Fatal pit bull attacks continue at record pace with two babies killed at grandparents’ houses
AKRON, Ohio––Perhaps not since the mythical big bad wolf first ate and then posed as Grandma, and then ate Little Red Riding Hood too, have canines posed a greater threat to small children visiting Grandma’s house.
The identity of a seven-month-old boy who on August 7, 2020 was killed by the family pit bull at his grandmother’s house in the 1300 block of South Hawkins Avenue in West Akron has yet to be disclosed. The victim’s grandmother reportedly suffered minor injuries in attempting to rescue him, but was not hospitalized.
“No details on the attack or what precipitated it were available,” reported Alan Ashworth of the Akron Beacon Journal.
Echoed recent Rhode Island fatality
From what information is available, the Akron infant death appears to have replicated most of the circumstances of the most recent previous U.S. dog attack fatality, the July 16, 2020 pit bull mauling of 15-month-old Scarlett Pereira in her grandparents’ yard in East Providence, Rhode Island.
At least three pit bull attacks earlier in 2020 missed fitting the pattern only because the child victims somehow survived extreme injuries.
On January 24, 2020, for instance, “Mason Swain, 5, was Life-Flighted to the Texas Medical Center,” Lauren Talarico of KHOU/Houston reported.
“Mason’s parents, Kelton Swain and Casey McDaniel, said that even though Mason spent plenty of time with the two dogs [who attacked him] in the past,” Talarico continued, “they were careful with Mason around them. According to McDaniel, Mason was at his grandmother’s house when the attack happened.”
Said McDaniel, “The dogs were initially locked up in the house. When Mason came outside, the dogs broke out of that room and they got to him.”
McDaniel “found his critically injured son in the backyard,” Talarico narrated.
“Mason was lying on the ground,” Kelton Swain said. “I seen his face and I just broke down, you know? I thought he was pretty much gone until my baby said, ‘Daddy?’ And I looked down and I said, ‘Oh, you’re still with me, baby! Keep fighting! Keep fighting! Daddy’s here.’”
“He’s missing his left ear, half of his right, most of his eyelid, and his top upper lip,” Kelton Swain told Talarico.
Whether the February 2020 pit bull mauling of a 10-year-old boy at his grandmother’s house in Neshoba County, Mississippi rose to that level of severity is unclear from the limited available information. The boy was reportedly rescued only after his uncle shot the pit bull three times.
“Grandmom saved child from Chaos”
“Camdon Bozell was severely injured in April by a five-year-old pit bull named Chaos at his grandmother’s home in Schoolcraft, Michigan,” recounted Divya Kishore for MEAWW.com [Media, Entertainment, Arts WorldWide] on August 6, 2020.
“Camdon got up to get a snack and the animal attacked him,” Kishore said. “Luckily, the child’s grandmom heard his screams and saved him from Chaos.”
Despite plastic surgery, Bozell suffered permanent scars.
“The paramedics said the injuries that Camdon suffered were the worst they had ever seen,” Kishore wrote.
Bozell was left with his grandmother when his mother was called to work on short notice.
Cast-iron skillet saved baby girl in Milwaukee
Reported Michelle Ewing of the Cox Media Group on May 14, 2020, “A baby girl in Milwaukee suffered serious injuries when she was attacked by her grandmother’s pet pit bull, authorities said. The girl’s mother said the dog attacked the baby without provocation in the living room of the house. The dog also attacked the child’s grandmother, who tried to intervene.
“Family members were able to stop the 5-year-old pit bull only after the child’s uncle struck it with a cast-iron skillet.”
Newly adopted Rottweiler killed grandson in Ukraine
A comparable dog attack killed a four-year-old boy who was left in his grandmother’s care in February 2020 in the village of Pishchanka in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, reported Daily Mirror correspondents Roksana Panashchuk and Stephen Delahunty.
In that instance, however, the dog was a three-year-old Rottweiler, adopted by the victim’s grandparents just three weeks earlier.
The victim’s grandmother was seriously injured in trying to effect a rescue.
Fatalities proceed at record pace
The Akron attack on the seven-month-old boy at his grandmother’s house was the 32nd dog attack fatality, and 27th by a pit bull, in the U.S. and Canada thus far in 2020.
Either toll would have been a new record for a full year as recently as 2008, but the current records are 57 total dog attack fatalities and 40 by pit bull, both set in 2017.
The records for dog attack and pit bull attack fatalities and disfigurements inflicted in a year by dogs belonging of grandparents of the victims are unknown, but an electronic search of the ANIMALS 24-7 archives suggests that while grandchildren may be suffering fatal and disfiguring attacks at record pace, only a painstaking manual search of more than 1,000 articles detailing such incidents could produce definitive answers.
What is easily and quickly determined is that a grandparent’s home appears to be second only to a parent’s home as the most likely venue for a fatal or disfiguring dog attack on a toddler––especially an attack by a pit bull, Rottweiler, or a similar highly reactive breed developed to fight.
Grandparents often injured & killed too
Further, a grandparent appears to be most likely to be killed or badly injured in a pit bull or Rottweiler attack while trying to defend a grandchild.
Of the 32 dog attack fatalities thus far into 2020, seven of the victims were children of five years old or less. Three other victims were ages 9, 11, and 13.
Seven of those fatal attacks were by pit bulls; one by a pack of three Belgian Malinois; one by two Neapolitan mastiffs; and one was unwitnessed, but pit bulls are suspected.
Fourteen of the victims of fatal dog attacks thus far in 2020 were age 52 or older; 11 of those were age 60 or older.
Most of the victims age 52 or older were known to have been grandparents, though grandparenting does not appear to have factored into the circumstances of most of the deaths.
Child & elder sacrifice
The Little Red Riding Hood story as we know it today was made famous by the French folk tale anthologist Charles Perrault in 1697, but appears to have originated thousands of years earlier with stories dating at least to the Iron Age, perhaps to the Bronze Age, and maybe even to the Stone Age, describing abandonments of both orphaned children and elderly people who could no longer work as “sacrifices” to placate wolves.
“Happy endings” in which the wolf is killed to rescue both Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother were not contrived until generations after Perrault.
By then, stories told in Perrault’s time and earlier to educate children through scaring them were often reconstructed as “fairy tales” meant to more pleasantly entertain their young audiences.
A resemblance may be noticed to the invention of the “nanny dog” myth in 1971 by pit bull breeder Lilian Rant, and to many subsequent retellings and re-inventions of pit bull behavior by pit bull enthusiasts eager to pretend that a pit bull disguised with a bonnet and allowed to sleep in Grandma’s bed will not eat either Grandma or Little Red Riding Hood.