So, today we're going to do something a little different with the roundup. Usually I use this space on Sunday morning's to 'round up' the week's top stories. I may not get to that this week, and if I do, it it will be later tonight. However, this week there were three dog-bite related fatalities, and there is an older one that I'm adding to the list that I had been waiting until more info was available, but apparently more info isn't coming any time soon.
Before I get into these four tragic cases, please let me note, as I usually do, that dog bite fatalities are extremely rare. American's share their homes with more than 72 million owned dogs in this country -- that live more than 300 million people.
And yet, a tiny number (usually around 25-30) of these dogs end up killing someone each year. When these incidents happen, it is not because of breed, or because dogs are bad, or dangerous -- it is almost always a result of very poor ownership, or some human action that led to circumstances that ended up as an attack.
So, with that, here are the four most recent incidents and as much information as I can find about them.
In Fallbrook, CA, a 30 year old woman was found dead in the yard of the home. The woman, who's name has yet to be released, was hired by the home's owners to clean the home while they were away, was apparently attacked by one or more of the 8 dogs that lived at the residence.
The victim had spent the previous night at the house -- but this was the first time she had cleaned the house and was not familiar to the dogs. The owners were using the dogs for breeding and were described in various places as either American Bulldogs or "Olde English Bulldogges" and ranged in size from young puppies to 105 lbs.
Authurities aslo found 24 marijuana plants in the home that were growing in the back bedroom of the home.
This story was reported by 19 news sources.
Updated 12/19 - According to Animal Services Spokesman Dan DeSousa, he believes the dogs were a mix of Olde English Bulldogs mixed with American Bulldogs in order to make them larger in size -- as all of the dogs weighed in at a little over 100 lbs. The victim has been identified as 30 year old Remedios Romero-Solares who worked as a house sitter and housekeeper. The media is also reporting that the owners of the dogs regularly sold puppies for $2500 due to their potential for size and power as adults and that many of the puppies were "aggressive and difficult to handle".
In Yadkin, NC, a 2 month old infant was tragically killed by the family dog. The child, Dixie Jennings, died from head injuries due to the dog bite.
There is little information about this incident as reports have not been released to the public., including the type of dog involved in the attack, or whether the parents were present when the incident happened. Incidents involving infants like this are not common, but can happen even without an aggressive dog because of the sheer size of the dog and how fragile infants are.
This story has been reported by 14 news sources.
Big Rock, IL
In Big Rock, IL, a 44 year old firefighter was found dead after being attacked by a dog that she had recently adopted.
The woman, Dawn Brown, had just adopted a Mastiff a couple of weeks ago after a family member had decided they no longer wanted the dog after having a newborn infant so Brown brought it into her home. There were two other dogs in the home, a Boxer and a pit bull, but according to the autopsy report, the Mastiff is the one that bit the victim in the neck causing the fatal wound.
The Mastiff was said to have weighed about 150 lbs.
Because there were no witnesses to the attack, there is no clear cause of the attack, although Brown's boss, battalion chief Michael Kalina, did say that there had been some "turf wars" between the new mastiff and the other two dogs in the home but "nothing out of the ordinanry or aggressive". While the victim getting in the middle of an altercation between two of the dogs seems like a likely scenario, there doesn't seem to be much evidence that this was the case. "We literally have noting pointing to why this occurred," said Sheriff's Department Lt. Pat Gengler.
This story was reportd by 37 news sources.
In Stanton, DE, 55 year old Robert Rochester died, potentially from injuries sustained in a dog attack. Rochester, a postal worker, was on his postal route when he was attacked by a 12 year old German Shepherd that has escaped from the owner's home. Rochester spent the night in the hospital being treated for "serious" injuries.
Rochester was released from the hospital, but a few days after the attack, he suffered "complications" that are thougth to be linked to the attack and suffered cardiac arrest and died.
The dog was euthanized and is being tested for rabies. At this point, it is not 100% clear if the dog attack led to the victim's death, or if it was from something unrelated. The autopsy was unclear, and further forensic information is unavailable.
This story was reported by 19 news sources.
If I am able to get any more information about any of these incidents I will pass it along. My heart goes out to the family and friends of all of the victims.