Humane Society of U.S. president Wayne Pacelle has yet to comment on fatality five blocks from family home
NEW HAVEN, Connecticut; FRESNO, California––A three-day-old baby girl was on June 27, 2016 fatally mauled by a pit bull/Sharpei mix at her mother’s home in Fresno, California, the same day that pit bull attack victim Jocelyn Winfrey, 53, died in New Haven, Connecticut after a week in an medically induced coma.
The three-day-old girl was killed, Fresno police spokesperson Dan Macias told media, when her 33-year-old mother left her on a couch while using the bathroom. Neither the victim nor her mother were named by police.
“She left the door open because it was hot and she thought the dogs were tied up,” Macias said, but one of two pit bull/Sharpei mixes belonging to her 30-year-old brother––who was also in the house, Macias mentioned, and was also not named––ran in from outside to inflict the fatal attack.
New Haven victim taken off life support
Meanwhile back east, “Jocelyn Winfrey died at Yale-New Haven Hospital with her mother beside her bed,” reported Paul Bass of the New Haven Independent, after “doctors stopped life support for Winfrey, according to assistant police chief Anthony Campbell.”
Winfrey was mauled at the home of Yale psychiatric intern Hamilton Hicks, 37, moments after her arrival, with Hicks, in Hicks’ car.
“Winfrey stopped breathing twice on the way to Yale-New Haven Hospital,” wrote Bass. “Doctors operated on her for days, amputating a leg. She had lost her eyes and skin all over her body. Doctors described the injuries as even worse than those of a Stamford woman,” Charla Nash, “who was attacked by a chimpanzee in 2009.”
No charges for attack
Hicks was charged with misdemeanor possession of crack cocaine.
“Assistant chief Campbell said that after reviewing the case with the state’s attorney’s office, police don’t see a basis for further charges,” Bass added.
Winfrey was attacked just five blocks from the longtime home of Humane Society of the U.S. president Wayne Pacelle’s parents, where Pacelle grew up. Richard L. Pacelle Sr., 88, and Patricia Pacelle, 87, still live there.
“It frustrates me so much”
After the chimpanzee attack on Charla Nash, Pacelle pushed federal legislation to ban private possession of chimps. “It frustrates me so much that it takes terrible incidents to prompt people to take action on these issues,” Pacelle said then.
But Pacelle so far appears to have said nothing about the Winfrey mauling, while pushing state-level legislation throughout the U.S. to prevent communities from banning pit bulls, adopted in Connecticut in 2013.
After the Winfrey death and the death in Fresno, at least 273 Americans have been killed by pit bulls on Pacelle’s 12-year watch as HSUS president, up from 80 in the preceding 22 years. At least 2,355 Americans have been disfigured by pit bulls, up from 500 in the preceding 22 years.
New Haven animal control officer Joseph Maganillo meanwhile denied that the dogs who killed Winfrey, now quarantined, are pit bulls. Maganillo instead described them as “American bulldog mixes.”
But an affidavit dated October 17, 2005 from longtime “American bulldog” breeder John D. Johnson, credited with creating the bloodline and introducing the name, leaves no doubt that “American bulldogs” are pit bulls within any common sense definition.
Testified Johnson, “Originally, my dogs were registered with the National Kennel Club as ‘American [Pit] Bulldogs,’” but Johnson later split with the NKC and began registering his dogs with the Animal Research Foundation, formed in 1947 by Tom D. Stodghill (1903-1989), of Quinlan, Texas.
Stodghill created many registries for animals not recognized by older breed fancies, including fighting dogs and gamecocks. He also published Stodghill’s Animal Research Magazine.
“American bully” lineage
Wrote Johnson to Stodghill’s Animal Research Magazine in 1980, “The American Bulldog is the same dog that was developed in England in the 12th century by the meat packers, to catch large bulls to kill for meat… Then they started bull baiting with them, and they then were called ‘Bull Baiting Dogs.’ Later, they were registered as ‘English Bulldogs.’ They also were ‘pit’ fought over there [ England ], against each other, badgers, lions, and anything that would fight. They were brought over here [America] in the 17th century…In the 18th century, England outlawed all types of fighting, and they were no longer needed in their present form, so they bred them down in size…We kept our bulldogs in the [original] large state, and I have developed them even larger.”
Genetically, claimed Johnson, “The ‘Bull Terrier’ is a cross between the ‘English Terrier’ and ‘English Bulldog’ (60% ‘Terrier’ and 40 percent ‘Bulldog’). The [‘American] Staffordshire Terrier’ is 50% ‘English Bulldog’ and 50% ‘English Terrier’; the ‘American [Pit] Bull Terrier’ is a cross between the two types.”
Fresno death latest of many
The Fresno fatality followed a string of other notorious pit bull incidents in the Central Valley city. Among them, in April 2016 a women eventually identified as Sanjuana Caceres, 66, also known as Janey Garibay, lost her left arm and suffered facial injuries so severe that for three weeks she went unidentified after being found under attack by two pit bulls in an alley.
Fresno resident Mary Lara, 56, was on September 18, 2014 stabbed to death by Laquandra Ligons, after Lara asked Ligons to keep her pit bull away from Lara’s cats. Laquandra Ligons in 2015 accepted a 12-year prison sentence for manslaughter. Her husband Thurman Ligons was sentenced to serve three years as an accessory.
Field hand Esteban Alavez, 34, of Selma in Fresno County was on December 11, 2012 killed by four free-roaming pit bulls.
Alavez was the first known dog attack fatality in Fresno County since 2005, when Tyler Babcock, 6, of Clovis, was killed by two pit bulls and possibly a German shepherd in a field beside his grandparents’ home.
But Fresno city police only 11 days before Alavez’ death had rescued a 70-year-old man from a mauling by two pit bulls. In August 2012 a Fresno County sheriff’s detective shot a pit bull to halt an attack on a teenaged boy.
The circumstances of the Cacares and Alavez attacks paralled those of the Father’s Day 2008 mauling of Krystal Cooney, 16, by five pit bull and Rottweiler mixes who had for several years run loose near the Parlier High School football field in Fresno––and were allowed to remain there even after allegedly killing sheep and goats kept for a class project in 2006.
At least three different local governmental agencies settled lawsuits out of court resulting from the Cooney case.
Dogfighting & murder
Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer in August 2007 announced that his department had broken up a dogfighting ring that called itself the Dogpound Gang. The existence of the ring came to police attention through two murder investigations. Videos recovered during the first of the murder investigations reportedly showed six organized dogfights.