Sunday, May 26, 2013

Charges Pending

Jordyn Arndt, d. April 22, 2013, Age 4

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There have been 13 fatal pit bull attacks so far in calendar year 2013; 8 of those killed have been children aged 7 or under.

District Attorneys and Prosecuting Attorneys have generally been reluctant to file charges in family dog attack cases, whether the victims are children or the elderly. The complex ethical and philosophical ramifications of charging a parent who has endangered their own child, and in many cases contributed to their maiming or death, apparently overwhelms many District Attorneys and Prosecuting Attorneys.

The increase in pit bull attacks during the last five years makes them impossible to ignore, and as a result more charges are being filed. A few of the recent cases in which charges have been filed (or may be pending) are listed below. News sources are given below.

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May 21, San Bernardino County, CA
VICTORVILLE • The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office filed felony charges Tuesday against a Barstow woman in connection with a Sunday night pit bull attack. Cheryl Morrow, 51, faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon and owning a mischievous animal which causes great bodily injury, according to court records.

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May 12, San Diego County, CA
Two pit bulls that terrorized the Valencia Park neighborhood for years were euthanized, This action was finally taken only AFTER a neighbor whose pet was mauled called ABC10 news. The pit bulls had killed another dog in 2009. San Diego County Animal Services had impounded the pair four times and returned them to the owners every time. The owners are now facing four misdemeanor charges, including leash law violations, and up to a $1,000 fine.

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April 29, Lebanon, ME
Three children including 12-year-old Angel Sargent were attacked by two pit bulls in the backyard of the home that her mother, Catherine Sargent, shares with her boyfriend, Rory Down. Angel was bitten all over her body but especially on her legs, shoulder, and neck. Down was in the home while two of his four pit bulls attacked Angel. Adam Horr, 41, of Dover, N.H., ran through 75 yards of wooded area to the girls’ aid and was also injured while rescuing Angel. NO CHARGES HAD BEEN FILED AS OF MAY 17th.

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April 26, 2013; Jasper County IA
Jordyn Arndt was killed by Jena Wright's pit bulls. Additional charges have been filed against Wright, Jordyn's babysitter. Wright was originally charged with child endangerment causing death, a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. She was also charged with neglect or abandonment of a dependent person, a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $10,000. Wright was subsequently charged with the misdemeanor charges of assaulting a police officer and interfering with official acts.

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April 24, 2013, College Park (Fulton County) GA
2-year old Beau Rutledge was mauled to death by his family's pit bull. The family had raised the dog for eight years, during which time it had never shown any aggression. Beau's father Jeremiah Rutledge was so distraught that officers were forced to subdue him with a Taser.
“We don’t know what made it attack the child as it did,” said Oliver Delk of Fulton County animal services.
When speaking to the news later Rutledge said “Those dogs cannot be domesticated. They cannot.”
Police said that no crime had been committed and no charges have been filed.

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April 16, 2013, Bryan County GA
Summer Laminack, 18, was arrested Tuesday for second-degree cruelty to children in the death of her 21-month-old daughter, Monica Renee Laminack. Initial reports stated that Ms Laminack was asleep at five o'clock in the afternoon, with at least five other family members present in the house, when her daughter was killed by the family's seven pit bulls in the back yard. Later reports from Ms Laminack's attorney claimed that she was "studying for her GED" in an upstairs room. Further action by the Bryan County Grand Jury is pending.

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As this was being prepared for publication news arrived of an attack on a 2-day old infant in Coffeyville, Kansas.

The attack in Coffeyville brings to mind another recent Kansas pit bull attack, which resulted in the death of 2-year old Savannah Mae Edwards of Topeka on December 13, 2012, by her family's pit bull. No charges were filed in the death of Savannah Edwards.

Had charges been brought in the death of Savannah Edwards, either against the parents or against the shelter which adopted out the pit bull, the attack in Coffeyville might have been avoided. Pit bull attacks on children will end only when Prosecutors find the courage to bring charges of felony child endangerment against parents or relatives who bring pit bulls into their children's home.

There is no additional information on the attack on the newborn in Coffeyville.

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Related Posts:
Charges Pending        (May 26, 2013)
Charges Pending II    (June 20, 2014)
Charges Pending III   (Sept 02, 2014)
Charges Pending IV   (March 01 2015)
Charges Pending V     (Forthcoming)

2-Day-Old Severely Injured After Pit Bull Attack, May 23, 2013
Man charged after his pit bulls allegedly kill livestock
   ABQ Journal, May 21, 2013
DA files felony charges in pit bull attack
   Desert Dispatch, May 21, 2013
Pit bulls euthanized and charges filed after dogs terrorize neighborhood
   ABC10 News, May 12, 2013
Child care provider faces new charges in fatal dog mauling
    Des Moines Register, May 8, 2013
Girl attacked by pit bulls released from hospital; charges yet to be filed
    Bangor Daily News, April 29
Pit Bull Kills 4-Year-Old Iowa Girl Jordyn Arndt
    Opposing Views, April 26, 2013
Family Pit Bull Kills Toddler Beau Rutledge
    Opposing Views, April 24, 2013
Mother charged in child's death
   Bryan County News, April 16, 2013

Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the nation's authoritative source for current dog attack statistics, the 30+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada.
View or download the current PDF

2014 Year-end report of dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; January 3, 2015
32 years of logging fatal & disfiguring dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; September 27, 2014
How many other animals did pit bulls kill in 2014?
   Animals 24-7; January 27, 2015

This page may also include information from Dogsbite &Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks

2014 Dog Bite Related Fatalities on Daxton's Friends
Index of canine fatalities on Daxton's Friends

SRUV uses the definition of "pit bull" as found in the Omaha Municipal Code Section 6-163. As pit bulls are increasingly crossed with exotic mastiffs, Catahoula Leopard Dogs and other breeds, the vernacular definition of "pit bull" must be made even more inclusive.

Sources cited by news media sometimes refer to "Animal Advocates" or sometimes "Experts." In many cases these words are used to refer to single-purpose pit bull advocates who have never advocated for any other breeds or species of animals. Media would be more accurate to refer to these pit bull advocates as advocates of fighting breeds.

Similarly, in many cases pit bull advocates refer to themselves as "dog lovers" or "canine advocates" and media often accepts this usage. The majority of these pit bull advocates are single-purpose advocates of fighting breeds.