in Creek County
James McNeelis, 7-years old, was fatally bitten by a dog in Creek County, Oklahoma.

Mixed-Breed Dog
UPDATE 11/06/21: Michael and Hannah McNeelis spoke to Fox 23 News and clarified some information about the dog that killed their son. The male dog, named Max, was picked up by the boy's grandmother, along with several other stray dogs about three weeks earlier. James and his parents lived with his grandmother. Presumably, it was the grandmother who initially described the dog as a "sheltie-corgi" mix to media outlets, causing a stir among dog trainers and dog owners.

Michael admitted he didn't know what type of dog Max was. He said it was "about knee height, white, long hair, fluffy. It’s face looked kind of like a collie, a sheep dog type breed." Max had never shown signs of aggression, the parents said. Since the attack, the dog has been held at an animal control facility. The status of Max is unknown, along with the status of the other dogs that resided in the grandmother's home. The memorial fund for James has so far raised close to $15,000.

10/21/21: Boy Killed by Dog
Creek County, OK - A 7-year old boy was discovered dead Wednesday night after a dog attack, according to the Creek County Sheriff's Office. The parents of the child called deputies just after 7:00 pm to report that he was missing from a home in the 5000 block of West 171st Street. The boy had been outside playing and wandered off. Deputies put together a search team and found the boy dead near West 171st Street South and Highway 75-A in Creek County, near Kiefer.

"The child was pronounced deceased at approximately 7:35 pm. Our preliminary investigation indicate the child was attacked by a family pet (dog). The dog is being held at an animal control facility. We are currently working with the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office on this investigation," the Creek County Sheriff's Office said. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife was also involved, who made the determination the child was attacked by a dog, not a wild animal.

The child's family described the dog as a sheltie-corgi mixed breed. They had taken the dog in as a stray three weeks earlier, according to family members. The dog had not shown aggression before the attack, family members said. No photos of the dog were released. The dog is currently being held at an unnamed animal control facility. We have no records of shelties or corgis being the primary attacker in a fatal dog attack, not even of infants, much less a 7-year old male child.

No information was provided about the boy's injuries either. Certainly, a well-placed bite by the majority of dog breeds could kill a child, such as when a family Weimaraner fatally bit 2-year old Liam Peck in the neck in 2009. A Welsh corgi could not be excluded from a fatal attack after two pit bull-mixes mutilated and killed 71-year old Carshena Benjamin in 2007. That corgi was also found at the scene. These are the dog breeds most commonly involved in fatal human attacks.

boy killed by dog in creek county

The home on West 171st Street where a 7-year old boy was fatally bitten by a family dog.

Related articles:
06/26/21: 2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Dog Sitting Pit Bulls Found Dead in Osage County
12/03/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: 26-Year Old Man Dies After Pit Bull Mauling in West Tulsa
09/15/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Family Pit Bulls in McCurtain 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.