ANIMAL WATCH-On September 9, Troy Ashley was loading his truck in his own front yard in Klamath Falls, Oregon, when a pack of three Pit Bulls belonging to a neighbor suddenly surrounded him, snarling, and began an attack without warning, brutally ripping at his arm and leg and leaving him no escape.
He told the Herald and News that he threw a rock at one to try to scare them back, but that only seemed to escalate their violence. The dogs “bit into his shin to the bone and ripped muscles in his arm that may be irreparably damaged,” according to the report.
Finally, as he continued trying to fight off the dogs, he managed to get to his front door, bleeding profusely as he crossed the yard and staining the white pebbles and covering the door with blood. With the dogs continuing their relentless attack, he realized he had dropped his keys.
“I was hitting them with my fists, hitting them with rocks,” Lashley told the reporter. “I was trying to protect my face and my neck because I know they like to go for that.” The dogs then renewed their attack and dragged him back onto the lawn and continued mauling his arms and leg.
Exhausted from the struggle and weakened by the blood loss, he said, “I was just about done. . .I probably had just a few minutes left if they kept chewing on me.”
He credits a neighbor with saving his life by coming into this gruesome and dangerous situation and hitting them repeatedly with a shovel. The neighbor said he heard yelling and ran to where he saw the three dogs “were on him.” He hit one of the Pit Bulls three times before it ran away, and he said another had blood all over its mouth.
When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics wouldn’t get out of their vehicle until the Klamath County Sheriff’s Officers arrived, the report states.
Witnesses said Lashley was laying on the ground bleeding as they waited.
The brave neighbor who undoubtedly saved Lashley’s life stated the same dogs had chased him into the house at one time and also had threatened his wife.
“On both occasions the authorities were contacted, but nothing was done,” he said.
Lashley also told the reporter, “Something should have been done about the dogs earlier and he is worried about the children in the neighborhood and his own grandchild. “I want those dogs put down, because I don’t want this to happen to anybody else.”
The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office said that a search warrant was served at the home and six dogs were seized.
“The investigation is ongoing and additional evidence is being collected to help determine if possible charges will be filed,” said a media release from the Sheriff’s office.
WHAT PIT BULL ATTACKS NATIONWIDE INCREASINGLY HAVE IN COMMON
Animal Control agencies are not responding to initial reports and taking action to reduce the number of dogs breaking out of a repeatedly reported location (especially where Pit Bull-types are being kept for guarding -- and breeding) BEFORE a fatality or any injury/attack incident occurs. Also, most cases involve reports of the dog repeatedly escaping and not being picked up by the agency paid to provide protection and law-enforcement to the community. Here’s how that works:
EXPANDED TERRITORY – IN THE EYES OF THE DOG
Allowing dogs to freely roam neighborhoods is a new phenomenon. Traditionally, dogs were kept for protection -- primarily chained or confined (often in manners we now deem inhumane). Their purpose was usually not to attack intruders, but to warn the homeowner that a stranger was approaching or had entered the property, so that the owner could take appropriate action.
Even today, there are few, if any, reports of any packs of attacking dogs other than Pit Bull-type breeds. No other breed-type maims and kills humans by nature.
Although an occasional Shepherd or mixed dog may have been involved, when is the last time we heard of a pack of Labradors or Pointers roaming a community and victimizing innocent neighbors or pedestrians?
There is another ignored factor that places blame directly on the failure of taxpayer-funded animal control agencies to provide the protection and confinement laws that is their duty.
Allowing dogs to roam, expands their “territory.” in cases of apartment living, someone just a few doors down can be viewed as a threat. At first, their domain is their yard (or a hallway.) However, lack of control by the owner, open gates, or damaged/inadequate fences can soon allow them to expand the area they roam (and in their eyes “own” and control) to the entire block or farther.
WOMAN, 63 KILLED BY PACK OF FOUR PIT BULLS IN LITTLEROCK, CA
In the 2013 Littlerock, CA, case of Pamela Devitt, a pack of four Pit Bulls had traveled one-eighth of a mile from home, according to reports. They then killed the 63-year-old woman who was walking as part of a health routine. There was no indication that this would have occurred other than the fact that she was in what they now considered their territory.
The Antelope Valley Times reported on September 10, 2019, “LA County to pay $1.1 million to family of woman fatally mauled by dogs in Littlerock.”
Pamela Devitt had been fatally attacked and mauled by four of the eight dogs owned by a Little Rock man, Alex Donald Johnson, who was accused by County prosecutors of keeping “the dogs and a shotgun to guard a drug operation at his house.”
The article reports that “Pamela Devitt was in a Littlerock location approximately one-eighth of a mile from where the dogs lived, when they fatally attacked her. . . She sustained about 200 puncture wounds and died of blood loss on the way to the hospital,” the Antelope Valley Times states.
A motorist’s pickup truck was also chased by the dogs after the driver — who called 911 — honked her horn in an effort to stop the dogs from attacking Devitt, according to the prosecutor who tried the criminal case against the dog’s owner.
“Appellant knew his dogs were jumping his fence and attacking passersby,” the appellate court panel found. . . “As an owner of animals with dangerous propensities, appellant had a duty to exercise reasonable care in keeping his dogs from jumping the fence, and his failure to do so caused the death of another person.”
In connection with the criminal case, (Deputy District Attorney Ryan) Williams said there was evidence the dogs had attacked nine other people in an 18-month period.
The plaintiffs alleged that LA County Animal Control received complaints dating back to 2005 that a pack of pit bulls had escaped from Jackson’s property and were attacking people, pets, and livestock, but did not impound the dogs. Complaints about the dogs attacking people and horses were made at least twice in the four months before Devitt was killed, but the animal welfare department determined that the dogs were adequately confined, according to the lawsuit.
Williams wrote in a sentencing memorandum that Alex Donald Jackson kept the dogs and a shotgun to guard a drug operation at the house.
“Appellant knew his dogs were jumping his fence and attacking passersby,” the appellate court panel found in a 14-page ruling. “As an owner of animals with dangerous propensities, appellant had a duty to exercise reasonable care in keeping his dogs from jumping the fence, and his failure to do so caused the death of another person.”
DIANE WHIPPLE (SAN FRANCISCO) – The killing of a neighbor.
The death of Diane Whipple was a highly publicized case of a deliberate, unprovoked killing by two bully-breed dogs (Presa Canarios) living in a metropolitan city -- in fact, the first declared “No Kill” city in California.
Some of the shockwaves were over the disclosure that some dogs can be truly dangerous and should not be kept alive. It also showed that familiarity does not deter attacks by some dogs and control is essential at all times.
The breed of these dogs can be a warning signal; however, just because a dog may be trained or intended for dog fighting, does not indicate human aggression.
Diane Alexis Whipple was a 32-year-old American lacrosse player and college coach. She was killed in a brutal attack in a San Francisco elevator on January 26, 2001, which essentially decapitated her, according to reports.
The dogs involved were two Presa Canarios, a male named Bane and a female named Hera. Paul Schneider, the dogs' owner, is a high-ranking member of the Aryan Brotherhood who, along with his cellmate, was attempting to start an illegal Presa Canario dog-fighting business from prison, where he is serving a life sentence.
At the time, the dogs were under the care of his attorneys, Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller (husband and wife), who lived in the same apartment building as Diane Whipple.
Bane, the larger of the dogs, weighed 140 pounds.
The dogs had supposedly seen Whipple before but on the day of the attack, Knoller was taking them up to the roof, and they attacked Whipple in the hallway. She suffered a total of 77 wounds to every part of her body except her scalp and bottoms of her feet.
Diane Whipple died hours later at San Francisco General Hospital from "loss of blood from multiple traumatic injuries (dog bite wounds).”
A witness at the trial testified that Knoller and Noel had repeatedly refused to control the dogs and a professional dog walker testified that, after she told Noel to muzzle his dogs, he told her to "shut up" and called her offensive names. Noel was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and Knoller guilty of second-degree murder.
Their convictions were based on the argument that they knew the dogs were aggressive towards other people and that they did not take sufficient precautions.
Diane Whipple was not approaching the dogs and did not provoke them. She was attempting to enter her apartment two doors away with bags of groceries when the attack occurred.
Assistant Dist. Atty. Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom presented nearly 30 witnesses who testified about frightening encounters they had with the dogs, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In the mind of the dogs, it appears Whipple’s mere presence in the hallway was a violation of their “territory,” even though they had seen her there before. Here is the revised ending, and the whole thing attached.
Three Men Attacked by Pit Bulls in Pahrump
An attack in Pahrump, NV, where Ricky Davidson, 40, was arrested after his three pet pit bulls critically injured one man and seriously hurt two others, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
All three pit bulls jumped a 6-foot fence and attacked a man who was going to help feed his neighbor’s cats, police said.
A friend who heard him crying out and tried to help him was also attacked by the dogs, along with a third man who tried to intervene.
The two rescuers dragged the first victim next door and closed the fence gate, but the dogs followed them through a hole in the fence, according to the report by the Las Vegas Sun.
As the dogs continued to attack, one of the men grabbed a gun and shot two of the dogs, but the animals continued to attack the men until a Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue ambulance scared them away, police said.
Ricky Davidson, 40, was arrested on a count of keeping vicious dogs resulting in substantial bodily harm. Two surviving dogs were expected to be quarantined.
An investigation found the dogs had attacked another man eight months prior, police said.
WHY ARE ROAMING / DANGEROUS DOGS RELEASED BY SHELTERS?
Dogs become braver with each attack and their power and dominance expands as they are left unconfined and jump or dig under fences that are not repaired. In this way, the owner condones their acts. And so does animal control.
Municipal shelters need to be held accountable financially for the damage, pain and suffering of victims. There is no one else with the power to stop this criminal negligence by dog owners before it becomes a tragedy.
Dogsbite.org - Statistics
In the 16-year period of 2005 through 2020, canines killed 568 Americans. Pit Bulls contributed to 67% (380) of these deaths. Combined, Pit Bulls and Rottweilers contributed to 76% of the total recorded deaths.
A 2018 report issued by DogsBite.org shows that over 35 dog breeds contributed to 433 deaths in a 13-year period. Pit Bulls contributed to 66% of them.
See media reports of attacks at: National Pit Bull Victim Awareness.
(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former City of Los Angeles employee and contributing writer to CityWatch.)
Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.