Yesterday morning, 57 year old Klonda Richey was killed by her neighbor's two dogs.
Richey was outside her home when the dogs attacked, and her body was discovered on the sidewalk in front of her home.
Mark Kumpf, the Animal Resource Center director, says the dogs were mixed breed dogs that he believes are part Cane Corso. Photo evidence would indicate that this is true of at least one of the dogs.
The owners of the two dogs, Andrew Nason and Julie Custer were taken into custody and are being held pending charges of reckless homicide. This is good of course, to hold the owners accountable. It's bad, of course, that it had to get to the point of someone being dead before something was done.
Turns out that the victim called the authorities many times on these dogs. Authorities have noted that there have been at least 9 complaint calls about the dogs responsible for the woman's death -- at least 5 of those complaints were made by the victim. Several of the complaints are abotu the dogs roaming at large, and one specifically from Richey notes that the "dog is straining to get to water and food that are empty, advised is ongoing". This would indicate ongoing problems, and from the sound of it, a significant amount of time being tethered.
Unfortunately, in none of the cases did animal control do anything and now the dogs are responsible for killing the woman.
This is the 3rd fatal dog attack in just the past 18 months in Dayton. One other also involved a Cane Corso, and another involved the mauling of a 93 year old woman, Elizabeth Hirt, by two Boston Terriers. Of significant note here is that in the incident involving Ms. Hirt in 2012, the media never covered her death, and thus, this incident never showed up in any dog attack fatality reports for the year. I've now added it to mine.
This story is amazingly tragic, and highlights a whole lot of reasons the way we currently look at dangerous dog issues is tragically flawed.
-- A strong, proactive, breed-neutral dangerous dog law would have had a strong likelihood of helping save Ms Richey. The dogs were a known problem. The owners were known to let their dogs roam at-large. These dogs and owners were known problems, and yet, there was nothing that was done to intervene. This is why good, proactive, breed-neutral laws are essential.
-- This incident further reinforces that dogs just don't decide to attack one day. Attacks like this usually follow a series of undesirable and aggressive behaviors over time.
-- This should go without saying, but, competent animal control is also important.
-- Dayton, as a community, has had 3 dog attack fatalities in the past 18 months. There have only been around 50 in that time in the entire nation, so three happening in one relatively small community is pretty amazing. Dayton has a very high poverty level (39%) that is nearly triple the national average. The Crime rate is also nearly double the national average. Dangerous dog issues tend to follow other socio-economic problems and to see a cluster here is not terribly surprising. Treating dangerous dog issues as if they are a dog issue, and not a part of a larger socioeconomic issue is missing a major factor.
-- Since 2008, there have been only 3 fatal dog attacks involving Cane Corsos in the entire US. It's interesting that two of these attacks happened in Ohio - a place that until recently had targeted "pit bulls" as being inherently aggressive. For years, experts have said that if you focus on breeds, or types of dogs, that irresponsible owners, or people who want aggressive dogs, will turn to other breeds. It's a small sample size, but it seems that that is what happened in Ohio when they targeted specific breeds.
-- It's also interesting to note that the tragic death of Elizabeth Hirt went virtually unnoticed by the media until it was mentioned briefly in one of the articles yesterday. It shows exactly how some of these "studies" based solely on media reports are not comprehensive, nor statistically relevant. This is why listening to experts on the topic of dangerous dog issues is essentialy instead of basing information off of the ramblings a of a handful of non-experts with webpages.