Victim was 500th fatality of molosser-breed dogs since 1982
NEWINGTON, Georgia––Georgia Department of Agriculture meat inspector Michelle Wilcox, 30, on August 2, 2016 “died when her boyfriend’s pit bull mauled her at his home, near Newington,” in rural Screven County, Georgia, reported Dal Cannady of WTOC News.
Wilcox, an equestrian who had studied pre-veterinary medicine at Gainesville State College and animal science at the University of Georgia, thereby became the 500th person to be killed by a dog in the molosser or “bully” breed category since ANIMALS 24-7 editor Merritt Clifton began logging fatal and disfiguring dog attacks in the U.S. and Canada since 1982.
The molosser breed category includes pit bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios, Cane Corsos, mastiffs, Dogo Argentinos, Fila Brasieros, Sharpeis, boxers, and their mixes.
“May never know why”
“We may never know why [Wilcox was killed,” Screven County sheriff Mike Kile told Cannady. “The dog was raised from a puppy in the house. Always inside. She came home and let it out and seemed to be doing the normal routine. The dog just attacked. Not sure we’ll ever know why.”
Added Cannady, “Investigators say none of the dogs in the home had any known history of viciousness or aggression. The dog,” a male pit bull according to Kile, “was put down by the owner immediately following the discovery of the attack.”
The boyfriend, identified to ANIMALS 24-7 as Davin Bannon, whose Facebook page confirmed the relationship, had several pit bulls.
Wrote Holly Deal Saxon of the Statesboro Herald Record, “Wilcox was familiar with the pets at that residence and had handled them safely on numerous occasions in the past.”
9% of the dogs, 77% of the deaths
Altogether, 648 people have been killed by dogs in the U.S. and Canada since the ANIMALS 24-7 attack log started: 104 in the 18 years 1982-1999, 237 in the 10 years 2000-2009, and 307 in the less than seven years 2010-present.
The molosser breed category, making up about 9% of the U.S. and Canadian dog population, has accounted for 77% of the fatalities.
Pit bulls alone, making up about 5% of the U.S. and Canadian dog population, have accounted for 358 fatalities: 55%. Rottweilers, about 1% of the U.S. and Canadian dog population, have accounted for 91 fatalities: 14%. Bull mastiffs, less than 1% of the U.S. dog population, have accounted for 20 fatalities: 3%.