As I've noted before, the dog attack fatality stories are about my least favorite stories to cover. Dogs are amazing creatures that have shown an incredible ability to adapt to a variety of lifestyles we subject them to. There are more than 72 million owned dogs in this country, and extremely few end up attacking people, let alone fatally.
However, because there are a few sources that would like to spread mis-information about major attacks and focus on breeds, and not circumstances, I feel an obligation to provide as accurate information as possible about the actual causes of these incidents so that we can learn from them to prevent them instead of focusing on non-causal factors like breed. Unfortunately, in all three of the incidents below, there were no witnesses to the attacks so there is little information available.
There were two incidents this week (after over a month since the last attack) -- and one that I have to catch up on because some more information has come out that would cause me to add it to the list.
In Chicago, 44 year old Chales Hagerman was found dead in his Southside home, a victim of dog bites. There were two dogs (one puppy, one adult) inside the home, both described as 'pit bulls'. According to several who were interviewed, the adult dog had exibited aggressive behavior before -- and one of the victim's relatives notes that Hagerman was afraid of the dog and the dog had apparently bitten strangers before.
The 60607 zip code where this took placee has a 36% povery level (nearly triple the state average in Illinois,) and 12% of its residents live on less than 50% of the poverty line. I share this information only because I think poor education on proper animal care is often a cause for attacks like this and that people with low education levels often live in poverty. Low education in regular life often translates into the low education on animal care issues and an inability to get training help necessary to overcome behavioral issues early on and many low-income areas could benefit from having free training classes for pet owners.
My heart goes out to Hagerman's family. The story was picked up in 19 news outlets.
Rebecca Carey was a 23 year old woman in Decatur, GA and was found dead, apparently attacked by dogs in her home.
Carey was a rescuer and worked at a veterinary clinic. She had four dogs of her own and was pet sitting a fifth dog for the weekend. Carey owned a pit bull, a Presa Canario, a boxer and one other dog (which strangely isn't mentioned in most of the articles but apparently weighed about 15 lbs) -- and was pet sitting a friend's Presa Canario.
Authorities unfortunately euthanized all the dogs at the home without any effort to determine which one(s) were involved and what may have caused the death. Carey is described as a "Very experienced" dog handler and not naive when it came to dogs. Unfortunately, without any investigation at the scene, we're left with little to determine a cause of attack.
Without anything more, the cause in this attack is merely speculative. It would seem that two of the dogs getting into a fight and her getting into the middle of it is the most likely scenario (particularly with a new dog in the house for the weekend), but even with that, none of the news articles seem to indicate if any of the dogs were injured in any way.
It really is a horrible situation, and I feel sorry for everyone close to Carey. It's a sad moment for someone who obviously had a caring heart and passion for animals.
The story has picked up by more than 150 news outlets including many national news outlets.
This is a pickup from a story from awhile back -- but in Roxboro, NC, 65 year old Eugene Cameron was found dead outside of a friend's home -- due from an apparent dog attack. Cameron was found naked with his clothes balled up beside him (which is odd) in the yard, but had wounds that would have made him likely bleed to death. The dog's DNA was found on the victim and the owner of the dog has now been arrested.
Allegedly, Cameron was visiting a friend's house and the dog next door got free and attacked him. The dog, a 'pit bull" named DMX, was usually kept "locked up or on a leash".
It's another sad story -- and I feel for the victim and his family.
The story was not widely discussed in the media with only a dozen or so news sources covering the story.