Yesterday, 83 year old William Donald Thomas died as a result of being attacked by two dogs.
Apparently, Thomas went out to check the mail when two free-roaming dogs that belonged to a neighbor attacked him. The dogs were described as Rottweilers.
Authorities had to kill the two attacking dogs because they were so aggressive -- and then removed 33 additional dogs, all Rottweilers, from the neighbor's property. According to police chief Byron Jackson: "We don't know if we have a breeding operation, but all the dogs appear to be vicious and the cages are not substantial enough to hold them."
Attacks like this are extremely rare - -and when they happen, it is easy to people to just chalk the incident up to the breed of dog involved in the attack. But this isn't the right way to do it. The right way is to look at the circumstances involved in the attack and try to cure those circumstances as a variety of different breeds are involved in fatal dog bite incidents.
In this case, it appears that we have someone who was intentionally breeding aggressive dogs and keeping them in pens that were not suitable for dogs the size that these were. Leeds also has a poverty level above 20% -- so about 1.5x higher than the national average. Leeds also has a significantly higher incident of violent crimes than the national average -- which may have increased the demand for "guard dogs" -- which may or may not have been what this man was breeding for.
I will share more information about this tragedy when and if it becomes available. Right now the story has only been picked up in about 3 media outlets.
My heart goes out to the Thomas family...