Earlier this week, a story broke about a woman, 24 year old Kelli Chapman, had been attacked and killed by her "two pet pit bulls" in her home in Longville, LA. Her husband, Jason Chapman, reported found his wife dead on the bedroom floor.
Reports were that the dogs (a 4 year old male and a 1 year old female) were like family to the couple. "The couple had the dogs since they were pups. They raised them. The dogs slept with them. They were part of the family," said one family member. Kelli's arms were fairly badly bruised and it looked like she was involved in some sort of struggle.
This story got picked up in several news outlets (pretty much as it ran in the story above). The implied note here is that these "family dogs" just snapped and killed their unsuspecting owner.
The story then caused the media to create a lot of controversy regarding the "breed" of dog involved in the case, and whether or not they should be banned. Some areas even ran stories on why even trained pit bulls can suddenly attack. (If you want a good breakdown on this story, check out Caveat's interpretation here.) KLTV in Tyler, TX even got a quote from the Tyler animal Control officer Shawn Markmann talking about the mythical 2000 pounds per square inch bite pressure that someone threw out in an a news article 15 years ago and still perpetuates today in spite of no scientific evidence that even remotely supports this "stat".
Meanwhile, one news source actually did a little digging on the attack (I've yet to find this having run any any other place, which is pretty telling that the media prefers a good story vs the actual truth).
Turns out that in October 2006, the area narcotics task force and SWAT team raided the Chapman's home and arrested the couple for having methamphetamines and other drug items. During that raid, one of the couple's dogs attacked an officer and was shot and killed (which explains why one of their dogs is about a year old). Meanwhile, apparently Kelli also was prone to having seizures and it appears likely that she had a seizure and the dogs may have freaked out during the seizure and bitten her. The bruises on the arms are likely from her flailing during the seizure.
So does that change the story? While tragic that the woman is dead, the story has now turned from happy young couple who's 'pit bulls' just snapped and turned on their owner where the woman died in a heavy struggle, to a story about a woman with a history of meth usage that had a seizure and the dogs freaked out during the seizure and fatally bit her.
The story looks completely different now. And yet the debate goes on.