On Monday, four year old Jordyn Arndt was tragically attacked by a dog in Prairie City, IA. The girl was transferred to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines where she later died from her injuries.
According to the reports, Arndt was staying with her 'baby sitter" Jenna Marie Wright, 24. It was Wright's dog, reportedly an "80 lbs" American Staffordshire Terrier (which would be larger than most Am Staffs), that was responsible for the attack. The exact circumstances that led up to the attack remain unknown at this point as it appears as if the victim and Wright's daughter were playing in the yard with the dog unsupervised. Wright was arrested on Tuesday afternoon for child endangerment and with neglect or abandonment of a dependent person.
This isn't Wright's first run-in with the local authorities.
In April 2011, Wright, along with two other people (her husband and father in-law) were arrested on felony drug charges that included growing marijuana and the presence of methamphetimene. At the time, Wright's 2 year old daughter was removed from the home by authorities. A year ago, Wright entered into a guilty plea for manufacturing marijuana, three counts of failure to affix a drug tax stamp, and neglect and abandoment of a dependent person (her 2 year old daughter).
It's also worth noting that within the past couple of years, Wright's dog had also been cited for being a "public nuissance". During the same year, animal control served four complaints regarding the dog.
This is (obviously) a tremendous tragedy and my heart goes out to the Arndt family. However, the wisdom of leaving your children with a babysitter who had plead guilty to felony drug charges and neglect and abandoment of her own child a year ago has to be questioned. Now, Wright is looking at a 2nd case of neglect and abandonment in just 2 years time. Meanwhile, it shouldn't be a surprise that the dog appears to have had some behavioral issues prior to this as well.
Canine behavior is very complex -- and the role that nurture plays in its development MUST be considered -- and it's why all attempts to explain dog attacks like this, which are quite rare, without considering the nurture and circumstances surrounding the attacks fail.