2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Boy Killed, Mother Severely Injured in Violent Pit Bull Attack at Carteret Home

violent dog attack carteret
Aziz Ahmed, 3, was killed and his mother injured in a violent dog attack in Carteret.

No Criminal Charges
UPDATE 03/30/21: As expected, criminal charges will not be filed after the multi-victim attack by two pit bulls that killed 3-year old Aziz Ahmed and seriously injured his mother on March 16. New Jersey lacks a felony dog attack law, whereas California, Michigan and Texas do not. In short, there are no criminal codes available for prosecutors to charge the dog owner with. This is a travesty. State legislators are currently looking at legislation, but it's future is uncertain.

Two state legislators representing Carteret are looking to see that change for future dog attacks.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez, both D-Middlesex, have joined as prime sponsors of the "Responsible Dog Ownership Act" in the state Assembly that would enact stronger laws about the leashing and fencing of dogs, as well as enacting stronger and even criminal penalties for irresponsible dog owners.

Under the bill, which is expected to come up for a vote in May, dog owners found in violation of leashing or restrain regulations could face a fine of up to $500.

In addition, anyone who allows a dog to roam without a leash or restraint in a park or other public area where a child may be present, and the dog seriously injures or kills a child, could be found guilty of a third-degree crime and face incarceration.1 If the dog inflicts bodily injury, the person faces a fourth-degree crime and if the dog is loose or threatens a child, the person faces a disorderly persons offense. - MyCentralNewJersey.com

The child's mother, identified as Shabana Mohammad, was released from the hospital on March 25. A vigil was held on March 28, where attendees called for "Aziz Law." A co-worker of the boy's father said, "He was murdered by those dogs, and the owners should be held liable." The fundraiser to help the family relocate to a new home has has reached over $225,000. The vigil was the first and likely only time Aziz's parents have returned to their home on Laurel Street.

At least three separate civil claims can be brought, according to attorney David Cowhey, who specializes in dog attacks. "The little boy died through pain and suffering. The mother has medical bills and also the mental distress of watching these pit bulls kill her son right in front of her. And thirdly, the little boys watching through the window went through extreme emotional distress," he said. All three are contingent on whether the dog owner has a homeowner's insurance policy.

Finally, a word about Defeated Prosecutor Syndrome and Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone. It is always devastating when there are no criminal codes available to prosecutors. Ciccone, however, never contacted Aziz's family before issuing her decision in emails to private citizens on March 23. Lacking in courage and courtesy, Ciccone also did not hold a press conference about her decision, which would have forced her to face media and public scrutiny.

Ciccone's actions are so sheepish and cowardly, they are literally "beyond the pale." Our hearts go out to Aziz's family members.

violent dog attack carteret

Child at the vigil holding sign, "Justice for Aziz" and the victim's parents, Tanveer and Shabana.

03/17/21: Relatives Speak Out
On Wednesday, Carteret Mayor Daniel Reiman issued a statement confirming that two unregistered pit bulls inflicted the multi-victim attack yesterday. At 4:30 pm Tuesday, a pair of pit bulls from a neighboring home on Birch Street breached a fence and entered into the backyard of a home on East Laurel Street. The dogs viciously attacked and killed a 3-year old boy and severely injured his mother. She remains hospitalized. Police shot and killed both dogs.

The young boy's family had moved to the home a few weeks earlier from Brooklyn. They are a father, mother and three young boys, reports Patch. Neighbors are stunned and heartbroken. Some broke down crying when interviewed by Patch Wednesday morning. One neighbor, Steve Koch, told Patch he heard the police gunfire. "I heard a single loud bang," he said. "I went outside and saw all the cop cars and ambulances. I saw an adult being carried out on a stretcher."

Carteret Fire dispatch audio logs: "I have a 3-year old with total evisceration, open to the face, head and thighs." - Broadcastify.com

CBS New York interviewed the child's relatives. The child's name is Aziz. Relatives said the boy's parents had pleaded with the dogs' owners to control their dogs. "The mother went to the neighbor two times to let her know the dog is wild. It is out of hand. And you know, the owner laughed it off," one female relative said. "This cost an innocent child his life," another said. "If you are not safe in your own yard, where are you safe at?" asked another. Relatives said the dogs "dug their way in."

A GoFundMe has raised over $50,000 with the goal of $250,000 to help the Ahmed family purchase a new home. A growing memorial outside the child's home includes: flowers, balloons, and candles. One relative told NJ.com that Aziz was the youngest of three sons and that his 10-year old brother witnessed the brutal attacks. “Imagine how traumatizing it’s gonna have to be for his 10-year-old brother to have to see that from the screen of the window,” the relative said.

Finally, the New York Post also published photos of the two suspected pit bulls from the owner's Instagram page -- we were correct about the dogs. Their names are Logan (black) and Rocky (brown and white). Both dogs were roaming in the area of East Laurel Street in October and were picked up by the Carteret Police Department. The Found Animals of Carteret NJ Facebook page called them "2 loveable guys." According to the boy's relatives, the dogs were habitually loose.

03/16/21: Dogs Kill Child, Injure Mother
Carteret, NJ - A 3-year old boy is dead and a mother left severely injured after a violent dog attack at a home in Carteret. Authorities responded to a residence in the 100 block of East Laurel Street in Carteret about 4:30 pm. The deadly attack occurred inside the family's fenced-in backyard. A neighbor said the dog (singular) came into the rear yard from underneath a fence. Two medivac air transports were called. The child was later pronounced dead. Two dogs are reportedly involved.

Video from ABC 7 shows crime scene investigators and police officers collecting evidence in the backyard. Apparently, the mother and her child had only recently moved into the home. A neighbor heard the mother frantically shouting. When he looked out his window, he initially thought she was playing with the dogs. When he realized it was a vicious attack, he called 911. Police shot and killed the dogs, according to ABC 7. The breed information has not been released by police.

A woman who knows the dog's owner told ABC 7, "The dog never showed any kind of aggression before, so it's just very surprising."

We obtained the audio dispatch files of Carteret Fire from Broadcastify.com. When medics arrived at the scene, the dogs were still "running loose." Two minutes later, "Get me a medivac!" Police sirens blare in the background. Next, they coordinate a landing zone. At 13 minutes, there is a status update. "We are responding to Laurel. Do we have an update on the condition?" Medic answered: “I have a 3-year old with total evisceration, open to the face, head and thighs."

Footage from NBC New York shows that the medivac landed at a nearby location. One can see EMT doing chest compressions on a small person lying in a stretcher. Witnesses said the dogs live at a home on the opposite side of the victim's backyard in the 100 block of Birch Street. The dogs burrowed under or broke through the fence-line to attack the boy. A news crew knocked on the dog owner's door, but no one answered. A "Beware of Dog" sign hung on their fence.

Suspected Dogs

Middlesex County property records indicate who owns the property in the 100 block of Birch Street. According to the owner's Facebook page, he owns up to three pit bulls. These very same pit bulls -- two of the three dogs -- were found "running in the area of Laurel Street" on October 23, 2020, according to the Found Animals of Carteret NJ Facebook page. "If anyone knows who their owner is please have them contact the Carteret Police Department." The owner was located.

By late morning Wednesday, multiple media outlets began confirming that two pit bulls carried out the attacks. Officials said the dogs were not registered with the borough. Carteret Mayor Daniel  Reiman said in a statement that the boy's mother remains hospitalized. The investigation is ongoing by the Carteret Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor's office. The owner of the dogs has not been named by police. It is unclear if the owner will face charges.

violent dog attack carteret

Two pit bulls belonging to Santos Rodriguez were found running loose in October of last year. On March 19, 2021, police confirmed these are the same pit bulls involved in the fatal attack.

violent dog attack carteret

Crime scene investigators in the backyard of the home were the fatal dog mauling occurred.

violent dog attack carteret

EMT seen doing chest compressions on small victim while heading to the medivac helicopter.

1Third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years’ imprisonment, with a four-year presumptive sentence. Examples include aggravated criminal sexual contact, arson, and motor vehicle theft. (See: New Jersey Felony (Indictable Offenses) Crimes by Class and Sentences)

Related articles:
05/28/20: 2020 Dog Bite Fatality: 9-Year Old Boy Killed by Two Pit Bulls in Arkansas
10/28/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Kill 7-Year Old Boy in Lowell, Massachusetts
11/10/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Tenant's Pit Bull Kills Visiting Child on Long Island

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.

Third Pit Bull Adopted Since Aurora Repealed its Pit Bull Ban Inflicts Level 5 Bite to Child's Face

Dog Passed SAFER Test - "No Small Dogs in Home!"

Level 5 bite by adopted pit bull
Level 5 bite injuries to a 5-year old boy inflicted by a recently adopted pit bull.

Council Member Reacts
Aurora, CO - On February 13, a stray pit bull was transferred to the Aurora Animal Shelter from Alameda East Veterinary Hospital. "He had dog bite wounds to his whole body" and "deep bite wounds to the chest." Cotto (AKA Malone) was listed as a neutered American Staffordshire terrier. On February 18, the dog underwent a SAFER evaluation and easily passed, but showed serious dog aggression to small dogs, "No small dogs or cats in home," states the evaluation.

The dog was adopted to 24-year old Austin Chavez on February 27. A week later, the dog inflicted a Level 5 bite to a boy's face. Chavez started driving to the hospital and flagged down a police officer, who provided him an escort. Chavez later explained to the officer that Cotto suddenly jumped off the couch and attacked the boy's face. "Cotto did not let go," states the police report, so Chavez "reached over and under Cotto's upper and lower jaw and pried his mouth open."

Chavez then locked Cotto into the bathroom and rushed the boy to the hospital. Chavez told the officer, "when he got Cotto from the shelter they told him he was a good dog around kids, which is why he got him," states the report. Chavez said he did not feel safe going home to collect Cotto, but he eventually did (to avoid pick up fees from animal control). Chavez took the dog to the Denver Dumb Friends League, a private shelter, where they humanely euthanized the dog.

"This dog came to the shelter from Alameda East as a stray. He was presumbly attacked by a dog. He had dog bite wounds to his whole body. The right front carpus was swolle, 2 lacerations to front left paw pads and deep bite wounds to the chest. He was treated for all of these wounds The torn pad wounds will take some more time to heal, and may require further treatment. Please follow up with your veterinarian regarding this condition. Aurora Animal Shelter is not responsible for any further treatment and/or diagnosis of this condition."

In January, Aurora City Council members repealed the pit bull ban, which took effect on February 14. The unprovoked Level 5 bite occurred three weeks later. The primary debate about the repeal concerned whether voters or city council should decide it. In 2014, voters elected to keep the pit bull ban by a wide margin. Council members repealed the ban in a 7-3 vote anyway. At that time, the city was also threaten with a lawsuit by Matt Snider for "delegitimizing the voters' decision."

Aurora City Councilmember David Gruber, who voted against the repeal, described the facial attack as "heartbreaking" to KDVR. "We just heard from experts [we] shouldn’t fear them, they are no more dangerous than any other dog. Then to find out, low and behold -- three to four months after we made a vote to allow them -- here we go, just breaks my heart,” Gruber said. The lifting of the ban that was in place since 2005 should’ve been voted on by Aurora residents, Gruber said.

Who were the "experts" Gruber referred to? In January, Dr. Apryl Steele, President and CEO of the Denver Dumb Friends League provided a statement to Aurora City Council members in support of the repeal. In it, Steele falsely claimed the city "would be safer" if they repealed the ban because this would allow "citizens to adopt a pit bull from an organization that has several full-time behavior experts evaluating the animal" prior to adoption, instead of obtaining the dog from a breeder.

Every council member is concerned about the safety of our community. This is an issue we take very seriously at the Dumb Friends League. This is exactly why it is vital to create a community where pit bull puppies can be socialized without fear of having them confiscated. This is also why allowing your citizens to adopt a pit bull from an organization that has several full-time behavior experts evaluating the animal prior to making it available, rather than obtaining it from underground resources motivated by profit, is imperative. The fear of bringing the dog out in public, sourcing pit bulls from unscreened dog dealers, and not providing them with veterinary care or training all increase risks to your citizens … Why does this change need to be made now? Too many families have been broken up because their family dog is a banned breed. Please vote to repeal the pit bull ban so that your community can be safer, and families can remain whole." | Read full statement - Dr. Apryl Steele, President and CEO of the Denver Dumb Friends League

The difference between a "dog trainer" at the Aurora Animal Shelter1 evaluating a pit bull versus "obtaining it from underground resources motivated by profit" is a coin flip. SAFER does not even measure the dog's sociability, which is the basis of our preferred test, Assess-A-Pet Protocol by Sue Sternberg. No test can measure unpredictable aggression either -- the hallmark of the pit bull breed. Cotto was also a stray pit bull that was found with serious dog-on-dog fighting injuries.

The Bullshit Meter

Steele scores a 95 on the Bullshit Meter (100 being the highest). Adopting out stray pit bulls does not make a community safer. Falsely implying that SAFER evaluations of pit bulls by "full-time behavior experts" are more accurate than a coin flip does not make a community safer. Falsely implying that any shelter behavior test is "science" is bullshit. Claiming that a pit bull ban repeal will allow "families to remain whole" ignores the families and dogs victimized by pit bull violence.

This victim is a 5-year old boy. There will be many more child victims of pit bull attacks in Aurora due to council members repealing the ban. However, there will be far more seriously mauled and dead canine victims of pit bull violence, primarily small dog breeds. This does not make a community safer, nor does it help families "remain whole." The Aurora Animal Shelter was perfectly fine adopting out Cotto, who if given a chance, would destroy a beloved small dog.


Recommend no dog parks due to intense behavior with smaller dogs

Small dog test: Tested with A213618 (M American Eskimo mix) -- As helper dog walked towards the fence line, test dog displayed confident body posture, ears forward, mouth closed, tail straight up, staring at helper dog. Once he was close to the fence, he rushed to the fence and displayed stiff body posture (tail up not moving, ears forward, mouth closed, staring at helper dog). Nose to nose, test dog pulled at the end of the leash to greet helper dog while displaying stiff body posture, tail up not moving, ears forward, mouth closed, intently sniffing helper dog. Test dog then began to slightly wag his tail side to side and handler was able to redirect him away from focusing on helper dog at this point. -DEA

Last week, we published about two European peer-reviewed studies that examined dog-on-dog attacks and dog-killing aggression. We also asked readers a question: Why is there a glaring absence of data and concern about dog-on-dog attacks in the US and UK by institutions and nonprofits that claim to "protect" and "advocate" for dogs? Both studies showed that pit bull breeds were the chief offenders, inflicting up to 5 times more attacks on dogs than all other breeds.

Our answer was the following: "because investigating the prevalence of dog-on-dog attacks and dog-killing attacks could result in more breed-specific legislation, an outcome that multimillion dollar humane and veterinary organizations sorely want to avoid -- even at the cost of pet dogs lives, especially small dogs lives. Motivations of the Denver Dumb Friends League and Aurora Animal Shelter, which urged Aurora officials to repeal the pit bull ban, are cut from the same cloth.

Experience with Pit Bulls?

The Bullshit Meter is especially relevant to Aurora and Denver, given that both had long-term pit bull bans (each over 15 years). Thus, the intake levels of pit bulls remained low and municipal animal shelters could not even adopt out pit bulls. These shelters, for at least 15 years, have largely been removed from the responsibility of assessing pit bulls for adoption. As we can see by Aurora's dismal adoption record, 1 in 3 pit bulls adopted out thus far has resulted in disaster.

"Very affectionate and people oriented boy" and "Thinks he's a lap dog and will sit in your lap to give you hugs and kisses" - Aurora shelter evaluator

Like Cotto, many pit bulls come into shelters as strays with unknown backgrounds. Cotto also came in with fighting injuries. The SAFER test does not measure sociability, nor can it measure unpredictable aggression or many other types of aggression. The small dog test, at least, showed "intense behavior with smaller dogs." Despite the low reliability of many shelter tests today, Cotto was still a completely inappropriate dog for a young family with two small children like this one.

after level 5 bite, bullshit meter increases

The Denver Dumb Friends League President & CEO nearly maxed out the Bullshit Meter.

1The SAFER evaluation was performed by "Desirae A. CPDT-KA," the lowest level of certification. She is a "dog trainer" not a an "animal behaviorist" or "behavior consultant." Add this factor to the bullshit by Denver Dumb Friends League who falsely claimed, "behavior experts" would evaluate dogs prior to adoption. If Aurora falsely communicated to the adopter that an "expert" evaluated this dog, it's just one more reason to sue the city.

SAFER deaths:
04/29/16: 2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Rehomed by Humane Society Kills Newborn Baby
07/07/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Adopted Out Pit Bull Kills 6-Year Old Boy in  North Carolina

Related articles:
03/11/21: Peer-Reviewed Studies Examines Dog-on-Dog Attacks in UK and Netherlands
06/18/20: Aurora Bite Statistics by Breed and Intake Data Over a Three Year Period (2017-2019)
11/25/14: Aurora Voters Favor Keeping Pit Bull Ban by Wide Margin in First General Election Vote
10/14/14: Aurora Citizens: Do Not Rescind Your Successful Pit Bull Ban

Peer-Reviewed Study Examines Dog-on-Dog Attacks in the UK by Analyzing News Media Articles

Netherlands Study Also Examines Dog-on-Dog Attack Aggression

dog-on-dog attacks studies
Two European studies examine dog-on-dog attacks and dog-killing aggression.

UK Study Abstract
United Kingdom - A study from the UK published in 2020 provides a glimpse into the prevalence and characteristics of dog-on-dog attacks in a public space. This study came three years after a UK survey (underwritten by a pet insurance company) estimated that 64,000 dogs are killed annually and over 44,000 suffered severe injuries due to dog-on-dog aggression. Roughly 15% of adult UK dog owners had seen their pet attacked by another dog during the 12 month period.1

The survey numbers are based on the estimated population of 8.66 million dogs in the UK. About 1.3% of the UK's dog population was affected. If applied to the US (77 million dogs),2 deaths and severe injuries due to dog-on-dog attacks would be over nine times higher. An estimated 1 million pet dogs in the US would be killed or severely injured by dogs each year. This shows a glaring absence of due diligence by humane groups, which claim to "protect" and "advocate" for dogs.

Dog Bites Dog: The Use of News Media Articles to Investigate Dog-on-Dog Aggression

Abstract - Dog-on-dog aggression is a common behavioral problem and has the potential to result in dog and/or human injury, the need for veterinary treatment and financial and legal repercussions. Despite this, few studies of dog-on-dog aggression have occurred. News reports of dog-on-dog aggression provide a method of understanding the demographics of these attacks. National and local news articles between September 2016 and February 2020 were identified through Yahoo and Google news. Information was retrieved including victim/attacker dog information (age, breed, size, sex, injury, veterinary treatment, on/off a lead, with/without the owner/walker), situation, intervention, owner injury, and outcome. In the majority of these attacks, one dog initiated the attack and this dog tended to be a medium-sized breed and off-leash. The most reported attacking breed was the Staffordshire bull terrier. The victim tended to be a small-sized dog, and these attacks often had adverse psychological and physical effects. Costs as a result of the attack ranged from £75 to £9,000 (~ $98-11,800 USD). The owner intervened in just under half of cases and often suffered injuries defending their dog. (Montrose, 2020)

As you read through this post, consider the following themes. "Dog-on-dog aggression is a common behavioral problem," but "few studies of dog-on-dog aggression have occurred." Such studies are rare in the UK and are totally absent in the US. Each year, Animals 24-7 estimates these numbers, but those estimates could be low. At least they are a starting point, given that no regional or national humane or veterinary organization attempts to collect or quantify this data.

Most humane organizations and shelters not only ignore this problem, they exacerbate it by "continuously" adopting out dogs with dog-killing aggression using concealed language that the dog is "dog selective" (could kill some dogs), the dog "must be the only dog in home" (will kill a dog) or is "reactive toward other dogs" (could kill a dog), Remember "Floppy" at Austin Pets Alive? Floppy is dog-aggressive, has a low children score and is too dangerous to even be cat tested.

Questions to Bear in Mind

  1. Why is there a glaring absence of data -- peer-reviewed and otherwise -- about the most common type of dog attack, dog-on-dog attacks, in the US and UK?
  2. Did the absence of data in this purposefully neglected field of study lead the authors to examine the best and only available source of raw data -- news reports?
  3. Why is there a glaring absence of concern about dog-on-dog attacks in the US and UK by institutions and nonprofits that claim to "protect" and "advocate" for dogs?
  4. Is anyone surprised that bull breeds, selected for bull-baiting and dogfighting, topped the charts in the UK and Netherlands studies, and did so by a landslide?
  5. Humane groups have long attacked the use of news reports to track breeds of dogs that kill humans, yet here is a peer-reviewed study using this very source.

The UK study reviewed 151 news reports related to dog-on-dog attacks published between September 1, 2016 and February 29, 2020. The parameters captured included: article information (publication and date), theme of article, victim and attacking dog information (breed, size, sex, injury, veterinary treatment, on/off a lead, with/without the owner), situation (location and month of attack, context of attack), human intervention and injury, and canine and human outcome.

All attacks occurred in a public space, like a park or street. Significantly more attacks occurred during the summer months (a seasonality that is also true with bites to humans). In the majority of news articles, 1 dog initiated the bite/attack (72.8%; 110). The remaining cases involved 2 (17.2%; 26), 3 (5.3%; 8), 4 (2.6%; 4), or an unspecified number of dogs (0.7%; 1). The most commonly reported breed to initiate attacks was the Staffordshire bull terrier (25.5%; 48), states the study.

The UK banned several fighting breeds in 1991, including the American pit bull terrier, but the Staffordshire bull terrier was not among them.

In the US, a pit bull is a class of dogs, which includes: American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier and their mixes. Taking the US definition of a pit bull into account, our results of the same study table show that the "staffie bull/pit bull (all)" category was actually (39.9%; 75), followed by the "bullmastiff/mastiff (all)" category with (8.0%; 15). Nearly half of all attacks in the UK study, 48%, were carried out by pit bull and bull-baiting mastiff breeds.

We not only combined the "staffie bull/pit bull (all) = 75" category, we combined all breeds when cross breeds were counted as a separate breed. For instance, our "akita (all) = 8" category includes, akita, akita cross and Japanese akita cross; our "rottweiler (all) = 7" category includes rottweiler and rottweiler cross; and our "bullmastiff/mastiff (all) = 15" category includes bullmastiff, mastiff and Italian mastiff. View how the UK study categorized cross breeds as separate breeds.

dog-on-dog attacks UK study

Results of combining pure breeds and cross breeds in the UK dog-on-dog attack study.

Given that we are discussing pit bull breeds and the scant number of studies that do address dog-on-dog aggression and attacks, it's relevant to point out that a 2019 Netherlands study states that 56% of the "dog-killing dogs" seized by police were of the "American Staffordshire/pit bull terrier type." These dogs had "dog-killing aggression," which resulted in the death or severe injury of the victim dog. This data was obtained from Dutch police reports -- not news media articles.3

Breed types of these 128 attackers as derived from police reports are listed in Table 1. These 128 dogs killed a total of 72 dogs. Table 1 shows that more than half of the dogs (56% of 128 dogs) were labeled by owners and/or the authorities as American Staffordshire/pit bull terrier type, and killed 28 dogs (54% of 72 killed dogs) and severely wounded 24 dogs (57% of 42 victims). (Schilder, 2019)

Size of Attacking Dogs

In the UK study, 92 (59.4%) of the 155 attackers involved a medium-sized dog, 23 (14.8%) involved a medium-large-sized dog, 38 (24.5%) involved a large-sized dog and 2 (1.3%) involved a small-medium-sized dog. "Significantly more attacks" were "carried out by a medium-sized dog than expected," states the study. Why is this unexpected? Of the 92 medium-sized dogs, 75 (82%) fell into the "staffie bull/pit bull (all)" category, a dog breed that was engineered for "dog killing."

The majority of attacking dogs (59.6%; 90) were not leashed. The owner of the attacking dog only intervened in 19.2% of cases. Of the 29 cases of intervention, (48.3%; 14) involved the owner actually pulling their dog away, 17.3% involved the owner attempting to pull their dog away and 20.7% of the attacks were stopped by the owner by punching or kicking their dog. In all instances (100%) when the owner of the attacking dog intervened, the victim dog still sustained injuries.

In the small number of cases when the owner of the attacking dog intervened, none did so fast enough to stop injuries from being sustained.

Size of the Victim Dogs

Breed of the victim dog was known in (81.9%; 127) of cases and size could be assessed. Of these cases, (70.1%; 89) involved a small-sized dog. There were "significantly more victims being a small-sized dog than expected," states the study. Why is this unexpected? Anyone who pays attention to this issue knows that pit bulls are primarily attacking small dogs for sport. Yorkshire terriers, cocker spaniels and chihuahuas were the most likely to be attacked in the UK study.

The size of the victim dogs was also discussed in the Netherlands study. 94 of the 114 victims (83%) of dog-on-dog attacks were small-sized dogs. When breed was known, chihuahuas, Jack Russell terriers and Yorkshire terriers were the most frequent victims of dog-killing aggression. "These findings show that small dogs are the predominant type of victims" in our study. The study also listed anecdotes by owners of attacking dogs, such as: My dog "cannot stand small dogs."

Physical & Emotional Injuries

In the UK study, (69.5%; 105) of attacks resulted in the victim dog requiring veterinary treatment. Of those cases, nearly one-third (32.4%; 34) required surgery. In 32 cases, the cost of veterinary treatment was known. The average cost was £1,881.90 with a range of £75-£9,000 (US $98-11,800). Only 17 articles indicated who paid the cost of veterinary treatment: primarily the victim’s owner (14.3%), insurance (11.4%), crowdfunding (8.6%), and the attacking dog’s owner (8.6%).

The owner of the victim dog was present during the attack in (95.4%; 144) of the 151 reported incidents. In nearly half of these cases (49.0%; 74), the owner of the victim dog intervened. In 54 (35.8%) cases, owners of the victim dogs stated that they had suffered some form of physical or psychological injury. The majority of injuries occurred to the hands (46.3%, 25) or hands and other parts of the body (63.0%, 34). In (85.4%; 129) of cases, the attack was reported to the police.4

Only 23 of the 151 attacks reported the psychological effects on the victim dog in the article. 14 dogs (61.0%) were "traumatized" by the attack, 2 (8.7%) became "fearful of everything," 2 (8.7%) began barking at other dogs, 2 (8.7%) were afraid to go outside, 1 (4.3%) became fearful of other dogs, 1 (4.3%) displayed signs of fear aggression, and 1 (4.3%) had a "change of personality." Conditions ignored by humane organizations that claim to "protect" and "advocate" for dogs.

Summary of Studies

"In the majority of the documented biting incidents, one medium-sized dog, most commonly reported to be an off-leash Staffordshire bull terrier, initiated the attack on a small-sized dog," states the UK study. This result is similar to the Netherlands study, which found that (56%) of dogs seized by authorities for killing or severely wounding other dogs were American Staffordshire and pit bull terrier types. Both studies also showed that small dogs were the most common victims.

Unlike the Netherlands study, the UK study omits that Staffordshire bull terriers were associated with blood sports and dogfighting. The UK study also victimizes the bull breed, despite it being the primary initiator of attacks: "While these findings could be interpreted to suggest that Staffordshire bull terriers are a risk to other dogs, it is important to note that Staffordshire bull terriers are a stigmatized breed and are often perceived as aggressive, unpredictable, and dangerous."5

Despite small dogs being the most frequent victim, the UK study also blames them by generalizing speculations and anecdotes stated in the Netherlands study about them. "It has been suggested," states the UK study, this might in part be due to small breeds "being misidentified as prey" or as a result of "displaying behaviors (e.g., barking, tail up behavior), which might have the effect of provoking an attack." Concluding, "smaller breeds may inadvertently provoke attacks."6

In the UK study, small-sized breeds were the aggressor in 0% of cases. Despite this, there is pervasive small dog victim-blaming in the study.7

Addressing the Questions

Why is there a glaring absence of data -- peer-reviewed and otherwise -- about the most common type of dog attack, dog-on-dog attacks, in the US and UK? Answer: Possibly because the results would be self-evident, just as the UK and Netherlands studies show. Pit bull breeds, which were selected for the blood sport of dog-killing, are inflicting the most severe injury attacks (57%; Netherlands study) and the most dog-killing attacks resulting in death (54%; Netherlands study).

Why else is there a glaring absence of data? Answer: Possibly because investigating the prevalence of dog-on-dog attacks and dog-killing attacks would only provide further evidence that pit bull breeds are correctly "perceived as aggressive, unpredictable, and dangerous," just like the human injury medical studies show in both fatal and nonfatal injury studies. Also, investigating the prevalence of dog-on-dog attacks and dog-killing attacks could result in more breed-specific laws.

Did the absence of data in this purposefully neglected field of study lead the authors to examine the best and only available source of raw data -- news reports? Answer: Yes. This same absence of data is also why our nonprofit uses news reports to capture "breed data" in fatal human attacks inflicted by dogs. As revealed in both this peer-reviewed study and our own work, multi-sourced news articles provide a rich and accurate data set that stands up to the rigors of peer-review.

Of course multi-sourced news articles are only part of what DogsBite.org tracks. We also collect photographs, videos, police reports, coroner reports and legislative materials that arise after a fatal dog mauling.

Why is there a glaring absence of concern about dog-on-dog attacks in the US and UK by institutions and nonprofits that claim to "protect" and "advocate" for dogs? Answer: Again, possibly because investigating the prevalence of dog-on-dog attacks and dog-killing attacks could result in more breed-specific legislation, an outcome that multimillion dollar humane and veterinary organizations sorely want to avoid -- even at the cost of pet dogs lives, especially small dogs lives.

These same humane groups claim that breed-specific laws break the "human canine bond." They often use the slogan, "BSL destroys families" to repeal breed-specific laws. However, they always ignore the horrible physical and psychological trauma done to both owners and pets by bull breeds that horrifically breaks the "human canine bond." They instead sympathize with the "stigmatized" dog-killing aggressors and adopt out dogs with severe dog aggression into our communities.

Is anyone surprised that bull breeds, selected for bull-baiting and dogfighting, topped the charts in the UK and Netherlands studies, and did so by a landslide? Answer: Except for the authors of the studies, no one is surprised. Dogs purpose bred for dog-killing aggression are the most "efficient" dog-killing breeds on earth. It's not rocket science. No one is surprised that racing dogs are the fastest dogs on earth or that herding dogs are the most effective herding dogs on earth either.

Finally, humane groups and pit bull defenders have long attacked the use of news reports to track breeds of dogs involved in fatal dog maulings, yet here is a peer-reviewed study using this very source. How do you think mass shootings are tracked in this country? (View incident and source). How do you think backovers, frontovers and hot car deaths of children are tracked? A collection of news accounts by nonprofits because official sources can be less accurate or worse, absent.

Too Few or Too Many?

Historically, large bodies undercount events when incidents are low. This is a problem with large data sets, such as the US population of 328 million. CDC tracks hundreds of causes of death, including, deaths by being bitten or struck by a dog, but the smaller the number of deaths, the more unreliable the data. The online tracking of mass shootings, also a low incident event, is a relatively new research goal because the government has never defined a "mass shooting."

"Too few" events is not the case regarding violent dog-on-dog attacks. The UK survey estimated that over 100,000 dogs are killed or suffered life-changing injuries due to dog-on-dog aggression in 2017. Roughly 15% of adult UK dog owners had seen their pet attacked by another dog during the period, according to the survey based on 1,003 adults who own dogs. In the US, few animal control agencies even track damaging dog-on-dog attacks; only bites to humans are tracked.

There is obviously little to no tracking by the UK government since a "survey" underwritten by a pet insurance company is one source of data and the other is a peer-reviewed study based on media articles. As required by Dutch regulations, at least dog-on-dog attacks resulting in severe and fatal injuries are tracked by police. Those attacks were dominated by pit bull breeds, as were dog-on-dog attacks studied in the UK study, and attacks compiled annually by Animals 24-7.

Don't Track Any Data

What is the easiest way to lower the prevalence of a disease? Stop reporting it. That is the role that humane groups, which claim to "protect" and "advocate" for dogs have taken in the US. That is the role that veterinary groups have taken here as well (technically, both never started reporting it either). These same groups also try to discredit dog-killing aggression data collected by Animals 24-7, because their goal, apparently, is for no entity to track or quantify dog-on-dog attack data.

The glaring absence of data about the most common type of dog attack in the US, dog-on-dog attacks, is the direct result of multimillion dollar humane and veterinary organizations refusing to collect data or to investigate this area of damaging attacks. They don't want the public to know the self-evident results: fighting breeds are largely responsible. When data does arise, they are quick to victim-blame small-size dogs, who are victimized the most in these horrific attacks.

Further Reading

In a 2006 paper, animal behaviorist Alexander Seymonova touches on some of these issues (Aggressive dog breeds: Document nr. 3). She discusses the "sudden denial" of abnormal aggression and heritability of behavior by professionals in the dog world. She also discusses dog-on-dog attacks and killings, which are vastly more common than attacks on humans. "In fact, there is a slaughter of ordinary, non-aggressive household dogs" occurring on the streets, she states.

dog-on-dog attacks

Some of the small dog breeds frequently injured or killed in dog-on-dog aggression attacks.

1Dog Fights – 64,000 Canines Die In 12 Months, by Direct Line Pet Insurance, survey conducted by Opinium, 2017.
277 million is derived from the AVMA's 2017–2018 edition of the Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook.
3Intraspecific killing in dogs: Predation behavior or aggression? A study of aggressors, victims, possible causes, and motivations, by Schilder, et al., Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 34 (2019) 52e59.
4In the UK study, 85.4% of the dog-on-dog attacks were reported to the police. This is an exceptionally high percentage and points to the UK Dangerous Dog Act. In the UK, "It’s against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control anywhere, such as: in a public place, in a private place, for example a neighbor’s house or garden, in the owner’s home. The law applies to all dogs,"states the government's website. "Your dog is considered dangerously out of control if it: injures someone or makes someone worried that it might injure them. A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if either of the following apply: it attacks someone’s animal or the owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal." The penalty if your dog is considered "dangerously out of control" includes: unlimited fines, prison time (up to 15 years if you allow your dog to kill a person), your dog subject to destruction and the inability to own a dog in the future, states the website.
5Several UK websites report that shelters are "inundated with requests to take in staffies and their crossbreeds because of the growing numbers being over-bred and abandoned," much like how pit bulls are over-bred and flood shelters in America. One of the websites cited by the study does state the history of the breed "Dating back to the 1800’s, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was mainly bred for ratting, bull baiting and dogfighting." (dogstrust.org.uk).
6The Netherlands study specifically stated, regarding the anecdotes and speculations of why smaller dog breeds were the majority of victims: "This data set does not allow for the conclusion that generally smaller dogs are more likely to be attacked than larger dogs, and conclusions about motivations are speculative."
7It is generally agreed upon that dog-on-dog aggression is common, in that it is largely comprised of "ritualized aggression" (barking, growling, showing teeth, etc) in an effort to avoid real aggressive encounters. Dog-on-dog "killing aggression" (inflicting severe and fatal injuries to dogs) is much less common, and is what the UK and Netherlands studies investigate. Thousands of years of "ritualized aggression" and tolerance by domesticated dogs among each other, in an effort to avoid damaging aggressive encounters, should be able to withstand the "barking or tail up behavior" by a small dog without this leading to uncommon dog-killing aggression. Small dogs "being less obedient" than larger dogs, as the UK study reports, also should not lead to uncommon dog-killing aggression.

Related articles:
01/28/21: Why Aren't Dangerous Dog Owners Charged With Animal Cruelty? by Dog Lover
09/17/10: Craven Desires: Weekly Frankenmauler Round Up Collection -- Mostly Small Dogs
05/05/09: Alexandra Semyonova: Heritability of Behavior in the Abnormally Aggressive Dog

2021 Dog Bite Fatality: Woman Killed by Pack of Dogs in Porter, Texas During State Power Crisis

porter woman killed by dogs
Deann Stephenson, 59, was killed by a pack dogs on February 15 in Porter, Texas.

Woman Killed by Dogs
Porter, TX - On February 15, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office responded to a reported animal bite on Cunningham Drive at about 1:00 pm. Deputies "immediately called for EMS as they had a 59-year old female who was attacked by a pack of five dogs. The deputies attempted to stop the massive bleeding by applying tourniquets to the extremities," reports the Montgomery County Police Reporter. The victim was transported to Kingwood Medical Center in critical condition.

The victim suffered bites to her face, legs, arms, back, and neck. She died sometime after reaching the hospital. She had been walking to a corner store when the dogs ran through an open gate and attacked her. Montgomery County Animal Services took possession of the dogs. Five days later, the victim's sister, Holly Jorgensen, began a fundraiser and identified the victim as Deann Stephenson. The funds will be used to help pay for her funeral and memorial services.

We first became aware of this fatal attack on March 1, when KPRC-TV aired a segment about her death. Recall that on February 15, millions of Texan residents were without power, including this nonprofit. The high temperature in Porter that day was 25 degrees and roads were snowy and icy. Fire and EMS were severely taxed out due to fires, numerous car accidents and trying to clear roads. In the midst of this statewide catastrophe, Deann was fatally attacked by loose dogs.

After her death, family members hired attorney Patrick O'Hara, who has represented many dog attack victims in Montgomery County, reports KPRC-TV. Family members said these same dogs, or at least one of them, had previously attacked other neighbors, including a child. “And still, no criminal charges have been filed against the dog owner. This is horrific, these dogs should have been put down years ago,” O’Hara said. A lawsuit is expected to be filed later this week.

The dogs' owner appears to be a business located in the 24800 block of Cunningham Drive. Hanging on the chain link fence were "Beware of Dog" signs, as well as Chlorine Gas notices. Hauling trucks were seen behind the fencing. We have certainly seen fatal attacks inflicted by junkyard-guard dogs before. In those cases, the auto repair and wrecking companies were likely required to carry insurance. It is unsurprising there will be a civil lawsuit filed in short order.

In January of this year, Montgomery County had another high profile dog attack involving a long-term reckless dog owner. Jennifer Romano, 46, was charged with two felonies -- injury to a child, a 2nd degree felony, and tampering with evidence, a 3rd degree felony -- after her fake service pit bull bit a child in the face unprovoked. Romano fled the scene after the attack. A Montgomery County judge ordered her pit bull, which had previously bitten two people, to be euthanized.

Afternoon Update

In the afternoon, the Houston Chronicle reported more information. Deann died the same day as the attack. Four dogs were involved in the February 15 attack. Montgomery County Animal Services (MCAS) identified them as a mixture of hound, shepherd and black mouth cur breeds. The animals were euthanized. Their owner, who has not been named, was issued citations for failure to provide proof of rabies vaccination and failure to properly confine the dogs, MCAS said.

A neighbor witnessed part of the attack and told MCAS that he tried to help the woman, while his wife called 911. Detectives and the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office are investigating whether any charges will be filed against the dogs' owner, reports the Chronicle. The attorney for Deann's family said that multiple people had been attacked by the dogs in the past. Unverified claims on social media said that dogs belonging to this same owner had killed a man years ago.

woman killed by pack of dogs porter

Some  people on social media are saying the owner had dogs that killed a person years ago.

Related articles:
01/11/21: Rescuer Involved in Highly Litigated 'Gus' Case, Flees Scene After her Fake...
07/12/17: 2017 Dog Bite Fatality: Pack of Dogs Kill 79-Year Old Man in McCreary County
03/21/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Pack of Pit Bulls Kill Man in Jefferson County, Arkansas