I'm running a little behind getting these posted --we've had a LOT going on (more to come!) and I just haven't gotten a chance to do a lot of research on these until now. But last week there were two fatal dog attack incidents and I do want to highlight them, as I do all the others. Major dog attack incidents are rare in this country, with the risk of them being miniscule compared to the 75+ million dogs in this country. But when they happen, it is important to look at the entirety of the circumstances surrounding the event in order to build awareness of the circumstances of these attacks so we can prevent them in the future.
Three weeks ago, in Callaway, FL, 7 year old Tyler Jett was riding his bike home from school when two dogs raced toward him and attacked him while he was on his bicycle.
One of the bites to young Tyler punctured is carotid artery and ultimately to the boy's death.
The dogs were owned by Edward Daniels, Jr -- who will be facing charges that range from culpable negligence to manslaughter. Daniels was arrested for drug charges after authorities investigating the scene found marijuana and other drug paraphernalia at his home, tampering with evidence for allegedly washing blood from the dogs' faces, and later on charges of manslaughter.
In order to prove manslaughter, they would have to prove that Daniels KNEW of the risk his dogs possessed, and didn't take necessary percautions to intervene. In this case, just 10 days prior to the attack on young Tyler, animal control cited Daniels for the dogs running at large and being aggressive toward adults and children and that whatever means he was using to secure them were inadequate.
However, Daniels did not fix the problem, and the dogs were loose again and attacked a young boy; causing his death.
The dogs in the incident have been described as either "pit bulls" or in many cases as an Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog and a Bulldog mix. In pictures of the dogs, they appear to be just mixed breed mongrels.
Callaway is a small community of about 14,000 people -- about 18% of whom live below the poverty level (slightly above the national average). The case seems to be a pretty clear-cut case of owner negligence: including lack of containment, known history of getting loose and aggressive activity, and the presence of illegal drugs at the scene. The dogs also likely had a heightened arrousal due to high prey drive of chasing the boy on his bicycle.
It is a true tragedy, and a completely avoidable one had the owner headed warnings to contain the dogs after the previous report.
This story has been very odd from the beginning, and as new information comes out, it just seems weird.
In Stockton, CA, 38 year old Claudia Gallardo was attacked and killed by a dog. According to the reports, the woman hopped a fence that contained the dog and was attacked by the dog.
The dog's owner, Brian Hrenko, knew the victim. Hrenko said the victim cleaned houses for a living and likely jumped the fence looking for work. However, the incident appeared to have happened after 8:00 at night -- which would have been after dark in Stockton this time of year -- an odd time to be showing up for house work.
Neighbors have allegedly complained about the dog in the past having gotten loose and acted aggressively. Hrenko also noted that the dog got in fights with the neighbor's dogs all the time and that he had previously attacked people who entered the yard including chasing them into their trees or into their swimming pool.
The dog in the case is being described as both a blue "pit bull", and as a "pit bull/mastiff mix" . Based on the images presented it's difficult to tell which would be more accurate.
The 95215 area code where the attack occurred has a poverty level of over 26% -- nearly double the national average. Nearly 18% of the zip code lives on income below 50% of the poverty line -- which is more than double the national average.
While some of the information is still a bit unknown, it's a tragic situation and one marked with poverty, a dog with a history of aggression, and an individual jumping a fence to get into an area with a contained dog at night while the dog's owner wasn't home.
It was nice that one news station went to a local dog show and asked some of the experts there about 'pit bulls" and what they thought.
My thoughts go out to the families in both of these tragedies.