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« Garden City, KS joins growing list of cities to repeal breed-specific law | Main | More research on health impacts of spay/neuter -- where should we go from here? »

February 08, 2014



This is such an incredibly tragic situation, and really shows how authorities are failing this community. With so many complaints, authorities SHOULD have done something. As you stated, it should not have taken a person losing her life for authorities to finally take notice of these owners and take action.

I've read they removed /20/ cats from the house as well, suggesting a hoarding situation.

Lisa (Hospets)

The 20 cats were removed from the victims home and are said to have been very well cared for. 20 cats does not necessarily equal hoarding

Nancy Tranzow

What a tragedy that absolutely illustrates that public safety is served by breed neutral laws. I hope this story and its warnings about targeting certain breeds, while allowing owners to behave recklessly without consequences, is something cities like Aurora, CO can learn from as they work to move forward.

My heart goes out to the victim and her relatives. I hope the owners are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


Obviously each case has to stand on its own facts and merits but I can't help but wonder if Animal Control had seized the dogs earlier would there have been "howls" of protest, FB postings etc. about unfair treatment? Some even from places hundreds of miles away with no real knowledge of the facts? Obviously we will never know the answer to that but it does give me pause for thought when I see such protests.

Janet Oxford

Do you have anymore info on the Boston Terriers' attack? I have never heard of them attacking a human, just other dogs.
I am in Boston Terrier Rescue, so would appreciate any information.


Other than the link provided above, and then this examiner article, I have no other details. Again, because of the lack of media coverage this has gone pretty much undetected until now.

So no details at all of what led up to the attack, only that it involved two dogs (hers and her daughter's) and the daughter (who was 66) was present at the time but was mentioned as being intoxicated.

It would be unusual for a dog of any breed to attack someone.

Also, I know the Examiner is a citizen journalism platform and not terribly reliable, but I found that this writer is consistently pretty solid and accurate.


I must get my 2 cents in on this situation. I am an Animal Control Officer. I have been now for 9 years. I have had many situations such as this and it breaks my heart. Not only for the victim , but also the dogs as they were not cared for properly. However what bothers me the most is the ACO had received complaints numerous times. Not only by the victim but others as well. I investigate every call I receive. Be it the smallest , silliest , unfounded reason , I go. I am on call 24/7. If there is a reason for the complainant to have concerns , than it becomes my concern.If I stop going than I do not need to be in this profession. There is no fix for maladjusted owners and the victim and the dogs that attacked paid the ultimate price.

Corey Schreck

This is a tragic situation, I pray for the family of the victim. Its so sad for specific breeds to get a bad rep for incidents like this I own two cane corsos myself, and they are a wonderful breed, but definitely a breed that needs socialization and training. Such large dogs can be almost impossible to control in a situation like this. I think owners are completely responsible for their pets, they should have control of their animals and if an animal is unstable or shows signs of doing something to this nature that animal should be humanly euthanized, for not only the animals safety but for peoples safety as well.

John Richardson

Great essay, but so sorry there was occasion to write. The issue of fatal mauling a being overwhelmingly committed by dogs with prior histories and/or belonging to owners with known prior histories of abusive or neglectful care and general irresponsibility is one that has eaten at me for a long, long time.


I am in a suburb of Dayton. The Boston terrier attack was mentioned for about a day on the news. The focus was on the fact that it was the the ladies dog and her daughter's dog. They also focused on the fact that the daughter was drunk. After that, the story vanished.

The other attack was a woman who was mauled by her own cane corsos. There were no witnesses. She was found in her yard.

In the most recent case, the dog owner has an extensive criminal record for everything from guns to drugs to child endangerment. He appears to be an irresponsible dog owner who wanted dogs that seemed tough.

It is all very sad, but I hope people stop blaming dogs when it is really bad owners that are the problem. My pit is well trained and he's my baby.


What bothers me the most, is that when this story first broke, the dogs were said to be pit bulls. Guess they just assumed it HAD to be pit bulls that would have done this. It was changed to "mixed-breed" dogs 2 days later. No one mentioned the Boston Terrier attack, as if it isn't as important, or news worthy. The media perpetuates the "Aggressive" dog stories, but if a golden retriever attacked someone, they would probably say a dog attacked, never mention the breed, and most people would again assume Pit Bull. This isn't as much a dog problem, as a human problem.


All of that is just bull the dog or breed isn't to blame it is the owners and the way they treat there pet let me just ask this if I was to put you in a room and not feed you or pay any attention to you how long would it take before you snap several dogs are in this situation and the only way anyone pays attention is if it is in fact a pitt bull,rottweiler,and they can say dangerous dog just because it is big lmbo media today has turned into crap


I was amazed when I read that there had been 8 complaints about these dogs, and they were still with the owners. And, now to read that the victim was one of the complainers, and that she was concerned with the welfare of the dogs just has me shaking my head. I live in Dayton, and over the last 17 years have been approached by many people who have asked me if I was interested in fighting my dogs (multiple breeds), what kind of dogs I had, and if I wanted to breed my dogs. (All of ours are neutered as soon as possible). While I do agree that poverty has something to do with this mind set, it also has to do with environment, education, and lifestyle. It also calls for stiffer animal abuse laws and more money/staffing/education for animal control. (And, really, attack numbers are based on media stories? WTH?)


This is the exact same situation that killed the woman in Lancaster CA last year. Numerous reports of those dogs running loose..the owner was cited but there was never any follow up to make sure he got in compliance. It's disgusting and horrific. And then the politicians come out and just want to pass more laws that they won't enforce.


The first comment about "suggesting a hoarding situation" is completely irrelevant, uncalled for, stated out of ignorance and most importantly - WRONG. Please remove it.


Brian, I apologize if my comment offended you. The articles I had seen mentioned the cats in such a manner that it sounded like they were removed from the same house as the dogs. As such, it was not unreasonable to conclude a potential issue of hoarding if the dogs were a problem.

Now that others have offered the correct information, I agree that it is obviously not a hoarding situation.

It just goes to show how easy misinformation is to get from news articles.


Yes. The cats were in the home of the victim. Apparently well-cared for. Outside of the reality that animal control then had to catch all of the cats to take them to the shelter because they no longer had someone to provide for them, they don't appear to be relevant to the story in any way.


"While I do agree that poverty has something to do with this mind set, it also has to do with environment, education, and lifestyle."

Rottnkids, you are correct of course. It isn't the poverty itself that is the problem. I know a great number of very low income people who are great pet owners. I simply used the poverty level as an indicator of the many other socio-economic issues that exist in many low-income areas - crime, violence, neglect, etc. Violence with dogs seem follow other socio economic indicators -- and is obviously result of these indicators, not a cause of them.


I was involved in a pit bull mauling case. My dog was mauled by five pits in a dog training area 4 years ago. The owner had no leashes, muzzles, or collars on the dogs. I was not hurt but my dog was nearly mortally wounded. He survived but just barely. The owner took off with the dogs. The response of the authorities? Buck passing. Cops passed buck to Greene County AC who passed buck to DNR. Gotta love that Dayton area. So sorry to hear that this happened.


I hope all the citizens of Dayton will storm the next city hall meeting and demand their ACOs be held accountable for their incompetence.

What is awesome about Cori's case is it just reiterates how COMPETENT animal control HAS to be in place no matter what laws you have. I get so tired of supposed "animal welfare advocates" asking for more laws when the problem is really proper enforcement. I'm guessing (based on experience) that the ACs here would state that they never saw the dogs off leash with their own eyes therefore they couldn't charge the owners with anything.


In your eagerness to prove that the media is not reliable (by using information from the media, interestingly) you overlooked glaring problems with your assumption that Hirt died as a result of being bitten by dogs.

1: The attack occurred on November 27. Hirt didn't die until two weeks later, on December 11.

2: She was 93 years old. It's not like 93 year-olds ever die of chronic age-related disease, right?

3: Officials believe the dogs bit her after she fell. Who is to say that the dogs caused her death and not the fall? A 93 year-old woman could easily suffer fractures or other serious injuries from a fall. Falls are the leading cause of both nonfatal and fatal injuries for elderly people.

4: Her dog-related injuries were not considered life-threatening:


A woman sustained serious injuries this morning after being bitten by her two dogs.

The 93-year-old woman, identified as Elizabeth Hirt, was found on the floor surrounded by her two Boston Terriers at her home near Tipp City. Officials believe the dogs bit her after she fell.

The woman was flown to Miami Valley Hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening."

So all that said, what proof or compelling evidence do you have that the dog bites caused her death? And barring such proof, will you be removing this story from your list of dog fatality incidents?



In the first news story link, the County Coroner notes that this is the 3rd Dog Bite Fatality in the county and then notes Ms. Hirt's death on the list. If the Coroner is calling it a fatality from dog bite, doesn't seem like I'm making a huge "assumption". Here's the quote from the story:

"It is believed that the county has had three deaths related to dog attacks since 2001, according to Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County Coroner's Office. Two of those attacks occurred in separate incidents in 2012 and involved the deaths of a 76-year-old woman mauled by a Cane Corso and a 93-year-old female mauled by a Boston terrier."


You conveniently left off the sentence directly after that:

"The coroner's office, in its records, does NOT list "dog bite" as a cause of death, Betz said."

Emphasis mine.

The death occurred a full two weeks after a 93 year-old woman, health status unknown, was said to have sustained non-life-threatening dog bite injuries in an incident where she also fell.

So yes, by rushing to chalk this up as a death due to dog bites, you are making a huge assumption.

Out of curiosity, from what source did you first learn about the incident involving Hirt?


PBP -- you're trolling.

Yes, the Coroner's office doesn't list dog bite as a cause of death for anything (probably because they're so rare there isn't a check box for it). However, when asked, she attributed the death to dog bite. Hirt was attacked by dogs, went to the hospital, and died 11 days later at the hospital never able to recover from her injuries. And the coroner attributes the death to her being attacked by dogs. It doesn't take a mathematician to add this up.

I learned about the incident involving Hirt via the article we're discussing that specifically mentioned someone dying from being attacked by Bostons. Given that I've been tracking this data for nearly a decade, and didn't remember it, I did a little research. Really, it's not that hard.

If you want further details, you can read this report (which BTW, has some pretty graphic photos of Hirt's injuries)

BTW, people dying several weeks after a dog bite due to complications -- especially elderly people -- isn't uncommon. This case seems to be very similar to the incident involving Nga Woodhead back in October/November 2013.


Correcting your misinformation and challenging your assumptions is not trolling.

According to the report you posted, Hirt died of acute respiratory failure after aspiration (inhaling fluid):

"On post-trauma Day 11, the patient developed progressive respiratory distress following presumed aspiration, with acute respiratory failure and asystole. No attempts at resuscitation were made according to the patient's advanced directives, and the patient died."

Nga Woodhead's death was directly attributable to being attacked by pit bulls: "A Spanaway woman who was attacked and mauled last week by two pit bulls died Tuesday from a heart attack directly attributable to the attack, the Pierce County medical examiner said."

The NCRC lists Woodhead's death as a DBRF, whereas I don't see Hirt mentioned anywhere in any NCRC literature.

So let me get this straight:

You're using the Hirt incident as proof that media reports are unreliable, yet you obtained your information about Hirt FROM media reports, and wouldn't have known about her death otherwise.

You claim that the absence of the Hirt incident in Merritt Clifton's database (for example) proves that his database is unreliable, yet the NCRC's reports suffer from the exact same absence of information.

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