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« Weekly Roundup - Week Ending 3/24/13 | Main | Failure of breed-specific policy in the UK »

March 28, 2013



They went to bed or something? Very suspect. Sad for the child and sad for the dogs. This story will be done to death and of course, they were "pit bull type dogs" right? Give me the DNA proof and I will believe what type dogs they were and in the end, they are all dogs. That is why these stories remind us all how important it is to keep your children safe and make your dog a safe dog. Stiffer penalties and education are key in reducing these tragedies.


I don't know if we'll ever get the information, but I'd suspect that one of the non-pit bulls was the father, so the pups could just as easily be "irish setter mixes" vs pit bull ones....but yeah, agreed on the breed ID. Of course, none of that really matters as a 20 month old child alone with 7-9 dogs of medium-large size is a recipe for trouble. At least the law enforcement seems to get that. As for the sleeping, it seems really odd to me that 3 adults would all go to sleep at 5:00 on a Wednesday evening. I suppose they could work night shifts or something, but that's really odd.


Thanks for the information Brent. That's good to know that law enforcement at least understands the recipe for disaster that was there. Sad all around. But putting it out there on your site helps educate people who are willing to listen.

jon jovi

Euthanized at the scene ???


"Pit bull types"? Again, so many people define dogs as "pit bulls or pit bull types" that are NOT pit bulls or pit bull types! Enough of that! What is the evidence that leads them to believe the other 2 dogs were not involved? If they were not near the childs body that does not mean squat! I am glad that they pointed out the other factors involved that led to this tragic incident, and I also feel for the family. But, as was pointed out, the family was "sleeping or something like that" at 5:30 p.m.? WHAT is wrong with this picture? SOMETHING is being hidden by the family and, there were so many factors that led to this horrible tragedy. The loss of a child, the loss of the animals. Punish the whole line of people that led to this incident (the family members at the home). It won't bring back this child, and it won't bring back the animals.
Sure wish that pit bulls and pit bull "types" would quit getting so much negative blame put on them just because of their breed. Many times a dog has been identified as a pit bull or pit bull type and they have NOT been! But, it still leads people to believe horribly about pit bulls. Not right!

John Hammer

Like most pit bull owners bulls, we assumed that others simply did not understand the breed. I was us that didn't understand them until it was too late. Statistics tell us that over 70% of dog-related fatalities are from pit bulls, the percentage being considerably higher if adjusted for the proportion of pits in the dog population. Nearly every pit bull will live out their life without incident, as a wonderful pet. There is little evidence to suggest that pits are more aggressive than other breeds. The problems are that 1) pits are much less predictable than other breeds (the majority of pit bull fatalities occur in their own home); 2) their attacks are sustained and offensive (most dog attacks are brief and defensive); and 3) pits were purposefully bred for physical damage and superiority over a perceived enemy. They are largely fearless. Also, occasional perception of pedigree, there is no statistical difference in the number of attacks between pure and mixed breed pits, nor is there statistical evidence to support the notion that pits trained in a certain way will not attack. And even if it were true, would you want to rest the safety of your neighborhood on the competence of the average dog owner? Of course pit bulls should be outlawed, or heavily bonded (e.g., Florida statute). Unfortunately, the dismal record is that too many pits are ticking time bombs, and that there are far too many attacks, injuries, and deaths by this breed, all avoidable.

Sheryl Winget

And who was watching this child, no one heard her scurrying around while exiting the home thru the doggie door? Its a shame accidents like this happen its not all the dogs fault. The dogs should have been in an area where they were secure which I dont believe they were. If you know anY thing about dogs. They are pack animals. I had an incident years ago with 8 of my own dogs. It was muddy out the dogs were wet and dirty and were shut in the laundry room to dry. I had to step out for no more then 10 minutes when I returned 7 of the dogs attacked my basset hound and killed her. NOT ONE OF THEM WAS A PIT BULL....DONT BLAME THE BREED BLAME THE DEED! NOT TO MENTION THE ADULTS WHO WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SAFETY OF THE CHILD. SHAME ON THEM!


John Hammer, even assuming your "statistics" were true or accurate. 70% of dog-related fatalities from pit bulls is 70% that is attributed to dogs from a MINIMUM of 4 different breeds. You spout good without even knowing that a pit bull isn't a breed and that your statistics are inaccurate. In addition, true PIT BULL TYPE DOGS, the ones bred for fighting?.. were bred to have NO human aggression. NONE. That was considered, even by evil horrible dog fighters to be a fatal flaw in a dog, and they would be destroyed. The ones that show human aggression now come from dogs bred by morons in just the last 50 or so years.

trinna pye

Once again blame the "pitbulls" instead of the owners. Sounds like a crowded house. Were they outside dogs that had not been trained, socialized, etc...? Very sad, but owners are most always to blame.

Donna Malone

the adults are responsoble not the dogs

amanda daniels

it makes me sooo mad and if you happen to search her mom on fb summer laminack pictures tell you exactly why this happened!!! No one was watching her obviously!!! i am a dog lover and its a shame that this happened!!


6 adolescent dogs in a yard where a child could get in.....Duh.


Is anyone else sort of horrified that they made the assumption that "the other two dogs were not involved." And that it was all 7 dogs involved. The family was sleeping. How do they know who was involved or what happened? And the assumption that "pit mix = aggressors so must be euthanized" and "not pit mix = clearly not involved" REALLY bothers me.

This story is SUPER fishy.


Another rare event that can be explained away by human error and having nothing at all to do with breed genetics!


Michelle, the fact that you care at all that the dogs in question were humanely dispatched speaks volumes. No one in their right minds cares at all about those dogs. This is simply a brute fact of the Universe, similar to the statement that humans find ice to be cold


Jon, yes the dogs were euthanized at the scene via lethal injection -- an action that even the sheriff admits was questionable.

Michelle -- agree that the entire story has a lot of missing pieces at this point. And sadly, we may never know the real truth to what happened.

John - there is actually no factual basis to any of your assumptions, least of all the 'unpredictability" of the dogs. Dogs are very predictible creatures, far more predictable than humans (and particularly toddlers). Not to mention that most dogs are not purposefully bred for anything in this country any more -- and if you don't believe that genetics can change quickly if not purposefully used, talk to anyone who purposefully breeds hunting beagles and ask them about how closely they relate to pet ones...

Dub, I think Michelle's question isn't whether or not the dogs in question should be put down, but a) if there is any validity that all needed to be put down b) how the two non-pit bulls were determined innocent and the 'pit bulls' presumed guilty and c) if keeping them alive could help investigators find out more about the causal factors for the attack.

As for your other question, yes, this has nothing to do with breed genetics any more than the reality that if the child had gone through same doggie door and wandered out into the street and been hit by the car the car manufacturer would have been to blame or the driver of the car. Toddlers must be supervised. They cannot run outside alone and fend for themselves from whatever is out there, and that's why it sounds like the mother in this case is going to likely be brought up on felony charges. It's tragic, but blaming the dogs for a toddler running alone outside is ridiculous and negligent.


This is just sadly reminiscent of the toddler in Texas who crawled out the dog door and was mauled by the "family" Boxers. So yeah, totally a breed issue here. Because Boxers are "pit bull" type dogs, right? Aren't we rolling them in now to support our "statistics" because we still can't reach them yet?

I hate when I fall asleep and wake up to my kids in the yard with the dogs again. If only the dogs would stop letting them out.

I want charges. There were three adults in that household who failed this child. They need to be held accountable. If you are old enough to have a baby, you are old enough to face consequences for not watching that baby. Plenty of us have turned our head for a second, but this was a good length of time given the child's clothes were torn completely off. No one heard him cry?

I'm so sick of people leaving their kids unsupervised with any dog. The kids have to pay the ultimate price. The least the "rents" can do (grandparents and parents alike) is some jail time.


"As for your other question, yes, this has nothing to do with breed genetics any more than the reality that if the child had gone through same doggie door and wandered out into the street and been hit by the car the car manufacturer would have been to blame or the driver of the car. Toddlers must be supervised."

It would be rather odd if most times this happened, the car that struck the child was a specific make and model. Let's say 7 toddlers were killed in this way so far this year, and it was always a Toyota Corolla that did it. Similarly, we see the same pattern in the past.

People might start to think that not only should we better supervise our toddlers, but we should also look into this weird pattern with the Toyota Corolla. Perhaps it has a design that decreases drive visibility or braking ability or perhaps the shape of the hood and bumper cause a particular type of fatal damage. In other words, two things can be true at once.


Poor Toyotas! They're incredibly common, easy and cheap to obtain, favored by inexperienced young people with bad driving records, treated with far less respect than a Rolls or a Jag, allowed to go without proper maintenance--and most of the accidents they get into involve a driver with drug or alcohol issues. Not to mention, easy to confuse with Nissans and Hondas of similar size and type. Of course, let's blame the make and model of the car...


To keep with the analogy, I'd contend that all of that research has been done. All of the manufacturers, engineers, and professional drivers and people who understand how cars operate, , and how to handle them, from every auto manufacturer (who seldom agree on anything) have all concluded there is nothing wrong with the design of the Toyota Corolla. There is nothing wrong with their design, their functionality, or their handling.

They have however, concluded that due to the low price point, unique styling, and large supply, they tend to be by far the most popular car for people who are inattentive drivers and live in neighborhoods where kids often are out running unattended in the street. All of the experts who have analyzed the situation agree on this point.


I love it when you make universal statements that cannot possibly be correct (like saying something is true of all experts), and in fact you know is not correct. Look up No True Scotsman, Brent. Your entrance criteria for expert status is agreeing with you on this point. See how that works?


Here is one expert that disagrees.

There are many others.

I'm interested. What do you think the dominant selection pressure was for APBTs and how is that manifest now in both their anatomy and behavior?

Consider this. With your view, the number of fatal attacks and maulings by this breed group could escalate to a very high point, and your series of rationalizations would still work. I think you rest a bit too much on laurels of the "experts" you pick that are willing to take a public stance on a controversial issue.

It is interesting that when it comes to fatal bites on humans that you would quote animal welfare groups. It seems the relevant experts might also include those that sew the human victims together again. I don't think you are recognizing the inherent bias of groups like the ASPCA or someone that makes their living off rehab'ing aggressive animals.


I have great doubts as to the correct assessment of breeds of dogs, especially Pit Bull type.



Dub, interestingly, your "expert" is a vet from the UK (Where they're breed-specific policy has been a collosal failure) from 9 years ago (before a lot of the current research existed. I wonder what he thinks now? Funny also that he notes that for all the talk about dogs, humans are far more dangerous to society. Regardless, I'm sure you can find an "expert" that opposes my point of view, just like you can still find people who legitimately think the world is flat and that the sun revolves around the earth. There are always outliers.

But the formal declaration by all the major dog training organizations (people with hands on experience with dogs and dog behavior), veterinarians (who understand health and biologoy) and shelter and rescue organizations (who work with 1000s of dogs each year of all types) is that it's an issue of careless driving.

I'm going to give you a for-instance. In the shelter that I work with, right now we have about 50 pit bull type dogs in our shelter -- and 2 Great Danes. The 2 Danes are in the dog bite section and the description of the attack is very gruesome. It didn't make the news and according to reports, the woman is lucky to have had bystanders near by to help her.

Are All Great Danes bad? Of course not. This is the 3rd time the dogs have been in, and each incident has gotten progressively worse. This time they will be euthanized (FYI, we don't make these decisions, animal control dictates them to us, so don't blame us for the incidents). It is clearly a case of a wreckless driver, who happened to own two gigantic dogs who can cause problems if poorly managed.

But the fact that there is no news coverage of the incident makes it unlikely that anyone who gets their canine 'expertise" sitting behind a laptop would ever know about it. Media reports are not a comprehensive source.

Meanwhile, all of the pit bulls are rock solid. Are all pit bulls awesome, rock solid dogs? Of course not. But in our shelter, right now, they all are. Which then highlights the problem with working with limited data sets. If you limit the data to just these 7 incidents this year, then you're going to make some misleading assumptions. Heck, the same can be said for all fatal incidents in the US, or all incidents in the US.

This is why getting a lot of information from all sources available is important -- and then you start recognizing outlyers for what they are...outlyers.

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