Friday, June 3, 2011

Child Endangerment: I

A Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety report obtained by the Kalamazoo Gazette under the state Freedom of Information Act shows that detectives sought charges of involuntary manslaughter and cruelty to animals against Darius’ 25-year-old mother, but the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office declined to authorize charges.

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To: Carrie Klein, Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney,
      Kalamazoo County
Re: Details of fatal mauling

I read the account by Rex Hall of the Kalamazoo Gazette in today's news with great interest.

The death of Darius Tillman is a tragic event that would seem to offer few lessons. The dog had not previously exhibited signs of aggression, was a family pet, and had been fed and cared for. The mother of the slain infant had not been negligent in her care of the dog or her child.

This and dozens of similar cases present difficult legal and moral issues for children's services and enforcement officers, and especially for the Prosecutor's Office. The decision of whether or not to bring charges against a mother who has lost an infant in such horrifying circumstances presents a dilemma that would trouble most minds. The same issues apply in the thousands of cases in which children in their own homes are attacked by family pit bulls, even though a death may not have occurred.

It is a normal human instinct to extend sympathy to the mother under such circumstances. It seems the most reasonable course of action is to accept the horror of this death, accept the dog's action as an aberration, and to allow the mother and her family to live with their pain.

Yet there are lessons to be learned from this tragedy, if we care to acknowledge them. There is overwhelming evidence that pit bulls are predisposed to sudden, violent, unprovoked attacks. For 500 years dog breeders have been selecting specific traits in this breed and all the love, care, and attention a family can bestow on a family pit bull does not obviate that heritage. A pit bull's unprovoked attack is not an aberration for the breed.

The only way to assure that tragedies like the death of Darius Tillman are avoided is to recognize that pit bulls are inherently dangerous, and to bring any pit bull into a family situation is an act of child endangerment. When this understanding of the pit bull is accepted the dilemma will be resolved.

1 comment:

  1. Hello!

    I found your blog through Craven Desires. I enjoy reading it (well, perhaps 'enjoy' isn't the best word, given grotesque nature of the subject matter...maybe 'appreciate' is more accurate). I think your coinage of "Compulsive Reflex" is especially apt...if I appropriate it in my writings, I will be sure to link to you. You are a very talented writer. Thank you!


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