No one knows what happened, It was a terrible accident.
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To: US DHHS, Administration for Children and Families
Region 1: Mary Ann Higgins
Region 2: Joyce Thomas
Region 3: David Lett
Region 4: Carlis Williams
Region 5: Kent Wilcox
Region 6: Leon R McCowan
Region 7: Patricia Brown
Region 8: Thomas Sullivan
Region 9: Sharon Fujii
Region 10: Steve Henigson
Child Welfare League of America, American Humane Association, and dozens of state Child Protective Services officials, and others
On Friday Sept 11, 2011, 20-month old Neveah Bryant of West Haven CT was killed by her aunt's three pit bulls. Thirteen months later, on Oct 11, 2012 Neveah's aunt, Erica Hobdy, pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge and received a suspended sentence of one year of jail and three years of probation.
For those unfamiliar with the case we've listed the relevant details:
- Hobdy had left the child in the house alone with her three pit bulls while she went to the store for drinks for her son and a friend, who were outside the house;
- Police and neighbors confirmed that the dogs had previously demonstrated aggression;
- Hobdy was arrested after the attack, in December of 2011 and released on bail. She was soon taken into custody again because the arrest violated probation conditions of her past criminal cases.
- Local rescue groups claimed that the tragedy was an isolated case.
- According to news reports (see below), Hobdy's previous dogs attacked a mailman and children years ago in another city.
There is wide disparity in how these cases are prosecuted. Hobdy was charged but plea bargained her way to a suspended sentence. Three members of the Mesa family were recently charged. SRUV previously reported on the death of a 10-day old infant in Kalamazoo, MI, after an attack by a recently adopted pit bull. In that case detectives sought involuntary manslaughter charges against the child's mother but the county prosecutor's office declined to press charges. Kalamazoo is the home of the United Kennel Club, the official registry for the American Pit Bull Terrier.
Law enforcement officials are often unwilling or unable to bring charges after an attack by a dog which results in the death of a family member. Many of these deaths, and hundreds of tragic disfigurements, could be avoided if Child Protective Services and other social welfare agencies were to recognize the inherent danger of accepting fighting breeds as family pets.
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* For details of these attacks, as well as the attacks on adults, see Fatal Pit Bull Attacks
Aunt of toddler killed in West Haven pit bull attack claims the dogs had no history of aggression (Oct 1, 2011)
Autopsy Complete on Toddler Attacked by Pit Bulls (Oct 3, 2011)
Pit bulls' killing of Fairfield toddler an accident (Oct 4, 2011)
West Haven pit bull owner gets no jail time in fatal mauling of toddler (Oct 17, 2012)
Google News: Today's pit bull attacks